Is AI Racist? Serious Risks You Face Using AI for Marketing

AI is a hot topic of conversation at the moment, and it’s no wonder with its potential to streamline processes.

It all sounds great, on the surface. But in the world of digital marketing, one we have a little insight into, there are some concerns around the use of Artificial Intelligence, and potential racism is at the forefront. Instead of blindly incorporating AI into marketing strategies, be aware of the potential risks associated.

AI’s hidden biases

AI learns from the conglomeration of large datasets and then uses patterns it finds to make predictions. While this is impressive, it’s not immune to inheriting biases present in the data. Without the capacity for unique and empathetic thought, AI may inadvertently perpetuate biases and stereotypes. Imagine if it is drawing from data that reflects societal prejudices. It cannot recognise that as problematic, because that’s not its job.


Consequences of AI in marketing

Any biases injected by AI can lead to serious consequences. From language to cultural misappropriation, words and imagery left in the hands of AI alone could be offensive and damaging to both the unintentionally targeted community and the brand’s identity. Even if the content is not overtly offensive, it could still be alienating and irreparably damage a brand’s reputation. It’s very difficult to regain lost trust or brand reputation in the face of negative public perception.

Is AI Racist - AI Marketing

IS AI racist?

An example of how this machine learning bias could be a major problem in marketing is if historical data used to train an AI model contains biases against certain racial or ethnic groups.

The AI model may inadvertently make decisions leading to discriminatory practices and skewed targeting resulting in unintentionally racist marketing campaigns. Representation is important and if your potential customers can’t see themselves in your marketing, they may feel excluded or disrespected. Limiting the target audience is bad enough but imagine if your company didn’t check and posted content with overtly racial stereotypes.

What if AI’s creation of exclusionary content further misrepresented already marginalised groups? What if it caused further harm? It’s not just bad for business.

Is AI Racist - AI Marketing

The other risks

The potential risk of racism and discrimination in AI-based marketing cannot be downplayed, but there are other risks too.

When using AI for any marketing endeavour, keep the following in mind:

AI fills in the blanks

As a predictive system, AI returns the most likely sequence of bits of data.

If there is a gap in the data, it will fill it with the most likely and predictable information even if the information is wrong.

If your AI marketing makes any claims, you better fact-check it.

AI is a tool, not a replacement

AI may be the future but it only looks at the past and that past may not be as current as you may think. That means it can’t grow or evolve beyond the information it is fed and if that information is old, so too will be its output.

AI is predictive, not creative

No matter what you ask AI to produce, it will be a replication of data. Now, don’t get us wrong, it does a good job of replication but in marketing, that means your content will sound like everyone else’s. It cannot fully grasp the intention of your brand identity and nuances.

AI is the next spam-iverse

With new AI models popping up daily, it’s not surprising that some of those old scammers have jumped onboard this growing trend. Keep yourself and your company safe by only using AI tools you can verify and do not feed it any sensitive information.

Humans are still your best bet

The integration of AI in marketing presents exciting opportunities, but are the risks worth the consequences? Especially when they can be mitigated by ensuring your marketing is not left entirely in the hands of AI. A biased marketing campaign could, at best, severely limit the reach of any marketing campaign and, at worst, potentially result in legal action. No business wants to, or needs to, deal with that.

At Web Marketing Angels, we’re here to guide you through this process with our human team, ensuring your marketing campaigns are both innovative and ethical.