We are the good guys, implores Bezos
Bezos, addressing the audience of the Reagan National Defense Forum, implored that cooperation between Big Tech and the Department of Defense is critical to national defense. Bezos stated that the country is in big trouble if tech firms do not provide new technologies to the Pentagon. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Bezos was reacting in part to protests from Google employees over Project Maven, a contract to assist recognition of faces and objects from drone video feeds. Google, under pressure from employees, decided not to renew the contract in 2019. It is important to remember that national defense spending funded much of our nation’s tech industry, especially if one considers NASA to be a scientific face of a larger national defense initiative. Tech employees are not asking themselves who, if not the U.S. and its allies, will develop superior weapons technologies. Expect some tough showdowns in the coming quarters between Big Tech employees who want nothing to do with war, and company management, who will remind the employees, to their chagrin, that peace is often maintained by brandishing the most sophisticated weapons. Unfortunately, such realities will make BigTech companies “less cool” work places for some.
Tech centers continue to expand, not sharing the wealth
The hottest technology cities in the country, despite high rents and transportation problems, continue to add tech jobs. The idea of using the Internet and technology tools to connect remote workers to tech centers has not resulted in relieving the pressure on new job growth on tech centers. Companies operating in the top 5 cities tech cities have plans to add hundreds to thousands of new jobs. Wired
The top 5 and bottom 5 cities in the change in their share of US innovation jobs, 2005-2017
|Metropolitan area||Change in innovation jobs||Change in share of US innovation jobs|
|1||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||77,192||2.0|
|3||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||52,288||1.1|
|5||San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||19,949||0.4|
|98||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||-8,969||-0.5|
|100||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||-8,322||-0.7|
dis-rup-shun: Tech companies in the Bay Area have pledged millions to help alleviate the housing shortages they have created. Despite a strong national economy and aggressive hiring plans, the BigTech economic engines aren’t replacing the middle America jobs they have displaced with online markets and cloud computing. The Amazon HQ2 debacle in New York diffused the excitement of building alternative tech centers, but U.S. cities need to continue the dialog with BigTech to spread the wealth that is being generated by the Internet economy.
Google Maps does track your every move
If you are wondering if Google knows everywhere you have been, the answer is yes, if you have accepted the default settings. With a few changes to the defaults, you can turn that tracking off or limit the amount of history stored. The steps for doing so are in CNBC.
dis-rup-shun: The debate regarding if ads sent to your phone or computer were in fact the result of where you went, continues on. It is certainly possible that ads can be directed to you based on your location as Google stores this data, to a minute level, unless you disable these features. This tracking information can be a good thing in that it helps to inform travel times for the public, and it can help you remember where that great restaurant or hotel is that you saw on your last trip and wish to research. If you are going somewhere that you don’t want others to know about, it is probably wise to turn it off. Expect to see both regulatory and public sentiment force Google and Big Tech to display a simple, easy to access dashboard which enables you to understand what personal data is being stored, and for how long.
Scientific community shocked by SpaceX satellites
Elon Musk’s SpaceX company is, (great news) providing a way for every corner of the U.S. to receive broadband coverage via a chain (bad news) of up to 1,800 Starlink satellites. The satellites, being launched in batches every few weeks, are forming a mesh of shiny objects, criss-crossing astronomers’ view of space. The company has stated that future launches will include a dark coating on each satellite to reduce its reflective-ness. ZDNet
dis-rup-shun: An ongoing battle between science and commerce in space has begun. It will likely not end soon as more and more commercial and defense-minded technology is sent into orbit at a breakneck pace. Just as commercial (over)fishing of the seas impacts the biology of oceans, the arrival of industry into space will forever impact the nature of star gazing. Who will arbitrate such matters that include not only contests between science and commerce, but between nations? Expect space management to become an important, volatile and highly contested field in the next half decade. Perhaps this is an avenue for law schools to pursue.