Data access and privacy issues are throwing a shadow over the technology sector, as the data explosion threatens to become an ethics implosion. For our clients in IoT and AI, there is an additional concern, subtle but dangerous: Machine learning and deep learning models learn the bias of their source. They use algorithms to construct and modify models based on real world datasets.
Even the most logically constructed, objective algorithm is learning from the biases—from ideology to zip code to race to gender—built into our world and hence into the data being generated. This perpetuates the biases, now codified as facts. These skewed results then have the potential to unintentionally become the “gold insight” driving decision-making in business and industry.
More than 180 human biases have been defined and classified, any one of which can affect how we make decisions.1
We know the upsides of AI: speeding medical diagnosis, enabling scientific research based on massive datasets from diverse sources, and informing first responders. AI capabilities such as neural networks, machine learning, predictive analytics, speech recognition, natural language processing, and facial recognition are already in use by industries, academia, and governments to speed automation, manage risk, and increase security. But we can’t lose site of the downside that bias brings with it.
So why do we care as an agency? We want to help our technology sector clients to address the ethical and societal questions that technology innovation can unleash. This is territory newly resonant for the tech industry and we want to face it head on, because it impacts their business and the people who use their products and services.
Here are a few ways we hope to support our clients and be good advocates for their customers and partners
Partnership on AI
NYU’s AI NOW Institute
Intel’s AI public policy white paper
Microsoft’s AI for Good Initiative
Gartner’s 2018 CMO Survey reports that the average CMO is spending 29 percent of their budget on marketing technology. That’s as much as 3 percent of overall company revenue. Whether or not your overall marketing budget is on par with industry leaders, marketing technology is a line item with a constant upward trend, and you need to understand the best ways to spend that money for your organization.
In a culture where ROFL does not bring to mind the piano-playing dog from The Muppets, where entire sentences are not only abbreviated to initialisms, but we have actually learned to interpret such shorthand and extract meaning from it, what role do accuracy and correctness play in written communication?