The Questions Only Get Harder


Money Quote Oct. 3 2017

More Facebook, an EPA built for business, IBM leads.

Because you can’t get enough of this story…Money quote (from the Times piece): “We’re obviously deeply disturbed by this,” Joel Kaplan, Facebook vice president for United States public policy, said in an interview. “The ads and accounts we found appeared to amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum,” including gun rights, gay rights issues and the Black Lives Matter movement.” BTW, here’s Facebook’s post on the matter, part of its “Hard Questions” series. Those questions are getting harder and harder.

Claiming the Obama administration met mainly with non-business organizations (not true), the EPA chief has met largely with leaders from the industries he purportedly is regulating these past eight months. That should give anyone pause. Money quote: “Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. chief has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.”

Is IBM doing this for the PR? Honestly, it really doesn’t matter. It’s the right thing to do, and as the piece points out, IBM is leading, which is unique — this is a major issue for all tech companies, yet none of them seem to have time to lead. Money quote: “A number of tech companies have vocally defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is set to phase out starting next spring. Many DACA beneficiaries, known as Dreamers, work at companies like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who has a more cordial relationship with the Trump administration than most tech executives, is the only major tech CEO to directly lobby leaders in Congress and the administration on the issue.”

Google’s Waymo self driving car unit is purportedly planning a fully automated car service by the end of this year — apparently with no “safety driver” in the car. I don’t buy it, for reasons that have more to do with local regulatory frameworks. Perhaps for a very limited run — say between Google’s buildings on campus in Mountain View. However, this Information report says it’ll happen in Phoenix, and key execs at Waymo seem to not like each other very much, but are focused on launching because they “want to be first.” Money quote: “The initial ride-sharing service is expected to operate as soon as this month in the Phoenix area, said two people briefed about the plan.”

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