Digital markets & politics watch, June 2016

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  • How to Prepare for the Future of Artificial Intelligence | "Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is announcing a Request for Information soliciting public input on the subject of artificial intelligence."

  • Big Government Is Getting In The Way Of Big Data | FiveThirtyEight

  • Now Can Big Data Fight Terror? - WSJ: "This week Microsoft bought LinkedIn so it could integrate the social media site’s biographical data on 433 million professionals and workers with Microsoft’s office products ... A recent study found a non-negligible correlation between a person’s web-search history and whether he will later be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So here’s the question: Why aren’t LinkedIn-style notifications dinging on the desktops and phones of security officials when somebody with Mateen’s professional history shows up for a background check to buy a weapon of mass murder with numerous ammo clips?"

  • Jakarta points the way for London mayor Sadiq Khan - "Mr Purnama also believes in transparency. The entire budget of the city of Jakarta is online. Citizens can scrutinise all spending. Even his mobile phone number is public, meaning that he receives a large number of text messages, many of which he responds to personally. The city’s inhabitants feel that their lives are improving."

Privacy issues

  • As Suicide Rates Rise, Scientists Find New Warning Signs - WSJ: "researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that clinicians were no more accurate than chance in predicting which patients visiting a psychiatric emergency room were likely to attempt suicide in the next six months. Widely accepted risk factors, like being male, having a history of mental illness and experiencing stressors like a job or relationship loss, are often not specific enough to be much help. ... The National Institute of Mental Health recently launched a study that will use brain scans, blood draws and other tests to identify biomarkers that are related to imminent risk for suicide. ... Another study from the same NIMH group has found that, among severely depressed subjects, spending more time awake between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. (as measured by a sleep study called polysomnography) is linked to increased risk of suicidal thinking the next day."

  • Jon Weisman: Why I Quit Twitter — and Left Behind 35,000 Followers


The strange case of Austin

Academic reading

Nosko and Tadelis: The Limits of Reputation in Platform Markets: An Empirical Analysis and Field Experiment

Hortacsu, Ali, A. Martinez Jerez, and Jason Douglas (2009). "The geography of trade in online transactions: Evidence from eBay and MercadoLibre", American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 1(1), 53-74.

Evidence from eBay of the ‘death of distance’ and its potential for boosting trade and incomes (summary)


A Conversation with Mitch Barns, CEO of Nielsen | Yale School of Management

Reflection on the Data Science Profession

Brexit referendum

It is demoralizing to observe how a partnership for peace and mutually beneficial exchange could so easily be diminished. And it is chilling that such a...

Two weeks after the Brexit vote

Friday, July 24, 2016 Immediate effects, via FT: UK votes by 51.9 per cent to leave EU David Cameron stands down as PM Scottish leader...