AI’s Dark Side – They’re Listening

AI’s Dark Side – They’re Listening

Hear that? Someone is listening. In fact, they all are: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, even Apple (who has positioned itself as a privacy champion). AI – more specifically the neural networks that power voice assistants – are far from fully autonomous. Deep learning models require human assistance at this juncture. Fair. It is when companies do not tell us they are listening or when they do not provide adequate controls such that users may opt in or out that they overstep privacy boundaries. Read to the end to learn which entity is best-positioned to challenge Google for the “AI heavyweight championship”.

Google (tkr: GOOG), has buried microphones in Nest devices and has employed humans to listen to portions of conversations to refine voice assistant models. To the AI leader’s credit, Google’s privacy dashboard is the most comprehensive and not impossibly difficult to understand. Here is a link to Google’s privacy dashboard: https://policies.google.com/privacy

Resurgent Microsoft (tkr: MSFT) also leverages humans for voice data collection. Here are Microsoft’s privacy controls: https://account.microsoft.com/account/privacy

Amazon (tkr: AMZN), Alexa privacy controls: https://www.amazon.com/alexaprivacysettings

Apple (tkr: AAPL), Apple contractors were allegedly listening to 1,000 Siri recordings a day — each. Siri privacy controls (no privacy dashboard for sanctimonious Apple): https://www.apple.com/privacy/manage-your-privacy/

China is Google’s primary AI challenger. It is true. China is best-positioned to topple Google as the world’s AI champion. 1.4 billion Chinese citizens are part of China’s grand AI experiment. Imagine the amount of raw data. The data sets. The data labels. A data scientist’s electric dream.



Gene Hackman, The Conversation, 1974

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