Summary

Functional cookies are a type of web browser cookie that helps to personalize a user’s experience on a website. They remember users’ preferences and help to enhance site usability. They don’t directly connect to AI but are important part of the data which machine learning models might use.

ELI5

Imagine going into a toy store where the owner knows you. When you enter, he gives you your favorite toy car. Functional cookies work in a similar way. They remember your preferences and choices on a website, just like the toy store owner who remembers your favorite toy.

In-depth explanation

Functional cookies are a specific type of HTTP cookie, that is created, stored and read by a website when a user visits it. Cookies are small pieces of data stored on the user’s device by the web browser while a user is browsing. These often contain a site name and a unique user ID.

Functional cookies are mainly used for enhancing the user’s browsing experience by storing user preferences. Examples of such preferences include language selection, form data (e.g., if a user has filled out a form on the website), layout configuration, and more. When the user visits the site again, the stored information is used to provide a more personalized experience.

While cookies per se are not directly a part of the AI or ML field, they represent a type of data that can be used in AI applications. For instance, a recommendation system could use data about a user’s browsing history that was stored in functional cookies to recommend more relevant content to the user.

It should be noted that the use of such data has ethical and legal implications, specifically privacy concerns. It is important that AI systems that employ such data adhere to strict ethical guidelines, usually concerning obtaining explicit user consent and maintaining transparency in data usage. These considerations form an integral part of responsible AI.

On a technical side, cookies are implemented by using the Set-Cookie HTTP response header from the server side, and subsequently the browser includes them in Cookie HTTP request header for all requests made to the same server. They can use various attributes like Expires or Max-Age to determine the lifespan, Domain and Path dictate the scope of the cookies, and SameSite prevents the browser from sending cookies along with cross-site requests.

Data Collection, Personalization, Recommendation System, Responsible AI, Privacy, HTTP Cookies.