The A.I. is hungry and your juicy data is on the menu. A new social media platform called “Threads” made its grand debut to the world yesterday with the stated goal to be the “public conversations app with 1+ billion people on it“. This launch comes in the wake of competing platform Twitter recently deploying aggressive rate limits with the apparent goal of curbing 3rd party data scraping and system manipulation.
Threads is, in essence, a Twitter clone. It’s a text-heavy social network designed to encourage users to share thoughts and conversations in a threaded tweet-like manner.
Meta, the Silicon Valley giant behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp is the software publisher behind Threads. For the past several years they’ve been focused on building the “Metaverse” but have since altered course focusing heavily on A.I.
My suspicious is that Threads sits squarely at the center of this A.I. pivot for Meta.
The current iteration of chatbot A.I. software, ChatGPT for example, is a highly sophisticated text prediction engine trained on top of large sets of data. The better the data processing algorithm and quality of the underlying data set it was trained on, the better the final A.I. tool will ultimately be. Firms sitting on large amounts of data such as Microsoft and Google were able to quickly leverage their data to launch competing chat bot tools in rapid succession. Those were Sydney and Bard respectively.
An arms race is in progress between these tech titans as they battle for market dominance. The key ammunition in this fight for market capture is data to train these A.I. models on that do not carry the risk of lawsuits or content blocks. Access to large amounts of user conversations, comments, and posts will make a huge difference in the quality of an AI tool as they’re built today.
I guess building and owning social media platforms is sexy again. Forget crypto, forget the metaverse, it’s 2008 all over again.
The algorithms serving posts on these platforms will now have an additional perverse incentive to provoke arguments and drama beyond pushing views to advertisers. The more you fight in those comments, the larger the data set will be for the A.I. tools launched by these companies.
If you sign up for Threads (and for that matter, stay on Twitter) – you should do so with both eyes open realizing you’re the product not the customer here. Your data will feed tomorrow’s A.I. You’re on the menu, and from the A.I.s point of view, you’re delicious.