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  April 2019
A monthly roundup of emerging trends, events and innovation happening in and outside
the Ad Council. 
Oh hey there, missed us? We’ve gathered some feedback, revamped a few things and now we’re back. You may see us experiment with new sections and share highlights from previous Trends & Coffee (T&C) - you’ll notice many of  the presenters who brought us the following relevant themes are named below. Ok, let's get on with it.

One of the biggest themes at our Trends & Coffees have been data ethics and the tech industry's responsibilities in handling personal data.

The fact that our data is being collected isn't new. But now technologists have started collecting more data and using the data in new ways (responsibly and irresponsibly), leading to a world of
racist search engines like Google and autonomous vehicles (Anastasia), massive spread of fake news and tremendous trust issues.
What's the big deal anyway?

Sometimes the AI systems created using data aren't supervised or designed by a diverse team, which can unleash racist tweet bots like Microsoft’s Tay (Gabe), or allowed us to create racist autonomous vehicles, search engines and soap dispensers (Anastasia) that are unable to recognize darker skin tones. 

Amazon harvested over 10 million photos from Flickr, social media and mug shots (you read correctly) to create their facial recognition software (ReKognition) which is now used by law enforcement to make arrests without having to disclose why someone is being arrested (Randall).

Youtube is also getting called out on it’s “recommendations” of sensational and clickbait-ish videos sending users down rabbit holes of conspiracy videos, violent content and how they contributed to the spread of fake news. (Gabe and Leah)

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook user data to identify and target the “persuadables”, those who hadn’t made up their mind yet about political candidates and could be persuaded to decide in a specific direction. For the 2016 election, CA bombarded these “persuadables” with over 5 million pieces of customized content to create a perception of the world that CA wanted them to have. What's up for 2020? Read how the Trump Campaign floods the web with ads, to rake in cash.
Is there hope? Sort of. 
  • At Bloomberg's tech event STYTDuckDuckGoDensity, and FourSquare shared how they are profitable companies without commoditizing user data and only tracking what’s necessary. 
  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter took a stance on misinformation last month. He tweeted that he’s banning ads from candidates on Twitter globally.
  • Facebook shut down over two billion fake user accounts. But they still won’t fact check political ads or posts by candidates, even if it violates the site’s hate speech rules. This stance upset the staff at Facebook so much that they wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg demanding a more active stance on misinformation.
  • Former FCC commissioner, Mignon L Clyburn points out that the reason the government hasn’t been able to regulate big tech is that “we’ve got a 19th-century framework for 21st-century problems”. It's great to see that conversations on ethical regulations are happening more on the regulatory side as well. On that note, have you watched AOC question Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony before the House of Financial Services Committee? You should. 
Other things to know
Join us
We’d love to see you at our upcoming Trends & Coffee on 11/20 to learn from our colleagues! We'll be hearing from Tony and Emily B.

Want to present at a future Trends & Coffee? Yay, 
email the group and get in the lineup for 2020! 
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Ariba, Shirley & Naomi


The Innovation Squad

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