Neural Networks Are Changing Human Interaction

Photo by Nicholas Ng on Unsplash

I was reading Twitter when I stumbled upon a controversial post about how we interact with people nowadays. It was saying we do interact more with AI than with real people. Moreover, this person suggested we’re having private conversations with a neural network that decides who we’re interacting with.

Picture from the author

In some contexts, we truly believe in what AI recommends to us. For instance, when we use streaming services we’re blindly believing the recommendations we receive might be of our interest. There’s a good amount of people not questioning if the selection is accurate and they just let themselves go watching entertainment.

However, I don’t agree with the ideas shown in this tweet for the following reasons:

#1. We still love to communicate with other people

Technology is a new way of approaching new individuals with who we might share similar interests. It has helped us to broaden connections. Nonetheless, we still need that human chat that keeps us moving and thinking. We can only build trust by exchanging ideas and innovation hasn’t arrived yet to the point of replacing our voices and opinions.

With neural networks in action, our decisions are more driven by what a machine can recommend. And let’s face it, it’s easier to blame a machine than ourselves for the wrong decisions we make.

Human contact is always in mind. We need and will continue needing it in the future. What is changing is how our life is being validated. How we perceive ourselves is driven by the validations we receive from our peers on social media. Before, it was more difficult to receive such kind of recognition if you were anonymous.

#2. Neural networks don’t show what we want to see

Our data are tech companies’ products and as this happens, we’re being tested from time to time. The result is a better understanding of our changing needs for better recommendations to ourselves and our closest friends.

I have been using Pinterest for years in order to inspire myself. Although the recommendations the algorithm was showing were correct, I never saw myself represented on those pins. For example, if I was looking for make-up tips, there was never a pin of someone who looked for me. So sometimes, data is not available for all equally.

In that case, I wanted to see examples that were useful for me, but I didn’t find them. A bad recommendation only leads to abandoning the platform.

#3. Our conversations with AI are never private

Intimacy is something we always want to find when speaking to our friends and relatives and we’re looking also for it in the online world. However, we have the feeling that our conversations are being listened and that’s when we receive recommendations related to the conversation we had. That’s a weird feeling many of us had when interacting with our devices, but how true is that?

AI is like a big monster that needs to be feed daily. It needs high quantities of clean data (the dirty one is not on the menu yet). Our privacy is in danger if that’s the only way the system can continue growing.

We must be conscious of what we want to share with others and ensure it won’t be used in the future for evil intentions. Who and how will make sure of this is still an enigma, but we must keep the faith as this is one of the hot topics at the moment.

To sum up, our society is changing at a very high speed, trusting in machines that in the end only are here to blame them instead of blaming ourselves for its mistakes. We are still in charge of deciding what kind of world we want to build before it’s too late.

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Data Scientist & Analyst. Curious Learning Enthusiast. Interested in Responsible Tech and DEI | Twitter: @oyidiyaoji

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Oyidiya Oji

Oyidiya Oji

Data Scientist & Analyst. Curious Learning Enthusiast. Interested in Responsible Tech and DEI | Twitter: @oyidiyaoji

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