According to a report by The Financial Times, the next target of Google’s AI-driven rush will be its advertising business.
The FT, citing a presentation given to Google’s advertising clients, says that Google will enhance its ad program with generative AI in 2019. The presentation explains how Google’s AI will allow customers to input text, images, and videos into its systems, which will then “remix” the content in order to create ads that are based on audience and sales goals.
FT reports that the tools are likely to be integrated into Google Performance Max, which provides an overview of campaigns. Performance Max uses machine learning for customizing ad spending, but only provides strategic recommendations at the moment (like budgets set when bidding on ad spaces). These updates will be focusing on the creative content that is used in advertising.
It is optimized to convert new clients and does not know the truth.
But this new approach may have new dangers. Text generators and other generative AI systems are notorious for reproducing biases in their training data. One person who was familiar with the presentation said to the FT that they were concerned Google’s AI might introduce factual mistakes into advertising campaigns. The individual said that the AI was designed to convert new clients and had no clue what the truth was. Google responded by telling the that it would introduce guardrails in order to protect against such an eventuality.
Google may have made assurances about its new AI products, but it is unlikely that the company can fully protect them. Technology is evolving quickly, and the methods to reduce mistakes (or “hallucinations”) in their infancy. Google has also been rushing to catch up with its rivals, and in this has made serious mistakes. The company’s experimental chatbot Bard made an error when it released its demo. A report by Bloomberg highlighted the company’s haste to launch AI tools, despite warnings regarding reliability and ethics.
Google is under pressure from many different directions. Startups are awash with AI systems that can be used to enhance advertising, and established companies like Microsoft and Canva have already begun to offer AI tools for “remixing” creative content. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, Google’s main rival in online marketing, plans to launch AI-generated advertising tools this year.