Money Quote, Thursday Oct. 5 201
Trump disrupts the Valley, AI is a myth, Google goes hard for hardware
I wasn’t going to do a Money Quote today, because, well, for whatever reason, when I do these daily posts rounding up the news, nearly no one reads them. But when I write a column, lots of folks do. The market has spoken, so to speak. But the process of writing these does help me make sense of the major stories of the day (at least the ones that relate to my work), so I am keeping at it. Maybe more folks will eventually find this worthy. I’m not counting on it though.
Pew has another study on the intersection of tech and culture, and the most interesting tidbit is the public’s distrust of automated automobiles. Money quote: “A sizable share of the public expresses reservations about personally using each of the technological concepts examined in the survey. Nearly six-in-ten Americans say they would not want to ride in a driverless vehicle or use a robot caregiver for themselves or a family member, while roughly three-quarters would not want to apply for a job that used a computer program to evaluate and select applicants.”
I’m not a regular reader of Dissent, but ReDEF pointed me there, and this piece is indeed worthy. It’s good to see serious, nearly academic breakdowns of tech’s political psyche. You may disagree, you probably do disagree. But that means you should read it all the more. Money quote: “This is what the “resistance” of Silicon Valley billionaires sounds like. The continued smooth operation of major tech companies requires that executives engage in liberal posturing while collaborating with politicians that most of their employees detest.”
Anything Kevin writes, I read. He loves being a contrarian, and this soothing piece insists AI is not a threat. I don’t buy it, but I don’t know why I don’t buy it, to be honest. Maybe it’s primal. You know, pre-AI. Money quote: “If the expectation of a superhuman AI takeover is built on five key assumptions that have no basis in evidence, then this idea is more akin to a religious belief — a myth. In the following paragraphs I expand my evidence for each of these five counter-assumptions, and make the case that, indeed, a superhuman AI is a kind of myth.”
Google spun this launch very differently than its past Nexus and Pixel hardware launches, and the press is taking note. Will the company be able to manage the customer service associated with being a major hardware company? I’m not feeling good about that, to be honest. Money quote: “Google just doubled down on its hardware effort, spending $1.1 billion to acquire a significant chunk of HTC’s phone operations and know-how. Now it needs to make the bet pay off.”
A reminder to read this piece, which Medium unlocked to all readers today. It’s worth your time.