The other day I wrote about the potential impact of a wealth tax. In so doing, I wrote: “we can all agree that the wealth tax likely deters risk-free saving.” This was a paraphrase of a claim made by Larry Summers who then went on to say that it was unknown whether a wealth tax would encourage or discourage risky investment.
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Today is publication day for Innovation + Equality: How to create a future that is more Star Trek than Terminator (MIT Press). This is my book — co-authored with Andrew Leigh (the author of Randomistas) — the examines the relationship between having more equality and more innovation. We make the case that you can have more of both.
Thanks to this interesting debate last week between Saez, Summers and Mankiw on the wealth tax, there has been considerable discussion of the possible effects of a wealth tax.
Today we are living through one of those heady situations in which scientific, technical, and commercial frontiers all simultaneously advance in a grand interrelated dance. Advances in computer technology in the last decade opened up the potential for big gains in applications of neural networks aimed at recognizing and diagnosing visual images. Many startups and established firms are making decisions about how to develop and deploy such software, and what products to develop next.
Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Catherine Tucker, and I recently hosted the third NBER Conference in the Economics of Artificial Intelligence in Toronto. The conference provides a place for scholars from different fields of economics to discuss the implications of the rise of AI. The fields this year included macro, labor, theory, development, mechanism design, econometrics, industrial organization, finance, and health.
In the New York Times, there is a video opinion piece from Jaron Lanier which makes the case for finding a way for consumers to be paid for their data. I really enjoyed the accessibility of this piece as I think it helped make a clearer case. But I found myself with some big questions and so wanted to put those out there.
Nobody knows who organized the attack. It might have come from an angry gamer, or from a rogue spy, or, perhaps, an angry rogue spy playing games. The program hijacked many cameras and home devices, and redirected them to engineer a series of distributed denial of server (DDOS) attacks on a few hours apart, all on October 21, 2016. By executing this novel and rather clever hijack of many devices for a DDOS attack, the attack exposed an important vulnerability in today’s internet.
Many querulous conversations fan the flames in policy debates about artificial intelligence. Everyone agrees we are transitioning to something, but not on what that will be. Anyone want to venture a guess? It is safe to bet on widespread use of neural networks and deep learning. Anything else?
If someone had said that I would be writing a blog post to consider a law that might imprison people for conducting statistical analysis on publicly available data, I would have thought that was unlikely because who would ever propose, let alone enact, such a law?
The other day we got our answer: France! The very country that produced Laplace, Pascal and Guerry!