Before we realised it, a Harvard sophomore’s young dream became a ‘larger than life’ corporation that had taken center-stage in our lives.
The gargantuan social network of 2.2. billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs) was always about the innate human desire to receive positive affirmations, the “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” as defined by its former VP of ‘user growth’
There was no tangible benefits on offer by Facebook but just about how it made you feel. It thrived because it made billions of people feel good.
It now makes a lot of them feel bad, gives them that icky feeling of exploitation.
Now we are witness to the scandal that has erupted, The political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica misused information collected from 50 million Facebook profiles in its work on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Apparently, the enterprising academic, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, sold a tool of political manipulation that may have changed the course of history.
The Facebook stock has lost $ 49 billion in market capitalisation i.e. ~ INR 325,000 crores 🙂
So, at the very rotten core of the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal lies the unethical use of artificial intelligence. Stolen data and AI driven machine intelligence were used to manipulate an entire American populace
The episode gives us another reason to re-affirm the Spiderman’s epic quote With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Can we give Facebook power to exploit and sell intimate details about our private lives, far beyond the scant details that we voluntarily post.
On similar lines, Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin , had included it’s “Don’t Be Evil” clause into its own code of conduct. The slogan was ingrained in Google’s complex algorithm on deciding what search results are considered “relevant” for a user , unbiased and objective
AI isn’t programmed to be fair, it can’t make moral decisions, and it relies entirely on humans for ethics. When those humans are the likes of Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, humanity is in for trouble.
Time for us to fasten our seat-belts !!