Facebook Reportedly Wants to Use AI to Predict Your ‘Future Behavior”So Advertisers Can Change It
For years, advertising has relied on a few core principles and a handful of tools. There are essentially two kinds of businesses: those that recognize a problem and offer a solution, and those that have a solution and want to introduce a problem that people didn’t really have before. Advertising is useful for both, but it’s essential for the latter. It’s well-understood that ad execs prey on people’s insecurities and concoct unnecessary desires to shape their behavior. And for a long time, that business was conducted through gut feelings, limited market research, and a little dash of Freud. The era of Big Data changes that.
It’s worth hammering home just how consequential it is that an algorithm is slowly being trained to be extremely good at making behavioral predictions, extremely good at monitoring how those predictions play out, and extremely good at adjusting based on its failures and successes. When that same system is trained to modify your behavior through advertising, it’s going to learn how to do it well. It’s equally troubling that Facebook will have a monetary incentive to make its predictions come true. Frank Pasquale, a scholar at Yale’s Information Society Project, pointed out to The Intercept that it’s entirely possible that AI predictions will become ‘self-fulfilling prophecies.’
Say that Facebook tells a client that its system predicts 10,000 people will stop buying name-brand detergent this year. It goes to all of the name-brand detergent advertisers, tells them its prediction, and they all decide not to run Facebook ads. Over the course of a year, Facebook has an incentive to make that prediction come true by tilting what you see in a way that might persuade you not to buy name-brand detergent. Pasquale notes that this is akin to a machine learning ‘protection racket.’
Facebook did not respond to The Intercept’s questions regarding whether or not these predictive behavior tools are currently offered to clients working on political campaigns or healthcare. We’ve also requested an answer to that question and will update this post if and when we receive a reply.
But Facebook isn’t the only company to worry about, everyone is working on machine learning in one way or another. For now, AI systems will be clumsy, but likely superior to old-fashioned market research. When machine learning really comes into its own, it could hold tremendous power over our dumb monkey brains. It will be like the difference between a musket and a rocket launcher. We should really consider whether we to continue in this direction, largely oblivious thanks to corporate secrecy.
- Publisher: Gizmodo
- Author: Rhett Jones
- Twitter: @gizmodo
- Citation: Web link
Were you following this:
A brief history of Facebook’s privacy hostility ahead of Zuckerberg’s testimony
Indeed, in the face of the snowballing Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal, the company’s leadership (see also:‘Sheryl Sandberg) has been quick to try to spin an idea that it was simply too “idealistic and optimistic” — and that ‘bad actors’ exploited its surfeit of goodwill.
To be clear, that’s the’2011 FTC consent decree — ergo, a major regulatory privacy sanction that Facebook incurred well over six years ago.
Vladeck’s view is that Facebook’s actions were indeed calculated.’“All of Facebook’s actions were calculated and deliberate, integral to the company’s business model, and at odds with the company’s claims about privacy and its corporate values,”’he argues.
There are A LOT of these so forgive us if we’ve missed anything — and feel free to put any additions in the comments.
- Publisher: TechCrunch
- Date: 2018-04-10T12:43:49+00:00
- Author: Natasha Lomas
- Twitter: @TechCrunch
- Citation: Web link
Zuck to Congress: I welcome regulation — if it’s the right regulation
The CEO of the world’s largest social network testifies in front of Congress as his company continues to address the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened the door on Tuesday, telling Congress he’d welcome regulation, if it’s the right regulation.
Zuckerberg’s presence on Capitol Hill marks one of the most high-profile mea culpas in tech history. It comes as Facebook addresses questions about the biggest scandal to hit the social network since it was founded 14 years ago. Zuckerberg wants to reassure lawmakers, investors, advertisers — not to mention Facebook’s 2.2 billion users — that the social network can be trusted with their data.
Rarely do congressional hearings take on the importance that Zuckerberg’s testimony has. The company is embroiled in a data scandal that crosses international borders and reportedly influenced elections. South Dakota Sen. John Thune noted the heightened importance of the testimony as the hearing started.’
Zuckerberg acknowledged his company had made mistakes, telling senators the social network is “going through a broader philosophical shift.” Facebook’s policies have largely been reactive, requiring users to complain about content or posts on the social network, he said on several occasions. That, Zuckerberg, said needs to change.’
- Publisher: CNET
- Twitter: @CNET
- Citation: Web link