2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics – Lloyd Shapley, Al Roth

For a popular article, see http://www.nature.com/news/a-nobel-for-the-art-of-matchmaking-1.11607#/ .

The goal of this post is to overview the basic problem of matching and give some examples of current/popular applications.

See also: Al Roth’s blog at http://marketdesigner.blogspot.com/ .

For some cool and more technical slides on market design, see Itai Ashlagi’s slides from the CMU Summer School on Algorithmic Economics, linked here: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~arielpro/summer/schedule.html#itai .

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Stealing, Copying, and the 4,000,000-Document Non-Theft

Recently, a young man named Aaron Swartz was arrested after an incident at MIT. Apparently, he had been using MIT’s network to download millions of documents from JSTOR, an online archive of scientific journal articles and the like. (Access to JSTOR is purchased by universities like MIT, and like Harvard, where Swartz is an employee).

What can this incident — and reaction to it — tell us about copyright in the U.S.? In this article, I’ll paint this incident as a symptom of larger copyright issues in our society. I’m not going to necessarily argue whether copyright is good or bad, but I will argue that public perception of copyright has been twisted away from all common-sense definitions — twisted by design. By the end, I hope to change the way you think about “intellectual property”, or at least cause you to consider how your views are shaped by the terms used in the debate.

Let’s start with Swartz.

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Will Computers Beat Us at Our Own Game?

This article from Time raises some interesting questions: How long until computers are “smarter” than humans? (Especially considering Watson’s recent performance on Jeopardy!) What about machines with creativity, intuition, and generalized intelligence — the historical province of humans alone? And if that’s not scary enough, how long until we can achieve immortality by downloading our brains into computers and preserving ourselves as thinking machines indefinitely?

Their article on the subject from a social point of view is quite interesting. However, it seems that the issue could benefit from a computer science perspective as well. What kind of technology would be required to achieve these things, and how tough will it be to get there? Let’s find out, or at least make some guesses.

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