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How to make AI more ethical 

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How to make AI more ethical 

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A recent Pew Research study found that a majority of experts and advocates worry AI will continue to focus on optimizing profits and social control and will not likely develop an ethical basis within the next decade. And in an academic study earlier this year, researchers from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania found that two thirds of the machine learning researchers indicated AI safety should be prioritized more than it is presently. They also found that people are willing to place trust in AI when it is supported by existing international bodies such as the UN or the EU.

Some of these worries are based on early AI models that showed unintended biases. For example, Twitter’s algorithm for selectively cropping image previews showed an apparent bias for certain groups (Twitter later independently evaluated the algorithm and decided to take it down). Similar biases have been found not just in computer vision, but virtually all domains of machine learning.

We have seen several recent attempts to mitigate such problems. Last year, for example, the Department of Defense published five AI principles, recommending that AI technology should be responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable and governable. Google, Zendesk, and Microsoft, also issued guidelines, offering a framework to reach ambitious goals around ethical AI development. These are all good places to start.

Ethical AI is still in its nascency but is becoming increasingly more important for companies to take action on. My team approached ethical AI from a first principles perspective and augmented it with research from other players. We came up with these principles as we develop our own ethical AI framework and hope they are helpful to other teams:

1. Articulate the problem you’re trying to solve and identify the potential for bias

The first step to developing ethical AI is clearly articulating the problem you are trying to solve. If you are developing a credit scoring algorithm, for example, outline exactly what it is you’d like your algorithm to determine about an applicant and highlight any data points that may unintentionally lead to bias (e.g., racial confounders based on where someone lives). This also means understanding any implicit biases engineers or product managers may have and ensuring these biases don’t get enshrined into the code. One way to identify biases at the design stage is to involve team members from the very start who have diverse perspectives, both in terms of their business functions (such as legal, product, and marketing) and in terms of their own experiences and backgrounds.

2. Understand your underlying datasets and models

Once you’ve articulated the problem and identified potentials for bias, you should study the bias quantitatively by instilling processes to measure diversity in your datasets and model performance across groups of interest. This means sampling training data to ensure it fairly represents groups of interest, and segmenting model performance by these groups of interest to ensure you don’t see degraded performance for certain groups. For example, when developing computer vision models, like sentiment detection algorithms, ask yourself: Do they work equally well for both men and women? For various skin tones and ages? It is critical to understand the makeup of your dataset and any biases that may be inadvertently introduced either in training or in production.

3. Be transparent and approachable

AI teams should also seek to better understand their AI models and transparently share that understanding with the right stakeholders. This could have several dimensions but should focus primarily on what your AI models can and can’t do and on the underlying dataset they were built on. Consider a content recommender system: Can you articulate how much information it needs before being able to surface relevant recommendations to your customers? What steps, if any, does it take to mitigate amplification of viewpoints and homogenization of the user experience? The more you understand the underlying AI technologies you are building, the better you can transparently explain them to your users and other teams internally. Google has provided a good example of this with model cards — simple explanations of its AI models that describe when the models work best (and when they don’t).

Another element of transparency is making AI approachable to everyone, even those who aren’t technically versed in machine learning or statistics. This means writing content like model cards in approachable terms and providing simple explanations of how AI algorithms like convolutional neural networks work (without diving into the engineering or mathematical complexities).

4. Develop review processes to instill rigor

Ethical AI is not the responsibility of product and engineering teams alone. Groups across the company should weigh in on AI projects and do so in a systematic way. This means developing processes to ensure ethical rigor in AI projects and identify any issues as early as possible. One way to accomplish this is to have one or more independent bodies review the AI products when they are still in the design phase, and then again later in the lifecycle. We practice this at my company through a cross-functional Privacy and Ethics Board and a separate ethical AI subcommittee. These groups help us define corporate ethical principles and procedures as well as assess product ideas to provide tangible guidance on ethical AI development.

