Google’s hardware event to launch its new smartphone Pixel, was also more about software, and the feature which stood out was the all new Google assistant. The tech giant announced that the voice assistant powered by artificial intelligence is built into the latest smartphones. But the moot question is even though, the AI is highly useful and is going to make our lives extremely comfortable, is it really worth losing our privacy over it? Sundar Pichai, CEO Google, says that humans are now in an ‘artificial intelligence first world’, and there is a lot of truth in that. As Pichai claims that the world of technology changes very fast and there have been some drastic changes every 10 years. Now, undoubtedly, with the way every company in the silicon valley is working on AI, it sure is going to change the landscape of technology.
But, based on the innate nature of Artificial Intelligence, the user’s data is not secure, and probably can never be. These companies are collecting, storing and using more and more information which can be extremely personal to us. Pichai said, that their initial idea was Google should be there for ‘everyone’, but now the company with the beginning of AI, believes that Google should be there for ‘each one’. While this may be great to our ears, there is a problem in its basic premise. Whenever it is just about you, for a company, it means that your personal data is needed without a doubt, the only difference can be the extent.
The Assistant launched by Google was first announced in its messaging App Allo. Many from the world of tech including the well known Edward Snowden had asked people to refrain from using that app, the reason being the privacy issue. Google says that its AI will only get smarter and more accurate than ever before, and that is a cause for concern. Any helper who helps you according to your needs with accuracy has to have the maximum amount of knowledge about you, to give you personalised results. Now, here is a little complication. Google is very vague in telling us what data does it collect. Now, the AI is so advanced that it can detect pictures and their content. So when the Google Assistant gives you recommendations and suggestions which seem naturally personal to you, it sure does collect and analyse data, but how far does it go? It is collecting a huge amount of personal thoughts virtually, which means it can gather anything and everything from your device.
The biggest problem is the human factor. Google does give you the option to turn off the system and use apps naturally, but that means you have to give up on the amazing AI assistant, but can you? Now this is not Google’s fault. The very nature of AI is such that it needs the data, and with every company with an aim to compete is creating the best that there can be, Google has no choice in the matter. Even Facebook has the same issue. There are methods for encrypting general data, but when it comes to personal work, the data has to be unencrypted. At the end of the day these apps are really cool, Google and Facebook will make money anyway, and they are here to do that; it is the consumer’s choice whether they want to sacrifice their privacy for comfort.