Wealth inequality is even worse in reputation economies
Cory Doctorow on how reputation economies (like the rating system satirised in the Black Mirror episode Nosedive) have a series of undesirable effects.
…reputation is useless as a hedge against the real nightmare of a setup like Ebay: the long con. It doesn’t cost much, nor does it take much work, to build up sleeper identities on Ebay, fake storefronts that sell unremarkable goods at reasonable prices, earning A+++ GREAT SELLER tickmarks, even for years, until one day, that account lists a bunch of high-value items on the service, pockets the buyers’ funds, and walks off.
Reputation works badly and fails badly – it’s a lose-lose situation all around.
Nick Clegg meets Richard Thaler: ‘All it would take to stop Brexit is a couple of dozen brave Tories’
The Guardian set Nick Clegg up for a Skype interview with Richard Thaler, who has recently been awarded the Nobel economics prize.
Thaler was a big influence on the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition and it is clear from this interview that Thaler and Clegg admire each other somewhat.
At times the interview may come across to some as typical smug metropolitan centrist dadism, with the pair shaking their heads at how stupid everyone else is being. But when you read Nick Clegg’s anecdote about speaking to a voter in Chesterfield, you understand why he feels that way.
I remember speaking to a guy leaning on the fence outside his house and saying: “Any chance you’ll vote for the Liberal Democrats?” And he said: “No way.” And I said: “Why not?” And he said: “Because of all these asylum seekers.” And I knew for a fact that not a single asylum seeker had been dispersed to Chesterfield. So I said to him: “Oh, have you seen these asylum seekers in the supermarket or the GP’s surgery?” And he said something to me that has remained with me ever since. He said: “No, I haven’t seen any of them, but I know they’re everywhere.”
The pendulum swings against privatisation — Tim Harford
Does privatisation work? The evidence is mixed, according to Tim Harford.
Richard Thaler has won the Nobel economics prize for his work in behavioural economics. Knowing about this area is essential if you are a designer, to help you gain an understanding of what makes people tick.
Autonomous vehicles — driverless cars — are coming. There will be bumps in the road along the way. But they are essential to fix our cities.
There is a global dimension to the rise of nationalism. But Labour’s problems are closer to home.
With an implied probability of 30% that Scotland will become independent, it is already costing us too much.
Why user-centred design is like a trade.
People often claim that if you do not vote then you automatically lose your right to have a say in any way. This idea is dangerous and wrong.
I thought I had joined the many people who don’t use their degrees in their careers. But I have come to realise that my degree in social science has been absolutely vital to my web design work.
A survey showed that the British public is “wrong about nearly everything”. But the main lesson is not that so many people are stupid. It is that we are all ignorant, no matter how well-informed we like to think we are.
A shortage of spare time has seen me deciding how to spend my spare time by using a random number generator. An experiment by Steve Levitt of Freakonomics fame has got me wondering if I could make even bigger decisions at random.