Category Archives: Internet

The Internet is not what it was

My latest essay is on the decline of the Internet. In 1993, I did not picture people having their online experience being “fed” to them by large corporations using mysterious algorithms. Instead, I envisioned individuals in control, creating and exploring … Continue reading

Posted in Internet governance and political theory, technology and the future | 9 Comments

Another rant about blockchain

Kai Stinchcombe writes, peer-to-peer interaction with no regulations, norms, middlemen, or trusted parties is actually a bad way to empower people. …A lawless and mistrustful world where self-interest is the only principle and paranoia is the only source of safety … Continue reading

Posted in Information Goods | 3 Comments

Aggregation, not paywall AI, is the answer

Shan Wang writes, The [Wall Street] Journal has found that these non-subscribed visitors fall into groups that can be roughly defined as hot, warm, or cold, according to Wells. Those with high scores above a certain threshold — indicating a … Continue reading

Posted in business economics, Information Goods, Tyler Cowen is my Favorite Blogger | 10 Comments

Jeremy Bailenson on Virtual Reality

The book is called Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality is, How it Works, and What it Can Do. It was a useful corrective to a lot of my naive impressions of the technology. A few excerpts: By January 2015, … Continue reading

Posted in books and book reviews, business economics, technology and the future | Comments Off

John Perry Barlow has died

Here is a brief obituary. Among other things, in 1994 he wrote The Economy of Ideas, an essay admired by, among others, Hal Varian. It begins, I refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our … Continue reading

Posted in business economics, Information Goods | 3 Comments

Blockchain and property rights

Phil Gramm and Hernando de Soto write, Fortunately there is a new technology that could make a global property-rights registration system feasible. Patrick Byrne, an e-commerce pioneer and the CEO of, has committed a professional staff and significant resources … Continue reading

Posted in technology and the future | 11 Comments

Consumers’ Surplus and well-being

Another paper from the AEA session on measuring well-being. The abstract of the paper by Erik Brynjolfsson, Felix Eggers, and Avinash Gannamaneni says, In principle, changes in consumer surplus (compensating expenditure) provide a superior measure of changes in consumer well-being … Continue reading

Posted in disaggregating the economy, Economic education and methods, Information Goods | 3 Comments

Resistance Watch

Charlie Stross writes, However, Facebook is trying to get eyeballs on ads, as is Twitter, as is Google. To do this, they fine-tune the content they show you to make it more attractive to your eyes—and by ‘attractive’ I do … Continue reading

Posted in business economics, technology and the future, Tyler Cowen is my Favorite Blogger | 15 Comments

Resistance Watch

Two from Monday’s WSJ. 1. David Benoit in a front-page story on Apple writes, A leading activist investor and a pension fund are saying the smartphone maker needs to respond to what some see as a growing public-health crisis of … Continue reading

Posted in business economics, technology and the future | 7 Comments

Resistance watch

Charles Cooke writes, Any network of self-driving cars would, by definition, necessitate total and unceasing tracking of their occupants. . . The car, far from serving as a liberator, would become a telescreen on wheels — an FBI-approved bug, to … Continue reading

Posted in technology and the future | 13 Comments