How much are your secrets worth to you?

Published in El Pais, 22 May 2018.

Privacy breaches are becoming an almost weekly headline. Sometimes through hacking groups, others through companies misusing legally acquired data. Many companies such as Facebook and Google provide their services where you pay in personal information rather than money and while some find this transaction alarming, most has largely accepted these terms. However, as these companies grow and continue to find new ways to analyze this data, we must think carefully before handing over our information, even to companies we have trusted for decades.

Recently Google introduced “Google Duplex”, a new AI assistant that can impersonate a human while calling businesses to making appointments/reservations for you. As cool as this seems there are some catches to it. For it to work it must have access to a lot of your personal information, including knowing where you are to find the right telephone numbers or knowing your schedule to know when you are free. Basically, to function properly Duplex must know a lot about you. All this of course Google would have access too.

If that were not enough Google has developed a concept called “Selfish Ledger” which would ask about your life goals on your electronic devices and then attempting to influence your decision to reach these goals. For instance, if you would like to be more environmentally friendly it would suggest you take Uber Pool or to pick a restraunts that is known to use more locally grown produce. The more you use it the more it will learn about you until it will eventually learn personal traits about you that you yourself were not aware of. This project is in the hypothetical stage and may not even come to fruition but its not unreasonable to see a product like this in the future.

Now many of you might find these projects exciting and useful in improving our lives and providing personal information, like so many of us already do. Is a small price to pay for such a service and I am not saying this is not the case. I just feel that as tech companies start to rely on more of our data, we should not be so quick to hit the “I Agree” button when it pops up.


About Matthew Glezos 212 Articles
Matthew is Canadian and has a Master in Business Administration. He has international experience in marketing and strategy. He has a strong interest in technology and combines it with the business side.

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