Tech Law Policy Blog

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

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Tech Policy and the Principle of Least Effort


The Principle of Least Effort, originally articulated by Harvard linguist George Zipf, goes something like this: It’s the belief that for any human action, people will always aim for the expenditure of the least amount of effort to accomplish a task. The Corollary of the Principle of Least Effort is that we should be deeply skeptical of any proposed human endeavor that requires an...

Friday Links 3/22/19


Miranda Perry Fleischer and Daniel Hemel are coming out with a new article on the architecture of basic income. This article does an excellent job explaining the arguments and counterarguments related to Universal Basic Income, as well as providing a proposal for how such a program might be implemented here. I’m deeply skeptical because of UBI for three reasons. First, given the scope and cost of...

Friday Links 3/15/19


Big news in tech law policy this week: In a 1700-word blog post, Elizabeth Warren proposes to break up Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. An economist responds. Ben Thompson provides another excellent analysis. The intellectual justification for these changes seem to be loosely based on the ideologies of Tim Wu and Lina Khan, both of whom are very intelligent and capable scholars. But the...

Why a US Federal Privacy Law is Long Overdue


In late February, various committees in Congress held hearings about the possibility of drafting a federal law governing internet privacy. It’s about damned time. This country’s been long overdue in developing some sort of coherent policy framework related to privacy. Doubtless, Congress’s actions were inspired by some of the more recent scandals related to Facebook and other social...

Friday Links 3/8/19


[I]n an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources...

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...

Friday Links 2/22/19


Orin Kerr on whether we should pass a “deep fakes” law.  Or, to be more precise, whether the current language of Ben Sasse’s federal “deep fakes” proposal is a good idea. New Larry Solum article on artificially intelligent systems. Excellent. New study on AI, algorithmic pricing, and collusion. The collusion that we find is typically partial – the algorithms do not converge to the monopoly...

Friday Links 2/15/19


One of the many reasons I’m skeptical that self-driving cars will take over the road any time soon: Many people really don’t seem to like the idea. Smart contracts: Neither smart nor contracts, from Freedom to Tinker. Related, a new James Grimmelmann paper on the ambiguity inherent in smart contracts. This is an excellent paper, and I had a brief back-and-forth with the author on beefing up the...

Just Do Something, Volume I


Pointing out other people’s flaws is easy to do.   Pointing out the flaws of our leaders is probably a tradition as old as our species. Our governments, our institutions, and our laws—they’re imperfect. Wherever you live, this is invariably true. It is not so easy, however, to make government better. You have to coordinate a coalition of people who think like you do. That coalition has to be...

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

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