If artificial intelligence is so great, why can’t it reliably predict the weather?
The weekend has just closed on another very rainy Floridian ANA Masters of Advertising Law Conference (Last year we had a hurricane, so this would qualify as an uninspiring upgrade). The Masters Conference is the largest advertising, marketing and promotion law conference in the nation, bringing together major brands, storied advertising agencies, and prominent regulators to discuss cutting-edge topics impacting the industry. Each year – not by design but by happenstance – a different theme is featured. This year, to no one’s surprise, the focus was on AI.
While not every session discussed AI in depth, most speakers devoted some time to the subject throughout the 3-day event. Panelists confronted questions like: does algorithmic bias, increasingly employed in various industries, constitute an unfair trade practice? How will regulators view advertising claims based on next gen tech? What copyright traps exist for the unwary utilizing AI to generate advertising content? Are US and international privacy laws evolving fast enough to keep up with new challenges posed by AI? And while it had nearly zero to do with AI, the conference would have felt incomplete without a discussion of what drag queens can teach advertising lawyers about intellectual property protection. Many learned more about Cardi B’s album covers during that session than they could have imagined in their wildest dreams.
There is no doubt that AI will affect the advertising and marketing landscape for years to come. Like the metaverse (last year’s theme) and crypto assets (the year before that), these issues are not new. But despite AI having been around for some time, the leaps forward that generative AI applications have made this year appear poised to significantly transform the landscape of advertising content creation and delivery. President Biden’s October 30th Executive Order is one of the first major steps being taken to set limits on AI technologies while funneling their potential for good. Among other things, that Order directs the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. Copyright Office to issue a report on “potential executive actions relating to copyright and AI.”
We will of course be following this issue closely as the technology – and its implications for intellectual property and advertising issues – evolves. But we will hold our concerns regarding AI singularity at bay until such time as we receive an accurate forecast for the next ANA Conference. (It’s in Arizona, so we’re blithely optimistic.)
Until next year!