Artificial Intelligence (AI) is delivering disruptive applications. For example, self-driving cars on the road are now a real thing, cities are installing systems that can read car plates, and now you can read news written in languages you don’t understand thanks to natural translation algorithms. In addition, we have facial recognition, augmented reality, Virtual reality, swarm intelligence, and the list goes on.
However, for any of these applications to be realized and to have high-level efficiency, they have had to go through machine learning. That is a process that requires huge amounts of data so that the algorithm can identify meaningful patterns. Without machine learning, we don’t have artificial intelligence.
Some of the data needed for this process can easily and ethically be collected from the environment. For example, the data needed to train an algorithm that identifies plants can easily be collected by taking millions from nature.
On the other hand, however, collecting data to learn human habits is not so easy. That is because, ideally, those from whom the data is collected should know about it, permit how it is used, and how it is shared with others. However, because there is a growing demand for data and the price for it is becoming enormous, many are willing and motivated to bypass any obstacle that stands in the way, including the need to involve those from whom the data is collected.
The Data Gold Rush
Indeed, today everywhere you turn, someone is trying to collect your data so that they can either use it to teach their own algorithms or sell it to third parties. In essence, desktops, smartphones, and even household devices have been turned into data harvesting tools.
It is important to point out that even after an algorithm has learned to do things, it may need more data. Indeed, the primary use of many AI algorithms is to make sense of huge data sets. For example, marketing platforms like Google have developed AI algorithms that help them monitor the behaviors of users, and using the information they collect, they can serve the right ads to the most appropriate audience. That means the algorithm will continue collecting data from individuals to compare to the patterns it has identified.
The majority of online services we use are designed to collect data. Indeed, data has become a currency with which we pay for the services we receive. Social networks, mobile applications, and websites come free, but that does not mean they are free. If you are not paying for a service online using money, you will most likely pay with your attention to ads or your data.
While service providers claim to put in place mechanisms to protect your data and privacy, it is your responsibility to protect yourself especially given that they might have a motive not to be transparent and truthful regarding whether they collect data and how they use whatever they collect.
So what are some of the ways you can prevent others from collecting data from you?
How To Protect Yourself From Data Mining
The most obvious is to use tools that increase your online privacy. Using an online service like Cyberghost VPN, makes it a little difficult for third parties to access information about your activity online. You could also improve your privacy by using browsers that are not designed with collecting as part of their revenue model. An example of such a browser is the Brave browser.
The other way you can protect your data is to use antivirus and malware blocking security solutions. These are going to prevent third parties from planting data harvesting tools on your computers and other devices. The newer versions of operating systems such as Windows 10 come with great security features such as the Device encryption feature.
You should also be curious to learn how the services you use online are designed and how they generate revenue. If you are not paying for a service using cash, you have to pay for the service using other means. You are either paying using your attention to look at ads or through the data collected from you, then sold to others.
The other way to protect yourself is to share as little information about yourself as it is possible. Unless it is essential and you know very well the service, don’t share personal information. It would help if you also disconnected from the internet the appliances in your home that don’t need to be connected.
As AI demands more data and users become more aware of their right to determine how their data is collected and used, you may start seeing innovation around data handling, which includes giving the users more control over data collected about them.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.