Even More Praise of the Internets

Two members of the GMU mafia who have done much to shape my worldview in the past few years, Robin Hanson and Tyler Cowen, did a Bloggingheads "diavlog" together (quite the portmanteau, diavlog, no?). Here's a taste of the topics:

Tyler vs. Robin on the merits of cryonics (12:23) Does fiction weaken your grasp of reality? (06:52) Are economists evil? (12:10) How to estimate the value of a person’s life (06:04) Will prediction markets ever really take off? (08:06) Has fame made Tyler boring? (02:27)

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They both have PhD's in economics and are tremendously intelligent, but whereas Robin has more of the cold analytic attitude consistent with his background in physics and computer science, Tyler, the bearded one, is a self-described "cultural omnivore" who reads and travels voraciously and has written a popular ethnic dining guide to Washington DC.

For most the video will probably be esoteric and dry, but I watched it straight through with a dumb grin on my face as soon as I discovered it. This is partly because they talk about things I have an interest in, but mainly because I've read and interacted with these guys on their blogs and Facebook for several years now and so I feel I know them in a way seemingly belied by the fact I've never met them personally; there's something wonderfully 21st-century about reading the acknowledgments section to a book and being as familiar with the names and relationships described therein as one of the author's academic colleagues might be.

But generally, the video also reminds me of how much value from internet access I get above what I pay. I've often tried to guesstimate what my consumer surplus for internet is, and it's easily in triple figures.  Friends may consider me a pretty miserly guy overall , but I would gladly let an ISP gouge me out the wazoo as long as the connection was fast and always on.