Add Facebook to the list of tech firms who’ve checked their audio transcriptions over privacy matters. The company confirmed to Bloomberg that contractors had been transcribing Messenger voice chats to find out if AI had correctly interpreted the messages, however, that it had “paused” the practice over a week ago in the wake of worries about different firms’ transcription policies. The data was anonymized and got here solely from people who’d volunteered for transcriptions, Facebook added.
It isn’t surprising that Facebook would have frozen transcriptions, at any rate. As with voice assistants, there is a concern that staff might listen to sensitive information and doubtlessly exploit that for their ends. The corporate has lengthy needed to contend with allegations of eavesdropping on phones to target ads — Messenger transcriptions weren’t going to assist with the public notion. And when Facebook only obtained a $5 billion FTC fine for privacy violations, it likely did not want to risk further government scrutiny.
The challenge is to balance privateness with technical wants. AI transcription nonetheless has a variety of room for improvement, and it is tough to boost accuracy without good examples. If Facebook has to end its transcription program ultimately, it may either scramble for a viable various to improving the AI or else accept that its accuracy may stay similar for a long time.