Why Apple’s strict App Store rules can be pro-consumer and pro-developer

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The Blue Screen of Death

Who do you blame when something goes wrong?

Have you ever experienced a blue screen of death? Nobody likes it when his computer crashes, but the BSoD, the screen that is displayed when Windows crashes, features a particularly frustrating problem: It is difficult to know who is to blame for the crash.

An operating system can crash for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that there is a bug in the operating system, in which case the OS manufacturer is to blame. Another is that there is a hardware failure. The motherboard, RAM, peripherals like a video card: any of these could cause a crash. …

How prediction markets can make the world more rational

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Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

If we are going to improve public discourse, we must at the outset confront a tricky question: What if people prefer their polarized beliefs? If they are going to line up behind their preferred ideas no matter the facts, we aren’t going to get very far by better educating our ideological opponents. There will always be demand for fake news and charlatans who confirm one’s priors. To save our democracy, we need betting markets.

Rational irrationality

Economist Bryan Caplan was the first scholar to recognize the full implications of preferences over beliefs for political economy. In a string of papers (1, 2, 3) published two decades ago, he explained how preferences over beliefs are reined in when it is costly to be wrong, leading to rationality in marketplace transactions. Those same preferences, however, are given free rein when it is costless to be wrong, leading to irrationality in the voting booth. Caplan called this idea “rational irrationality,” reflecting that the indulgence of irrationality is a normal good and that we only give it up when there’s an opportunity cost. …

For computers to serve us, they must understand human contexts

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Power relationships can be deceptive, even those with inanimate objects. Who is in charge, you or your computer? I am old enough to remember booting up a DOS or Linux computer straight to a command line. The black screen displayed some apparently random symbols followed by a cursor, beckoning the entry of exactly the right incantations. …


Eli Dourado

Senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity

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