Scibids' Harriet Cunningham on AI Regulation; Google’s Privacy Sandbox; and Attention Metrics

On this week’s episode of TheMadTech Podcast, Scibids’ UK Sales Director Harriet Cunningham joins ExchangeWire’s Rachel Smith and Ciaran O’Kane to discuss the impact of tighter AI restrictions. They also uncover the concerns that still remain over Google’s Privacy Sandbox, and discuss whether the industry is doing enough to measure attention.


AI regulation

Is tighter regulation the answer to making AI more accountable? 

AI regulation has risen up the priority list in Europe, with the European Commission introducing a framework for AI regulation and similar moves under way in the UK and Germany.

The same trend is apparent in the US, although it’s more pronounced at state level, where state and regional lawmakers have made moves to create standards for how AI is used and managed. The National Security Commission and Government Accountability Office last year advised Congress that legislative intervention would be necessary to guarantee the protection of civil rights amidst the development of AI, in response to cases where algorithms have been blamed for serving harmful content (most notably involving Facebook).

Particular aims of the new regulations are preventing discrimination and biases from being maintained by algorithms and (in turn) restoring public trust in AI and machine learning (ML). Recently, the FTC brought out new guidance for responsible AI and ML management, which include monitoring to detect biases, and have spoken out in favour of making hiring processes that use AI more transparent and accountable. 


Concerns remain over Google’s Privacy Sandbox

Will Google’s Privacy Sandbox serve or hinder digital advertising in the post-cookie era?

Google have launched fresh trials of their Privacy Sandbox as the Chrome cookie deprecation deadline creeps closer. Developers will soon also be able to trial code with Topics API, the recently-announced replacement for their controversial FLoC solution, as well as the FLEDGE ad auction management solution and the Attribution Reporting API. 

Yet concerns remain that the suite of post-cookie solutions will fail to provide viable, privacy-centric alternatives for the digital advertising industry, whilst strengthening Google’s grip over the market. Members of the W3C’s Private Advertising Technology Community Group are unconvinced that Topics will survive increasing regulatory scrutiny due to its reliance on cross-domain targeting and unrestricted flow of data. 

There’s also uncertainty as to whether Google will exert control over ad auctions under the FLEDGE solution or whether they will allow supply-side platforms to govern these independently.


Attention metrics

Should attention be the industry’s main focus, and how well is it currently being measured and actioned?

Frequently referred to as advertising’s true currency, attention has always been essential to the success of a marketing campaign. Measuring the amount of attention consumers pay to advertisements is increasingly a key factor in gauging the success of a campaign, and ad tech companies are increasingly investing in the necessary technology.

A number of companies are experimenting with passive eye-tracking technology, whilst Kargo have gained attention metric capabilities through their acquisition of Parsec and Adelaide and Lucid partnered to make attention measurement easier. Meanwhile, Integral Ad Science and Crimtan have announced their own respective attention metric offerings.