Do You Want Mark Zuckerberg Snooping in Your Closet? AI Is Even Going Into Pendants, Glasses | Opinion

Do You Want Mark Zuckerberg Snooping in Your Closet? AI Is Even Going Into Pendants, Glasses

AI is going into pendants and glasses. That could become a profound new invasion of privacy that makes us all more guarded.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Dec 22 2023, 06:33 IST
Meta AI is here: Know how to talk to the chatbot on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook
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1/6 In September 2023, Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, made a big announcement that it was adding its own native AI chatbot called Meta AI to all of its messaging services. As a result, the chatbot was added to Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messages (DM), and WhatsApp. In September, Meta AI was released in a limited capacity as part of its beta testing, but now it is available to users in the US. (Meta)
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2/6 Meta AI is an integrated chat experience. You can have an individual conversation with it as well as have it pop up in group conversations to help out with a various things. Meta AI is multimodal, so alongside text responses, it can also generate images from simple text prompts. All you have to type is “@MetaAI /imagine” followed by your prompt. (REUTERS)
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3/6 What is interesting about Meta AI is that it has also added a bunch of different personalities that you can interact with. These show up as profiles on Facebook Messenger and Instagram. All you have to do is click on them and speak with their AI replicas. Some of the notable people with Meta AI persona include Charli D’Amelio as Coco, Dance enthusiast, MrBeast as Zach, Paris Hilton as Amber, Tom Brady as Bru, and more.  (Meta)
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4/6 Meta AI can also recommend Reels. This is a new feature which was announced on December 6. Users can go to Meta AI ask it to show Reels for a particular theme and the chatbot will deliver.  In a blog post, the company said, “Say you’re planning a trip to Tokyo with friends in your group chat, you can ask Meta AI to recommend the best places to visit and share Reels of the top sites to help you decide which attractions are must-sees”. (Meta)
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5/6 Another new feature introduced is called ‘reimagine’ which will be available only in group chats. This is how it works: Meta AI generates and shares the initial image you requested, then your friend can press and hold on the picture to riff on it with a simple text prompt and Meta AI will generate an entirely new image.  (Meta)
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6/6 Apart from this, Meta is working on a number of other features which are currently in testing phase. “We’re exploring ways for you to use AI to help you create the perfect birthday greeting to share with your bestie, edit your own Feed posts, draft a clever introduction for your Facebook Dating profile or even set up a new Group”. Additionally, Meta is also testing a feature that will let users see highlights of the conversations in group chats that they missed out on. (Meta)
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The round plastic bauble known as Tab, the main product of Schiffmann’s wearable artificial intelligence startup, had a tiny microphone that fed a real-time audio recording of his daily interactions to an artificial intelligence model. (Pexels)

 Avi Schiffmann is an entrepreneur with a crazy idea that might become our new reality. Recently, he went on a podcast and then wondered afterwards about how he'd presented himself. Instead of asking a human being for feedback, he asked a pendant he'd been wearing around his neck during the recording. It told him he needed to be a better listener. 

The round plastic bauble known as Tab, the main product of Schiffmann's wearable artificial intelligence startup, had a tiny microphone that fed a real-time audio recording of his daily interactions to an artificial intelligence model. Tab had some tips.

“You… abruptly changed the conversation topic,” the device replied via text to his phone. If Schiffmann had acknowledged something his interviewer said, that “would have made you appear more thoughtful.” Tab goes on sale next year for $600. A rival called Rewind will sell a similar pendant for $59. Tech giants are exploring similar products.

It's virtually impossible to escape the all-seeing eye of companies like Google and Meta Platforms Inc. when we're online. Now those companies have an opportunity to watch our real-world lives through wearables, which could make today's online surveillance business look like something out of the Stone Age. An explosion of powerful artificial intelligence systems that can “hear” and “see” has led technologists to create devices that can effectively be AI's eyes and ears. ChatGPT kicked off a race to build more powerful AI systems that are now “multimodal,” meaning they don't just process text, but audio and visual images too.  Instead of being stuck in our pockets, new devices can be worn on our eyes or around our necks, like Schiffmann's pendant.

The new wearables craze is coming to our face too (a decade after Google Glass). Several technology companies including Meta, Google, Snap Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are all said to be developing glasses that use forward-facing cameras and powerful AI to “watch” the world around us. Mark Zuckerberg recently showed Meta's glasses giving him wardrobe advice.(1) 

While that might sound useful to the sartorially challenged, we should prepare ourselves for a world where AI is monitoring and even judging our interactions, a world where people are likely to become more guarded as a result. If you thought Instagram was making people more socially conscious, just wait for real-time watching and listening tech that compels them to be on their best behavior, always.(2)

What makes this situation really disturbing is the possibility of large tech firms using wearable AI tech as a new opportunity to snoop on us. Meta, which is developing the smart glasses, is almost completely reliant on advertising, which contributes about 98% of its revenue. Being able to “see” the clothes in our closet – as Zuckerberg was demonstrating -- would present a tantalizing opportunity for its advertisers. Perhaps they could recommend a new pair of slacks at a discount in real time to be delivered in an hour, before your dinner date.

This level of access by tech companies would be a much more profound invasion of personal privacy than what we have today with digital assistants like Alexa and Siri, which don't have powerful AI models that can analyze audio or video and generate a personalized analysis. A pair of glasses or pendant could end up recording highly personal moments, as well as third parties who might not want to be on camera. Meta's current version of its glasses, which cost $300 and don't use AI, have a tiny white light that comes on when the camera is activated, but that's the extent of giving other people a say in how they're recorded. Rewind, which makes the $59 listening pendant, says all data is stored locally on the device.  

Meta, Google and Snapchat primarily make money by collecting our personal information and then targeting us with ads. If they start to do the same through a new crop of advanced wearables, we could find ourselves in the midst of a vast new, corporate surveillance network, not to mention more disconnected than ever from the people around us. 

(1) Tech reviewer Marques Brownlee also asked Meta's glasses to describe a pair of men sitting in front of him in a podcast studio. When he told the glasses to make its description funnier, the AI replied: “Well, well, well. Look what we have here. It's two people sitting in a radio studio looking like they're about to host the most epic podcast ever.” Clearly, comedians need not worry about being replaced any time soon.

(2) In workplace studies, the so-called Hawthorne Effect crops up whenever people know they're being recorded. This is why medical staff wash their hands 55% more often when they know they're being watched by cameras or other people.

 

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First Published Date: 22 Dec, 06:32 IST
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