I have been spending my quarantine absorbing research on COVID-19 — especially economic research — and, in the process, have written a book, Economics in the Age of COVID-19 that will be published at the end of the month by MIT Press.
Articles from Digitopoly
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.
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.
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.
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.