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Artificial intelligence companies need our data. Can we stop giving it away for free?

“We’ve consistently chosen comfort and better decisions, better and more valuable products, over our sense of privacy.”

Vjeran Pavic for Recode

Artificial intelligence is hot again, with everyone from Facebook to Amazon to Bill Gates talking about it at the 2016 Code Conference.

But Bloomberg Beta partner James Cham, who has invested in several AI companies, says there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the field.

"From our perspective, the dirty secret around machine learning right now is that nobody knows what they’re doing," Cham said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, in conversation with host Kara Swisher and special guest host Mark Bergen. "Software is hard to write and machine learning is even harder to figure out. For a software developer to project-plan and figure out whether they’re going to get results, no one has any idea."

For both entrepreneurs and investors, the fear is that artificial intelligence and machine learning might hit a wall and we’ll see another "AI winter" as in the 1980s. However, Kara, Mark and James talked about what’s working now that couldn’t have happened before and why interest in artificial intelligence seems to be accelerating.

Down the road, one potential setback for AI companies might be consumers demanding tighter control of their own data.

"I think we’ve consistently chosen comfort and better decisions, better and more valuable products, over our sense of privacy," Cham said. "I think that we, as a community, will realize at some point the value of our data and probably figure out ways to make that cost something for companies. Right now, a lot of companies are getting a free ride."

Listen to Too Embarrassed to Ask in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn or Stitcher.

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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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