AI Companies Must Rethink How They Pay For Data, Lanier says

(Bloomberg) -- Some prominent figures in Silicon Valley have suggested artificial intelligence will eventually create so much wealth that companies could redistribute it to the public, including people whose livelihoods were impacted by AI. But Jaron Lanier sees problems with that plan.

“I don't want to create more people who are just dependent on state payout to survive,” said Lanier, a technology pioneer and Microsoft Corp.’s Prime Unifying Scientist. “I want to create more, if you like, creative classes of people who are really good at providing fresh data that makes the models work better. So everybody benefits.”

Lanier made the remarks during a wide-ranging interview for the latest episode of the Bloomberg Originals series AI IRL, available to stream now. (Although employed by Microsoft, he doesn’t speak for the company publicly.)

AI systems, including those supporting chatbots like ChatGPT, ingest vast amounts of online data to process requests from users and come up with relevant responses. Lanier argues that AI companies must work to determine which individuals contributed the most useful data to these services, with the goal of compensating people more fairly.