5. Ensure security and privacy of customer data

Finally, as with any data project, AI teams should operate with a privacy and security first mindset. This means that any AI efforts follow all internal guidelines around data privacy and security and go further when particularly sensitive data is involved (such as personally identifiable information or vision data).

Ensuring privacy also means having procedures for what algorithms and data you store and share, both internally and externally. For example, if facial recognition is important to an AI feature you’re building, it is critical to think through if and how you store facial landmark information and who has access to this data. For sensitive data, it should only be the immediate engineering teams working on the feature (and even that can be done with audits in place to prevent misuse).

Looking towards the future

While AI has made tremendous technical progress in the past few years, we are still in the early stages of defining the foundations for ethical AI.  There are tangible ways in which we can make progress towards ethical AI in the near term. Over time, we will need to develop more and more comprehensive and systematic ways to embed ethical design principles into the very fabric of AI development. Ultimately, this will be a requirement for AI to deliver the strongest benefits to society as a whole.

Ali Akhtar is head of big data and machine learning at Samsara.

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The 2021 Digiday Awards Shortlist

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The 2021 Digiday Awards Shortlist

New audiences, inclusivity and reemergence from quarantine became the backbeat of this year’s Digiday Awards shortlist

In what is still a time of uncertainty, with some parts of the world navigating a great reopening and other parts grappling with COVID-19 variants and limited vaccine access (or adoption), the nature of consumer behavior is constantly changing. However, digital media and marketing persist, and the nature of the ecosystems in which they work is now a part of the everyday fabric of the job. As always, the creative teams that drive campaigns for publishers and advertisers adapt. 

The latest installment of the Digiday Awards acknowledges the evolution of an industry, one that has not only transformed because of the pandemic and quarantines but one that has shifted in other profound ways as well. The sweeping calls for advocacy and inclusion have also shaped what the Digiday Awards judges have before them, in October 2021, as does an ongoing industry-wide shift to represent — and reach — younger demographics in the developing spaces they work and play (specifically, mobile and online games). 

Finalists found their gamers in 2021 campaigns

Take, for example, Excedrin, a double Digiday Awards finalist for Best Multi-Platform campaign and Best Strategy Pivot. Working with Weber Shandwick, the pain reliever’s program in 2021—  “Game Over for Headaches” — broke through to a new audience by leveraging influential streamers in the gaming space. Excedrin partnered with Twitch to create original content that spoke authentically to gamers. The outcome for the campaign was heightened earned coverage and positive consumer attention, and ultimately “Game Over” became the start of meaningful business results. 

To be sure, Mtn Dew is no stranger to gamers, with its “Game Fuel” slogan securely a part of console culture. As the PepsiCo brand worked with OMD, the media agency fused the caffeinated beverage with game influencer messaging that foregrounded authenticity and premium content. John Cena, professional wrestler and actor, helmed the launch of Mtn Dew Major Melon, the brand’s first new flavor in more than a decade, driving interest in the runup to the 2021 Super Bowl and highlighting in-game sweepstakes across every major social media channel. The campaign drove significant sales in Q1 and garnered OMD triple-finalist status in the Digiday Awards — Best Use of Influencer Marketing, Best Product Launch Campaign and Most Innovative Media Agency. 

Brands and media companies maintained the inclusivity beat

From deodorants to swimwear, from soft drinks to cinema, advertisers, media companies and their partners continued to push for expanded representation in their 2021 campaigns.

Degree showcased inclusive design that made its deodorant product accessible to people with different upper-limb abilities and differently sighted individuals. Their campaign told truthful and courageous stories and highlighted how other brands and companies could successfully implement similar changes to their product designs. The ‘Degree Inclusive’ campaign is shortlisted for Best Product Launch Campaign.

