James Pethokoukis

AEIApple's investments and Amazon's new headquarters: Me on CNBC's ‘Power Lunch' On CNBC today I reacted to the recent news that Apple would bring billions of dollars of cash back to the US over the next few years. So definitely another PR win for Trump here, and perhaps a substantive one as well — it's hard not to think that December's sweeping tax overhaul had something to do with Apple's decision. That said, as my colleague Alan Viard recently argued, the tax law's supporters shouldn't just point to all the news about corporate bonuses as proof tax reform is beneficial. The [...]
Wed, Jan 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEITaking a second look at the idea that antitrust action created the US software industry Advocates of aggressive antitrust actions against large American technology companies such as Google and Facebook often argue that today's super-successful tech industry owes a debt to antitrust actions of the past. Under this theory, US government investigations and lawsuits tamed and/or distracted the monopolistic tech giants of the past — even though the companies were not broken up — allowing competitors to bloom and grow. So Google and Facebook should thank the Clinton administration for suing Microsoft in 1998, and the entire US software industry should [...]
Fri, Jan 12, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIIs regulatory risk rising for bitcoin and other digital currencies? Some interesting perspectives in new note from Capital Economics, though it doesn't specifically refer to the US: After last year's phenomenal rally, bitcoin has started 2018 on a rocky note. Rumours of stricter regulations have rattled investors. And understandably so. South Korea holds some of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, so a ban is expected to disrupt bitcoin trading. And the majority of bitcoin mining occurs in China. If bitcoin isn't mined, transactions aren't approved and new bitcoins aren't produced. So a crackdown could bring chaos to the bitcoin community. The uncertainty [...]
Fri, Jan 12, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe big problem with companies slow to adopt new technologies In my recent interview with Google Chief Economist Hal Varian, we discussed the productivity paradox. This is the idea that we seem to be witnessing all sorts of marvelous tech advances — such as the ability to find all manner of information via a bit of glass in our pockets — yet the official productivity numbers are terrible. One factor at play might be the difficulty that traditional measures have in dealing with the digital economy, something Varian has written a lot about. (Me, too.) But Varian also believes the supposed paradox [...]
Fri, Jan 12, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEINobel laureate Daniel Kahneman on AI: ‘It's very difficult to imagine that with sufficient data there will remain things that only humans can do' Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel laureate famous for his research into how cognitive biases or quirks lead us to make irrational decisions. Given that background, I was fascinated to run across a video (courtesy of economist Joshua Gans, who writes for the Digitopoly blog) of Kahneman speaking recently at a University of Toronto conference on the economics of artificial intelligence. In this transcribed bit from that speech, Kahneman talks about what he thinks ever-advancing AI can ultimately do [...]
Thu, Jan 11, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe American middle class is absolutely better off now than it was decades ago I wanted to highlight another bit from my recent interview with Bruce Meyer, a visiting scholar here at AEI and a professor at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, on inequality and poverty. In this exchange, we discuss whether US living standards have really been stagnant for decades as some researchers claim: Pethokoukis: When people talk about inequality, usually in the next breath they'll say, “Listen, that top 1% is now getting a lot of the income, and at the same time, incomes for the middle [...]
Wed, Jan 10, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIWhen will Uber and Lyft be driverless? When will your FedEx person be not a person at all? 11 predictions by a robotics expert Rodney Brooks is a well-known roboticist and entrepreneur. So given those differing and valuable qualifications and perspectives, I would put a bit more weight than typical in his predictions about the future pace of progress in artificial intelligence and robotics. Famed roboticist Rodney Brooks. In a recent blog post, Brooks made a number of predictions about these technologies, assigning a date to each forecast along with generally one of three qualifiers: BY (by the date), NET (no earlier than [...]
Wed, Jan 10, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIWhy didn't Microsoft squash Google in the 2000s? One of the more compelling arguments for more heavily regulating Big Tech is that the megaplatforms are somehow stifling innovation. Compelling if true, of course. But from what I've seen, the argument pretty much consists of correlation and anecdote. For instance, there was a Wall Street Journal story last summer about Facebook's “early-bird warning system” that finds and monitors potential competitors. As reporters Betsy Morris and Deepa Seetharaman conclude, “While it's as easy as ever to start a company, it is getting harder to grow fast enough and big enough to avoid getting [...]
Tue, Jan 09, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIA Nobel laureate economist explains how AI could bring back the age of Malthus My bias — as long-time AEIdeas readers know — leans toward techno-optimism. While there are always trade-offs in life, I am generally excited about what scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs will next bring to humanity. One of my blog posts yesterday, for instance, did a deep dive into new research suggesting AI and robotics won't destroy the human job market. See also:Yes, AI can create more jobs than it destroys. Here's how But I am not going to ignore the other side of the trade. And for that perspective, I [...]
Tue, Jan 09, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIRethinking inequality and poverty: A short-read Q&A with economist Bruce Meyer Last month on the podcast I talked with economist Bruce Meyer about some of his recent research on inequality and poverty. As a leading researcher in these areas, he provided a different perspective on how to think about the inequality and poverty stats we so often read about, and added his two cents on two popular anti-poverty ideas: the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Universal Basic Income. Below is an abbreviated transcript of our conversation (find the full transcript here). You can subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, [...]
Tue, Jan 09, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS