The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

The Filter Bubble: Another Web Conversation with SF Author/Futurist David Brin, Prof. Jane Bambauer, Prof. Mark Lemley, Prof. Ted Parson, and Me

Please come by, Fri., Nov. 6, 2020, 1:30 to 3 pm.


UCLA Law's AI Pulse Project and University of Arizona TechLaw present:

The Filter Bubble: What's the Problem, and what (if anything) should be done about it?

A web conversation with Jane Bambauer, David Brin, Mark Lemley, Eugene Volokh, and Ted Parson

Social media and other online information sources are charged with creating "filter bubbles": sheltered clusters of people with similar views, which foster polarized opinions and partisan zeal, degrade civility, and destabilize politics. Is this phenomenon real? Is it new? How does it work? And if its effects are that bad, how can they be fixed? Jane Bambauer argues that filter bubbles are more about easy contact with our friends than algorithmic manipulation. If this is so, then "fixing" the filter bubble will require messing with modern practices of socializing – not just for white supremacists, but for everybody. Joining Jane for an online conversation about the filter bubble, its causes, effects, and – if needed – corrections are David Brin, Mark Lemley, Ted Parson, and Eugene Volokh.

When: Friday, November 6, 2020, 1:30 – 3:00 PM Pacific time.

Register to attend: ­


Jane Bambauer is a Professor of Law at the University of Arizona. Her research assesses the social costs and benefits of Big Data, and questions the wisdom of many well-intentioned privacy laws. Her articles have appeared in the Stanford Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the California Law Review, and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Prof. Bambauer's own data-driven research explores biased judgment, legal education, and legal careers. She holds a B.S. in mathematics from Yale College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The Postman, Earth, and recently Existence. His nonfiction book about the information age—The Transparent Society—won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association.

Mark Lemley is the William H. Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the Director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and is affiliated faculty in the Symbolic Systems program.  Prof. Lemley teaches intellectual property, patent law, trademark law, antitrust, the law of robotics and AI, video game law, and remedies. He is the author of eight books and 181 articles, including the two-volume treatise IP and Antitrust.

Eugene Volokh is the Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and an academic affiliate at the law firm Mayer Brown. He teaches First Amendment law and a First Amendment amicus brief clinic, as well as copyright, criminal law, tort law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. Volokh is the author of the textbooks The First Amendment and Related Statutes (6th ed. 2016), and Academic Legal Writing (5th ed. 2013), as well as over 90 law review articles. He is a member of The American Law Institute, a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, and the founder and coauthor of The Volokh Conspiracy, a leading legal blog.

Edward A. (Ted) Parson (Moderator) is the Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law, and faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the UCLA School of Law. His research examines international environmental policy and law, the societal impacts and governance of disruptive technologies including artificial intelligence and geoengineering, and the political economy of regulation. Parson directs the AI Pulse Project and organized the 2019 Summer Institute on AI and Society.

Background reading: 

Jane R. Bambauer, Saura Masconale, and Simone M. Sepe, "Cats, Cars, and Nazis." (Introduction)

Steven L. Johnson, Brent Kitchens, and Peter Gray, "Facebook serves as an echo chamber, especially for conservatives. Blame its algorithm." Op-ed, Washington Post, Oct 26, 2020.

Mark A. Lemley and Eugene Volokh, "Law, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality." (Excerpts)

David Brin, "Insistence of Vision" (short story)