Amazon Studios connected with Imprint Projects and put voter suppression in the spotlight in 2021. ‘All In for Voting’ included documentary films, an experiential roadshow, and a multi-platform awareness campaign. It touched down at 55 brand-hosted voter registration events and 21 outdoor film screenings in disenfranchised communities. The effort earned Amazon and Imprint a spot among the finalists for Best Multi-Platform campaign.

Body inclusivity and alternatives to hyper-sexualized swimwear were the driving themes behind Summersalt’s ‘Every Body is a Summersalt Body’ campaign. Featuring two dozen accomplished women, the messaging showcased a spectrum of sizes, different sizes, backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and sexualities to demonstrate that every single body belongs in a suit of its choosing. Summersalt is shortlisted for best Branding Campaign B2C in the Digiday Awards.

Finally, The Coca-Cola Company activated its Sprite brand to make a statement supporting social justice and Black Lives Matter. Partnering with Havas Atlanta, Moxi, and industry influencers, the program gave $50,000 to influencers to give to the causes of their choice. The brand also hosted a series of virtual performances by artists called “Sprite Way” — the shows also gave back, donating funds to independent performance venues via Save Our Stages. The campaign stands among finalists for Best Strategy Pivot.

As cities and travel reopened, campaigns centralized support and safety

With storefront businesses deeply impacted during quarantines, as HBO Max brought on-site film productions back online, they did so with an eye on helping local vendors benefit from having their locales featured on audiences’ screens. Dropping giant purple pins with QR codes near the stores filmed on and around locations for its film “In the Heights,” customers could scan the codes and redeem rewards from the local businesses. Complete with a micro-site to help people find the pins, the campaign wrapped with a spot on the Digiday Awards shortlist for Best Multi-Platform Campaign.

Expedia knows travel, and as the world cautiously returns to the roads, the air and destinations, the full-service travel site provided inspiration and tips to give travelers confidence in their plans. They also replicated superstar Joe Jonas’s hand and distributed 500 of the exact replicas for those who might need a little actual hand-holding on their first trip after quarantine. The campaign, in turn, handed Expedia a finalist spot for Best PR Campaign.

Check out the full shortlist below as we wait for the judges’ decisions on all the Digiday Awards finalists.

Best Creative

Tapjoy and Bully Pulpit Interactive – The Biden/Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Comedy Central

Verizon and Madwell – The Reset

Land Rover and Outside

twelvenote

Known and Shift4 – Inspiration4

Best Collaboration

SHISEIDO and Dentsu Inc. – “Camellia” The brand film we didn’t shoot

Pepsi, NFL and Roc Nation – Super Bowl LV Halftime Show

Genero and Nespresso – Nespresso Talents

Fox News Media and Tunnel to Towers Foundation – Memorial Day Special Branded Content

INNOCEAN USA and Hyundai Motor America – The Un-Adventurers

Digital Dominance and ResMed – Changing lives with every breath

Best Use of Social

Nomadic Agency – Capcom Resident Evil Village Alternate Reality Game

Courageous Studio – AT&T Forces of Change

Initiative – Gen Z chooses Rexona

eos products and Mischief @ No Fixed Address – Cooch Blessings Campaign

Febreze and M Booth – Bedazzling Millennials with a Kardashian Brand Fan

Campfire and The INKEY List – #AskINKEY Campaign

Best Use of Mobile

Buzzer

Tapjoy and Bully Pulpit Interactive – The Biden/Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Aki Technologies and Family Dollar

Insider – Rebranding with New Mobile App Launch

(General Mills) Nature Valley & Mindshare – Sensory Ads by RUMBLE

NTWRK

Best Use of Video

Known and TikTok – It Starts On TikTok

CarMax – “Pinch Me”

TV Land

CONVICTS

XX Artists – Ancestry’s Kidsplaining Series

Edelman and TAZO Tea (Unilever)

