Global Digital Governance Through the Back Door of Corporate Regulation

Paper by Orit Fischman Afori: “Today, societal life is increasingly conducted in the digital sphere, in which two core attributes are prominent: this sphere is entirely controlled by enormous technology companies, and these companies are increasingly deploying artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. This reality generates a severe threat to democratic principles and human rights. Therefore, regulating the conduct of the companies ruling the digital sphere is an urgent agenda worldwide. Policymakers and legislatures around the world are taking their first steps in establishing a digital governance regime, with leading proposals in the EU. Although it is understood that there is a necessity to adopt a comprehensive framework for imposing accountability standards on technology companies and on the operation of AI technologies, traditional perceptions regarding the limits of intervention in the private sector and contemporary perceptions regarding the limits of antitrust tools hinder such legal moves.

Given the obstacles inherent in the use of existing legal means for introducing a digital governance regime, this article proposes a new path of corporate governance regulations. The proposal, belonging to a “second wave” of regulatory models for the digital sphere, is based on the understanding that the current complex technological reality requires sophisticated and pragmatic legal measures for establishing an effective framework for digital governance norms. Corporate governance is a system of rules and practices by which companies are guided and controlled. Because the digital sphere is governed by private corporations, it seems reasonable to introduce the desired digital governance principles through a framework that regulates corporations. The bedrock of corporate governance is promoting principles of corporate accountability, which are translated into a wide array of obligations. In the last two decades, corporate accountability has evolved into a new domain of corporate social responsibility (CSR), promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) purposes not aimed at maximizing profits in the short term. The various benefits of the complex corporate governance mechanisms may be used to promote the desired digital governance regime that would be applied by the technology companies. A key advantage of the corporate governance mechanism is its potential to serve as a vehicle to promulgate norms in the era of multinational corporations. Because the digital sphere is governed by a few giant US companies, corporate governance may be leveraged to promote digital governance principles with a global reach in a uniform manner…(More)”

The wealth of (Open Data) nations? Open government data, country-level institutions and entrepreneurial activity

Paper by Franz Huber, Alan Ponce, Francesco Rentocchini & Thomas Wainwright: “Lately, Open Data (OD) has been promoted by governments around the world as a resource to accelerate innovation within entrepreneurial ventures . However,it remains unclear to what extent OD drives innovative entrepreneurship. This paper sheds light on this open question by providing novel empirical evidence on the relationship between OD publishing and (digital) entrepreneurship at the country-level. We draw upon a longitudinal dataset comprising 90 countries observed over the period 2013–2016. We find a significant and positive association between OD publishing and entrepreneurship at the country level. The results also show that OD publishing and entrepreneurship is strong in countries with high institutional quality. We argue that publishing OD is not sufficient to improve innovative entrepreneurship alone, so states need to move beyond a focus on OD initiatives and promotion, to focus on a broader set of policy initiatives that promote good governance…(More)”.

The Technology Fallacy

Book by Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky and Garth R. Andrus on “How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation:..

Digital technologies are disrupting organizations of every size and shape, leaving managers scrambling to find a technology fix that will help their organizations compete. This book offers managers and business leaders a guide for surviving digital disruptions—but it is not a book about technology. It is about the organizational changes required to harness the power of technology. The authors argue that digital disruption is primarily about people and that effective digital transformation involves changes to organizational dynamics and how work gets done. A focus only on selecting and implementing the right digital technologies is not likely to lead to success. The best way to respond to digital disruption is by changing the company culture to be more agile, risk tolerant, and experimental.

The authors draw on four years of research, conducted in partnership with MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, surveying more than 16,000 people and conducting interviews with managers at such companies as Walmart, Google, and Salesforce. They introduce the concept of digital maturity—the ability to take advantage of opportunities offered by the new technology—and address the specifics of digital transformation, including cultivating a digital environment, enabling intentional collaboration, and fostering an experimental mindset. Every organization needs to understand its “digital DNA” in order to stop “doing digital” and start “being digital.”

Digital disruption won’t end anytime soon; the average worker will probably experience numerous waves of disruption during the course of a career. The insights offered by The Technology Fallacy will hold true through them all….(More)”.

Premium Based on ‘Like, Share and Post’: Use of Social Media Data in Life Insurance and Proxy Discrimination

Paper by Salome Chapeyama Mdala: “Social media has become a massive resource of data such that data analytics firms can use social media platforms alone to extract valuable data for insurers. For example, Verisk Analytics and its subsidiary Insurance Services Offices (ISO), have long offered actuarial services to insurers and now offer social media analytics as part of their services. According to one of Verisk’s actuaries Jim Weiss, “insurers might want to consider how they can use data from social media to tailor offerings to prospective policyholders’ ‘likes’ and preferences.” Social media is a useful database for life insurers because the business of insurance is focused on classifying risks and tailoring premiums to suit the predicted risk. Social Media provides easily accessible data which may be beneficial for the insurance company in underwriting risks. For instance, life insurers can categorise individuals’ risks based on their diet, exercise routine, adventures, hobbies and so forth. Consumers do not have to go through an inconvenient question-and-answer session with their insurers because knowledge about them is readily accessible. However, the risk of unfair discrimination is a significant disadvantage of using social media data for underwriting purposes. Regulatory bodies are starting to provide guidelines about how insurers can use data mining to underwrite policies. The discussion is divided in three parts: the use of social media data in underwriting, proxy discrimination in life insurance and guiding principles in the use of external data sources in underwriting…(More)”

Designing Data Spaces: The Ecosystem Approach to Competitive Advantage

Open access book edited by Boris Otto, Michael ten Hompel, and Stefan Wrobel: “…provides a comprehensive view on data ecosystems and platform economics from methodical and technological foundations up to reports from practical implementations and applications in various industries.

