Ani Bisaria | TEDx Talk

Ani Bisaria, CEO of The Matchbox, gives a TEDx Talk in Boca Raton, FL on April 19th, 2024. Watch the talk, and read the transcript.
Publish Date
May 22, 2024
News & Events
Ani Bisaria

Human Choice in the Age of AI

Big Three

There was once a time when most people in America were watching the same tv shows on the same “Big Three" networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. A high Nielsen rating meant a show had a large audience, which directly influenced how much businesses were willing to pay for an ad spot. Limited placement opportunities meant that advertising strategies tended to be geared toward mass appeal. Ads were less targeted and more general, aiming to resonate with a wide demographic.

Now today, we don’t just have three channels. The average person in the United States spends roughly 6 to 7 hours online, and visits over 100 web pages in a single day. As a result, advertisers also have more options as to when and where to reach us. So today we’re going to take a look at few things: (1) how you’re being targeted, (2) advertisers' abilities to personalize what you see, (3) how in the Age of AI, human choices are more important than ever.

Logos of Various Social media platforms where people spend an average of 6 to 7 hours per day
The average person in the United States spends roughly 6 to 7 hours online, and visits over 100 webpages in a single day.


Now, as most of you know, everything you do online is tracked—your searches, likes, shares, and even how quickly you scroll. Companies like Meta and Google use this data to build a profile on you, grouping you with others who act similarly online, and then they sell targeted ad space on your feed, based on your profile's characteristics. For example, the more likely you are to watch highlight reels of the Miami Heat, the more likely it is you’ll see an ad for their fan merchandise as you keep scrolling.

A table showing how a user of the internet's interactions are tracked and placed into various categories
When a company hires our firm, The Matchbox, they’re trusting us to know what data points to combine and package to build an audience they want to acquire as customers.

As an advertiser, Meta, Google, TikTok, and others give me 100s of data points to choose and combine when building a profile of a person we want to target with an ad. If I wanted to, I could specifically show ads to "early morning online shoppers, in the zip code 33496, who are married with no kids, love nature documentaries, and follow Selena Gomez on instagram." So when a company hires our firm, they’re trusting us to know what data points to combine and package to build an audience they want to acquire as customers. After that, we’ll need to build the ads and messaging to try and influence that person into a purchase decision.

So at a basic level, this is what it looks like

AnI Bisaria Photo and quote next to an Abe Lincoln Photo and quote

Most advertisers will create a few segments of audience profiles, and they’ll spend a week creating two or three ads to test to see which variation performs best. This is called A/B testing.

Hybrid AI

At our firm, we’ve recently come up with a way to take these hand-made designs and, using Generative AI, scale them up in a single day to make 100’s variations tweaking everything from the background, colors, and button shapes to the models used in the images.

Ani Bisaria Photo and Quote repeated in various styles
Explore Hybrid AI by The Matchbox

The goal? To allow ourselves the ability to test at a scale, while maintaining quality, at a pace we couldn’t before. Then quickly pinpoint what captures the attention of a very specific audience persona. If we can do this form of dynamic content optimization, it reduces the number of impressions needed to trigger that action we want you to take, thereby lowering the amount we have to spend to influence you into a purchase.


Another widely used concept in advertising is retargeting — such as showing you ads based on recent website visits. For example, I have a website containing my music, and we use the site to license songs, sell tickets to shows, merchandise and more.  When someone comes to my website, listens to a few of my songs, took a look at prices for shows, browsed around, then left without buying — they might receive an Instagram ad from me within a few minutes about that very event they were just just considering.


So we’ve got a few things at play here. The ability to profile you, the ability make 100s of ad personalised ad variants in hours, as opposed to weeks, and the ability to track your decision making based on your response to those ads. Roughly 67% of digital consumers already feel uneasy when they see an ad that seems to know too much about them, and additionally, 80% of those surveyed were worried that filter bubbles, or personalized content isolation, was limiting their exposure to diverse viewpoints.

A picture saying "Roughly 67% of consumers already feel creeped out by ads that seem to know too much about them."

