Computing and Social Welfare Symposium at HICSS 2021

While the use of technology to create value or solve social needs is well understood, Eric Clemons from the Wharton School presents a new research discipline capturing the other side of the coin: technology causing social disruption and requiring social adaption. He stresses the importance to better understand new sources of power, new abuses of power, and new regulations to influence the behavior of firms.

Contributing to the symposium, Helmut Krcmar from the Technical University of Munich presents “The Cooperation Paradox – When Industry Cartels Increase Competition.” He starts with the basic premise that digital assistants and smart phone operating systems are emerging as essential life control interfaces (LCIs). LCIs are essential for products, but they are not core to the products and will not provide the basis of competition among them. In order to avoid strategic dependence and vulnerability, the argument is that Europe needs its own LCI. A European LCI would need to be open, shared, and independent and regulators would need to permit cooperation’s across and within industries. The interesting point is that Europe would end up with a single new LCI, instead of dozens of small specialized LCIs, but this would be a single viable and relevant LCI that could compete effectively with foreign LCIs. Paradoxically, this apparent cartel will increase rather decrease competition and the viability of EU firms and reduced rather than increase consumers’ costs.