AI that works on behalf of consumers, not advertisers!

Interested to hear people’s thoughts on this. I wrote a very short piece last week about how consumers are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Our data is collected by every site we visit — but do we benefit?

I’ve been working with a computational neuroscientist for over a year now trying to develop technology that will enable users to collect all their interaction data and use it to their own benefit. We effectively want to flip the advertising model on its head to put the power of predictive AI into the hands of consumers (rather than advertisers).

The dream is that product, service or content ‘makers’ would then also be able to list their work online and it would gravitate it’s way to the relevant people - cutting out a lot of middleman marketing nonsense.

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I worked on this back in 1997, using the individual’s history cache of sites visited, and other indicators (time spent on the site, clicks done on the site, text found on the sites, etc.). The idea was that what an individual did on the web belonged to that individual. So product recommendations, web page rankings, were modified based on the history file of that individual, which was owned and stored locally on that individual’s computer. I continue to believe that the real value of the web is not based on what others learn about me, but what I learn about myself through regular feedback to my AI, which I own, and which i share only if and when I choose.

A good example of this is an AI system that takes the first 1,000 results of a Google search and re-ranks the pages based on what I have taught the system about the kinds of pages I want to see. In this system, Google is used as a kind of pre-filter, with the final ranking algorithm unique to each individual’s preferences.

Hi James,

I completely agree, great quote:

We’re coming at this with a browser plug-in that can read the contents of each page the user is visiting in real time, to build a constantly evolving model of their taste (confined initially just to retail sites).

Not an easy thing to build but the system is nearly ready for alpha testing.

What was the project called you previously worked on? Would be great to get in touch sometime (we’re based in London).

What I think about comportemental AI, is that is most of the time quite Useless. AI is in general usefull for marketing purposes only. A user, for its own good would benefit from simple navigation and simple settings he could handle.

Simple settings are also a simple a way of transparency concerning the data and the way it is used.

If you think complexe comportemental AI would still be a benefit, what would be cool, is the hability for the user to test and select AI paterns, that he could freely change and adapt to his needs.

But all of these considération won’t change that the real key elements that define the relation between a user and a plateforme, is the business model of the platform.