AI – Storm Clouds

AI Storm Clouds

It is not often that we have one tech giant “ratting out” another but that is what just happened, and the repercussions could be deep and positive for consumers.  All is not well in the world of AI, and perhaps it never will be because the weak link in the chain is the people creating it.

“…it [AI] has the potential — however small one may regard that probability, but it is non-trivial — it has the potential of civilization destruction…”

Elon Musk

AI is already venturing well beyond just gathering and analyzing information for better advertising and marketing.  As we explain here, the newer developments need to concern us all.

App Providers Exposed

We must give credit to Apple Computers for giving their customers a clear and concise description of the data being exposed when they install an APP on one of their devices.  Apple seems to be one of the holdouts not selling or otherwise benefiting from customer information, so our hat is off to them.

We are not advocates of social media and do everything we can to avoid any use where personal information could be exposed for providers like Google, Meta, or TikTok to use.  Social media is at the heart of many of our society’s ills and the sooner it is regulated the better.

As AI becomes more prevalent the data exposed on the internet, and especially social media, becomes more problematic.  Google, Meta, and TikTok are particularly good at exploiting information for their own use as well as selling that information to others for profit.  These three companies are also at the forefront of AI development and have shown themselves to be highly partisan politically which is a danger to all democracies no matter how you view the political landscape.

What Data Are Being Exposed

In the space we have here it would not be possible to show all the data being exposed, but just looking at Google, Meta, and TikTok this is what we learn about data collection.

Google Logo
  • Financial Info
  • Contact Info
  • Search History
  • Usage Data
  • Location
  • User Content
  • Identifiers
  • Diagnostics
  • YouTube Content
  • YouTube history
  • Gmail
  • Google Maps
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Assistant
  • Google News
  • Google Pay
  • Google Ads
  • Device Information
  • Operating System
  • Mobile Network
  • Other Data
Meta Logo
  • Health and Fitness
  • Financial Info
  • Contact Info
  • User Content
  • Usage Data
  • Purchases
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • Search History
  • Sensitive Info
  • Diagnostics
  • Files you send and receive
  • Calendar Information
  • Messages
  • Audio Messages
  • Calls made and received
  • Music
  • Games played
  • Microphone data
  • Mobile Network
  • Other Data
  • Names
  • Ages
  • Birthdays
  • Phone Numbers
  • Device Type
  • Videos Watched
  • Keyboard Rhythms
  • Comments
  • Purchases
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • Messages
  • Search History
  • Identifiers
  • Financial Info
  • Contact Info
  • User Content
  • Browsing History
  • Usage Data
  • Data from Linked social media

The type of date being gathered is no different than someone having their personal information hacked or being stolen in an identity theft incident.  Intrusion into our personal lives by these companies was bad enough before AI.  Now with the addition of AI this data can be correlated, concatenated, and coordinated with other technology companies and governments to reveal more information on you than you ever want exposed.  All technology companies are sophisticated in their gathering and use of data, but they are mere neophytes compared to the NSA.  Presumably the NSA can cross corporate structures and view all these data for the same purposes.

There is no benefit to social media that exceeds the risk of your personal privacy to this degree.  If a stranger approached you on the street and asked you to give him/her this information, you would walk away.  Yet we, and especially our children, readily turn over our lives to these strangers to exploit.

Finally, Some Class Action Lawsuits

As with most new and invasive technologies in America, the boundaries will be settled in court.  Many Congressional members are just too out of touch and too aged to grasp the severity of the issues.  Those affected by the abuses of AI will need to litigate in order to set the boundaries, and there are enough free speech issues to push it to the Supreme Court.  Resolution of the issues will be slow, but they will happen.  Proceeding at a measured pace might seem foolhardy, but fast is taking us to a place we do not want to go.

In a recent article dated July 11, 2023, Reuters reported that Google has been served with a proposed class-action lawsuit for its use of AI to inappropriately gather data.  The issue cited by the complainants is the use of AI to illegally gather copyrighted data.  The attorney for the plaintiffs, Ryan Clarkson said:

“Google does not own the internet, it does not own our creative works, it does not own our expressions of our personhood, pictures of our families and children, or anything else simply because we share it online,”

This statement is an excellent explanation of the underlying issues about AI, but also the internet.  These are questions that should have been raised much earlier, but better late than never.  With AI, the concern may ultimately boil down to who owns you not just your work?  This is the issue that the writers and actors are striking over, and while they may have created many of their issues, the question is the same.  Copyright and trademark issues are at stake on a personal level.  Who owns your thoughts, your personal information, your images, and your compositions even if you publish them voluntarily?

Reuters also reported that similar complaints had been filed against Microsoft, Meta, and OpenAI in June.  The combatants are just starting to gather steam, but the battle lines are being drawn as we write this article!

The Most Dangerous Development

What may finally motivate politicians and citizens to get behind setting Internet and AI boundaries is a development reported by the BBC the week of July 17, 2023.  On the show BBC News, a representative from the Internet Watch Foundation was interviewed about the use of AI to generate child pornography.  Apparently, this AI child porn is already being done in Japan and is so sophisticated that it is difficult to tell it from real images.  The creator justifies the AI usage because for the first time in history:

“…images of children can be made without exploiting real children…”

We all know that there is a market for everything, including child pornography, and this is already making it to market.  If the child is not real, or the situation is fictional, and it is just a story that includes child pornography where are the boundaries?  How does law enforcement work in this fictional world?  Does freedom of speech apply in such situations?

According to another BBC article pedophiles use a three-stage process to ensnare people into child porn.

  • Pedophiles make images using AI software.
  • Then promote pictures on platforms such as a Japanese picture sharing website.
  • These accounts have links to redirect customers to more explicit images, which people can pay to view on anonymous accounts.

AI starts with people and will be no more moral than the least of them.  All AI platforms say they police inappropriate child abuse content, but do they?  Elon Musk is right in his criticisms and warnings.

If you are on social media, get off!  The purveyors of much of social media are predators looking for your private data for their gain.  Even worse, some are becoming child pornography platforms either intentionally or unintentionally.  There are storm warnings everywhere and very little shelter.  More than at any other point in time the moral compass of the world, not just nations, is under attack!

Resources Used in This Article

Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence, By Nikita Duggal,, March 9, 2023.

As Threads app thrives, experts warn of Meta’s string of privacy violations, by Johana Bhulyan,, July 11, 2023.

Charity wants AI summit to address child sexual abuse imagery, by Jody Tidy,, July 19, 2023.

ChatGPT explained: everything you need to know about the AI chatbot, By Mark Wilson,, March 15, 2023.

Google hit with class-action lawsuit over AI data scraping, by Blake Brittain,, July 11, 2023.

How to Stop Facebook from Tracking You [2023 Guide], by Patti Croft,, July 6, 2023.

Illegal trade in AI child sex abuse images exposed, by Angus Crawford and Tony Smith,, July 19, 2023.

Pros and cons of AI: Is Artificial Intelligence suitable for you?  By Eray Eliacik,, August 19, 2022.

Sparks of Artificial General Intelligence: Early experiments with GPT-4, By Microsoft Research, ~March 24, 2023.

Sparks of Consciousness: The Era of Artificial General Intelligence, By Scott Porter,, March 27, 2023.

Unintended Consequences, by Rob Norton,, Date Not Cited.

What Kind of Data Does Google Collect?, by Lawrence Williams,, April 30, 2021.

Why Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak have said AI can ‘pose profound risks to society and humanity,’ by Explained Desk, The Indian Express,, April 3, 2023.