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This excerpt is featured in an article originally published by MediaPost.

MODERATOR: Joe Mandese, Editor-in-Chief, MediaPost


Bonnie Barest, Managing Director, The Media Kitchen

Israel Mirsky, Executive Director, Global Technology and Emerging Platforms, OMD Worldwide

Ilana Nolte, President, North America, m/SIX

Louisa Wong, Chief Transformation Officer, Carat

Joe: Five years ago a bot was already starting to feed humans ideas.

Israel: The nature of those ideas will be more sophisticated. There’s an opportunity to identify anomalies in the data, the more the need for industry by industry data sets become clear. The challenge is finding ways to pay for it, to help clients see advantage.

Joe: Take a search campaign that would take 10 people 7 days and turn it around in minutes because they had found the models that worked best. You don’t think a machine will be more strategic?

Israel: We have sophisticated curfitting. Takes training data and answers yes or no whether something belongs to a category. The development of general AI is still an indeterminate number of years away. I don’t see us getting to a general AI place in a number of years that I can determine.

Joe: What opportunity has emerged over the last five years vs. where you were in 2019?

Israel: The rest of trusted authorities as the go-between between brands and purchases. Rise of voice, lack of friction. Why I would or wouldn’t buy something of high value via voice. It has become a way for me to shrink down potential options to a small set. It’s doable via voice. I might want comfort from reading a review, in the future when I recognize that I’m going to behave that way anyway, we’re going to be comfortable trusting what the best product, value is. This will limit the number of brands that are succeeding in any category.

Joe: What has changed?

Israel: The end of traditional TV will take longer than we expect. It has incredible staying power esp. for older generations. Not sure I agree with Ilana on transparency. There are opportunbities across dimensions to increase transparency in inventory. Limited set of publishers. Make sure we’re paying the right people for the impressions we’re buying. Greatest part of the value has more to do with business model, using tech to rethink the way payments work. Paying all participants in the chain to see where money is going. Potential to change fraud equation. Strangle some of the propaganda that we are responsible for.

Joe: How pervasive is blockchain adoption?

Israel: There’s the cryptgographic element. Unclear to me exactly how much we’re going to need blockchain tech. Fraud prevention has interesting uses. I believe it will have real uses. It can allow us to collaborate around a database that nobody controls. Limiting participants. High through-put and low cost. The trick is getting everybody together to collaborate around that standard.

It’s like someone invented a new computer at the chip level. To make it on par, the ecosystem has to build everything from OS to cloud services. Trying now to build an infrastructure on par with cloud services. It’s going to take a little while. This is going to be one of the few industry where blockchain will be a success.

Joe: Blockchain deployed, smart contracts. The ID value exchange. Post Cambridge Analytica, in 2019 people got idea of value exchange. In 2024, there is a marketplace where consumers are arbitraging themselves?

Israel: The challenge is that you have to have sufficient skill to have enough advertisers participating. Could be shortcuts through that. The medical and pharma, if I have a condition and want to sell the data, there’s not a marketplace for me to do that. Small population who have conditions with enough interest. Another way it could happen is governmental. At some point we’re going to have to upgrade the way we treat identity on a national level. Hang data sales off the side of that. That’s the end of fraud. Nothing better than a passport. Could make value exchange high enough for a lot of consumers to do it.

Joe: Regulation and self-regulation. How much does Madison Avenue shift toward ethical models in data? 

Israel: We’re going to need advertisers to push us. Our KPIs are not, how ethically are you handling the data. Then we will have license to push as hard as we need to.

Joe: Locaction data being bought and sold. Have you done so?

Israel: It’s terrifying. A fundamental misunderstanding, maybe willful, as to how data is being used by advertisers. If I’m not building a rules-based engine for dealing with thousands of people at a time, I am wasting my client’s money. I don’t want access one on one.  It’s not something we would enable our teams to use, to track one individual. needs to be a forceful response to stories in the press.

Joe: I’m hopeful that industry swings toward more ethics in general. More accountable for where it places its bets on society? Industry was subsidizing platforms that weren’t the best actors. Not always the best managers of people’s identify and data. Does industry have a role in where it places its bets?

Israel: We have that responsibility. Another place where I think we need the advertisers to take a stand. We can help them deliver against an ethical vision that they have.

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