Tech Law Policy Blog Tracking the Most Important Research and Developments in Tech Law & Policy

Friday Links 3/1/19


Tyler Cowen expresses skepticism about the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. But he also predicts sea changes in the regulatory burden for major tech companies over the coming years. Not exactly a Tetlockian prediction in terms of precision, but worth noting from someone of Cowen’s stature.

New article about robot liability coming out soon from Bryan Casey of Stanford Law School. Love the title, Robot Ipsa Loquitor. Beyond the clever title, it is probably the smartest take on robot liability that I have read yet. Does a fantastic job breaking down the many arguments for strict liability, and explaining why that approach is not ideal.

In the context of autonomous vehicles, Casey lays out how it would be possible to apply a negligence standard (and how, in California, they are already doing just that) and why a radical regime change is not necessary. Given the number of people who die or are seriously hurt in car accidents every year, this isn’t just an important academic paper. This paper, and papers like it, that argue for a more nuanced perspective in reacting to artificial intelligence, have the potential to help save many lives.

A few years ago, before Facebook acquired WhatsApp, it told regulators it couldn’t combine the data profiles of users of the two entities. In 2016, Facebook figured out a way to do it. Now, Germany is telling them to stop.

California Governor Gavin Newsome proposes “Digital Dividend” as a means of collecting revenue from the big tech firms headquartered there.

I’ve thought that if the US government could work out a deal to become a stakeholder in Y Combinator, that might be as good of a way as any to generate wealth for the country. Would be like America’s version of Norway’s gigantic sovereign wealth fund. File under “Should happen. Will never happen.”

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