This article and video from Time, How Silicon Valley is Hollowing Out the Economy (And Stealing From You To Boot), is more important than the silly headline might indicate. You get a small sense of the import from the video below.
You get a little different perspective from the written article. Here is a key snippet.
But Lanier is asking us to stop and examine the economy we’re allowing to be created around us. If automation will subsume most of what we consider to be work, how will we spend our days, and how will we divy the resources created by the machines? [emphasis added] It’s likely too early to come up with the solutions to such problems yet, but it will almost certainly involve the government. Government is the tool through which we set the rules and boundaries of markets. In a world where the most valuable assets are virtual, politics will play an increasingly important role.
Ultimately, Lanier envisages a future where we would retain ownership of our virtual selves, the content we produce online, and the incremental improvements we make — passively or actively — to the products created by powerful companies. Some sort of universal micropayment infrastructure would be necessary to allow capital to flow to and from each player in the economy. Setting up this infrastructure will be a monumental undertaking for sure, but as Lanier points out, no more monumental than the infrastructures that have already been created.
I never imagined how the concept I proposed in my previous post, Monetizing Internet Content could be extended to cover this grander societal issue. Of course, there is much more than just micropayments that has to be invented to turn this problem into a grand opportunity.