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jerryking : value_judgements   8

Lina Khan: ‘This isn’t just about antitrust. It’s about values’
March 29, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar.

Lina Khan is the legal wunderkind reshaping the global debate over competition and corporate power......While still a student at Yale Law School, she wrote a paper, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox”, which was published in the school’s influential journal..... hit a nerve at a time when the overweening power of the Big Tech companies, from Facebook to Google to Amazon, is rising up the agenda......For roughly four decades, antitrust scholars — taking their lead from Robert Bork’s 1978 book The Antitrust Paradox — have pegged their definitions of monopoly power to short-term price effects; so if Amazon is making prices lower for consumers, the market must be working effectively.....Khan made the case that this interpretation of US antitrust law, meant to regulate competition and curb monopolistic practices, is utterly unsuited to the architecture of the modern economy.....Khan's counterargument: that it doesn’t matter if companies such as Amazon are making things cheaper in dollars if they are using predatory pricing strategies to dominate multiple industries and choke off competition and choice.....Speaking to hedge funds and banks during her research, Khan found that they were valuing Amazon and its growth potential in a way that signified monopoly power..." I’m interested in imbalances in market power and how they manifest. That’s something you can see not just in tech but across many industries,” says Khan, who has written sharp pieces on monopoly power in areas as diverse as airlines and agriculture. " Khan, like many in her cohort, believes otherwise. “If markets are leading us in directions that we, as a democratic society, decide are not compatible with our vision of liberty or democracy, it is incumbent upon government to do something.” Lina Khan has had a stint as a legal fellow at the Federal Trade Commission, consulted with EU officials, influenced competition policy in India, brainstormed ideas with presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren and — recently joined the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. The 2008 financial crisis she thinks “about markets, and the government’s response to them, and certain forms of intervention that they do take, and that they don’t take”.....Khan, Lynn and others including the Columbia academic Tim Wu have developed and popularised the “new Brandeis” school of antitrust regulation, hearkening back to the era in which Louis Brandeis, the “people’s lawyer”, took on oligarchs such as John D Rockefeller and JP Morgan.....Lina sees Amazon as not just a discount retailer but as a marketing platform, delivery and logistics network, a payment service, a credit lender, auction house, publisher and so on, and to understand just how ill-equipped current antitrust law was to deal with such a multi-faceted entity......a Columbia Law Review paper out in May 2019 will explores the case for separating the ownership of technology platforms from the commercial activity they host, so that Big Tech firms cannot both run a dominant marketplace and compete on it. via a host of old cases — from railroad antitrust suits to the separation of merchant banking and the ownership of commodities — to argue that “if you are a form of infrastructure, then you shouldn’t be able to compete with all the businesses dependent on your infrastructure”....“The new Brandeis movement isn’t just about antitrust,” .... Rather, it is about values. “Laws reflect values,” she says. “Antitrust laws used to reflect one set of values, and then there was a change in values that led us to a very different place.”

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21st._century  Amazon  antitrust  Big_Tech  digital_economy  financial_crises  FTC  lawyers  Lina_Khan  monopolies  multifaceted  paradoxes  platforms  policymakers  predatory_practices  Rana_Foroohar  regulators  Robert_Bork  Tim_Wu  wunderkind  Yale  values  value_judgements 
march 2019 by jerryking
When biased data holds a potentially deadly flaw
SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 | FT | Madhumita Murgia.

Researchers at scientific journal Nature said findings from its own investigation on the diversity of these data sets “prompted warnings that a much broader range of populations should be investigated to avoid genomic medicine being of benefit merely to ‘a privileged few’ ”.

This insidious data prejudice made me curious about other unintended biases in the tech world. Several new consumer technologies — often conceived by, built by and tested overwhelmingly on Caucasian males — are flawed due to biases in their design.
massive_data_sets  biases  data  data_driven  unintended_consequences  racial_disparities  algorithms  value_judgements 
january 2018 by jerryking
Oxford Diary
4 March / 5 March | Financial Times | Madhumita Murgia.

The goals is to build a conversation around change, to make technological change less scary, to make sure people don't feel left behind because of technology---do this within 26 hrs.....In the Cotswolds, too, senior British media executive tells me his own experience of working with YouTubers "was more like a one-night stand than a marriage". "We use each other for numbers and legitimacy, but the question is will they ever understand the subtler issues of traditional programming? Rules? Political correctness?.....A government adviser tells me that they are afraid that AI will change the relationship between state and citizen....Algorithms helping governments make important social decisions. Algorithms are a kind of black box and that government many not be able to explain its choices when questioned.
Google  future  conferences  change  handpicked  entrepreneur  ISIS  civil_servants  algorithms  YouTube  mass_media  digital_media  artificial_intelligence  biases  value_judgements  large_companies  print_journalism  technological_change  cultural_clash 
march 2017 by jerryking
Algorithms Aren’t Biased, But the People Who Write Them May Be - WSJ
By JO CRAVEN MCGINTY
Oct. 14, 2016

A provocative new book called “Weapons of Math Destruction” has inspired some charged headlines. “Math Is Racist,” one asserts. “ Math Is Biased Against Women and the Poor,” declares another.

But author Cathy O’Neil’s message is more subtle: Math isn’t biased. People are biased.

