AI, Big Data and Influence on Human Behavior

Yesterday, , Op-Ed Contributor for Mediapost, described in a commentary how, as consumers begin to realize how web cookies, location information, and sensors follow their digital lives – and who is watching them – they will become uncomfortable.

Mike quotes tech angel investor Esther Dyson, “The advertising community has been woefully unforthcoming about how much data they’re collecting and what they’re doing with it. And it’s going to backfire on them, just as the Snowden revelations backfired on the NSA.”

As Jonathan H. King & Neil M. Richards wrote back in 2014, “Big data analytics can compromise identity by allowing institutional surveillance to moderate and even determine who we are before we make up our own minds.”

As we’ve stated in previous posts, it is likely that AI can soon predict what we may want to do or even what we are about to think.

The question is, how consumers will react?

Mike rightly is concerned about the loss of the role of chance in our lives (or destiny), as AI frequently lays out an invisible path of preferences, suggestions and hints that consumers are quite likely to find on the one hand hypnotic but also nearly inescapable.   Think of those ads that follow you everywhere on the net.

Our concern in this regard revolves around three issues:
1.  To what extent will consumers become addicted to AI’s unending need to please, predict, entertain (and sell)?
2.  What influence will AI’s soon all-encompassing predictive capacity have on the natural development processes of humans, i.e. psychology and behavior?
3.  How might society react as AI’s influence becomes more and more visible and in some ways almost confining?

AI will become nearly pervasive across most sectors of society, because companies have a very high profit motivation to satisfy our needs and desires, whether it be choice of music or choice of mates, whether it be information or communication, education or indulgence.

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