News coverage of automation and machine learning tends to focus on extraordinary events, such as computers winning at Jeopardy and Go, and robotic arms flipping burgers in short-order restaurants. Additional headlines foster a sense of nightmares, conjuring pictures of autonomous cars killing pedestrians and newly automated establishments laying off their workforce.
Articles from Digitopoly
A company called curio.io offered to take certain posts on Digitopoly and have a professional narrator read them. I have heard that many people like audio versions of written stuff and so was happy to let them at it. Their first post is below.
It is very easy to posit a sense of exploitation when it comes to data. Try this for size: “Networks are relying on data by individuals but they aren’t being paid and this is making those networks profitable.” Substitute “plantations” for “networks,” “labour” for “data,” and “individuals” for “slaves” and you get the picture.
Eric Budish has a new paper out on “The Economic Limits of the Blockchain.” He demonstrates a potentially fundamental contradiction at the heart of ‘proof of work’ schemes to support cryptocurrencies — the most famous of which is,
Google started its annual I/O conference yesterday. It was packed full of AI applications showing that Google really is going ‘AI First.’ It even changed its research arm name from Google Research to Google AI.
But perhaps the most draw dropping demonstration was when Google used an AI to make calls and book appointments. I strongly recommend you spend 5 minutes and watch this.
That was the topic of a panel I was involved in at the Chicago Booth Annual Antitrust Conference last week. One thing you get from a Chicago panel is a diverse range of opinions. The panel was motivated by an article in the Yale Law Journal by Lina Khan written when she was a student and, having heard her speak now, she has ‘future politician’ written all over her.
There is a great scene in A Series of Unfortunate Events (the Lemony Snicket books and now Netflix series) where a couple live in a fashionable penthouse suite but the elevator in the building is off limits because elevators are presently ‘out.’ So everyone, happily or not, has to ascend and descend many flights of stairs despite having a perfectly, functioning elevator.
My book with Ajay Agrawal and Avi Goldfarb is out now. It is called Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence.
We have written some pieces that provide little excursions into the book.
I have a new paper out with Christian Catalini (or ‘Dave’ as we call him) that examines initial coin offerings (or ICOs). These are the big new thing in fund raising for ventures whereby startups issue tokens that are redeemable for services that they may provide or facilitate in the future. Here is John Oliver with a good primer: