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Stack Overflow Monetizes its Data and No Longer Offers it for Free, Charging AI Tech Giants for Access to Their Data

May 11, 2023

Companies are increasingly recognizing the value of their datasets for training neural networks and are demanding payment from AI tech giants for access to them.

Stack Overflow, a very known online platform for software development queries, has recently decided to monetize its data by selling it to these giants. This trend is not unique to Stack Overflow and is expected to continue as AI becomes more valuable.

Companies are concerned about fairness regarding AI projects using freely available internet data, and plan to push for royalties for each line of valuable data used in training. Stack Overflow and Reddit have announced plans to commence in the middle of the year, charging prominent AI creators for accessibility to their work.

Is it Reasonable to Charge for AI Training

In general, the idea of charging for access to data used in AI training does not seem unreasonable, as many programming sites, such as Stack Overflow, are essential resources for learning to code. It is fair for AI developers to strike a deal with the use of such platforms in advance and respect the sites’ rights to compensation for the use of their data.

However, it is worth considering that services like ChatGPT are available to all users for free and do not commercialize data that belongs to individual users. It is unlikely that Stack Overflow is looking forward to sharing the AI training fees with the developers whose information is being processed.

As a result, the situation is somewhat ambiguous. Stack Overflow’s CEO advocates compensating community platforms that contribute to AI language model development to reinvest money back into the community and speed up high-quality language model development.

Stack Overflow and Reddit will continue to license data for free to some users and companies, but Stack Overflow will require payment from large commercial LLM developers to avoid dishonest use of community-developed public sites.

What the AI Developers Think

AI developers are not feeling pressured to pay for data for their neural networks, with some companies stating they will not charge for their APIs or data portals. Stack Overflow generates revenue from advertisement deals and subscriptions to over 1,200 organizations for internal use, with sales increasing by 33% over the past six months. The future and potential agreements between large IT companies remain unclear.

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