Tim Cook warns the “dangers are profound” if AI fails to “respect human privacy”

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During his trip to Brussels, Tim Cook warned of the potential dangers that artificial intelligence (AI) could have. “Artificial intelligence is one area I think a lot about. Clearly, it's on the minds of many of my peers as well,” he said.

Cook also spoke about the dangers of collecting personal data to enhance AI software. As a result, he publicly urged the US to adopt EU-style privacy legislation in order to protect the privacy of Americans.

Respecting human privacy

“At its core, this technology promises to learn from people individually to benefit us all,” Cook said. However, he warned that “advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency."

"For artificial intelligence to be truly smart, it must respect human values, including privacy." He declared that "if we get this wrong, the dangers are profound.”

Cook also spoke positively about AI, insisting that “we can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards." He added that "in the pursuit of artificial intelligence, we should not sacrifice the humanity, creativity, and ingenuity that define our human intelligence.”

AI disasters in 2018

Earlier this month, Amazon scrapped its hiring AI tool after it discovered that the algorithm was discriminating against women candidates. The model screened candidates by analysing patterns in predominantly male resumes over a ten year period.

In June, the Orlando Police Department dropped its pilot of Amazon's recognition program, Rekognition, amid public outcry. The software was widely criticised for its potential to enable mass surveillance.

Back in August, Microsoft also warned that investors that the use of AI in its offerings could result in reputational harm or liability. The company's annual report acknowledged the potential risks involved in the development and adoption of the next-generation technology.

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