Workshop 20: Friday, November 17, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Central Time
Please join us for our next CS+Law Research Workshop online on Friday, November 17, 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. Central Time (Chicago Time).
Workshop 20 organizer: Boston U. (Ran Canetti)
Link to join on Zoom: Will be circulated to Google Group
20-minute presentation - Rory Van Loo
20-minute presentation - Shlomi Hod
30-minute open Q&A about both presentations
30-minute networking session
Amazon's Pricing Paradox
Presenter: Rory Van Loo, Boston University
Rory Van Loo's research focuses on how artificial intelligence, digital platforms, and other technologies challenge conventional thinking about regulating transactions between consumers and businesses. More broadly, he explores how improved information laws, business ethics, institutional design, and legal remedies can produce better market outcomes for society. Prior to BU, he served on the implementation team that set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, helping to build the framework for supervision of large banks. He also spent several years at McKinsey & Co. conducting empirical studies for multinational corporations in mergers and acquisitions, marketing, and organizational design. Professor Van Loo's intellectual study of digital markets began with an undergraduate major in science, technology, and society, with a focus on computer science. He then received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel to Argentina, Costa Rica, the Cote d'Ivoire, India, Mali, Peru, Senegal, and Vietnam researching the social impact of the internet.
Antitrust scholars have widely debated the potential paradox of Amazon seemingly wielding monopoly power while offering low prices to consumers. A single company's behavior thereby helped spark a vibrant intellectual conversation as scholars debated why Amazon's prices were so low, whether enforcers should intervene, and, eventually, how the field of antitrust should be reformed. One of the main sources of agreement in these and other scholarly conversations has long been that Amazon offered low prices. Without weighing in on which side of the antitrust debate was correct, this Article argues that Amazon may have long charged higher prices than is commonly understood, but using strategies that do not depend on monopoly power. More importantly, unraveling the disconnect between perception and reality yields broader insights. One of the reasons why perceptions of Amazon's pricing have remained disconnected from reality is that conversations about regulating Amazon have paid inadequate attention to behavioral economics. Behavioral economics reveals how the company leverages its sophisticated algorithms and large datasets to build a marketplace of consumer misperception by, for instance, making it difficult to find the lowest prices. Such practices undermine competition, in the uncontroversial economic sense of the word. But these practices reside in the domain of consumer law, not antitrust. Thus, a behavioral consumer lens is necessary to see that what was originally framed as an antitrust paradox is better viewed as a pricing paradox. To see the full set of concrete legal solutions for promoting competition in Amazon's marketplace and beyond, it will be important to move consumer law out of antitrust's shadows. These two bodies of law operating at full force offer the best chance for an era of open retail.
Here is a link to the paper on which the talk will be based, feel free to ignore: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4436546
Joint work with Nikita Aggarwal.
Co-Designing the Pilot Release of Israel’s National Registry of Live Births: Reconciling Privacy with Accuracy and Usability
Presenter: Shlomi Hod, Boston University
Shlomi is a computer science Ph.D. student at Boston University working on Responsible AI. Currently, he is interested in utilizing PETs (Privacy-Enhancing Technologies) for making governmental data open and building tools to bridge between computer science, law and policy.
Together with faculty members from the Law, Shlomi has taught the course "Responsible AI, Law, Ethics and Society" in multiple institutions worldwide, including US Congress, Freedom Online Coalition, Boston University, Cornell Tech, Bocconi University, Tel Aviv University and the Technion.
In Q4 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Health will make a pilot release of the National Registry of Live Births for the year 2014. The data holds significant value for various stakeholders for multiple purposes, including demographic analysis, scientific research and policy-making. Nonetheless, releasing such data poses a privacy challenge, because medical and governmental data contain sensitive information on birthing people and newborns.
In this talk, we present how we co-designed the data release together with the stakeholders to fulfill four main requirements: (1) affordance of tabular format via synthetic data; (2) data quality concerning statistical analysis; (3) record-level faithfulness between released data and original data; and (4) privacy as a rigorous state-of-the-art guarantee and as stakeholders’ expectation.
Ultimately, we will discuss the outlook for co-design approaches for based data releases with differential privacy.
Joint work with Ran Canetti.