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Should internet firms pay for the data users currently give away?

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Internet firms gather these data from users every time they click on a Google search result, say, or issue a command to Alexa. These data become part of the firms’ capital, and, as such, a fearsome source of competitive advantage.

Firms trying to develop useful applications for AI must hope that the data they have are sufficient, or come up with ways to coax users into providing them with better information at no cost.

Rather than being regarded as capital, data should be treated as labour-and, more specifically, regarded as the property of those who generate such information, unless they agree to provide it to firms in exchange for payment.

In such a world, user data might be sold multiple times, to multiple firms, reducing the extent to which data sets serve as barriers to entry. Payments to users for their data would help spread the wealth generated by AI. Firms could also potentially generate better data by paying.

Would people really be interested in taking the time to describe their morning routine or office habits without a substantial monetary inducement? Might not such systems attract data mercenaries, spamming firms with useless junk data simply to make a quick buck?


Article originally posted at

Post Author: Laura Sanders

4 thoughts on “Should internet firms pay for the data users currently give away?

    Kevin Mandrews

    (January 23, 2018 - 8:04 pm)

    Internet firms should pay to use our data just like we should pay to use their services. The problem is that no one wants to pay per video on youtube or per search on Google. Paying for stuff is expensive overhead because of transaction costs.

    Blockchain technology will change that. People can own and freely trade their personal data if the system ran on cryptocurrency.

    If we want to democratize the internet, we need to embrace decentralized networks in every facet of the web.

    George Linicomn

    (January 23, 2018 - 8:04 pm)

    You know you’re on to something as soon as others not only see the possibilities but begin to help you in making it happen, and invest in your ideas. It’s definitely cool to be ahead of the curve.

    Ocelot Ubaldo Unvel Neviel

    (January 23, 2018 - 8:04 pm)

    what is the Matrix moral?

    Jason Blain

    (January 23, 2018 - 8:04 pm)

    George Linicomn your ahead of the game.

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