Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has been speaking out lately on data privacy, security and what he calls the “data industrial complex“. I’m not saying he is wrong and one only must look to Facebook for a prime example of highly negligent handling of personal data and privacy. Google, Netflix, and Amazon also have a massive amount of data on us. Indeed the risks for misuse are high and how much do you really trust any of them? If it comes to shareholder wealth or your privacy who do you think will win out?
What is interesting, however, is you have to realize it’s so much easier for Apple to speak forcefully here. They are the one company whose business model does not depend on data. They build their phones with better security and tighter controls because they can. Apple doesn’t need access to your every move and thought the way Google does. Apple can’t do nearly the same kind of whiz-bang tricks Google can but those tricks come at a price. There is a price for a truly intelligent digital assistant.
And that’s where we sit today. Greatly advanced AI that enables new remarkable technologies relies on data, a huge amount of data. I think we are thundering down the road without thinking hard enough about consequences, especially unintended consequences. Move fast and break things is a clever motto but do we ever consider what we are breaking? Facebook nearly broke the Presidential election.
But that’s easy for Apple to say.