Increasing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology being adopted in new sectors: from retail to banking, from agriculture to healthcare, from finance to media and in other areas.
In fact, it shouldn't come as a surprise that emerging Advertising Technologies (AdTech) are also joining forces with AI to keep up with the recent hype.
According to recent reports, the use of AI in AdTech is set to increase exponentially in the coming years as companies’ appetite and demand for ever-more precise predictive analytics, consumer-centric algorithms and effective online behavioral advertising campaigns.
Today, we already have practical examples of AI-powered tools applied to AdTech, such as ad network mediation, ads positioning and hyper-personalization of online contents, as well as automated programmatic.
In effect, algorithms providing us with personal recommendations on films, music, products and books are already there, while the number of commercial chat bots and virtual online assistants are growing.
In addition, real-time bidding on ad networks based on AI will soon revamp the way re-targeting and re-marketing partnerships and agreements worked so far.
This is going to raise concerns on the impact of AI in AdTech from a data protection point of view. In particular, the question at this stage would be: are GDPR and the future ePrivacy Regulation fit enough to stand AI in AdTech?
In the context of digital transformation, producer and buyers of AI-powered commercial technologies should be able to guarantee privacy and data minimization, while being perceived as trustworthy from both consumers and regulators.
However, this is often very difficult as the AdTech ecosystem is complex and multi-faceted in its very nature as it includes publishers, vendors, advertisers and ad exchanges.
Privacy enhancing technologies, data ethics and sound legislative initiatives could provide some answers, although independent industry group initiatives and sector-specific standards are also on the rise.
Among others, the emergence of consent management platforms (CMPs) and consent collection tools represents one of the newest trends in 'privacy-friendly' AdTech solutions.
But can they fill the loopholes of privacy legislation when it comes to internet personalization and constant tracking?
The answer is still a work in progress and many countries (including Italy) are likely to work their own way, especially in the waiting for the upcoming ePrivacy Regulation and possible future guidelines of the European Data Protection Board.
Is consent still realistic and up-to-date in the age of AI and internet personalization through consumer tracking? Do existing (and future) laws really protect users’ decisions concerning the ever-more sophisticated use of their personal data in the online environment?