Twenty years ago, Hal Varian and Carl Shapiro published what has become the classic introduction to network economics. Called Information Rules it described and illustrated key economic concepts like network effects, positive feedback loops, standards wars, market tipping points and switching costs, using examples that are now so dated that would not be recognizable to today’s digital natives. But the text drilled into a generation of entrepreneurs and policymakers the importance of understanding the basic economics of network industries before starting a network business or trying to throw a regulatory net around a network industry.
Today Hal Varian works as Google’s chief economist. In his personal capacity he delivered a crash course on AI and data to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s TecGlobal 2018 meeting on April 4.
He illustrated the familiar advances in machine learning through pattern recognition in voice and images, noting that it was t ...