Facebook data row ‘will hit progress in AI’ - tech boss

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington . (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington . (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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The Facebook data controversy is likely to push back development in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) hampering the progress of automation, according to a technology company boss.

Sheffield-based Razor helps solve business problems through the use of technology. It builds web applications, artificially intelligent bots and automates processes.

Jamie Hinton, CEO of Razor, says the news of Facebook users having their data breached is likely to impact on things such as autonomous cars as people are likely to be more cautious about their data.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Hinton said: “Even my mum is very, very aware of what’s going on. It gets into the news and people become more aware of it.

“It will have an impact on the machine learning and AI that we all use.

“There’s going to be a bit of a pushback in all of this. It might hamper some of the future progression around things like autonomous cars.”

Over one million UK users could be impacted

Over one million UK users could be impacted

If firms are prevented from accessing data then that will make it harder for future technological development.

Mr Hinton said: “It’s all about data. If we’re precluded from collecting data and understanding it, then we can’t monitor and we can’t do something to help people. There’s a fine balance of actually using it appropriately and inappropriately.”

Razor, which employs 13 staff, recently helped design, deliver and roll-out a new mobile technology strategy for Virgin Trains East Coast. Talks are under way around doing more work with the train operator, according to the CEO of Razor.

Businesses should look at what problem technology solves rather than just adopting it for the sake of adopting, Mr Hinton warned.

He said: “Too many businesses see in the news things such as AI. They say, ‘We better do something with that’ but they’re not asking what problem is it solving?”

Razor spends a lot of time identifying a company’s objectives before matching it with a technical strategy.

It then creates actions through the use of technology.

Mr Hinton said: “I believe there are a lot of companies that are doing stuff for the sake of doing them. They see things like Blockbuster going under and they just think we’ll do something, we’ll have an innovation, but they’re not coordinated.

“Does every company need a bot? No. What problem are they trying to solve?

“A lot of the times there’s so much emphasis on using technology to get more customers. Do you always want to get more customers?

“Why don’t you actually solve the problems where you’re losing them.”

“Where projects have failed is where they put the technology first and not the people,” Mr Hinton said.

“That’s why we have an emphasis on that here. It’s the lifeblood of everything we do.”