October 10, 2017

The marginal cost for others than my friends to connect and bother me on the web, should not be zero.

Sir, Rana Foroohar, with respect our lives and adventures on the web advises us “to think much more carefully about three things. First, the extent of information that we reveal and all the myriad ways in which it can be used. Second, whether the products and services we receive in exchange for our data are worth it, or whether the terms of the exchange should be reconsidered. And third, how governments may shift the rules of the new digital playing field, and what it will mean for capitalism in the 21st century.” “Tech’s fight for the upper hand on open data” October 9.

She might be right, but boy that is a big task. I get tired of even thinking I must get through all that.

My current day-to-day concerns are much more mundane, like that of being able to get the most of what I want out of the web, with my very limited attention span. Let us say out of the 180 minutes I might be on the web each day, I would be happy if I were not rudely interrupted more than 50% by distractions; like those fake-news that require so much self-discipline not to click. But the truth is that, for the time being, the robocalls I get on my cell and on my landline are much worse. These demand an immediate attention that the web does not.

There is though one aspect of this all that I have given a lot of thought; and that is on how all revenues generated by exploiting our own preferences should be distributed.

If I, as the owner of the intellectual property rights on my own preferences, cannot be duly paid a royalty for these, at least I do not want others to be able to exploit them for their own causes.

If 50% of all web revenues went to help fund a Universal Basic Income, perhaps that could be an acceptable compromise for me.

But back to our limited attention span, the major problem is that the marginal bothering cost for social media or other service providers to connect with us is zero. If each connection that does not originate from someone directly authorized by us is taxed with US$ one cent… then I am sure those connecting would at least think a bit more before bothering me.

And, of course, those taxes should also help feed a Universal Basic Income. The last thing we need is social media and redistribution profiteers teaming up in order to engage in mutually profitable crony statism.