To this end, the book is structured in four parts: Part I “Foundations and Contexts” provides a general overview about building, running, and governing data spaces and an introduction to the IDS and GAIA-X projects. Part II “Data Space Technologies” subsequently details various implementation aspects of IDS and GAIA-X, including eg data usage control, the usage of blockchain technologies, or semantic data integration and interoperability. Next, Part III describes various “Use Cases and Data Ecosystems” from various application areas such as agriculture, healthcare, industry, energy, and mobility. Part IV eventually offers an overview of several “Solutions and Applications”, eg including products and experiences from companies like Google, SAP, Huawei, T-Systems, Innopay and many more.

Overall, the book provides professionals in industry with an encompassing overview of the technological and economic aspects of data spaces, based on the International Data Spaces and Gaia-X initiatives. It presents implementations and business cases and gives an outlook to future developments. In doing so, it aims at proliferating the vision of a social data market economy based on data spaces which embrace trust and data sovereignty…(More)”.

GDPR and the Lost Generation of Innovative Apps

Paper by Rebecca Janßen, Reinhold Kesler, Michael E. Kummer & Joel Waldfogel: “Using data on 4.1 million apps at the Google Play Store from 2016 to 2019, we document that GDPR induced the exit of about a third of available apps; and in the quarters following implementation, entry of new apps fell by half. We estimate a structural model of demand and entry in the app market. Comparing long-run equilibria with and without GDPR, we find that GDPR reduces consumer surplus and aggregate app usage by about a third. Whatever the privacy benefits of GDPR, they come at substantial costs in foregone innovation…(More)”.

Data and Market Power

Paper by Jan Eeckhout & Laura Veldkamp: “Might firms’ use of data create market power? To explore this hypothesis, we craft a model in which economies of scale in data induce a data-rich firm to invest in producing at a lower marginal cost and larger scale. However, the model uncovers much richer interactions between data, welfare and market power. Data affects risk, firm size and the composition of the goods firms produce, all of which affect markups. The tradeoff between these forces depends on the level of aggregation at which markups are measured. Empirical researchers who measure markups at the product level, firm level or industry level come to different conclusions about trends and cyclical fluctuations in markups. Our results reconcile and re-interpret these facts. The divergence between product, firm and industry markups can be a sign that firms are using data to reallocate production to the goods consumers want most….(More)”.

Corporate Political Responsibility

Report by Dieter Zinnbauer: “How business acts in the political arena has a substantive, at times defining, impact on the integrity and fairness of policymaking and policy outcomes. Unfortunately, the conventional approach for regulating corporate conduct in this area faces a number of persistent challenges.

A confluence of several important dynamics, however, offers the promise that responsible corporate political conduct can be encouraged and advanced from a very different vantage point—a new ecosystem for corporate political responsibility is in the making. This ecosystem comes with a new cast of actors, new soft and hard accountability mechanisms and a trove of new resources, tools and collective action initiatives.

This Discussion paper presents an overview of this new governance regime, identifies the dynamics that drive its evolution, describes its main building blocks and discusses its limitations. Most importantly it lays out several suggestions for policymakers and practitioners for how the potential of this new accountability regime can be fully utilized to support political integrity and how it can be most productively interlinked with conventional money-in-politics regulations for maximum benefit….(More)”.

Radically Human: How New Technology Is Transforming Business and Shaping Our Future

Book by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson: “Technology advances are making tech more . . . human. This changes everything you thought you knew about innovation and strategy. In their groundbreaking book, “Human + Machine,” Accenture technology leaders Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson showed how leading organizations use the power of human-machine collaboration to transform their processes and their bottom lines. Now, as new AI powered technologies like the metaverse, natural language processing, and digital twins begin to rapidly impact both life and work, those companies and other pioneers across industries are tipping the balance even more strikingly toward the human side with technology-led strategy that is reshaping the very nature of innovation. In “Radically Human,” Daugherty and Wilson show this profound shift, fast-forwarded by the pandemic, toward more human–and more humane–technology. Artificial intelligence is becoming less artificial and more intelligent. Instead of data-hungry approaches to AI, innovators are pursuing data-efficient approaches that enable machines to learn as humans do. Instead of replacing workers with machines, they’re unleashing human expertise to create human-centered AI. In place of lumbering legacy IT systems, they’re building cloud-first IT architectures able to continuously adapt to a world of billions of connected devices. And they’re pursuing strategies that will take their place alongside classic, winning business formulas like disruptive innovation. These against-the-grain approaches to the basic building blocks of business–Intelligence, Data, Expertise, Architecture, and Strategy (IDEAS)–are transforming competition. Industrial giants and startups alike are drawing on this radically human IDEAS framework to create new business models, optimize post-pandemic approaches to work and talent, rebuild trust with their stakeholders, and show the way toward a sustainable future….(More)”.

The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media

Book by Kevin Driscoll: “Fifteen years before the commercialization of the internet, millions of amateurs across North America created more than 100,000 small-scale computer networks. The people who built and maintained these dial-up bulletin board systems (BBSs) in the 1980s laid the groundwork for millions of others who would bring their lives online in the 1990s and beyond. From ham radio operators to HIV/AIDS activists, these modem enthusiasts developed novel forms of community moderation, governance, and commercialization. The Modem World tells an alternative origin story for social media, centered not in the office parks of Silicon Valley or the meeting rooms of military contractors, but rather on the online communities of hobbyists, activists, and entrepreneurs. Over time, countless social media platforms have appropriated the social and technical innovations of the BBS community. How can these untold stories from the internet’s past inspire more inclusive visions of its future?…(More)”.