Best Use of Influencer Marketing – NEW

MG Empower and Bumble – #MyLoveIsBlackLove

Collab, OMD and PepsiCo – Late Night Tastebuds

eos products and Mischief @ No Fixed Address – Cooch Blessings Campaign

Zeno Group and Crest – Crest Whitening’s Beauty Breakthrough

MTN DEW GAME FUEL – 2020 Gaming Influencer Campaign

Known and TikTok – It Starts On TikTok

Best Product Launch Campaign

Barbarian and Fenty Beauty –  Fenty Eau De Parfum Ghost Stores

NYX Professional Makeup – Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color Launch

Accompany Creative – Launch of Nespresso Premium Single-Origin Coffee Portfolio

Signia & Griffin360 – Signia Active X hearing aid launch

Degree – Launch of Degree Inclusive

OMD and PepsiCo – Launch of Mountain Dew Major Melon

Best Branding Campaign B2B

Insider and ING – Transforming Business/Changemakers’ Playbook campaign

Oracle – Wall Street Journal Brand Advertising Campaign

Lycored – Nourishing connections

IDG and Domo – State of the CIO Data Dashboard

Trelleborg

Wistia – Show Business

Best Branding Campaign B2C

Movement Strategy and Klarna

SEEN Connects and Simply Be – Fit For An Icon

GSG and ASICS

Pepsi – Match Me if You Can

InvestingChannel – IG US CONTENT SERIES AWARD

Summersalt – “Every Body Is A Summersalt Body” Campaign

Best Multi-Platform Campaign

ViacomCBS

HBO Max – On Location

Movement Strategy and Looney Tunes

Evoke and Foundation Consumer Healthcare, Plan B One-Step

Imprint Projects and Amazon Studios – “All In For Voting”

Weber Shandwick & Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare) – Game Over for Headaches

Best Search Campaign

Goodway Group and Anytime Fitness

Investis Digital and Happy Valley

In The Know Glossary

Terakeet and Leading Mortgage/Lending Company

January Digital for David’s Bridal

Adtaxi

Best Strategy Pivot – NEW

American Century Investments – #ACCFantasyGolf

Weber Shandwick & Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare) – Game Over for Headaches

Havas Atlanta, Social Center (The Coca-Cola Company – North America), Moxie

Warm Street

Atlassian

Hubilo

Best Audio Campaign

Edelman & Good Humor (Unilever)

Velocity, ViacomCBS and LEGO® – Lego Friends Podcast

Nickelodeon and iHeartRadio – Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast

CBS News – My Life Of Crime Podcast

In The Know – We Should Talk

Best PR Campaign

Edelman & Dove (Unilever)

Expedia & Zeno Group – Lend A Helping Hand to Anxious Travelers

Weber Shandwick, Chicago – “Swim Heard Round the World”

Weber Shandwick, Chicago – American Pecans – Super Safe Pecan Debate

Movers+Shakers & e.l.f. Cosmetics – Chipotle Mexican Grill & DayOne Agency

The Martin Agency – UPS and J Balvin #JuntosImparables

Most Innovative Publisher

The Dodo

BDG

WAVE.tv

Dotdash

In The Know

Courageous Studios

Best Gaming/esports Campaign

In The Know Bowl

SHISEIDO, Dentsu Inc. – “Camellia” The brand film we didn’t shoot

BEN Group, Electronic Arts, and Velan Studios – Launch of “Knockout City”

Viral Nation – PUBG MOBILE Version Update Launch

Edelman & Edgewell Personal Care (Schick)

Enthusiast Gaming and TikTok – TikTok Gamers Greatest Talent

Most Innovative Media Agency

Known

Kyra Media

Canvas Worldwide

Sela, a PCA Group Company, and OZNaturals

m/SIX

OMD Worldwide

Most Innovative Brand

Pepsi – PepsiCo Beverages North America

Reverb – The Pedal Movie

Lycored – Nourishing Connections

Noom

NTWRK

Known and Shift4 – Inspiration4

Most Innovative Technology Platform

VidMob

Iterable

STN Video

Truthset

Intowow Yieldbooster

Premion

Most Innovative Independent Agency

Movers+Shakers

B-Reel

Imprint Projects

Klick Health

We are Rosie – Welcome To A New Way To Work

SEEN Connects

Leader of the Year

OS Studios – John Higgins, CEO

SEEN Connects – Sedge Beswick, Founder and Managing Director

Bev – Alix Peabody, Founder and CEO

Collectively – Ryan Stern, CEO

PepsiCo Beverages, North America – Greg Lyons, CMO

HUM Nutrition – Walter Faulstroh, Co-founder & CEO

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Adobe Photoshop finally comes to the browser, and Chromebooks

