Innovation in protective bubbles

Facebook encourages people to collect "memories" in the same place. It can certainly be useful down the road to have a centralized repository, given that many people now use Facebook as something like a diary, blog, noticeboard, or a photo book. (Let's put data ownership issues aside, and…

Getting people to care about news (or not)

Boundaries between news and entertainment have been blurred for a while, so I shouldn't be surprised that even NPR -- a platform that cannot even show the adorable dance of one the children in the viral BBC video -- featured the "story of the interrupted interview" under "…

Digital markets & politics watch, June 2016

Politics Here’s the data that told us Bernie Sanders would lose - The Washington Post Apple won't aid GOP convention over Trump - POLITICO: "Google said in April it would set up shop on the GOP convention floor, despite a protest by liberal groups and civil rights activists…

Who counts as a killer robot?

A front-page article in the FT today was titled US rules out 'Terminator' troops (in print). The digital version's title - "US to deploy robot combat strategists" - suggests that robots will not be asked to kill (yet) but they'll be asked to do other things. In the…

Regulating digital platforms in China

Today, a China Daily article described government complaints about Uber's subsidies to drivers: Speaking at a news conference in Beijing, he [the minister of transport] said the subsidies are a short-term tactic to gain a bigger market share. "The apps are profit-driven and the subsidies will not be handed…

Paying taxes in the digital economy

Tax worldwide profits A policy proposal from the Economist: Keeping [the current] approach, but toughening up the policing, means creating yet more rules—and loopholes. Better to think of each firm as a single entity. Then countries could ... agree to share the tax on companies’ worldwide profits according to a…

Singles' Day in China

Fascinating data from China Bloomberg: "Alibaba sold $5 billion in merchandise during the first 90 minutes of the day, putting it on track to top last year’s $9.3 billion in revenue." Bloomberg: "Alibaba estimates that 1.7 million deliverymen, 400,000 delivery vehicles, 5,000…

Sharing Economy in China

Recent news items related to the "on-demand" digital platforms in China WSJ: China’s Didi Kuaidi Gets License to Ride in Shanghai Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission, said he had briefed Uber on the requirements earlier this year and was prepared to consider its…