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.
Articles from Digitopoly
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!
One of the popular travel options in Toronto is Porter Airlines which operates out of the City Airport and so is just 15 minutes from my University of Toronto office. Because it is a small airport, it is the kind of airport where you can literally leave an hour before your flight with no problems.
When Paul Romer expresses an opinion, it is always worthwhile to listen because it is always well-considered. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, he puts forward a proposal to restore what he terms is the “public commons” of the provision of information in support of democracy.