With patience, laws CAN distribute AI wealth.
Here’s how the Windy City was Pretty generous to me:
2 and a half years ago I joined my first class-action lawsuit.
I’d usually run a mile from anything litigious, especially the American billboard ambulance chasers tryna squeeze a taxi driver or public-school. When it comes to individuals wronged, I like to explore more - creative - ways of reclaiming money.
But this one was different: it was going after an organization I was devoting my Fulbright research to investigating the harms from: tech companies weaponizing AI to extract value right from people’s pockets (that’s where the smartphone lives!). And fortunately I was studying at UChicago, in the one state which had the foresight to pass strict biometric laws: Illinois.
Of the 1.4m residents of that fine centrist state who applied, I’d probably had my facial data breached least.
As I pointed out in my original post announcing I was joining this class-action, I only qualified thanks to creating a barebones profile protesting the use of face-rec, and linking to my parody site.
And as the years dragged by, and the lawyers racked up their fees, I feared I would - like 200k of my class mates eventually - never get the money owed.
But today, I feel like Mike Skinner looking behind his TV, when I checked my olde US bank account. Turns out the $30 check I posted about last week was just residuals from those 10% of people who didn’t cash the 1st check.. which I had received by deposit!
It’s a sad indictment on SOCIAL’s ability to pay creatives, that I can bank 10X on this one suit than my entire creative output.
We’ve heard over the past 5 yrs market cap valuations of users at $50-100, knowing that our data & output was just being traded around on the stock market. Mostly I’m just happy that for one I got paid by them for once!
I’ll look forward to spending the money back into the Illinois economy when I’m there this Spring celebrating my belated graduation, as well as releasing two songs.
Oh the Windy City can be sooo prettty!!
tech enthusiasts: Sign up to class-action lawsuits against ultra-wealthy AI-driven tech companies. I’m anticipating the GitHub co-pilot case could be big. Be sure to list deposit details > check address
non tech enthusiasts: use (minimally) their products anyway, so you can join above.
non money lovers: also subscribe, especially to my tech articles, for uncovering more skullduggery like Meta.com’s unethical origins, in which “I predict a new Meta.com and Meta.(otherTLDs) webpages will be launched, as part of Zuck’s bid to build Meta Platforms, Inc. the world’s biggest company.” correctly - though not the second part after payouts like this!
Lawyers: banked 15% x $650m ~= 100mil from this settlement. Y’all should probs spend less time stooging for Cali’s powerful (eg Archewell), and more time holding them to account!
Lawmakers: be more Illi, and pass laws protecting our basic human rights & dignity from AI. So we can make sure everyone benefits monetarily from AI tech as it condenses the labour market, eg with UBI ringfenced from regulation.