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Adobe Photoshop finally comes to the browser, and Chromebooks

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Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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The Rundown: Amazon steps up its courtship of brand advertising dollars at Unboxed

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The Rundown: Amazon steps up its courtship of brand advertising dollars at Unboxed

October 26, 2021 by Max Willens

As it continues to hunt for brand advertisers’ dollars, Amazon will try to act more like a social network while continuing to think like a marketplace.

The ecommerce giant today announced a clutch of new additions to its advertising ecosystem at Unboxed, the company’s third annual advertising conference. Many of the changes seem explicitly aimed at helping advertisers who are focused on driving brand awareness or consideration, rather than strictly sales. 

The key details:

  • The company launched Brand Metrics, a “self-service measurement solution” that allows advertisers to track how many people are considering their brand and how they stack up to competitors. It also launched a brand lift tool that allows marketers to create studies within Amazon DSP, then send them to a panel of opted-in Amazon shoppers. 
  • Amazon is also expanding the availability of its marketing cloud to all of its DSP customers. Those customers now have the ability to upload pseudonymized data sets to query alongside Amazon ad campaign data, using either custom queries or by choosing from a library of queries Amazon supplies DSP users.  
  • The Unboxed announcement included several ad formats that could help performance marketers too, including more interactive ads. For example, customers that hear an ad on Amazon Music through any Alexa-enabled device can ask the assistant software to send them more information about the product advertised; customers that see an ad on IMDBtv through Fire TV can now ask Amazon to send them more information.
  • Advertisers can now also buy sponsored display ads within Twitch livestreams.

Seeking trust signals

Many of the changes Amazon is making seem designed to boost its customers’ engagement with ads and brands.

In addition to the new ad products, Amazon’s announcement also included fresh promotion of its “follow” button, which Amazon began testing about six months ago in the U.S. Customers that follow brands within Amazon get notifications when the brand does things like stream live — brands may also have deals for followers surfaced to them on Amazon’s homepage. Amazon said there are 20 million follow relationships in place within its ecosystem; as of 2019, there were more than 2 million brands selling on Amazon, according to Marketplace Pulse.

While Amazon will need more people to actually begin following brands, it potentially solves for problems that many kinds of advertisers have long had with Amazon as a marketplace. “What Amazon does really well is drive down customer acquisition cost, but their lifetime value is atrocious,” said Ryan Flannagan, the CEO of Nuanced Media, a performance-focused media agency. “Playing with these types of things could improve that.”

If follower features and follower counts become more visible within Amazon over time, it should help customers and advertisers begin to think about brands within the platform differently.

“They’re layering on these brand metrics because they also want another gauge of credibility,” Flannagan said. “Right now, [shopping on] Amazon is a price play. If it becomes a brand play, that changes things.”

The store(front) of the future

The addition of the follow button also opens the door for merchants and brands to start treating their storefronts differently. “It’ll allow them to treat Amazon stores like their websites,” said Peter Vasilakos, director of digital marketplaces at Assembly. “They’re going for a social approach.”

Amazon’s embrace of social sends it back in the direction that large tech platforms are heading, albeit from the opposite direction, with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all adding more native commerce opportunities, and large retailers, including Walmart, looking to do more to grow their advertising ecosystems. “Everything is turning into a marketplace,” Vasilakos said. 

https://digiday.com/?p=430102

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