Your Privacy, Their Profits: Is Your Private Information Sold To Train AI?

Everyone is keenly aware of how rapidly artificial intelligence (AI) is developing. But have you ever stopped to question how this advancement is happening so fast?

At the heart of AI’s evolution towards a level approaching human intelligence lies a rather predictable, and somewhat unsettling, truth: it’s trained on human data. But how exactly is this data sourced in the first place?

Concerns are mounting as some voices caution that big tech firms are selling your data to fund their exorbitantly priced servers and AI training endeavours. A worrying thought indeed.

This realisation is disconcerting and underscores how the threats to our online data security are only continuing to escalate with the emergence of increasingly sophisticated tools wanting to steal it. Safeguarding our digital privacy has never been more crucial, and it is more important now than ever before to fully comprehend how to keep your online data safe.

Is AI Stealing Your Digital Soul?

It’s no secret that AI is seeping further and further into our daily lives, weaving its way into the very fabric of the online world. But is there a darker side to this story?

Simon Bain, CEO at OmniIndex, seems to think so. “AI companies are currently collecting more of our sensitive data than ever before, and whether sanctioned or not, AI tools are creeping into our lives and being used more and more each day with more of our data being used”.

Bain raises a poignant concern: as big tech juggles astronomical expenses to maintain their AI infrastructure, the money has to come from somewhere. And not just anywhere, but from you – without even knowing it.

While fears over AI job displacement abound, Bain contends that the real target isn’t your employment but actually your digital soul. He accuses big tech firms of stealing and selling your data to the highest bidder to finance AI advancement.

Perhaps this sounds like a far-fetched conspiracy, yet recent revelations from OpenAI’s CTO, Mira Murati, add weight to Bain’s claims. Murati’s admission to the Wall Street Journal that the company is unsure about where the data used to train its AI tools like ChatGPT and Sora comes from casts serious cause for concern. When pressed about whether private user data was lifted from social media platforms, Murati remained evasive.

Consequently, Bain asserts: “It is clear that we cannot rely on governments and regulatory bodies to protect us as they are either too slow, too lazy, too incompetent, or all three. AI developers have already admitted to using copyrighted material, have stated they won’t stop doing so, and have gotten away with profiting from it by claiming it is ‘fair use’.

“Now they’re after our private information, thoughts and preferences that they can both use to train their models, and sell to others.

“Why? Because Large Language Model AIs are expensive! OpenAI’s ChatGPT reportedly costs over $700,000 a day to run with massive amounts of computing power required to continually run the servers and even more money required to train each new model.”

Bain’s cautionary narrative serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers concealed within the AI landscape. But how exactly are we to remain vigilant in safeguarding our digital identities against exploitation?

How To Defend Against AI Cyber Threats

Safeguarding ourselves online has always been crucial, but with the emergence of AI – an online tool worryingly intertwined with the digital realm and rapidly evolving into one of the most sophisticated technologies – prioritising protection becomes paramount.

And, as underscored by Bain, if big tech companies and even governments and regulatory bodies aren’t making this a priority, the responsibility for our cyber protection seems very much up to us. Ensuring the security of our data is imperative and best achieved by adopting a multifaceted approach involving combining multiple proactive safety measures. Commonly known as multi-layered security, learn more about how this method can protect you below:

  • Multi-Layered Security: Rather than relying too much on any single defence measure, combine multi-layered security to reduce the risk of successful cyberattacks and data breaches.
  • Maintainance of Cybersecurity Practices: As per usual, strong cybersecurity practices such as regular software updates, network segmentation, access controls, and strong authentication mechanisms remain essential for online safety.
  • Regulatory Compliance: It’s crucial to ensure that any AI models used comply with relevant regulations and standards about AI and cybersecurity, such as GDPR, CCPA, and industry-specific regulations.
  • Data Protection and Privacy: Implement robust data protection measures to safeguard sensitive information from AI-driven attacks. This includes using AI models that use technologies such as encryption to ensure that even if data is accessed, it remains unreadable.
  • AI Defense Tools: Not all AI poses a threat; explore the latest AI-driven defence tools that can effectively combat AI-powered threats. From advanced threat analytics to machine learning-driven endpoint security, these tools are indispensable in bolstering cyber defences.
  • Stay Updated: Finally, staying aware of how AI is utilised in cyber threats and data breaches is vital. This knowledge enables individuals to identify potential risks and respond to suspicious activities effectively.

Fortunately, implementing these measures into our daily online routines is relatively straightforward, and the benefits for our digital safety can be profound. Moreover, as consumers become increasingly aware of the threats AI poses and subsequently of what can protect us, there is also the chance that increased pressure may be exerted on AI companies and regulatory bodies to enhance security measures and keep our data as it should be – safe from prying eyes and unsavoury intentions.