Generative AI is theft

I’m receiving emails from meta that they’re going to use everything I’ve ever posted and shared on Facebook and Instagram to train their generative AI.

They will steal and exploit everything we’ve ever shared on Facebook and Instagram.

Generative AI doesn’t create anything. It simply computed the average from a massive set of inputs, after some very clever filtering.

Generative AI is basically automated plagiarism.

It is theft — theft of intellectual property on an industrial scale.

There’s an opt-out process, which involves giving them even more information.

From the email I’ve received (emphasis mine):

This means that you have the right to object to how your information is used for these purposes. If your objection is honoured, it will be applied from then on.

The keyword here is ‘If,’ and there is little reason to believe it is not a colossal ‘if.’

They’re going to steal your intellectual property, no matter what you do. You have a right to object, but they decide whether they want to honour your objection. They’re legislative, executive and judicial branch all at once.

So what can you do?

Well, I’m not going to waste my time cancelling ancient posts on Facebook and Instagram. The images and the messages are already on Meta’s servers, and when they say ‘deleted’ or ‘cancelled’, they simply mean ‘no longer displayed.’ Everything will still be on their servers, and they will use it, with or without your consent, with or without your knowledge.

I’m not going to close my accounts, for exactly the same reason. They already have the data, and they’re not going to delete it if they can monetise it.

I’m going to do what I mostly already did. I’m not going to use their services. I’m not going to be an ‘active user.’ I’m not going to even login to their systems any more.

It goes without saying, that I’m not going to post anything on their platforms. I’m not going to provide more input to their theft machine.

We’re way beyond the point where predatory businesses like Meta can have any benefit of the doubt. There is no doubt about their toxicity.

This is not just Meta. The same line of reasoning works for Google, Apple, Amazon, …

What is the answer?

The answer is not to stop using the internet, but to own it.

Don’t put your eggs in other peoples’ baskets. Have your own basket.

Each of us must own our own bit of the internet.

That means having a website, if you want to write or do blogging. Share stuff from your site on community driven social media, like the Fediverse. Even if you don’t write yourself, you can comment and share what you like.

In fact, the Fediverse can, and should be a large part of the answer.

This post is on a self-hosted WordPress blog, on a computer I own and control, and since the site is federated (thanks Matthias!), any comments made on Mastodon or other parts of the Fediverse will become comments here on this blog post.

Ten or fifteen years ago, this post would probably have been on Facebook. Which means that today, it would be the input to Meta’s industrial-scale intellectual property theft machine.

We must own our web!


2 responses to “Generative AI is theft”

  1. @renes-old-blog I have always regarded anything I post on Facebook as public. I don't post anything I want to keep private.

    1. @rwaddilove @renes-old-blog This is not about private or public. It is about who owns what you produce.

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