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Are we automating discrimination?

  • Voices
  • July 11, 2018
  • Katy Holden
Are we automating discrimination?

Let’s face it, humans have been known to make some highly questionable decisions. It’s no wonder ostensibly infallible artificial intelligence that promises to remove our human margin of error has been seeping into every industry by osmosis, ours being no exception. But interested parties should proceed with caution.

The nature of AI means it inherently amplifies the voices that feed it. Those are the only voices it knows how to use. What happens then, to the voices that don’t get a chance to feed in? The potential of their input is lost, creating a rift between society and the AI designed to reflect it. The debate is already unfolding in courts and HR departments, where AI dedicated to predicting an individual’s propensity to re-offend or perform in a role are displaying unacceptable racial and gender biases.

Work is already happening to minimise the silencing of marginal voices. In the United States, Y&R is sending strategists from its coastal cities to discover ‘Middle America’ in a series of live-in secondments, in order to better understand the communities they serve. And the work is benefitting. So why are we actively working backward towards a homogeneous view of our audiences, an inhuman blur of amalgamated data?

Obviously, there are ethical implications of further silencing groups of society that media is already liable to ignore. But as with any fundamental cultural and societal shift, the tension of marginalised voices and AI will inevitably impact upon brands too. Marketers drawn by the prospect of handing key decision making to an AI should be aware of who is reallymaking those decisions. It will quickly become easy to alienate large groups of your audiences, especially when those audiences differ in the slightest way to those who feed your AI.

To give a worryingly mundane example of how this might pan out, imagine a non-luxury car brand that builds a path-to-purchase map based on historical data, but the majority of its dealerships are in Auckland. The Auckland voices overwhelm those from the regions, and especially those from rural areas.

Sure there’s a big market in Auckland, but the way we think about and select a new car could be worlds apart from how a farmer goes about buying a new ute. The shiny new AI-generated path-to-purchase journey doesn’t speak to the farmer buying a ute, and you fail to connect as a result. Farmers don’t represent the majority of your customers, but they previously accounted for 30 percent of your sales. Your business is now in serious trouble.

Is your marketing team capable of raising a dissenting voice to an omniscient AI that presumes to speak on behalf of every one of your customers? If not, you’re losing the uniquely human curiosity to ask whyover, and over, and over until we can find and follow the less obvious paths. It’s down those paths that human insights live. The other paths lead us toward the potential to alienate or worse, to that place no brand should go: irrelevance.

The bad news is that there’s no panacea. AI may shortcut complicated decision making, but it needs to be kept in check by a breathing human with the ability to consider, reflect, compare, deliberate, debate. The good news is, that’s what effective marketers do.

We can’t outsource our humanity. Trying to do so may end up being our most questionable decision of all.

Katy Holden is a planner at Track NZ.

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Drive VR: The ‘world’s first’ virtual reality drivers test has parked up in New Zealand

  • Design
  • July 13, 2018
  • Idealog
Drive VR: The ‘world’s first’ virtual reality drivers test has parked up in New Zealand

The ‘world’s first’ virtual reality drivers test is here thanks to a collaboration between Government agencies ACC and the NZ Transport Agency - and external partners Strategy Creative, Mixt Studio, and Flying Saucer - which aims to help young people become confident capable drivers. The project launched in July last year, and has since sparked a 30 percent increase in people signing up on the Drive platform, with more than 30,000 sign ups and almost half a million total users who’ve completed 52,000 online road code chapter tests between them. So, could it see the end of traditional drivers tests?

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news

RNZ on the rise: latest survey shows an increased audience while government increases funding—UPDATED

Radio New Zealand has plenty to celebrate this week as the latest round of GfK radio survey results showing it reaches 682,700 New Zealanders (10+) each week, while the government is giving it $4.5 million directly as well as further budget with NZ On Air. PLUS: A look at what other local media think of RNZ+.

Ian Howard steps into managing director role of Little Giant

  • Advertising
  • July 12, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Ian Howard steps into managing director role of Little Giant

Little Giant has appointed Ian Howard to the newly created position of managing director.

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Radio Hauraki advocates pies and beers for July

  • Advertising
  • July 12, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Radio Hauraki advocates pies and beers for July

Poking fun at the Dry July fundraiser campaign, Radio Hauraki is encouraging Kiwis to get behind its own initiative: ‘Beer and Pie July’.

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The Hot List winners: film/TV production company, digital production company

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

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The Hot List winners: drama, factual, SVOD, news and current affairs

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

PHD Group's senior leadership team has a new lineup

  • Movings/Shakings
  • July 12, 2018
  • StopPress Team
PHD Group's senior leadership team has a new lineup
Lee-Ann Morris, Nikki Grafton, Dallas Gurney, Christophe Spencer.

PHD and Spark PR & Activate have seen a suite of changes to its senior leadership team, with Nikki Grafton, Lee-Ann Morris, Christophe Spencer and Dallas Gurney all moving up.

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The Hot List winners: TV channel, reality show and TV host

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

Movings/Shakings: 10 July

  • Movings/Shakings, brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • July 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Movings/Shakings: 10 July

Industry happenings at Snapdragon Media, The Commercial Communications Council and Radio New Zealand.

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A preview of the 2018 Marketing issue of NZ Marketing magazine

  • Gratuitous self-promotion
  • July 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
A preview of the 2018 Marketing issue of NZ Marketing magazine

With NZ Marketing's 2018 Media issue out in the hands of our readers, it's time to get stuck into the 2018 Marketing issue. The issue will focus on some of the tremendous complexities facing today’s marketers, providing thought-leadership, expert opinion and insights into latest trends across the industry. Take a look at some of the areas our writers will cover.

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Simon says eat free: Better Burger gives a free feed to Simons

  • Advertising
  • July 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Simon says eat free: Better Burger gives a free feed to Simons

Kiwi burger chain Better Burger is celebrating all things Simon on 11 July, by giving away free cheeseburgers to any customers with the name Simon on their IDs.

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Tinder and sheep: How ANZ and Forsyth Barr are drumming up interest in KiwiSaver

  • Advertising
  • July 10, 2018
  • Caitlin Salter
Tinder and sheep: How ANZ and Forsyth Barr are drumming up interest in KiwiSaver

It appears KiwiSaver's a hot topic right now, with ANZ comparing choosing a scheme to dating in its latest campaign, while Forsyth Barr is encouraging Kiwis not to follow the pack.

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Moths drawn to the light for Lightbox

  • Advertising
  • July 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Moths drawn to the light for Lightbox

Lightbox and Shine have used the idea of moths drawn to a flame to show how the SVOD's new cinema selection will “light up your nightlife".

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Ads of the Week: 10 July

  • TVC of the Week
  • July 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Ads of the Week: 10 July

Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand and Lightbox show us how it's done.

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news

The Hot List winners: radio brand and radio show

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

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