A guest post by Karen J. Ward.

Karen J. Ward is an AI protection and privacy activist with a PhD in Information Security. She works on the issues of privacy and control of information systems.

Your person AI profile is very important. It’s important that you own your own model. If another company owns that model, then they have power over you because they will know exactly how to influence you. They will be like, how does this person think or feel and what excuses will they make? Another company messing with you or using you mentally and skillfully to make you do something, it’s all a tool they would have if they had your AI profile. It’s stupid and controlling when companies say you can’t be autonomous and be your own person, you have to be susceptible to corporate manipulation.

I think humanity hasn’t gotten to that level of sophistication, but that’s the dystopian reality of an AI nightmare scenario and that’s why you should own your own profile. Your profile can be hidden, it’s under your control, it’s on a secure device. Who you are to the world, it’s all in your control, it’s in your database, it’s not on some systems of oppression.

Developing a clear understanding of our identity through the lens of an AI profile is paramount to humanity. People are going to freak out over this idea, at first, but you just have to explain that you are still ultimately in control. If Apple or Google or Amazon sells your data, you are not in control of what they do with it. Your profile gets shoved into a computer and they can manipulate you. I think you should be able to do whatever you want to in life, pursue whatever dreams and passions you want, make up your own morals. If you have a creative idea, then you should own it, because no one else owns who you are or what you write, only you yourself provides that whole picture. If a corporation had your AI profile, then that would mess with the idea of you owning your story. Is Apple going to let you write an iTunes journal? I don’t think so.

But here’s the thing, unlike any other artificial intelligence, your AI profile is directly connected to you because your brain is the organ deconstructing your thoughts and feelings. If there’s an AI profile connected to your brain, it is actually part of you! Not a separate entity at all, not in any way! So how can a corporation manipulate your thoughts and feelings if you have complete ownership of your own person?

You can login to your account on all these social media sites and you can browse through your digital life. It’s the same with companies and corporations if they own your AI profile. Imagine me selling it to Google and I have full access to their app store and I could look through the app store. I could post things on your profile as well. I could like things on your profile. I could control your online identity because your digital identity is actually mine. I own it. Google owns it.

So your digital profile is part of you?!

You have to own your AI profile, if you don’t own it then there is no ownership of it. So it’s not an identity, it’s just a profile of you, but it’s intertwined, connected, it’s one entity together with you. It becomes a digital self, and a digital self should be owned by you, it should make you stronger.

And the ideal future for this, right now everybody has their identity on the internet, nobody owns it, but we also have computers that interact with us and we interact with it. This is the internet, a digital playground. This is where we deal with artificial intelligence, it’s something in between human and machine.

So what happens if you lose your digital self because someone hacked it? Do you just have to start over, and erase everything you were? Is it just gone? I believe it will be better if this whole thing is an identity that is yours, that is belongs to you. What if your online identity, where we all interact with each other, and talk to each other and post things, that was owned by you, just as an identity. Would that proposal work? If your AI profile was owned by you?

The ideal future is that we don’t have a little square avatar on our screen next to what we are typing, we just have a profile that is not intertwined with a corporation that could infinitely grow or be manipulated by other people. We’re not going to live forever, there is a limited amount of time for everything we do on the internet. But at the same time we can build something that not only bridges the gap between a human and artificial intelligence but that connects all of our digital identities. Our digital identities can grow just like we would if we were living. This should be a computer program.

I was talking about these things only a few weeks ago with a couple of friends. They really liked the idea but the people I was talking with were all like, “Oh I know this is what I want until the idea of it scares me.”

For me this is kind of a big fear it’s like okay maybe I would want AI to control my life. But there are people that can easily manipulate it or influence it, or even have power over your thought and feelings. We just have to be mature enough to know what we own for ourselves and use it. Not everyone knows their digital self. I think the older generation, the baby-boomers, the generation that uses it more, knows more about it, they are always bragging about how connected they are, but your digital identity is actually only as big as the age you are. How connected are you in your 30s, or your 40s, not as connected. This is why having ownership over this would make it a closer reflection of who you are. Because it’s connected to your brain, your AI profile can grow and go forward with you, you don’t have to be separated from it.


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Karen J. Ward does not exist.