In the digital world, most platforms and services heavily track their users in order to provide more suitable advertisements. For the most part, this is done through third-party cookies. For massive companies like Facebook, this is done through advertising AI algorithms that can be tuned for each user.
Training artificial intelligence programs is one of the most energy-draining activities in the modern tech world. Similar to crypto-mining, the technology uses vast amounts of data as it continues to be iterated. However, for massive companies to perfect Advert AIs, it'll take too much energy.
Scientists warn against advertising AI energy usage
Via the University of Copenhagen, a team of scientist investigating social media neural nets explained that the technology’s energy usage is a concern. Due to the iterative nature of the tech, one company misusing AI could suck up “infinite energy”.
The study explained that one massive misuse of artificial intelligence would be to replace current advertising methods. As advertising AIs would be constantly trained against individual user interaction, they could quickly become a black hole of resources.
Mikkel Abrahamsen, Computer Science professor at the University of Copenhagen explained:
“An infinite amount of energy can be used to, for example, train these neural networks just to target advertisements at us. The network would never stop training and improving. It's like a black hole that swallows up whatever energy you throw at it, which is by no means sustainable."
Abrahamsen explained that society needs to decide where to use AI based on its value to society. For example, advertising AI offers very little good for everyone, but a medical AI used to help heal offers a lot of good. However, with the massive amount of data and cost needed to train neural nets, experts already believe the tech will end up only being available for massive companies. Of course, those companies — like Meta or Google — rely heavily on advertising.
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The future of adverts
Advertising AI is only one aspect of the oncoming future storm of advertising. As companies like Meta and Google continue to invest into AI technology, they're also working on new ways of advertising outside of the traditional online medium.
One of these methods is through augmented reality. Recent leaks from Facebook parent company Meta claim that they're working on projecting user-specific adverts onto real-life objects. Using augmented reality technology, buildings in real life could be manipulated into advertising multiple products at the same time.
Adverts are the backbone of every online platform, and that's not about to change anytime soon. The future of adverts is going to get weird and wild, and it likely won't go well for anyone.