— 3 minute read

We live in an opt-out world

Recently ChatGPT released an update that lets websites opt out of their crawler crawling their site. Add some simple text to your robots.txt file and when the crawler finds your site, it will stop and move onto the next site it finds.

But this should not be lauded. permalink

Unfortunately we live in a where being tracked is the default. There's too many examples, and most of them go unnoticed. Take cookie banners, Facebook and Google tracking every site you go on, Facebook injecting tracking into websites that you visit through their app, AI companies crawling the web to use your content to make money, web frameworks backed by private companies adding in telemetry to collect anonymized data. Then it extends into the real world for the sake of DATA

What is the remedy? permalink

There is none.

That's bleak... permalink

It is, but that's the fact of the matter. These companies make mistakes, and as punishment they are fined for about 0.14535316% of their total worth. You and I could not afford a $391 million fine, but for them it is pennies.

But that's the real world, the internet is different permalink

Make no mistake, I believe the web should be accessible and free to use by all. That sentiment does not translate to "Companies can take whatever text or content is on the internet to create products and make money hand over fist with no need to pay the creators for their work".

That. Is. Theft. The only reason that any change has happened is because they got caught.

The internet is held together by social contracts and mutual understandings.

If you fail to uphold those, or break intentionally as these AI and analytics/data companies do regularly, there should be punishment, not apologies.

Isn't this sort of inevitable? permalink

It is if you let it.

Is this the part where you say "Call your senator!" permalink

No. Personally, I don't want to keep slapping these companies on the wrist and then wait patiently until the f*ck up again. (But calling your senator can help. Don't email them, they'll just send you to the spam folder. Call or send letters, they can't ignore those. Also support grass roots campaigns and not establishment politicians that have been in office since before you were born.) That's not the point.

Ultimately my take away is this... permalink

If you want to be able to contribute to the AI craze, there should be a way for you to opt-in, and then receive compensation/recognition/return on your content/work. Unfortunately, we live in an opt-out world.