Insider Privileges

Prairie Home Companion begins with a mischievous maxim that all children in Lake Wobegon are above average. The equivalent adage in Silicon Valley goes like this: Every insider acts like an outsider. This adage reflects mythology as well as savvy public relations. The largest technology firms possess names recognized in most households, and they perceive …

Two key assumptions in the DOJ challenge to AT&T and Time Warner

AT&T and Time Warner want to merge. They don't really operate in the same market -- AT&T is a distributor (specifically through wireless and Direct TV) while Time Warner has content -- notably HBO, CNN and its Warner movie releases. The DOJ have a straightforward vertical merger concern: that the new entity will use its …

Can a superintelligence self-regulate and not destroy us?

One of the most compelling reasons why a superintelligent (i.e., way smarter than human), artificial intelligence (AI) may end up destroying us is the so-called paperclip apocalypse. Posited by Nick Bostrom, this involves some random engineer creating an AI with the goal of making paperclips. That AI then becomes superintelligent and in the single minded …

Facebook DOES NOT have a monopoly on the news

It is not even close. In this view (#expressyourunpopularopinion), I know that I find no agreement amongst my economist colleagues. Facebook is generally perceived to be a monopolist in something called the 'social network market.' The latest discussion of that comes in the Financial Times from Tim Harford. I rarely find myself in disagreement with …