In the novel by R. C. Sherif Hopkins manuscriptReaders are transported to a world 800 years after a cataclysmic event that ended Western civilization. On a quest to search for clues to a blank spot in their planet’s history, New World Order scientists discover journal entries in a swampy wasteland formerly known as England. For the inhabitants of this new empire, it was only through this record of the monotonous rural life of a retired schoolteacher, his petty vanity and his attempts to raise prize-winning chickens, that they began to learn about twentieth-century Britain.

If I were to teach future beings about life on Earth, I once thought I could produce a more profound time capsule than the narrow-minded, honorable protagonist of Edgar Hopkins. But as I scrolled through my Facebook posts from a decade ago this week, they presented the possibility that my legacy could be much more bland.

Earlier this month, Declared dead That my teenage status updates were exactly the kind of content you want to pass on to future generations of AI. from June 26, Old public posts, vacation photos, and even the names of millions of Facebook and Instagram users around the world will be treated as humanity’s time capsule and turned into training data.

This means that my regular posts about college essay deadlines (“3 energy drinks in 1,000 words to go”) as well as undistinguished holiday snapshots (one photo captures me falling on my phone onto a stationary ferry) are about to become part of that collection. The fact that these memories are so dull, and also so personal, makes Mita’s interest all the more disturbing.

The company says it’s only interested in content that’s already public: private messages, posts shared exclusively with friends, and off-limits Instagram Stories. Suddenly, though, AI is feeding on personal artifacts that have been gathering dust for years in unwanted corners of the Internet. For those reading from outside Europe, the deed has already been done. The deadline announced by Meta only applies to Europeans. Posts from American Facebook and Instagram users have been training Meta AI models since 2023, according to company spokesman Matthew Pollard.

Meta isn’t the only company that has turned my online history into material for artificial intelligence. WIRED’s Rhys Rogers recently discovered that Google’s AI search feature was just that copies His journalism. But figuring out exactly which personal remains fuel future chatbots wasn’t easy. It’s hard to keep track of some of the sites I’ve contributed to over the years. Time Inc. acquired on the early social networking network Myspace in 2016, which in turn was acquired by a company called Meredith Corporation two years later. When I asked Meredith about my old account, they told me that MySpace had since been transferred to an advertising company called Viant Technology. An email was sent to the company contact listed on their website with a message saying “address could not be found”.

Asking companies still in business about my old accounts was more straightforward. blogging platform tumblr, Owned by the owner of WordPress AutomatticUnless I opt out, public posts I made as a teenager will be shared with “a small network of content and research partners, including those who train AI models” in February, he said. advertisement. YahooMail, which I’ve used for years, told me that a sample of old emails — which appear to be “anonymized” and “aggregated” — are being “used” by an AI model internally to do things like summarize messages. Microsoft-owned LinkedIn also said my public posts are being used to train its AI despite excluding some “personal” details included in those posts, according to a company spokesperson, who did not specify what those personal details were.

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