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How does data privacy affect AI?

Jacqueline Stählin, Managing Consultant at D ONE and keynote speaker at data innovation alliance

All of us have seen how prominent the topic of data privacy has become. Now we have to consent all the time while surfing the web, even when using our iPhone, and we have all made the experience that it can be tough to read and understand length privacy statements.

This of course has a big impact on AI applications involving personal data.

What is driving this? Regulatory changes like GDPR were the start, but it’s also about industries changing, like the online advertising industry. Gartner estimates that by 2023, 65% of the world population will have their personal data protected under modern privacy regulations. So the trend towards more regulation is here to stay.

And also, we as a society as a whole have become more conscious about data privacy. Cisco has reported that about 32% of people participating belonged to a group of so-called privacy actives. Those are people who care about privacy and have already switched a provider or company over data or data-sharing policies.

For companies who are applying AI to gain value from data, it means that they have a lot of work to do. It’s not just a task of complying with regulations, but about a dialogue that they have to enter with their customers in order to find out what can and should be done with personal data.

The most important aspects have turned out to be:

  • Make it clear to your customer what you are offering in return for data

  • Make it as easy as possible for your customer to change his preferences, like to change Opt-in and Opt-out The Swiss Insurance Monitor has shown that the most cited reason by customers to voluntarily disclose personal information is the option to withdraw consent later on. As such, providing a preference center to your customers is an important trust-building aspect.

  • Invest in an easy to understand privacy policy - it should be readable in 2 min.

It’s not a trivial topic to address, but for sure a necessary one in order to still benefit from the full power of AI. But it also takes a willingness from the customers’ side to enter this dialogue, and we should be more aware of how we want our personal data, especially for usage in AI, to be used.

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