Benchmark Blog

Towards an era of human-oriented computing

Power relationships can be deceptive, even those with inanimate objects. Who is in charge, you or your computer? I am old enough to remember booting up a DOS or Linux computer straight to a command line. The black screen displayed some apparently random symbols followed by a cursor, beckoning the entry of exactly the right […]

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Consumers value Facebook to the tune of $1 trillion a year

On June 16, former presidential hopeful Andrew Yang took to Twitter to call out Facebook, “Facebook is now worth $650 billion largely due to the monetization of our data. How much of that value are users seeing? At this point Facebook should be paying users for the privilege of using our data.” Yang asks an […]

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Remotely satisfied

Pandemic-related changes in travel and commuting patterns, global carbon emissions will drop by an estimated 8 percent this year.
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The Post-COVID world needs micromobility

*This is part 2 of a 2 part series on micromobility after COVID. Read part 1 here. Among its widespread impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we get around. One of the biggest changes has been a decrease in the number of people who use public transportation. With people seeking to avoid exposure to COVID-19, they […]

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Micromobility in a post-COVID world

*Part 1 of a 2 part series on micromobility after COVID Ascities struggle to return to normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a looming fear that traffic will be worse than ever. To prevent the impending Carmageddon, cities around the world are backing micromobility. E-scooters, E-bikes, bikes, mopeds, and other forms […]

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It may finally be time for unstoppable social media platforms

There’s never a dull moment with Donald J. Trump. Twitter’s fact check of our esteemed President last week reignited a wonky debate over a law called Section 230, a longstanding pillar of U.S. Internet policy, as Trump and his allies such as Sens. Rubio and Hawley take aim at the provision. 47 USC 230 was originally […]

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A dangerous game

President Trump is, by all accounts, the first social media president. His use of these platforms allowed him to side-step political insiders, win the GOP nomination, and find his way into the oval office. The megaphone that sites like Facebook and Twitter have provided the president is unprecedented, and announcements traditionally made from rose gardens […]

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The surprising leaders in the fight against climate change

In the months since Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez released the Green New Deal (GND), Democratic presidential hopefuls have been promoting their own climate proposals. Some have thrown their full support behind the Green New Deal, while others like former Representative Beto O’Rourke have unveiled plans that take a more measured approach than the GND. O’Rourke has been both […]

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Remote work and the screen-time debate

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country are working from home at unprecedented levels. Although remote work has been on the rise for some time now, up until the pandemic, the trend was relatively slow. Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the percentage of workers who did at least part of their […]

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Which jobs and industries are most affected by COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create an unprecedented effect on the economy, increasing unemployment to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Many jobs have been lost, and claims for unemployment insurance have surpassed by far the all-time high. In fact, as figure 1 shows, over the last seven weeks, more than 30 million Americans […]

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The Apple Google API is a supplement to manual tracing, not a substitute

This week Apple and Google rolled out a new application programming interface (API), which is meant to help in the fight against COVID. The “Exposure Notification API” gives public health officials and other selected developers the ability to create new mobile applications that would alert users if they came into contact with someone positively tagged as […]

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The value of sanctuary

Even before he was elected, President Trump campaigned on anti-immigration issues. And since he took office, Trump has fought immigration more than any other recent President. He has made out immigrants to be “bad hombres” — criminals who are disrupting the American way of life. His efforts to reduce immigration include building a border wall with Mexico, increasing immigration […]

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We’re finally doing telehealth the right way

Renewed discussions this week surrounding the next wave of relief efforts for COVID-19 have also reignited discussions surrounding telehealth. Telehealth is the use of technology, including interactive telecommunication, to deliver medical and other health services via virtual platforms. The CARES Act appropriated $200 million to help expand telehealth, but some say more is needed. The […]

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Scrap DACA In Favor of Long-term Reform

The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling on the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) any day now. Whatever the ruling, it will affect a little under a million migrants. DACA protects immigrants who were brought to the United States as children without authorization. It provides employment authorization and peace of […]

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Unemployment vs. direct cash payments

