If you can find it with a Google search, it’s fair game. That’s what the new policy implies, at least.
“We may collect publicly available information online or from other public sources to help train Google Artificial intelligence models and build products and functions such as Google Translate, Bard and Cloud AI capabilities.”
The previous wording of the policy indicated Google’s intent to use public information to train Google Translate. However, the company’s scope has apparently expanded since then, requiring them to change policy with a desire to use public information to train “AI models” or create “products” like Bard and Cloud AI capabilities .
Google’s policy does this too, before it even covets the general public internet, unashamedly stating that the world wide web is good for collection, processing, and force-feeding into its AI projects like Bard.
If you’ve ever made a public post online, you’ve been reasonably aware of its visibility. A user surfing or an indexing search engine could come and see the post and mention it in the replies or results.
With the era of AI Large Language Model (LLM) chatbots, things are very different. That information could now be consumed en masse, digested and regurgitated to others under the guise of an artificially created intelligent response.
Frankly, it’s something none of us expected when showcasing our 14-year-old insights into how Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit were the Beatles and Rolling Stones of our age on a long-forgotten Angelfire blog of the past.
Does Google have the right to do this? YES. A type of. Technically, a private entity like Google has little to no restrictions on what it can do with the information or data a public entity collects.
After all, it’s the foundation of how Google’s search engine works: Every day it browses billions of public web pages to index them in its megalithic databases. But just because Google can do it, isn’t going to make people feel any easier than it intends.
More and more questions are being raised about the ethics and legality of AI training based on public information, and while there are no legal obstacles in Google’s way, perhaps it is about time there were.
For all that AI can do, it still cannot truly create, only interpret and imitate. Therefore, there is no guarantee as to how your words, images, videos or voice may be used during this process.
I find it fascinating, if not a little disturbing, that a company would be willing to give its chatbot so much unlimited freedom to people’s information when its parent company Alphabet is already afraid of Bard’s loose lips when it comes to its own data.
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