Column: AI investors say they’ll go broke if they have to pay for copyrighted works. Don’t believe it

AI investors say their work is so important that they should be able to trample copyright law on their pathway to riches. Here’s why you shouldn’t believe them.

Michael Hiltzik has a nice colum about how¬† AI investors say they’ll go broke if they have to pay for copyrighted works. Don’t believe it. He quotes the venture capital firm investing a lot in AI, Adreessen Horowitz as saying,

The only way AI can fulfill its tremendous potential is if the individuals and businesses currently working to develop these technologies are free to do so lawfully and nimbly.

This is like saying that the businesses of the mafia could fulfill their potential if they were allowed to do so lawfully and nimbly. It also assumes there is tremendous potential, and no pernicious side effects to AI. Do we really know there is positive potential and that it is tremendous?

Hiltzik is quite good on the issue of training on copyrighted material, something playing out as we speak. I suspect that if the courts allow the free use of large content platforms for model training that we will then find these collections of content being sequestered behind license walls that prevent their scraping.