Ipse Dixit


Megan Stevenson on Algorithmic Risk Assessment

Season 1, Ep. 478

In this episode, Megan T. Stevenson, Assistant Professor of Law at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, discusses her article "Algorithmic Risk Assessment in the Hands of Humans," which she co-authored with Jennifer L. Doleac. Stevenson begins by explaining how and why courts traditionally sentenced criminal defendants, focusing on the goal of incapacitation, which requires an assessment of the risk of recidivism. She observes that algorithmic risk assessment promises to make incapacitation more efficient, but notes many potential concern. She describes the empirical study of Virginia's program she conducted with Doleac, and observes that judges seem to depart from the algorithm's recommendations, especially for young defendants. She also observes that judges unexpectedly imposed lighter sentences on low-risk sex offenders. Stevenson is on Twitter at @MeganTStevenson.

This episode was hosted by Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at @brianlfrye.

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Luke Morgan on Capitalism & the Decline of Journalism

Season 1, Ep. 530
In this episode, Luke Morgan discusses his article "The Broken Branch: Capitalism, the Constitution, and the Press," forthcoming in the Penn State Law Review. Morgan begins by discussing the economic decline of journalism, and why applying market logic to the public good of journalism has precipitated its decline. He continues by explaining why journalism cannot exist as a market product, arguing that its limited success in that regard is a result of a combination of subsidization by advertisers, a business model that has been destroyed by the internet. Describing two emerging models of addressing the problem -- patronage and corporatization -- he details how each undermines the democratic purpose of journalism without solving its fundamental economic problem.Morgan then explores the role of the institutional press within the Constitutional system, noting the importance of press freedom and of the institutional press itself to America's founding generation. He argues that the Press Clause of the First Amendment has been essentially been written out of the Constitution through the Supreme Court's adoption of the "dissemination theory" of the Press Clause,and argues against that theory. He notes that the combination of market and political pressures threaten press freedom, creating a condition of "press unfreedom." Morganconcludes by providing his insights and recommendations for the public, policymakers, and governments. He is on Twitter at@s_lukemorgan.This episode was hosted by Luce Nguyen. She is on Twitter at @NguyenLuce.