Former Prime Minister David Cameron has joined US artificial intelligence firm Afiniti's advisory board.
In the role, he'll be responsible for "curating and overseeing the strategic guidance" the board provides to the company. The firm specialises in the use of algorithms to comb databases of personal information tied to landline and mobile phone numbers in order to help call centres determine the best agent to answer their each individual caller.
Some find Afiniti's technology troubling, given it not only pulls callers' histories for a business and credit profile, but seeks insights into their behaviour by scouring Facebook and Twitter posts as well as LinkedIn pages. Based on this data, it matches callers with agent who — based on the agent's own call history — has been able to close deals with customers with similar characteristics.
— Afiniti (@afiniti) May 31, 2019
In a January 2017 profile of the firm, the Wall Street journal quoted Larry Babbio, Afiniti board member and former Verizon Communications executive, as saying "it's a little overwhelming, sometimes scary, to know how much information can be accumulated about you", but "the trade-off is a better consumer experience".
"During his time as Prime Minister, Cameron laid the foundations for a transformative UK digital strategy, putting in place measures to ensure the UK led the way in the new and emerging tech industries… Cameron's experience of political leadership through periods of complexity, both domestically and on the international stage, will be invaluable…[his] personal interest in the potential for artificial intelligence to improve healthcare outcomes, create new growth and jobs, and contribute to wider social and economic prosperity will be particular focus areas for him," the firm said in a statement.
"As part of this work, I was excited to see the rapid development in Artificial Intelligence and the huge potential AI has to address some of the challenges that societies face today. I have been exploring developments in AI for some time to better understand how industry and policy-makers can collaborate in solving these challenges and ensuring AI serves people's everyday lives," he added.
— Gerry Hassan (@GerryHassan) May 31, 2019
The position represents his most prominent appointment since resigning as premier in June 2016 in the wake of the Brexit referendum — his roles as president of Alzheimer's Research UK, chair of the National Citizen Service's board of patrons and chair of the LSE-Oxford ‘commission on state fragility' have garnered little interest or attention. Cameron is also involved in a new UK-China investment fund, which has failed to complete its first financial fundraising.