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Archive for the ‘economics’ category

Aug 1, 2015

So — what is Ethereum; and, how does it relate to Law?

Posted by in categories: automation, big data, complex systems, disruptive technology, economics, ethics, governance, human trajectories, information science, law

Quoted: “Traditional law is a form of agreement. It is an agreement among people and their leaders as to how people should behave. There are also legal contracts between individuals. These contracts are a form of private law that applies to the participants. Both types of agreement are enforced by a government’s legal system.”

“Ethereum is both a digital currency and a programming language. But it is the combination of these ingredients that make it special. Since most agreements involve the exchange of economic value, or have economic consequences, we can implement whole categories of public and private law using Ethereum. An agreement involving transfer of value can be precisely defined and automatically enforced with the same script.”

“When viewed from the future, today’s current legal system seems downright primitive. We have law libraries — buildings filled with words that nobody reads and whose meaning is unclear, even to courts who enforce them arbitrarily. Our private contracts amount to vague personal promises and a mere hope they might be honored.

For the first time, Ethereum offers an alternative. A new kind of law.”

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Jul 30, 2015

The unintended consequences of rationality — By Leah Burrows | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI

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“The idea of rationality is a shared construct between AI and economics. When we frame questions in AI, we say: what are the objectives, what should be optimized and what do we know about the world we’re in? The AI/economics interface has become quite fertile because there is a shared language of utility, probability, and reasoning about others.”

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Jul 29, 2015

‘Trillion-Dollar Asteroid’ Zooms

Posted by in categories: economics, space

It’s asteroids like these that will be (and to a certain extent already ARE) the economic engine that powers the first wave of human expansion from our homeworld out into the vast, unimaginably resource rich expanse of the greater solar system.


The near-Earth asteroid is an intriguing candidate for mining, said representatives of the company Planetary Resources, which is hoping to begin these activities in the coming decades. Previous studies by Planetary Resources estimated that 2011 UW158 contains about $5.4 trillion worth of platinum, an element that is rare on Earth.

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Jul 27, 2015

Why Generation Z will definitely embrace Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, education, innovation

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Can you picture a world without physical money? A world where we don’t have to carry bills and coins in our pockets and wallets? Generation Z can.

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Jul 24, 2015

What is water worth? — By Giorgis Kallis | Forbes India

Posted by in categories: economics, environmental, policy

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The traditional framing of the issue is a choice between accepting the power of markets and ‘playing their game’ to win environmental concessions vs. the purist perspective of saying No to any hint of money or markets in environmental policy.
In this article we will describe the positions of two relatively new fields of study—Ecological Economics and Political Ecology—in an effort to redefine the terms of the choice and chart a path for a pragmatic approach.

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Jul 21, 2015

We are data: the future of machine intelligence — By Douglas Coupland | Financial Times

Posted by in categories: big data, computing, economics, privacy

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I sometimes wonder, How much data am I generating? Meaning: how much data do I generate just sitting there in a chair, doing nothing except exist as a cell within any number of global spreadsheets and also as a mineable nugget lodged within global memory storage systems — inside the Cloud, I suppose. (Yay Cloud!)

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Jul 6, 2015

The Netherlands: A Look At The World’s High-Tech Startup Capital

Posted by in categories: economics, education, innovation

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Behind London and Berlin, the Dutch startup scene is already considered to be one of the most prominent in Europe. (If it feels unfair to weigh an entire country against individual cities, consider that the Netherlands has 17 million people crammed into an area half the size of South Carolina.)

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Jun 27, 2015

Who Will Own the Robots? — David Rotman | Technology Review

Posted by in categories: economics, robotics/AI

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“These are long-term trends that began decades ago, says David Autor, an MIT economist who has studied ‘job polarization’—the disappearance of middle-skill jobs even as demand increases for low-paying manual work on the one hand and highly skilled work on the other. This ‘hollowing out’ of ­the middle of the workforce, he says, ‘has been going on for a while.’ Nevertheless, the recession of 2007–2009 may have sped up the destruction of many relatively well-paid jobs requiring repetitive tasks that can be automated.” Read more

Jun 15, 2015

Smart urban planning in Amsterdam — Feargus O’Sullivan | CityLab

Posted by in categories: architecture, economics, energy, engineering, environmental, government, materials, policy, science, sustainability

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“Instead of treating Amsterdam as complete and starting again elsewhere, the IJburg plan has managed to find more space in a city that thought it had no more left.”

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Jun 11, 2015

Bitcoin Adoption: Series of reactions

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, government

What is Bitcoin?

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Sure—You know the history. As it spread from the geeky crypto community, Bitcoin sparked investor frenzy. Its “value” was driven by the confidence of early adopters that they hitched a ride on an early train, rather than commercial adoption. But, just like those zealous investors, you realize that it may ultimately reduce the costs of online commerce, if and when if it becomes widely accepted.

But what is Bitcoin, really? To what class of instruments does it belong?

• Ardent detractors see a sham: A pyramid scheme with no durable value; a house of cards waiting to tumble. This is the position of J.D, an IRS auditor who consults to The Cryptocurrency Standards Association. As devil’s advocate, he keeps us grounded.

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