Virtue Ethics in AI Advertising: A Content Analysis of AI Advertising Company Websites

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King, Wendy
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Middle Tennessee State University
Technological advances have made it possible for the advertising industry to rely on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence to facilitate effectiveness. As a result, previous efforts may no longer be sufficient in maintaining ethical practices in the advertising industry due to the AI often operating autonomously or within parameters that could lead to consequences affecting consumers in a negative manner. This study is a content analysis of the messaging on the websites of organizations providing AI advertising services to determine if the messaging reflects practices in line with virtue ethics. It expands the current literature by building support for the use of applied virtue ethics and demonstrating the importance of conveying those ethics. Using eight virtuous character traits as indicators the researcher found very few of the websites studied contained messaging indicative of applied virtue ethics. These findings align with previous research in the need to increase ethical considerations in the advertising industry yet show with the addition of AI in advertising there has been progress.
Adtech, Advertising, AI, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, Virtue Ethics, Mass communication