It is far from clear that requiring payments for data makes sense

Should we get paid for our data?

Herein lies the insight: to the extent that having consumers not be paid for their data is an indication that they value the use of their data by the network, by forcing the network to pay for that data, the consumer can be made worse off because they can no longer just give the data to the network. Thus, the whole analogy with slavery or the supply of pure labour breaks down because the consumer may want to encourage the network to make use of more of its data. Requiring the network to pay subverts that process.

In order for the notion of regulating payments for data makes sense, you have to believe that consumers do not gain utility by giving additional data to networks. Some (and perhaps many) consumers do give their data freely to networks now. Thus, it is entirely possible that they will be made worse off it networks are required to pay them for that data because those networks may structure themselves to no longer make use of the data rather than pay for it.

The complete article

Joshua Gans — Digitopoly



When I first got hired to work as DMM at Zikkler, I did so with two simple goals in mind: to make the world a better place and to purchase a house near Lake Tahoe that was bigger than my brother-in-law’s. I have definitely accomplished the second goal, as you can see from the many photos I passed out comparing the two homes from multiple different angles. However, it is time to admit that I have not accomplished the first.

This job simply turned into something I did not expect, starting with my title. I was under the impression that I would be the Digital Media Mastermind, but after about two weeks, I learned that DMM actually stood for Data Monetization Manager. I probably should have figured out what it stood for before I accepted the job, but my contract just had so many zeroes in it, making it hard to focus on the details.

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Eddie Small — McSweeney’s

Does Alexa Know I’m Gay?


How much does Alexa know about you based on your data?

NICOLE: Alexa, am I gay?

ALEXA: If you are, you’ll find that you’re primarily attracted to people of your own sex. You might consider connecting with a resource like PFLAG, which offers multiple resources and programs for LGBTQ individuals and their families. Their website is

So either PFLAG is an Amazon sponsor or the people at Amazon have figured out how to avoid questions about sexuality (a skill I learned when I was 14).

The complete article

Nicole Boyce — NYMag

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I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.


Everyone is now really looking into how much data these big companies have about you. You will be surprised, to say the least.

With a few clicks, I learned that about 500 advertisers — many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band — had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and full name. Facebook also had my entire phone book, including the number to ring my apartment buzzer. The social network had even kept a permanent record of the roughly 100 people I had deleted from my friends list over the last 14 years, including my exes.

The complete article

Brian X. Chen — The New York Times

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Is your data really oil?


Interesting perspective.

But does AI need your data? There is a tendency these days to see all data as potentially valuable for AI, but that isn’t really the case. Yes, data, like oil, is used day-to-day to operate your prediction machine. But the data you are sitting on now is likely not that data. Instead, the data you have now, which your company accumulated over time, is the type of data used to build the prediction machine — not operate it.

The complete article

Ajay Agrawal, Joshua GansAvi Goldfarb — HBR

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