Thinks 1052

Michael Munger: “Generally speaking, taxes can have only one of two broad purposes: 1. “We” want to reduce the amount of the thing being taxed. 2. “We” want to increase the revenue that “we” want to spend on good things…We tax things if we want revenue, in which case we’d prefer not affect the amount of the thing, which introduces distortions. OR we tax things we want to go away, things we hate, and we don’t care if there is any revenue at all, because we don’t like the thing being taxed.”

Platformer on the synthetic social network: “A bot that gets to know your quirks; remembers your life history; offers you coaching or tutoring or therapy; entertains you in whichever way you prefer. A synthetic companion not unlike the real people you encounter during the day, only smarter, more patient, more empathetic, more available…Between ChatGPT’s surprisingly human voice and Meta’s AI characters, our feeds may be about to change forever.”

WSJ: “Screens are supposed to be the future: more natural, more intuitive than learning a set of buttons…The problem? “Although we call them touch screens, they require sightedness,” explained Rachel Plotnick, associate professor of media studies at Indiana University Bloomington. Plotnick’s research examines the relationship between humans and machines. Because screens are typically smooth and flat, you need to look at them to know where to press, she says. “Buttons give us texture, weight, are graspable and offer many modalities for feedback that touch screens don’t,” Plotnick said. They also can make navigating devices more accessible for people who have mobility issues.  Screens, on the other hand, need our full attention, which is why using them can be frustrating when we are doing something else, like driving. Plotnick has a name for this frustration: the “rage poke.” When people rage poke, they’re exasperated by the screens’ lack of interactiveness, she said.  Voice-enabled commands were supposed to help, but using AI assistants, which don’t always understand correctly or perform the right task, can be just as maddening.”

Ajay Shah: “[The biggest Indian forms] have developed the teams and capabilities to operate in the Indian policy environment. But these are just a few firms and add up to a small part of the Indian economy. The beating heart of the Indian economy lies in thousands of firms, and particularly small firms all over the hinterland, which are not tooled up for this environment. It is possible to operate on pure market economy principles: The firms that cannot handle this policy environment should just close down. This requires a bankruptcy process, for rapid firm exit. It requires the strong firms to buy out the weak firms or their assets. It requires shifting labour from the weak firms to the strong firms. It requires shifting production from low-productivity locations to high-productivity locations. Under good conditions, this can be done in about one generation. However, the Indian institutional environment is not well suited to factor market reallocation. As an example, while bankruptcy reform was well begun, it ran into myriad difficulties and is at present a flawed system. The wise middle road, then, lies in easing up the pressure of the state so that firms of middle India do not lose heart. This involves low tax rates, less central planning, less regulation, reduced staffing and budgets for agencies and regulators, reduced levels of punishment, the removal of imprisonment for economic offences, and better functioning courts.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.