Computerwoche: Welcome to the Hotel California of Artifical Intelligence

“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”. René Büst uses this famous line from the Eagles song “Hotel California” to illustrate the dependency society has on all things digital. Despite the fact that internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook have an incredible amount of insight into our daily lives, society will not leave the digital lifestyle in favor of an analog one. We are simply too comfortable.

In the past two decades, the databases of major technology companies have been collecting a great deal of information. More recently, smart home solutions have entered our homes, giving internet giants insight into parts of our private lives that had not been digitalized before. This wealth of data is consequently monetized and used to train the Artificial Intelligence technologies that are behind the data bases. René Büst warns that although the services are free of charge and make life more enjoyable, the data that we give up in return has turned us into digital slaves.

This vicious circle is the basis for the success of Google and Co. – a success that also threatens the business models of the established economy. The old economy uses the services that are provided by the data giants, supplying the internet firms with data. Even though one owns the data from a legal standpoint, the service provider is nevertheless privy to the information that is contained in the data. This gives the internet companies unique access to a wide breadth of information that can assist in their expansion into new markets or business models. Exactly here is where the danger lies for the established economy.

To read the article (in German), please click here.

Arago Redaktion 4. May 2017