The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is keeping close watch on companies that use the term “artificial intelligence” (AI) when marketing their products.
Michael Atleson, an attorney in the agency’s Division of Advertising Practices, wrote in a blog post Monday that “some advertisers won’t be able to stop themselves from overusing and abusing” AI in marketing materials as a selling point.
“Marketers should know that—for FTC enforcement purposes—false or unsubstantiated claims about a product’s efficacy are our bread and butter,” Atleson wrote.
Earlier guidance from the FTC spelled out advertisers should not overpromise what a company’s AI-based tool can deliver, Atleson noted. He offered suggestions for marketers to help them stay out of the crosshairs of the agency, starting with a warning to avoid exaggerating a product’s capabilities.
“Your performance claims would be deceptive if they lack scientific support or if they apply only to certain types of users or under certain conditions,” Atleson wrote.
He also said it’s best not to promise your AI product does something better than a non-AI product, unless you can prove it.
If the product doesn’t actually include AI, don’t make that “baseless claim,” Atleson wrote. The FTC checks on this in its investigations.
If your product doesn’t include AI but AI was used in developing it, don’t label it as “AI-powered,” Atleson added.
“AI is important, and so are the claims you make about it. You don’t need a machine to predict what the FTC might do when those claims are unsupported,” he concluded.