Are we free labor for OpenAI?
No, 'labor' is a physical or mental activity/effort with the purpose of producing value in an economical system.
An AI like GPT is using the community for written texts, images, and actions, and produces an economic value out of it, but that might be better described as 'mining'. To OpenAI we might be considered a resource, but that is not yet the same as labor.
For example, people that are playing an amateur level game of chess or soccer are not performing labor. Their purpose is the fun of the game. Yet, their activities can be used by others to generate value. A chess game might end up in a database that is commercially used by a chess computer or a professional chess player. The soccer players might be photographed by a professional photographer who uses the photo for art or news and makes money out of it.
This question is surrounded with several other statements/questions
are we not participating in our own obsolescence?
ChatGPT already takes advantage of 60–70% of the common crawl data, mostly from webpages. Isn't that enough?
should we encourage participation in a process that may displace us?
The contributor tells the OP to “try that” but I doubt the OP understands the nuance of the code or how the model works. Is this acceptable practice here?
And it seems to be motivated by some potential outcomes
I worry that ... we’re actively abetting the OpenAI developers in our own labor displacement.
I do predict OpenAI’s ChatGPT will have more monthly visitors than Amazon by the end of the year. I’m trying not to catastrophize, but I am more worried than hopeful.
This is a very broad range of questions and it might be good to bring the meta-question down to a single clear statement. Several of the statements/questions might be tackled on their own, but while people do this (and I will make a little attempt below) it might get lost in the large puddle of questions.
Answers to the individual questions might be
This has a varying degree of answers as it is very broad.
In the first place it is a loaded question and presupposes that the use of GPT or AI is leading to our own obsolescence. Even if it is used to our own obsolescence, then it is implied that this is a bad thing. This is a bit like the question whether an employee should strive to make themselves obsolete or not.
Another approach to the question is to question whether or not AI leads to obsolescence.
This relates to the comment
By default it appears the user is the product.
The user being the product is not restricted to OpenAI. It is more in general a matter in the information industry that we have intellectual property that is produced for free or at a cost, and commercially or open source. And, these two worlds are blended with each other.
It is not only when I ask OpenAI to translate my texts, it is also when I interact on a forum providing help about using R or linux that I am contributing to a free resource while indirectly helping commercial companies. Such companies might be for instance RedHat or Canonical who benefit from open source developments in Linux, or Posit (formerly Rstudio Inc.) who benefits from R and other open source development.
This is an issue independent from OpenAI specifically and answered in the comments by Scortchi
And what people may suggest in comments isn't strictly policed, but "try that" wouldn't constitute a valid answer (regardless of where the code came from.)
The four arguments here are very straightforward and simple, but I believe that the issue is more delicate. The problem is not as much the technology itselve in principle, and instead how it is gonna be used in practice (similar to discussions around genetically modified organisms, GMOs).
This more delicate discussion is at the same time a very broad discussion, and might be better suited for a platform like economics or politics, rather than stats.meta, because in the end it is more generally about how we see the future of the order in our society and the distribution of the wealth that comes out of earth's resources like AI, mineral mines, fossil fuels, etcetera. For a long time we have been able to enslave workers into doing simple tasks in exchange of a bith of money/wealth. In the near future this model might need to be revisioned. Possibly not global since it is a big question mark how much impact the new technology is gonna have, but at least locally and short term the new technology is gonna stir up the labour market.