I recently wrote an article for Inc. about how AI will change banking. It’s more an opinion piece than fact right now, but I also see no way my prediction doesn’t come true. 

And it won’t only be banking and lending. It’ll be insurance, renting, employment, and almost anywhere else where finances matter. And I want to talk about this a little more directly than I do on Inc. 

In short, AI is going to dive DEEP into existing data to paint a much clearer picture of you. It’ll use current data, and it’ll find old data on you. And then it’ll tell companies if there are any red flags.

And when I say “data”, I mean everything. Your accounts, your work history, and your social media. And it won’t take your word for it either – AI will really ferret out those jobs you don’t mention, that arrest you omit, and all those social media postings, even crap you wrote years ago. You think it’s bad that many landlords will check your credit score for renting? To quote Bachman Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Instead of beating around the bush, let me give a direct example:

Suppose you were a money lender, and someone came to you for a loan. “On paper”, they looked great. Good financials, always paid bills, owned a home for 20 years, etc. You make the loan.

But what the paper won’t tell you that Mr/Ms. Perfect is also a raging politcal junkie, and prone to shitposting online. And one day they post something (or something from the past is uncovered) that gets them fired, or their business boycotted. Their income stops cold.

Guess who’s not getting paid back now? Yea, you.

As a lender, wouldn’t you have wanted to know that little social media nugget if you could have? The answer is “yes, of course”. It’s not political – you just want to protect your money.

Here’s another… a car insurance company might be very interested how often alcohol hits your social media. Or if some idiot copywriter writes a “look here a post about beer” post.

AI is going to tell companies this stuff. There is zero chance it won’t. It just won’t be outward. Trust me, no lender or insurance company is going to say “we’re checking your Facebook account”. Instead, they will have industry-specific AI-powered software that does it for them, and that software will assign risk. And the company will base your rates (or maybe even a decision to do business with you) on these risks. Risks that until now were never considered before. These companies all have data on you and it’s all for sale one way or another. 

Think of it like your credit score, only much bigger. Actually, think of it more like a supercharged version of background checks that already exist.

I promise you this: If data on you exists, it’ll be used. There’s no way it won’t, because it’ll be profitable. You don’t need to be an actuary to deduce that people who post a lot about alcohol are more likely to have a DUI than people who don’t. Well, now that data is going to be aggregated and analyzed, and it will factor into rates and decisions.

And it’s not just today’s data either – a TON of data already exists on you. I can still find old Usenet posts of mine from 1996. Yes, they use an old email address that no longer exists and a long-forgotten screen name, but they are there. And your online activity leaves clues for AI to pick out – unless you were always astonishingly careful, I’ll bet AI can uncover a good amount of your old stuff.

So here’s my advice: go back and clean up the worst of your social media stuff. And may I be blunt… lose the political ranting. It often dances too close to the edge, and you’re only doing it for the endorphin rush anyway. Trust me, you’re not “waking anyone up”.

This isn’t about left, right, woke, unwoke, whatever… it’s about you and how “big brother” will view you, especially when money is on the table, in your account, or insuring your car and the roof over your head. It’s coming, and there’s nothing you or I can do about it either. You can indignantly say “it’s none of their business” but that’s irrelevant. If you want them to give you the loan, the insurance, or the rental, then it is their business.

For myself, I’m not too worried. I’ve never been big on the politics thing, and those old posts I mentioned from 1996 – well, most were chiding fans of other teams while the Yankees won it all. And my beer post… whatever. For most of you, you’re probably like me – nothing to worry about much. An occasional “cheers” post or whatnot isn’t going to hurt.

But some of you? You might pay for your online activities – in raw dollars. You know who you are too, so do yourself a favor and try and clean it up. Because this is coming, folks.