“Jaron Lanier’s Ideas for the Future of Profiting from Your Own Data”

(Zachary Mack, The Verge, 9 April 2019)

Usually the new kinds of jobs are more dignified and less dangerous and filthy and awful than the old jobs. That should be the case now. But the twist is we’re pretending that we don’t need the people, we’re pretending that the new kind of job doesn’t exist.”

In order to make their data valuable, people should address labor law: a) to agree on the value of their data; b) agree the terms on which they provide data; c) to be able to extract value from their data. Nowadays, language translators, recording musicians, investigative journalists, photographers, and people of other professions are facing a reduction in their career opportunities. Before, these professions were represented as a “bell curve” with the majority of people at a normal professional level, a few people – at a highly professional level, and a few people – best of the best. Today’s representation of these professions is a “zip curve”: a tiny number of professionals and a vast majority is flattened. Language translators are seen as something obsolete, however, it is not true as the language is alive. Every single day appears new data that should be gathered for the database update to make automatic translation happen. All that data generated by people is not paid. I believe that people are fearing that the modern future does not need them any longer, and that they are becoming obsolete. This fear triggers violence, i.g., the shooter in New Zealand was fearing that “his race would be replaced by immigrants”. That is people’s response to our rhetoric about artificial intelligence (AI) and global universal basic income. “(…) it’s going to surpass people in this way or that way. (…) And I think that’s one of the worst things you can hear.”


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