Marketing budget at a company is always a hard sell, and so as an agency we want to push the boundaries of personalization to acquire customers at a lower and lower cost. Yet, with this ability to influence you and more specifically your choices, at such a granular level, it also compels us to consider the impact of our choices — and how using new technology like this may have an impact on societal norms and more importantly your individual autonomy.


There’s a philosophical divide that I’ve had with myself when it comes to using these tools advertising strategies our team has developed — which mirrors a broader debate in economics. 

On one side, the efficiency-driven approach, rooted in the capitalist ethos of economists Adam Smith and Milton Friedman — is that the primary social responsibility of business is to increase its profits, while still adhering to basic societal and ethical norms​​. But what are norms now? What’s normal about the ability to learn so much about you, and have it take marginal labor to influence you at such a hyper targeted level?

Overhead shot of a landscape with the words Privacy & Influence

Friedman’s ideas aren’t disregarding the social implications of what the pursuit of profit does, but rather that we should trust that markets, when functioning properly, can lead to more just and sustainable societies, as consumers express their choices through transactions​​. But again, as this technology advances, how do we define consumer choice?

On the opposite end of Friedman, is the path of social responsibility, informed by Kantian ethics, who throughout his work emphasizes moral duties over profit motives — and that through the categorical imperative, business owners following this principle of morality might avoid business practices which could undermine consumers trust in the market — even if it meant sacrificing some short-term profit — it would pay off in the long run.

There’s a clear dichotomy between these two ideas. Profit maximization and saying yes to everything AI has to offer, or acknowledging that it might be too good to be true — and that if we don’t slow down just a bit, there may be negative societal consequences.


I hope consumers become acutely aware that over the next few years, whether you see it or not, AI is going to be more integrated in everything you do. Firms will have even better methods of subtly influencing you in your everyday life to have you make certain choices and decisions — and that at the current pace, consumer protection and privacy laws will take a while to catch up. 

For business leaders, both current and future, we’re stepping into a world brimming with possibilities, cutting-edge technologies, loose legislation, and complex societal and ethical challenges. Often, the path of efficiency, at least in this example, may be tempting as these systems get smarter and privacy laws flail. However, it's your responsibility to weigh the broader implications of your choices to use this technology, and more importantly, to consider the edge cases and down-funnel affects they will have.

As AI becomes an ever-present force in our everyday interactions, we are faced with two pivotal choices: the first for consumers, do we passively consume or consciously engage; and the second, for business leaders, do we exploit this technology for short-term gains or invest in long-term trust.


  • Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius, et al. “Should We Worry about Filter Bubbles?” Internet Policy Review, 2016,
  • Petrosyan, Ani. “Time Spent Online Worldwide by Region 2021.” Statista, 31 Jan. 2024,
  • Digital, Cheetah. “2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index.”, 2022,

About Ani Bisaria

Ani Bisaria grew up in South Florida before moving to the west coast and attending the University of San Francisco, where he earned a degree in Economics. After graduating, Ani's love for music led him into the electronic music scene. He performed as an opening act for notable artists such as Deadmau5, Duke Dumont, and Aminé, which marked the beginning of a promising journey in entertainment and media.

After a few years in music, Ani transitioned to the tech sector and took on senior management roles at software companies across the Bay Area. This honed his expertise in marketing and provided him with valuable skills that would pave the way for his venture into entrepreneurship.

In 2022, alongside his business partner Hannah Craig, Ani founded two companies: The Matchbox and Spyll Records.

The Matchbox ( is renowned for its impactful marketing and innovative use of AI & ML. It serves as a top partner to major North American startups, mid-market firms, and Fortune 500 companies across various industries.

Spyll Records ( is a dance-music record label which has secured considerable streaming success and has had music featured in campaigns by Givenchy, Formula One, and Binance.

Ani currently resides in Southern California.

About Saint Andrew's School

Saint Andrew’s School is a nationally recognized junior kindergarten (pre-k) through grade 12, day and boarding, college preparatory school in Boca Raton, Florida, within Palm Beach County. We offer a rigorous, private school curriculum that fosters creative thinking, opportunities to achieve balance, and experiences that build strong character. We are delighted to serve students from over 40 countries of multiple faiths and cultures.

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