AI: Hidden dangers behind innocuous facade

The latest trend emerging in technology is the integration of Artificial Intelligence or AI systems into everyday devices. The leaders in the tech industry are pouring significant resources into developing AI systems that take care of routine tasks, providing intuitive automation.

However, the AI systems present today are a long way off from the ones popularized in Hollywood science fiction like, i, ROBOT.

Microsoft, Google and Apple are leading the charge for developing AI systems for their respective platforms. Most iPhone and Android users are familiar with Siri and Google Assistant being ever-present on their devices offering users information synced to their lives and schedules. Traffic information, agenda scheduling and contextual searches are just some of the ways the tech giants have applied their AI systems to their devices.

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Artificial intelligence as a technology relies heavily on well-developed machine learning algorithms and cloud computing technologies to provide the relevant information at the right time. These technologies have caused a shift away from modern technology being hardware-bound towards a more data-oriented ecosystem. This is where the concerns emerge.

As these AI systems become better and more integrated into everyday devices, users expose more information about themselves to corporations. Protection of privacy becomes a concern as tech corporations have significant access to very personal information. What corporations do with this information is not always transparent. On the surface, most corporations utilize the data they collect to drive targeted advertisements to users. The data collected by the tech companies are increasingly being sought by government surveillance agencies as they look to use the information to feed their national security programs.

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Artificial intelligence as a technology cannot be stopped or avoided. In this case, a much stronger commitment from the tech giants like, Google and Apple is required to ensure that the collected data is not misused. At the same time, users themselves will need to be careful with how much information they hand over to the AI assistants as data protection is yet to completely become secure.

In the age of information, data is the most precious commodity and users represent literal treasure troves of information.

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