Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
You see where the future of smart devices is heading, do you?
So… are we doomed to loose free will?
We may not be reaching a point where everything is known and decided by a machine. However, governments and companies are already attempting to develop AI (artificial intelligence) systems to predict the population’s behavior and control the existence of some events (some of these companies are Palantir, Two Sigma, and many more data science companies).
But you know Google, Facebook, and Amazon, do you? Yet I bet you don’t know how much these giants know about you. I don’t know exactly how much they know about us, but if you think about it you’ll find out (or if you use Google Analytics) you’ll find out that they know at least these things about you:
- Your economic level
- Friends and family
- The food you like
- Your interests
- Education level
- Where you work
- Where you live
And odds are they know much more than that. But most importantly there’s another detail they know about you, one you might not even know of… your tendencies.
I’m a computer systems engineer, yet I’m not an expert in AI. However, I know that one of the bases of AI is statistical programming, which is (in short words) taking data, find patterns, and use them to predict certain events.
Now imagine how much these companies could predict about you with all they know about you. And even though your behavior depends on many events external to you, remember, these companies know also about those who surround you and important events happening near you, which allows them to predict with higher precision. The more data they have, the better their predictions can be.
Pretty frightening, right?
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Is there anything you can do about it?
Probably not, these companies are much bigger than any of us, and they will probably outlive all of us. However, there something you can do… be part of it!
Yes, you may be stuck with the change, but wouldn’t it be nice to know how all of these works and have a little fun with it? Did you know you can buy a computer for only $30? Pretty cheap. Imagine what you could do with that… if you knew what to do with that. You could build your own smart devices! You could solve those problems only you know about instead of waiting for someone else to solve them.
If you’re still reading you may be wondering how could you learn to do that. Believe me, it isn’t that hard. It is all done with programming. And trust me, programming isn’t just for those who study computer science (CS) or a related career, even kids can learn to code!
There are thousands of online resources to learn programming, all you have to do is google it. However, I know most of these resources are very technical and not friendly for those outside the computer science world, and this is the reason behind my project.