The twentieth century needed labor unions to balance the power of workers and bosses. The twenty-first needs data unions for a similar reason. Corporations have a vastly greater ability to gather and use data than individuals. This leads to an asymmetry in power, and the more valuable the data—the better and more useful the models that can be learned from it—the greater the asymmetry. A data union lets its members bargain on equal terms with companies about the use of their data. Perhaps labor unions can get the ball rolling, and shore up their membership, by starting data unions for their members. But labor unions are organized by occupation and location; data unions can be more flexible. Join up with people you have a lot in common with; the models learned will be more useful to you that way.
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