Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The FATE of technology at Penn, today

Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics are topics on which economics and computer science intersect each other , and some other fields as well:

The “FATE” of Technology: Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics

October 17, 2018 | Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
Celebrating Five Years of the Warren Center
Reception to follow

1:00 pm: Welcome and brief remarks
Michael Kearns, Professor and National Center Chair of Computer and Information Science
Rakesh VohraGeorge A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor
1:10 pm: Aaron Roth, Class of 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science
“Ethical Algorithms”
1:30 pm: Annie LiangAssistant Professor of Economics
“Predicting and Understanding Human Behaviors through Machine Learning”
1:50 pm: Sandra González-BailónAssociate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication
“Digital Technologies and Access to News”
2:15 pm: Break
2:30 pm: Panel with members of the Warren Center
Emily Falk, Associate Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing
Junhyong Kim, Patricia M. Williams Term Professor of Biology
Konrad Kording, Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor of Neuroscience and Bioengineering
3:00 pm: Keynote: Matthew SalganikProfessor of Sociology, Princeton University
“The Fragile Families Challenge”
4:00 pm: Michael Kearns, Professor and National Center Chair of Computer and Information Science
“The AlgoWatch Initiative”
4:30 pm: Concluding remarks by Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Kim Krawiec on Repugnant Markets

One of my favorite scholars on one of my favorite subjects:


"In this episode, Kimberly D. Krawiec, Kathrine Robinson Everett Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law, discusses her scholarship on "repugnant markets" or "taboo trades," including prostitution and kidneys. Listeners might be interested in her papers "If We Pay Football Players, Why Not Kidney Donors?"; "If We Allow Football Players and Boxers to Be Paid for Entertaining the Public, Why Don't We Allow Kidney Donors to Be Paid for Saving Lives?"; "Repugnance Management and Transactions in the Body"; "Organ Entrepreneurs"; and "Contract Development in a Matching Market: The Case of Kidney Exchange." Of course, there are many more excellent papers on her SSRN page."

On her own blog linking to the podcast, Kim also included links to the following papers:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Quartz writes about Uber and other tech firms that hire economists

Here's the story, which prominently features Uber's Jonathan Hall:

Uber’s secret weapon is its team of economists
By Alison Griswold, October 14, 2018

"Uber is so fond of economists that it employs more than a dozen PhDs from top programs at its San Francisco headquarters. The group acts as an in-house think tank for Uber, gathering facts from quants and data scientists and synthesizing them to arm the lobbyists and policy folks who fight some of Uber’s biggest battles. Officially, this team is known as “Research and Economics.” Internally, it’s also been called Ubernomics.
...
"The Krueger paper was the launch pad Ubernomics needed. Over the next few years, the company landed unpaid collaborations with academics at top US universities, including MIT, NYU, and Yale. Hall started to receive dozens of requests a week from academics about working with Uber’s data. Earlier this year, Richard Thaler, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, approached Uber about a possible collaboration. Uber turned him down."

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Joshua Gans on blockchains, teams, and the startup (Covee) that wants to combine them

From Joshua Gans, who is one of the most thoughtful commentators on matters digital:

Can the blockchain make teams work?

"For context, here is the problem Covee are trying to solve. When you have teams of knowledge workers who need to come together for a project, we rely on businesses to manage and coordinate those teams. This is because you need to find the right people to perform the team’s tasks and then you need to ensure that everyone does what they are supposed to. Businesses solve that problem by making team members employees and learning about them. They can then use this to review performance and reward or punish them as need be. Covee wants to take the business out of the equation and, as much as possible, replace it with an algorithm on the blockchain. In doing so, it has to automate what the businesses were doing."

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Child marriage in the United States

The Washington Post has the story:

"Between 2000 and 2010, an estimated 248,000 children were married, most of whom were girls, some as young as 12, wedding men. Now, under pressure from advocates and amid a nationwide reckoning over gender equality and sexual misconduct, states have begun ending exceptions that have allowed marriages for people younger than 18, the minimum age in most states. Texas last year banned it, except for emancipated minors. Kentucky outlawed it, except for 17-year-olds with parental and judicial approval. Maryland considered increasing the minimum marrying age from 15, but its bill failed to pass in April. Then in May, Delaware abolished the practice under every circumstance, and New Jersey did the same in June. Pennsylvania, which may vote to eliminate all loopholes this autumn, could be next."



Friday, October 12, 2018

Coffee for personal data

Inside Higher Ed has the story:
Café Swaps Espresso for Personal Info
A Japanese café chain plans to spread among Ivy League and other top campuses, offering free coffee and tea in exchange for students' personal information and consent to be contacted by companies.

"The cashless Shiru cafés give out handmade coffee and tea drinks for free. In exchange, students flash a university ID and, in the bargain, hand over a small cache of personal information: name, age, email address, interests, major and graduation year, among other details. They also agree to be contacted by Shiru’s corporate sponsors, who underwrite all those cappuccinos, matcha lattes and iced Americanos.
...
"Starbucks, meet LinkedIn … with extra foam.
...
"[at Brown University]...“I don’t get the feeling from my classmates that they’re trying to reduce their data footprint.”

Thursday, October 11, 2018

An online spot market for lawyers

Need a lawyer, but not a big law firm?  A Britain-based firm, Lexoo, will recommend lawyers they think are appropriate for your case, and let you get bids from them online:

"Lexoo is an online platform for businesses, that lets you easily source and compare quotes from our curated network of specialised commercial lawyers and quality boutique firms, worldwide. Our team of ex-City lawyers with over 45 years of combined legal experience, ensure you only receive proposals from the most suitable lawyers for your work."