Your Data is the DNA of Artificial Intelligence

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@cwatsonclarissa

ai product manager

As society becomes increasingly AI-driven, the essential raw material to create artificial intelligence is your data.
"Data is the new oil" is a provocative metaphor credited to mathematician, Clive Humby. The phrase became an industry mantra after The Economist published a report in 2017, arguing data is now the world's most valuable resource.
The report ignited a global debate on how to monetize data in ethical ways and drew attention to the importance of public data as a commodity and how big techs are silently acquiring millions of terabytes of it, giving them a competitive advantage as societies transition to AI-first products.
But data is not the new oil, you are the new data for AI.
How you create big data
Big data refers to the explosion of data being produced on the Internet and other digital technologies today. When you like an Instagram post, log into Facebook, share your location via WhatsApp, you create big data.
What’s more, you create some of this data on open APIs (application programming interfaces), meaning data miners and AI creators can access your data without you ever knowing it.
Take a moment to review your actions in cyberspace today. Think about how much data you created. And will create in your life span.
According to Domo’s Data Never Sleeps 5.0 report, “by 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth.” According to a 2019 report on global internet use by Tech Injury, “the internet user of today spends two hours and 22 minutes a day socializing online.”
How you co-create AI
Today businesses use public data to create artificial intelligence. This means the more data you produce that is available for companies to use, the smarter you make their machine learning algorithms. That’s because these algorithms need to be trained on vast datasets to refine their functionality.
Without your data, machine learning engineers lack the vital resource necessary to create their AI-driven products and services. What appears to be your mundane, online activities are in fact the actions which generate the data used to create machine intelligence. Evidence of this can be found in customer service, intelligent systems and even our mobile phones.
Today we deal with more chat bots created with our data and powered through NLP algorithms in customer service interactions than people. Bots are all over the web and have learned to mimic human speech with our data. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa become smarter the more you speak to them, because the algorithms which bring them to life become more accurate as they process your input data. Google recently shared their use of public data to create the Pixel 4's face recognition technology.
You cannot drive a car without fuel, or sail without the wind and you cannot create AI without data.
Data privacy
Now that you know you are co-creating artificial intelligence with your data, you can be more conscious of your rights to privacy — a battle Facebook has been fighting since the Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced last year.
Facebook released 87 million profiles to the data analytics firm who was hired by Leave.EU to create the Brexit campaign with the personal and public data of each profile. Cambridge Analytica also worked with the Trump administration to design key messages and targeted ads in his election campaign.
But if our data is being created on social networking platforms owned by big techs, how is privacy possible? Solutions to privacy lie in data ownership.
Data ownership
Facebook and Google are constantly being criticized for hoarding mass amounts of user data for R&D of AI-powered products and services, yet none of this data could be created without you. It expresses you and is part of you.
Emerging companies like Wibson have created the ability to own and sell your personal data in their blockchain-based data marketplace. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, is creating an ambitious “data dividend” plan and Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, is arguing everyone creating data share in the economic value it generates in his new book, A Fair Shot.
Next time you’re on the Internet liking, hearting, commenting, searching, sending and receiving, remember, you are creating the essential material that will be used to breed the AI species. Your data is the DNA of artificial intelligence.

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