AI Ethics: How to Source Content Without Damaging Your Brand 

AI Ethics: How to Source Content Without Damaging Your Brand

August 30, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fueling transformation across all industries, bringing forth a controversial mix of beneficial and challenging outcomes. While many businesses are eagerly embracing AI to boost productivity and streamline operations, several still hold concerns about AI's potential pitfalls – specifically when it comes to content rights and usage. For brands considering AI-powered content creation, we’ll take you through a thorough exploration of AI ethics, ensuring a responsible and positive integration of this innovative technology. 

Ethical considerations of AI

Machine learning and artificial intelligence innovations are happening at a breakneck pace. If you can think it up, it won't be long before AI is able to accomplish it. This level of computational power and the ability to create instantly has expanded some ethical concerns for marketers, as well as created new ones. 

Copyright use and permission 

Copyright and ownership issues are at the forefront of AI ethics discussions, especially with regard to AI art generators. When you use an AI image generator, the computer program painting, sketching, or otherwise creating a digital image is not a human artist capable of original inspiration. Instead, the program pulls hundreds, thousands, or even millions of existing images, and then uses that data to create something that aligns with the parameters you set. 

This process of sourcing content raises the question: If AI is creating images by copying the work of others, do those other artists have any rights to the new work? Whether AI art is ethical is hotly debated across a variety of groups, from fine arts to graphic design.  

Embedded bias  

Computers can make biased decisions or present biased information, creating situations where a brand unknowingly engages in prejudicial activity. One well-known example of this occurred when Amazon used automated recruiting tools. The AI involved was supposed to help automate talent searches by streamlining resumes and talent reviews. The problem was that the algorithm picked up a bias that started to downgrade resumes and applications that included the word "women's." This meant that someone who was chair of the Women's Association of Business, for example, would be downgraded as a candidate based solely on that phrase. 

This type of bias can occur on a smaller, but still damaging, scale. AI may create content that uses derogatory phrases or presents biased examples. For example, an article with resume examples for a traditionally male-dominated field might only include examples associated with men — even though a human content creator would understand that there are females in the field. 

How to fall on the right side of AI and ethics considerations

While AI ethics are a serious concern, machine learning and automations can't be overlooked as powerful tools for marketers, content creators, and overall business growth. Instead of avoiding AI completely, businesses should look for ways to use AI ethically while protecting their brands.  

  • Have the ethics discussion. Start by deciding how your business will use AI — and how it won't. Ensure your use of AI is in line with your mission and values and create written documentation to support staff and contractors who might use AI while working with you. When everyone on your team is on the same page about the use of AI, you can create a more consistent, ethical approach. 
  • Be transparent about the use of AI. Business leaders must decide whether they must disclose their use of AI and how to do that. Depending on how you use artificial intelligence, you might actually be required by Federal Trade Commission guidelines or other regulations to disclose it, so consider bringing in compliance and legal teams when you make such decisions.   
  • Use AI-generated content for inspiration. Avoid relying 100% on AI to generate images, text, video, audio, or other forms of content. Instead, use AI as a tool for research or inspiration. For example, you might ask AI to help you come up with ideas for a blog post outline. Taking it from there with human content creators to write the actual content can help you avoid a variety of ethical concerns, including copyright issues. 
  • Always double-check AI content. Create processes that ensure multiple human reviews for content that involves AI processes. That should include fact-checking, editing for style and voice, and considering whether images or other content display any potential bias.  



AI offers many benefits for brands, especially when it comes to efficient content creation and SEO performance; however, they must be mindful of the ethical implications. Protect your reputation by setting up safeguards and ensuring a human element is always present to double-check the output. 



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