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30 May 2024

Media 360: The Big AI Debate

A pertinent subject shrouded in uncertainty and possibility that’s near the top of everyone’s agenda, AI was unsurprisingly a key point of discussion at this year’s Campaign’s Media 360 annual conference.

Bauer Media put the topic at the forefront of its session, bringing its ‘The Big Debate’ format back for a second year running, this time on Day 2 of the iconic Brighton event. Joining the panel was Kathryn Molloy, Head of Innovation at Bauer Media, Sean Betts, Chief Product & Technology Officer of Omnicom Media Group UK, Al Young, CCO at St Luke’s and Jennifer Heape, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Vixen Labs.

Moderated by Bauer’s Head of Commercial Marketing George Butler – who on the previous day took to the stage to reprise his winning Media 360 Challenge 2023 pitch as the current reigning champion – the panel discussed if the media industry should embrace AI with open arms or take a more cautious approach. In an interactive session, each panellist explored the opportunities AI presents, their top concerns and the one rule they would implement in terms of AI within the media industry, and the audience were able to vote for the panellist they believed made the most important and valid points.

Across the three rounds, the panellists covered everything from the importance of human connection and how AI cannot compete with that, to how AI can streamline processes and supercharge the industry. One of the biggest points that both Kathryn and Jennifer landed in their speeches was around bias – cementing the point that AI is a mirror to our own selves and the output is reflective of what we put in. Jennifer instilled this by stating that “the genesis of every AI application is a human hand; AI is made from data, and we are AI.” This was supported by Kathryn’s analysis that most data that tools such as Chat GPT are currently observing is skewed, and this is resulting in further bias. Therefore, we must take extra care when using AI tools now, ensuring that it is best placed to protect our future generations. She provided the example of Amazon; the company used AI to aid their CV selection process and streamline the process of reviewing resumes for tech positions. The tech industry, with its history of underrepresentation of women, was reflected in the training data, and unfortunately deemed CVs from female candidates as unsuccessful.

Another point that was very effectively delivered during the panel was AI’s ability to produce high quality deepfakes, and the issues, concerns that represents if used for nefarious means. To prove this point, Sean created a jarring video of his own ‘digital twin’:

Whilst Sean’s video clearly shows the power of AI in content creation, it also proves issues with human contribution and creativity – why need humans if AI can do everything for you? This was Al’s biggest point which he nailed throughout the session; discussing the importance of how AI must not diminish personal and cultural development. He believed that the best ideas come from trial and error, humility and imagination – something that AI cannot compete with when comparing to humans.

After three rounds and lots of riveting points and discussion, the vote revealed that the audiences agreed most with Jennifer’s points, crowning her as this year’s Bauer Media Big AI Debate winner.

A huge thank you to Jennifer, Kathryn, Sean and Al for joining the debate, and everyone who watched and participated. To find out more about Bauer Media and the advertising options available, email