30 March, 2017
How Companies Will Use Artificial Intelligence To Sell To You
How did Donald Trump defy the swelled-head mediacracy to become President? From the fringe of the tech world a theory has emerged: It was artificial intelligence. No, not just regular AI, but rather a “weaponized” artificial intelligence, says Jonathan Albright, a data scientist and professor at Elon University in North Carolina.
The Trump campaign used an AI-powered system made by Cambridge Analytica, a U.K. outfit that reportedly gets funding from Robert Mercer, a billionaire Trump supporter, and that was whispered to have Trump strategist Steve Bannon as a board member. (A spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica would not comment on Mercer and would say only that “Steve Bannon is not a board member.”) In any case, the company hoovers up mountains of consumer and lifestyle data—including what you watch on TV—in order to build a “psychographic” profile of you, the individual voter. It claims to possess profiles of 230 million Americans—each based on 4,000 to 5,000 discrete data points.