Adam Thierer, Tech LiberationFront

Adam Thierer

Tech LiberationFront

Washington, DC, United States

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  • Unknown
  • Tech LiberationFront
  • Cato Institute
  • AIER
  • Mercatus Center

Past articles by Adam:

The Precautionary Principle: A Plea for Proportionality

Gabrielle Bauer, a Toronto-based medical writer, has just published one of the most concise explanations of what’s wrong with the precautionary principle that I have ever read. The precautionary principle, you will recall, generally refers to public policies that limit […] → Read More

Evasive Entrepreneurs and the Future of Governance

Innovators of all stripes—such as Airbnb and Uber—are increasingly using new technological capabilities to circumvent traditional regulatory systems, or at least put pressure on public policymakers to reform laws and regulations that are outmoded, inefficient, or illogical. Disruptive innovators are emerging in other fields, too, using technologies as wide‐​ranging as 3D printers, drones,… → Read More

Reforming Licensing Rules to Help Fight the Pandemic

In a new essay in The Dallas Morning News (“Licensing restrictions for health care workers need to be flexible to fight coronavirus“), Trace Mitchell and I discuss recent efforts to reform occupational licensing restrictions for health care workers to help fight the […] → Read More

The APA’s Welcome New Statement on Video Game Violence

I was pleased to see the American Psychological Association’s new statement slowly reversing course on misguided past statements about video games and acts of real-world violence. As Kyle Orland reports in Ars Technica, the APA has clarified its earlier statement […] → Read More

Podcast: Problems with the Precautionary Principle

On the latest Institute for Energy Research podcast, I joined Paige Lambermont to discuss: the precautionary principle vs. permissionless innovation; risk analysis trade-offs; the future of nuclear power; the “pacing problem”; regulatory capture; evasive entrepreneurialism; “soft law”; … and why […] → Read More

Europe’s New AI Industrial Policy

The race for artificial intelligence (AI) supremacy is on with governments across the globe looking to take the lead in the next great technological revolution. As they did before during the internet era, the US and Europe are once again […] → Read More

Congress as a Non-Actor in Tech Policy

Congress has become a less important player in the field of technology policy. Why did that happen, and what are the ramifications for technological governance efforts going forward? I’ve spent almost 30 years covering technology policy. There was a time […] → Read More

Podcast on Driverless Cars, AI & “Soft Law” Governance

Here’s a new Federalist Society Regulatory Transparency “Tech Roundup” podcast about driverless cars, artificial intelligence and the growth of “soft law” governance for both. The 34-minute podcast features a conversation between Caleb Watney and me about new Trump Administration AI guidelines as well as the Department of Transportation’s new “Version 4.0” guidance for automated vehicles. → Read More

Trump’s AI Framework & the Future of Emerging Tech Governance

This week, the Trump Administration proposed a new policy framework for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that attempts to balance the need for continued innovation with a set of principles to address concerns about new AI services and applications. This represents […] → Read More

The Case for Sanctuary Cities in Many Different Contexts

[Cross-posted to Medium.] The spread of “sanctuary cities”—local governments that resist federal laws or regulations in some fashion, and typically for strongly-held moral reasons—is one of the most interesting and controversial governance developments of recent decades. Unfortunately, the concept receives […] → Read More

How Many Lives Are Lost Due to the Precautionary Principle?

No matter how well intentioned, sometimes hyper-precautionary rules can be deadly. By defaulting public policies to super-cautious mode and curtailing important innovations, laws and regulations can actually make the world less safe. A new NBER working paper finds exactly this: the authors examined the “unintended effects from invoking the precautionary principle after the Fukushima Daiichi… → Read More

San Francisco, Entrepreneurs & the Cost of Doing Business

One of the keys to improving the standard of living for citizens is to make sure it isn’t too difficult for them to form new businesses or find good jobs. Unfortunately, some governments make that process harder than it should […] → Read More

Tech Policy, Unintended Consequences & the Failure of Good Intentions

by Andrea O’Sullivan & Adam Thierer This essay originally appeared on The Bridge on September 25, 2019. It is quickly becoming one of the iron laws of technology policy that by attempting to address one problem (like privacy, security, safety, […] → Read More

Occupational Licensing Reform is Not a Partisan Issue

by Adam Thierer and Trace Mitchell This essay originally appeared on The Washington Examiner on September 12, 2019. You won’t find President Trump agreeing with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on many issues, but the need for occupational licensing reform […] → Read More

Did You Need Another Reason to Hate Lobbyists & Cronyism?

My latest AIER column examines the impact increased lobbying and regulatory accumulation have on entrepreneurialism and innovation more generally. Unsurprisingly, it’s not a healthy relationship. A growing body of economic evidence concludes that increases in the former lead to much […] → Read More

How Regulation Wrecks Innovation

By Adam Thierer | Many laws and regulations create direct or indirect barriers to the emergence of new ideas and organizations. → Read More

Black Mirror Episodes from Medieval Times

CollegeHumor has created this amazing video, “Black Mirror Episodes from Medieval Times,” which is a fun parody of the relentless dystopianism of the Netflix show “Black Mirror.” If you haven’t watched Black Mirror, I encourage you to do so. It’s […] → Read More

How Conservatives Came to Favor the Fairness Doctrine & Net Neutrality

I have been covering telecom and Internet policy for almost 30 years now. During much of that time – which included a nine year stint at the Heritage Foundation — I have interacted with conservatives on various policy issues and […] → Read More

There Was No “Golden Age” of Broadcast Regulation

Slate recently published an astonishing piece of revisionist history under the title, “Bring Back the Golden Age of Broadcast Regulation,” which suggested that the old media regulatory model of the past would be appropriate for modern digital media providers and […] → Read More

An Epic Moral Panic Over Social Media

[This essay originally appeared on the AIER blog on May 28, 2019.] In a hotly-worded USA Today op-ed last week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) railed against social media sites Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He argued that, “social media wastes our time and […] → Read More