Signal's Meredith Whittaker: AI is fundamentally 'a surveillance technology' | TechCrunch
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Why is it that so many companies that rely on monetizing the data of their users seem to be extremely hot on AI? If you ask Signal president Meredith

Your eyes are an intrusive surveillance technology

She is not wrong. AI is going to “enhance” (and in many ways eclipse) a lot of the extractive web 2.0 models we have all complicitly okayed over time.

Its a tool thats finally able to use all that data they have been hoarding effectively. They weren’t collecting it all just to have it and sell you weird t-shirts

Soon, they will automate the process of buying weird t-shirts, rendering us redundant.

It never sat right to me the use of AI so i’ve never tried it, i wish we could one day have all the current AI features running fully locally so i won’t have some company collecting even more on me.

@ninpnin@sopuli.xyz
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We have that already. It’s called huggingface.co

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If you have recent ms office installed, congrats, you now have AI. Go ahead, check your task manager.

No idea what its doing, though.

@NabeGewell@lemmy.world
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Happy to say I’m running Linux. It’s not all sunshine but i’d rather put up with it’s downsides than use Windows 10/11

Phanatik
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If you installed Windows 11, that motherfucker has been crawling through your system the moment you logged in.

Same with 10, no?

Phanatik
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Windows 10 seems to be using standard ad algorithms to personalise ads. There’s the usual business that whatever data points it can gather like what you say, or search, or click on, is influencing what ads you’re seeing.

With Windows 11, it’s built from the ground up to be integrated with ChatGPT. I was sitting in a presentation months ago where Microsoft were presenting Copilot.

Your other comment below, I strongly agree with. I’m happy to be running Linux but I believe that the downsides can be configured out of your system. That being said, Divine Divinity is the only game I’ve run into so far that doesn’t play well with Wayland but that not unique to me, Divine Divinity doesn’t play well with anything.

newIdentity
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You definitely used AI if you used the internet in the last decade

As in, chat with it or make it generate stuff. Which ive done a few times to try it but hits my paranoia a bit too much. Corporations know more than enough by their trackers alone

qaz
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You can locally generate images with StableDiffusion and chat using Vicuna.

RQG
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Every powerful tool in the hands of a data collection or targeting company like meta, Google, etc. will be abused to collect data. AI is no exception and without regulation will mark another huge step against privacy and the ability to control who owns your personal data.

Grayox
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Good thing the government is full of young legislators that understand technology. /s

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will be abused to collect data.

grep -r ‚phone number‘

TWeaK
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By that reasoning, every personal data collecting business is a surveillance technology. Not that I disagree, mind.

southsamurai
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It is, and governments buy it

qaz
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It’s inherently linked to surveillance because you need to collect enourmous amounts of data to train the models, which you won’t get from people sending feedback voluntarily.

Phanatik
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You couldn’t get anyone to volunteer their personal information to feed this machine. Then again, people are handing over their retinal data to some shady startup so who am I kidding.

TWeaK
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They aren’t really getting people to volunteer their information now. There’s a sign on the door, but no actual proper agreement - no formal contract with consideration. They basically distract people with something shiny while they pick our pockets, rummage through our wallets and copy everything inside.

AutoTL;DR
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This is the best summary I could come up with:


If you ask Signal president Meredith Whittaker (and I did), she’ll tell you it’s simply because “AI is a surveillance technology.”

Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, Whittaker explained her perspective that AI is largely inseparable from the big data and targeting industry perpetuated by the likes of Google and Meta, as well as less consumer-focused but equally prominent enterprise and defense companies.

“You know, you walk past a facial recognition camera that’s instrumented with pseudo-scientific emotion recognition, and it produces data about you, right or wrong, that says ‘you are happy, you are sad, you have a bad character, you’re a liar, whatever.’ These are ultimately surveillance systems that are being marketed to those who have power over us generally: our employers, governments, border control, etc., to make determinations and predictions that will shape our access to resources and opportunities.”

Ironically, she pointed out, the data that underlies these systems is frequently organized and annotated (a necessary step in the AI dataset assembly process) by the very workers at whom it can be aimed.

It’s not actually that good… but it helps detect faces in crowd photos and blur them, so that when you share them on social media you’re not revealing people’s intimate biometric data to, say, Clearview.”

Like… yeah, that’s a great use of AI, and doesn’t that just disabuse us of all this negativity I’ve been throwing out onstage,” she added.


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