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IT Forum presents "Information Theory, Power, and Competition"

Information Theory, Power, and Competition
Friday, May 10, 2019 - 1:15pm
Packard 202
Jonathan Dotan (Stanford University)
Abstract / Description: 

Is our current age of "Techlash" there is a daily stream of headlines demanding reforms to the major platforms on the Internet — including calls for antitrust action to structurally breakup big tech companies or at minimum levy against them billions of dollars of fines. In this talk, we'll take a step back to look at lessons from the 1956 Bell Labs Consent Decree as a startling and relevant case for how FTC antitrust action sought to protect and promote innovation. We'll survey Bell Labs' legacy as the birthplace of modern computing, starting with Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Communication and Shockley's transistor, and examine how the thousands of inventions that were licensed from Bell Labs after the Consent Decree shaped Silicon Valley. We ask, can a page of history revise our current understanding of innovation and competition and reshape the goals of the next generation of startups?