Privacy Policies.  You agree to them every time you download a new program or subscribe to one online.  Have you read any of them?

You should.

Especially if you are using AI services like ChatGPT, Bing, or Bard.  These search/chatbots have answers.  They also have your data.

And will keep that data for years.

“No big deal,” you say?  You’re accustomed to sharing your data online?  Fine.  But recognize that AI is an evolving technology, one that has grown so quickly that, at times, it has outstripped standard security measures.  A study by the University of California San Diego found that over 50% of the bots tested were vulnerable to attack. Many failed to use encryption when processing sensitive data such as credit card numbers and health records.

Speaking of health records, using chatbots for medical questions is particularly concerning.  Chatbots are good but not flawless.  They can, and do, provide inaccurate information.  Chatbot accuracy will improve over time but, for now, you should proceed with caution.  Particularly if you don’t want your sensitive health questions made public.  Read:  Sold to advertisers.  Many a chatbot user has had a medical question answered, only to be followed by a flood of online advertisements for possible treatments.

What can you do?  To quote The Washington Post:

“Before you sign up for any AI chat-based health service — such as a therapy bot — learn the limitations of the technology and check the company’s privacy policy to see if it uses data to “improve their services” or shares data with unnamed “vendors” or “business partners.” Both are often euphemisms for advertising.”

If you value your privacy, my advice is to stay on the sidelines for now.  Industry practice and privacy policies are evolving.  Google’s Bard, for instance, is testing a setup that allows users to elect not to have their queries saved and associated with their Google accounts.  That’s a good start.

And don’t forget to read those Privacy Policies.  Opt out of sharing your data wherever possible.  Mega companies like Google and Microsoft do NOT need your specific data to perfect their products.  They really don’t.

Ask any chatbot.

Or you could contact me here.

Peter Dragone - Co-founder of Keurig.