We seem to be heading towards a perfect storm, let’s say in 10 years from now, brought about by the surrendering of our privacy to companies such as Google and others (for example http://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/googles-quest-for-complete-control-of-your-digital-life#.tubE6eYb0K), combined with the advancement of deep learning and AI in general.

We commit more and more of our personal lives to digital archives (email, photos, videos, blogging, social media, our schedules, our private notes etc), we allow our movements to be tracked, and we seem increasingly willing to allow companies to access this data in return for convenience and cheapness. At the same time technology’s ability to analyse and make sense of this data is rapidly advancing, with truly Artificially Intelligent machines perhaps 10 years away.

We tend to think in terms of Artificial Intelligence being an end-game, whereby machines will be able to do things that today humans find easy. Yet that is just the beginning. Once that is achieved artificial intelligence will continue to grow roughly exponentially, just as computing power has, with machines being able to adapt and design other machines and expand their own intelligence.

Assumptions of a Doomsday scenario abound, but already AI technologists are already considering how we ensure AI machines not only share our lives but have an emotional pre-disposition to look after our best interests. But accidents happen, security is breached, data is accidentally shared, courts of law demand that knowledge is made available. What happens when we die – deleting our Facebook page is one thing, but ensuring our data is forgotten by artificially intelligent machines will be another challenge altogether.

We all need to seriously consider the impact of sharing our data now, not just in terms of today’s technology, but in terms of where technology is heading.

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