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new estimates for the number of Americans who are now jobless. The news isn’t good. Unemployment in America has now reached rates not seen since the Great Depression, with 14.5 percent of workers unemployed. These high levels of unemployment have largely been driven by the response to COVID-19. States across the […]

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How the education system can adapt to COVID-19

In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, schools have closed for nearly all K-12 students in the U.S., and at least 46 states have ordered or recommended closing schools for the rest of the academic year. These school closures have impacted over 55 million students from over 124,000 schools. Although the pandemic […]

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The US is deporting coronavirus

In at least two countries, Guatemala and Honduras, US deportees have tested positive for COVID-19. Deportations pose health risks to the receiving countries and the deportation staff. Despite early efforts by these countries, such as closing their borders, continued deportations undermine those policies. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not taking sufficient measures […]

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Cash for COVID?

Since the World Health Organization first declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, the virus has spread quickly through the U.S. According to the CDC, there have now been over one million confirmed cases in the United States and over 60,000 deaths, with both numbers increasing every day. To slow the spread of the virus, virtually […]

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Licensing in the age of COVID-19

Senate Majority President Mitch McConnell hinted that the next COVID-19 aid package may come with strings attached. As he told reporters, “We’re not writing a check to send down to states to allow them to, in effect, finance mistakes they’ve made unrelated to the coronavirus.” The specific area that McConnell pointed to was limiting legal liabilities surrounding COVID-19. […]

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Improving the Magna Carta of environmental law

The National Environmental Policy Act is sometimes called the Magna Carta of environmental law. The law is popular with NIMBYs and environmental activists because it gives them an effective veto over any project that the federal government touches. A NEPA lawsuit can bring an infrastructure project to a standstill; not a shovelful of dirt can […]

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Innovation’s green thumb

Earth Day turns 50 years old today. First celebrated in 1970, it is the closest thing the modern environmental movement has to a birthday. And while social distancing and closed parks are preventing many of us from celebrating the way we’d like, the pandemic has given us an interesting insight into the impacts of our […]

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Three Cheers for Density

Density has gotten a bad rep because of COVID-19. Some of the places that are most vulnerable to the pandemic are large, dense cities like Madrid, Seattle, and New York City. All three of these cities have had some of the highest infection rates and death rates. The spread of COVID-19 in these cities was, in part, driven by […]

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Immigrants are essential

On Monday night, President Trump announced that he would sign an executive order halting immigration into the U.S. The 38-word tweet was short on details. Most immigration is stopped already, leaving rumor mills to spin as more information emerged from other sources. Trump’s motivation for further suspending immigration was clear–COVID-19 necessitates more restrictions to protect U.S. jobs. There are […]

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Antitrust can’t fix social media bias

It doesn’t take much to find accusations of bias by today’s big tech companies. On one side, tech companies are accused of bias against conservatives for removing too much political speech. At the same time, these companies are accused of favoring conservatives for not taking down enough harmful speech. Even though there is little agreement on the problem, the […]

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Remote work is here to stay

Coauthored by CGO student research fellow Ellie McDonald. Today marks my 24th day of working from home due to COVID-19. Whether they like it or not, more and more employees like me are being pushed into remote work due to the public health crisis currently sweeping the globe. In early February, Time Magazine dubbed the current shift […]

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Did an 8-year-old merger cause today’s ventilator shortage?

Last week, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order General Motors to produce badly needed ventilators in the fight against COVID-19. How bad has this shortage become? New York State, for example, alone needs 30,000 additional ventilators to respond to the crisis adequately. According to a recent The New York Times report, a merger within the […]

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Regulatory uncertainty made COVID responses difficult

The introduction of COVID-19 has moved markets and sparked incredible changes in civil society and at federal agencies. But there is disagreement about whether or not official institutional responses have been effective and well-timed. Mark Lutter, founder and executive director of the Charter Cities Institute, chided the response, saying, “A functioning government could have prevented the crisis, […]

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Should state lines stop doctors?

As I write this piece in my makeshift home-office, I am entering week three of self-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19. Like my coworkers and countless others around the world still fortunate enough to remain employed, I am learning to adapt to this new normal. No one is sure how long it will last, or how […]

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