The era of AI has brought a multiplying factor to the technology evolution stage that sees the visions of today’s economists, policy makers, philosophers and sociologists sometimes look like they are way ahead and sometimes miles behind the current industry views about opportunities and challenges related to data intelligence-based innovation.

FaceBook has been fined a dramatic amount of US$5 billion to settle an investigation into the company’s privacy violations that was launched following the Cambridge Analytica revelations. This figure is something that seems to beat all records and yet a disappointing amount to those who see the case as a mass manipulation of democratic society will according to democratic standards.

In fact, US lawmakers and advocates say the ruling and ‘relatively small fine in the light of FaceBook’s annual revenues’ show federal privacy laws are needed. Labeling it a ‘parking ticket’, they also say it is the beginning of the end for the Federal Trade Commission’s probe into Facebook’s alleged mishandling of more than 87 million users’ private data during the scandal. In addition to this, the company has reportedly been struggling under the weight of scandals related to privacy, hate speech, election interference and fake news over the last few years. Indeed, fake news does not support the informed decision making processes of the free citizen imagined by the founders of democratic thinking.

Utilized to influence not only consumer but also elector behavior, it jeopardizes the very meaning of the democratic political franchise. Or in other words, the vote many governments around the world rely on when aiming to assert the will of their population to benefit the greater good of each Nation, its values and constitution.

So what is the solution? Perhaps the first step is redefining privacy as a sphere that does not include only the public or confidential information about each citizen and his or her unequivocal identity from illicit access or fraudulent use, but that first and foremost protects his or her ideas and emotions from being tampered with against his or her interest and according to the agenda of clients of the IT industry itself.

The global effort to protect our privacy and dignity as human beings in the era of artificial intelligence has just started and pressure is mounting. Fake news is among the most difficult challenges – aside from real stories often being called fake by some politicians, actual fake news is used to coerce people into making decisions. Consequently, governments have been putting increasing pressure on sites like Twitter and Facebook to take more responsibility for the content shared on them. But the privacy debate is a double-edged sword with freedom of information being challenged by protection of basic citizen data rights.

In this regard AI while an enabler, is also being seen as a combatant and Twitter has already begun to put safeguards in place. With its recent acquisition of Fabula AI, it reportedly has the ability to analyze large and complex data sets for signs of network manipulation and can identify patterns that other machine-learning techniques cannot. Armed with this, Twitter states it can determine how trustworthy a claim is and hopefully make it visible to others.

It will be interesting to watch what steps the other big processors, handlers and conveyors of data, news and information take in this regard. All this remains to be seen, but is likely – and perhaps regulation or even legislation to make it happen is closer than we think. In any event, all players everywhere need to keep working at it.