If it’s free, you’re the product. If it’s extremely subsidized, you’re probably the product, too. Facebook is free. You’re the product. Google and Gmail are free. You’re the product. Mechanical Turk is cheap, you’re the product. Uber is cheap, you’re the product. Tesla self driving cars are add on features. You’re the product. Snapchat is free. You’re helping them build the best facial recognition database out there. They’re “paying” you with access to use their service.
Tesla needs a few billion miles of driving data to train its computer program to react to all situations. How does Tesla get this data? By tracking all car trips and adding it to the database. Once they have enough data, cars can react to nearly all situations. They’ve used massive amounts of each persons’ data to train the program.
All of the companies I listed above are using free or highly subsidized products to train their algorthims to further automate away humans. Is this bargain fair? That everyone who uses free and subsidized services are contributing to training the AI? The AI that will later run that market and create massive benefits for the company that captured all of this data that people freely gave it? (more…)