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Preslav Rachev
  1. My Writings /2 Cents /

You Don’t Own Your Content on the Internet. You Never Have.

·3 mins
You don’t own your content on the Internet. You never have. And that’s fine.

It’s hard to be a content creator in the age of AI. Wherever you turn, there’s someone you know of, burning out because of fear that an omnipresent content machine will deprive them of their best work and leave them jobless and without the means to sustain their lives.

I see that somewhat differently. Perhaps because I don’t dare call myself a content creator, but more likely because I’ve never really emotionally or financially attached myself to anything I’ve created for the Internet.

You see, fighting in this game is futile; you have to be clever instead. Today, it’s an automated stochastic parrot that an online behemoth trained on your blog posts and YouTube videos. Five years ago, it was someone copy-pasting your code on Stack Overflow and pretending it was theirs. 20 years ago, it was you setting foot on the Internet by view-sourcing a website you liked, and building your site off of theirs. 25 years ago, it was a search engine built inside a tiny garage that shamelessly traversed and sucked every single web page there was - and then finally made sense of it. Coincidentally, that same garage scrap-up eventually became the world-eating behemoth, but that’s one of the beauties of the Internet I’ll probably talk about in another post.

The point is that content ownership doesn’t matter on the Internet. Never has. Never will. You fire, forget, and move on. Sometimes, you strike gold; often, you don’t. Sometimes, you become famous on someone else’s platform, and then they close it along with all your work. Sometimes, you put your own site after months of sweating on it, and no one ever sees or hears of it again.

Rather than emotionally attaching yourself to the things you create, focus on developing the only brand you have control over - yourself. Your work is getting your foot at the door, but the rest is all you. In mid-2024, a decent LLM can recreate your entire life’s worth of content without having been trained on it. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true. I mean, no offense, but we aren’t exactly producing rocket science out there. What an LLM can’t do is be you. It can’t live your life with all of its beauty and hardships. It won’t build the relationships you will. It won’t hold your first-born child for you. It won’t feel the feelings you have for others and those they have for you.

That’s right - instead of defining yourselves with your work, focus on building relationships and getting people to know you because of you. Be your own Company of One. The rest is adapting to the tune of the time - 25 years ago, it was search engines; 15 years ago, it was social media; today, it’s AI, and tomorrow, it will be something else. Whatever it may be, don’t sweat it, but be your best self and just live your life.


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