Dr. O’Neil, who received her Ph.D in mathematics from Harvard, is a former Wall Street quant who quit after the housing crash, joined the Occupy Wall Street movement and now publishes the mathbabe blog.
algorithms  mathematics  biases  books  Cathy_O’Neil  Wall_Street  PhDs  quants  Occupy_Wall_Street  Harvard  value_judgements 
october 2016 by jerryking
Bill Gates is naive, data is not objective | mathbabe
January 29, 2013 Cathy O'Neil,

Don’t be fooled by the mathematical imprimatur: behind every model and every data set is a political process that chose that data and built that model and defined success for that model.
billgates  naivete  data  Cathy_O’Neil  value_judgements  datasets  biases 
december 2013 by jerryking
What Data Can’t Do - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: February 18, 2013

there are many things big data does poorly. Let’s note a few in rapid-fire fashion:

* Data struggles with the social. Your brain is pretty bad at math (quick, what’s the square root of 437), but it’s excellent at social cognition. People are really good at mirroring each other’s emotional states, at detecting uncooperative behavior and at assigning value to things through emotion.
* Data struggles with context. Human decisions are embedded in contexts. The human brain has evolved to account for this reality...Data analysis is pretty bad at narrative and emergent thinking.
* Data creates bigger haystacks. This is a point Nassim Taleb, the author of “Antifragile,” has made. As we acquire more data, we have the ability to find many, many more statistically significant correlations. Most of these correlations are spurious and deceive us when we’re trying to understand a situation.
* Big data has trouble with big (e.g. societal) problems.
* Data favors memes over masterpieces. Data analysis can detect when large numbers of people take an instant liking to some cultural product. But many important (and profitable) products are hated initially because they are unfamiliar. [The unfamiliar has to accomplish behavioural change / bridge cultural divides]
* Data obscures hidden/implicit value judgements. I recently saw an academic book with the excellent title, “ ‘Raw Data’ Is an Oxymoron.” One of the points was that data is never raw; it’s always structured according to somebody’s predispositions and values. The end result looks disinterested, but, in reality, there are value choices all the way through, from construction to interpretation.

This is not to argue that big data isn’t a great tool. It’s just that, like any tool, it’s good at some things and not at others. As the Yale professor Edward Tufte has said, “The world is much more interesting than any one discipline.”
massive_data_sets  David_Brooks  data_driven  decision_making  data  Nassim_Taleb  contrarians  skepticism  new_graduates  contextual  risks  social_cognition  self-deception  correlations  value_judgements  haystacks  narratives  memes  unfamiliarity  naivete  hidden  Edward_Tufte  emotions  antifragility  behavioral_change  new_products  cultural_products  masterpieces  EQ  emotional_intelligence 
february 2013 by jerryking
Is Algebra Necessary? -
July 28, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By ANDREW HACKER.

Peter Braunfeld of the University of Illinois tells his students, “Our civilization would collapse without mathematics.” He’s absolutely right.

Algebraic algorithms underpin animated movies, investment strategies and airline ticket prices. And we need people to understand how those things work and to advance our frontiers.

Quantitative literacy clearly is useful in weighing all manner of public policies, from the Affordable Care Act, to the costs and benefits of environmental regulation, to the impact of climate change. Being able to detect and identify ideology at work behind the numbers is of obvious use. Ours is fast becoming a statistical age, which raises the bar for informed citizenship. What is needed is not textbook formulas but greater understanding of where various numbers come from, and what they actually convey....mathematics teachers at every level could create exciting courses in what I call “citizen statistics.” This would not be a backdoor version of algebra, as in the Advanced Placement syllabus. Nor would it focus on equations used by scholars when they write for one another. Instead, it would familiarize students with the kinds of numbers that describe and delineate our personal and public lives.

It could, for example, teach students how the Consumer Price Index is computed, what is included and how each item in the index is weighted — and include discussion about which items should be included and what weights they should be given.

This need not involve dumbing down. Researching the reliability of numbers can be as demanding as geometry. More and more colleges are requiring courses in “quantitative reasoning.” In fact, we should be starting that in kindergarten.

I hope that mathematics departments can also create courses in the history and philosophy of their discipline, as well as its applications in early cultures. Why not mathematics in art and music — even poetry — along with its role in assorted sciences? The aim would be to treat mathematics as a liberal art, making it as accessible and welcoming as sculpture or ballet.
mathematics  algorithms  numeracy  infoliteracy  public_policy  CPI  liberal_arts  engaged_citizenry  quantitative  value_judgements  logic_&_reasoning  cross-disciplinary 
july 2012 by jerryking
Ride to the rescue of workers
Aug. 15 2007 | The Globe and Mail | JIM STANFORD. Economist with the Canadian Auto Workers Union

So imagine how surprised I was at the bank's rapid, powerful interventions into financial markets recently, issuing more than $4-billion in new low-cost loans in just three trading days to soothe frazzled nerves and keep the easy-credit machine out of the ditch. And it signalled in no uncertain terms there was plenty more where that came from.

Far from sitting back watching the economy "adjust to change," this drama featured the central bank as cavalry - charging over the hill just as the hedge-fund artists were making their last stand. Seems the prospect of bankrupt speculators tossed onto the street, forced to find real work, isn't the kind of change the bank has in mind. Now, don't get me wrong: What the bank did was prudent and important....This selective, one-sided approach to stabilization speaks volumes about the nature of the bank as an institution, and the biases of the inflation-targeting regime it espouses so passionately. The Bank of Canada is not a neutral, prescient team of technocrats, guiding us to some imaginary point of maximum efficiency. Like any other political body, its opinions and actions reflect value judgments about the relative importance of differing, sometimes conflicting, goals and interests. Job creation versus inflation control. Consumer inflation versus stock-market inflation. Financial troubles versus industrial troubles.

So, Governor Dodge, please carry on with your dramatic rescue mission. Just spread a little of that rescue around to the rest of us next time.
bailouts  Bank_of_Canada  biases  bubbles  business-government_relations  CAW  central_banks  economists  financial_crises  financial_markets  institutions  Jim_Stanford  layoffs  manufacturers  pairs  politics  tradeoffs  values  value_judgements 
june 2012 by jerryking

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