How Microsoft and Linked-in are using Machine Learning to improve your meetings?

Connecting the dots — Microsoft and Linked-in

Let’s just say that Microsoft and Linked-in have started connecting the dots. The dots that your digital footprint leaves behind including what you say, who you engage with and everything in between. It’s obvious that while Facebook has been successful in monetizing your personal life, Linked-in and Microsoft are seeking the same from your professional. Before you get alarmed, there are some benefits that you may reap as well.

One such example that I witnessed recently:

I received a meeting invite for a product demo last week and the next day I saw a notification from Linked-in with the profiles of the individuals I would be meeting with a call to action of “Prep for meetings”.

MS and Linked-in believe that this is a common use-case where most people will check the profiles (or at least it’s a way of driving more traffic) of the people they are meeting for the first time. Quite logical and straightforward, but I wonder what’s next? They start mining your email data (if you are using MS office 365 with MS Exchange for email) to push relevant and contextual ads or recommend useful connections?

Picture this: You exchange emails with your team about a new AI project you are about to kick-off “ the next day Linked-in starts showing you AI related articles and courses you can take on Linked-in “ a day later you start seeing relevant people in the field you should connect with and you find an interesting AI platform you can try for your project. You connect with the founders and set-up a meeting “ Next thing you know, Cortana starts sharing relevant insights on the background of these contacts and offers to execute your tasks to get you ready for your meeting. Voila!

Goodbye to the last bit of privacy you had with your official data. On one hand you may feel excited about the potential use cases but on the other, there may be a sense of uneasiness learning that now your official interactions are also not sacred anymore (think how Google mines our Gmail data to market to us) and are in the hands of machines that are designed to optimize for one output — monetisation.

So what’s the potential impact we are talking about? Well, the numbers say it all.

With billions of dollars riding on this merger, the game is surely going to get more interesting. As this new of era of machine learning and AI unleashes the potential of our professional data, I wonder how far this will go before it starts fueling the proverbial debate on privacy. I’m sure there is a privacy option on Linked-in and MS somewhere that you can select to ‘opt-out’ and not share your data, but then do you want to be the one to miss out on the productivity enhancements that may give you an edge?

How do you feel about these practices impacting your privacy at work? Is it fair game as long as it makes you more productive and in the bargain generates additional marketing dollars MS-Linked-in? If we accepted this from Facebook and Google, then why not from Linked-in and Microsoft?

Thanks for reading. If you found these words interesting, please recommend them (the little handclap) so it can reach others.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on October 10, 2017.

On a mission to connect the dots amongst data, emotions & randomness. Love using tech and data to deliver joy. Currently at Stanford chasing the next big thing.

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