“Don’t expect Congress to protect you against all possible data invasions,” says Sergey Feldman, a data scientist, when asked to comment on “deep learning,” the latest frontier in computing. (“Do Androids Dream of Electric Lolocats?” by Dana Liebelson, Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 2014 pg. 7) The goal of deep learning is to create a machine that can think and problem solve like a human being but better because it will use Data mining to “soak up massive amounts of information and make complex predictions.” Think of the film, Minority Report for an example of predictive decision-making, an advance now possible through Artificial Intelligence (AI). ( Blog 10/2/14) Also note that the National Security Agency (NSA) (Blogs 8/28/13,11/29/13) has taken an interest in this predictive aspect of data mining as have commercial interests like Facebook and Google.(Ibid pg. 7.)
Predictive data mining has creepy implications, as writer Dana Liebelson points out. Banks and insurance industries could use predictive computing to discriminate against an individual based upon detailed information about his or her lifestyle. That information comes from a myriad of sources — grocery bills, pharmacies, restaurants, retail shops or ticket purchases for entertainment. Looking at your habits in aggregate, for example, an insurance company might decide you are at risk for diabetes because you regularly purchase products with high sugar content. Maybe you’ll be judged a couch potato based on the number of video games you purchase. Either way, you have no way to dispute the conclusions because you’ll be unaware of them.
But even if you were aware, there’s no viable way to correct the information. The data comes from too many sources and is dispersed so widely, it’s almost impossible to track. Dropping out of a social network isn’t the answer because now days information is collected everywhere, from the cookies on your computer to the trails left by your smart phone or on your retailers’ computers.
Now that the AI genii out of the bottle, it seems impossible to put it back. And if Sergey Feldman, the data scientist, is correct, we must look to ourselves and not Congress for protection. We need to think twice before turning every aspect of our lives into bits and bytes. Protecting stored information is a must, too. Remember if Home Depot and Target can’t protect their information, the little guy needs to be doubly alert. Change those passwords regularly. Self defense is the best defense against the brigands who wait as you travel the internet highway.
(Courtesy of www.ipnav.com)