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What Are the Ethical Concerns of AI in Marketing?
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By: Paul Roetzer

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April 12th, 2019

What Are the Ethical Concerns of AI in Marketing?

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared in the Answering AI editorial section of our newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter to get exclusive insights and resources twice weekly (usually Tuesday/Thursday), as well as select promotions.

Today’s Question: What are the ethical concerns of AI in marketing?

My biggest personal fear about artificial intelligence is ethics. There is a race, not just in marketing, but in business and society, to build smarter solutions.

And any time you have a race to lead the advancement of technology, there are people and companies who push forward and challenge what is accepted as normal and ethical. If they don’t, then someone else, maybe their competitor, will. Or, so the thinking goes.

As consumers, we become desensitized to all the data we’re giving up. We willfully share deep insights into our preferences, biases, purchases, locations, friends and much more. In return, we get personalization. This value exchange between consumers (data) and tech companies (personalization) is what powers many of the AI innovations that are changing our lives.

As brands and marketers, we have an obligation to understand the human side of what we’re doing. AI will open up almost infinite possibilities for targeting, engaging and selling at an individual level. There are hard decisions ahead of how to use these powers. There’s no set playbook, and no industry standard guardrails.

For more on this topic, check out Episode 4 of the HubSpot Academy Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing series below. In this video, Kevin Walsh, product manager of machine learning at HubSpot, and I discuss:

  • What are consumers giving up to get the convenience of AI-powered solutions?
  • What are the risks of marketing becoming too personalized and intelligently automated?
  • What are some of the ethical challenges brands will face as they scale AI?



And be sure to subscribe to HubSpot Academy to be notified when the last episode goes live, Episode 5: How can marketers get started with artificial intelligence?

Have an AI question you want answered in an upcoming newsletter editorial? Submit your questions and feedback to marketing.ai@pr2020.com.

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About Paul Roetzer

Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) is founder of PR 20/20, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint and The Marketing Agency Blueprint, and creator of The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute and Marketing Score. Full bio.

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