Today’s Top Stories
Brexit: A Contrarian View. There might be a way to make sure this crisis doesn’t go to waste.
Are We Smart Enough to Control AI? Open collaboration might help us.
Open Source Code in Your Car: That’s GitHub’s hope.
Palantir Pays Up: The offer to repurchase shares may have broad ramifications.
North America Fights Climate Change: The continent’s three leaders ready a big pledge.
Brexit: A Contrarian View. We’ve spent the past six days both in this newsletter and in conversations with colleagues, discussing just how bad Britain’s vote to exit the European Union might be for the world economy. (Quartz zeroes in on the Asian angle. It doesn’t look good for Hong Kong or Singapore.) Yet leave it to Stratechery’s Ben Thompson, a sober observer (who’s based in Asia), to find new possibilities in the Brexit vote. Thompson’s thesis is that “the European Union is a product of the old order — a world where government entities existed to enable trade for multinationals and rules for everyone else.” In other words, it’s a system that works against the changes wrought by technology. He sees “potential in building something new,” or at least a moment to be frank about what in the EU isn’t working and maybe even fix it.
Are We Smart Enough to Control AI? In his latest weekly column, our founder and editor in chief considers that maybe the right way to master artificial intelligence isn’t through the markets, but through open collaboration, pure research, and … (shudder) our governments
Open Source Code in Your Car. GitHub, the online repository for distributing and collaborating on code, is going mobile, and we don’t mean phones. The service wants software for automobiles, famously proprietary, to be more open and collaborative (Xconomy). Ford has started using GitHub and more are coming, according to GitHub director of field services Matthew McCullough: “People in the auto industry may feel like they can get a leg up if they don’t tell anyone what they’re working on. But if there’s sharing, the process of finding bugs and getting things to market is easier.” If companies like Microsoft and Apple that were built around closed systems can see more value in the open nowadays, almost any industry can.
Palantir Pays Up. In what is probably in part a response to the big piece in BuzzFeed saying Palantir is having trouble retaining top people, the data analytics firm has dedicated $225 million to repurchase its employees’ privately held shares (New York Times). This article wonders whether this could be a crack in the usual four-year vesting structure, one in which employees have to exercise options shortly after leaving a company (90 days, usually) or lose them. The Times piece hovers over the issue and pulls the rug, concluding that, so far, not much is changing.
North America Fights Climate Change. When the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. meet today in Ottawa, climate change will be high on the agenda. They will pledge to generate half of the continent’s electricity from clean energy sources (Grist) by 2025, up from the current 37 percent. Getting there will require increasing wind, solar, and hydropower (which pretty much everyone likes) as well as nuclear and carbon capture technology (which splits environmentalists).
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