Chapter 3: Do you trust your AI ?

Business of AI May 3, 2021

In the previous chapter we understood the Responsibility and Accountability of AI Designers.

Today let's open a new chapter in our story.

In today's fast developing world Data = Power. The organisation that controls data controls everything. But on the same parallel we hear many a times that AI requires a lot of data to train and provide satisfactory results. Well we can't say it's not true. So the question is Where do the open sourced AI solutions get their data from? or How do the Cloud Platforms deliver outstanding AI services? without accessing our personal information?

Honestly I don't know or may be I do. Today's article is all about understanding the Privacy Policies involved with building an AI based solution.

It is true that massive volumes of rich data is of utmost importance for attaining State of the Art results. But what is also true is that every user likes to keep their data privy to themselves.

Now this becomes a Chicken and Egg problem.

What we want is benchmarking results, but for that we need data, but we do not want to give data, then how do we have so many open sourced models available. Cause if I didn't give data then who did ?

The answer to that is pretty simple, there are several research institutes working day in - day out to accumulate huge volumes of data to assist the AI developers in their endeavours to build ground breaking models. But that doesn't rule out the fact that our Personal Information may be used as training data for greater good of the society.

In the pursuit of building better AI, businesses need to collect lots of data. Unfortunately, sometimes they overstep their bounds and collect information over-zealously beyond what is necessary for the task at hand. A business might believe that it is using the data it collects for the greater good, but what if it is acquired by a company that does not share the same ethical boundaries. All of this is at odds to the universally recognised Human Right of Privacy.

Some of the everyday technology that we use, contradict the topic of Privacy we have discussing by far. For example - Think about your Face and Finger print locks in your highly advanced edge devices. If what is true and we need huge volumes of data to train an AI based solution, then how is it that our devices learn to recognise us by merely receiving 5 samples of our Face or Finger Prints?

There is something Fishy ...

Well for what it's worth we know AI is leveraged to build such highly accurate recognition engines. The catch in the story lies in the advancement in Technology over the years. With the introduction of algorithms such as -
Transfer Learning
Reinforcement Learning
Incremental Learning
It has practically become a reality to train models without the need of any prior data.

Google AI Blog - Federated Learning

In addition to the above mentioned learning techniques with the latest development in the field of Federated Learning, one can share their devices learnings across the board without actually having the need to expose their data. That not only keeps the Privacy policy and user data privy but also lets you simultaneously build Global State of the Art model without actually exposing it to any Personal Information.

Conclusion

At the end of the day all our information is at the disposal of the Ethics, Principles and Code of Conduct followed by the AI designers. In the right hands one can blindly trust them but otherwise who knows.

Hence it is very important for us to understand the intricacies involved in the development process of any AI Product, as it not only perceives what the creators feed it but also what the Users do.

I hope this article helps you understand the importance of the trust that is to be built with the consumer and the product and the thought that needs to be put into building such highly intelligent systems.

Stay Tuned for more such content. 😁

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Vaibhav Satpathy

AI Enthusiast and Explorer

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