Here are some scenarios tech CEOs and employees are likely to encounter over the next four years:
(1) A foreign government is suspected of attacking a network or a site that opposes President Trump — a site that is a partner of yours. “It could be anyone,” the White House says, and forbids companies from investigating on the grounds that they are imperiling national security. Do you ignore the attack, or the President?
One of the most interesting trends in technology has nothing to do with AI, or machine learning, or the on demand economy. It has nothing to do with informatics and its impact on genomics, or whether (or when) Black Mirror transitions from social fiction to social fact.
No, to me the most interesting trend in technology is simply this: The leaders of the technology industry have internalized the impact of their creations on the world, and they have begun to turn their attentions outward.
Throughout the campaign and during his few first weeks as President-elect, Donald Trump has been relatively quiet on matters related to the on-demand economy. He shouldn’t be — over 53 million Americans are freelancers, approximately one third of the U.S. workforce.
I swear. If Silicon Valley had to invent a ball point pen, they’d say “it’s just really hard getting the ink to flow smoothly and at a consistent rate out of the pen. You don’t understand how hard it is.” They seem to be under the impression that anything not invented in Silicon Valley does not exist. They also seem to be under the impression that we haven’t been dealing with the nuisance of fake news for hundreds of years.
I am going to say this up front, because I have friends working on these problems: no one is saying the technical challenges to perfectly arbitrating truth and fiction are easy. I am not saying that. And there are good people — at Facebook and elsewhere — who are working very hard on this problem. I believe, however, that management is tying their hands, because they are only looking at a single solution set, and ignoring history. And, I believe, humans don’t expect perfect arbitration. What they expect are openness, context, and labeling, along with the neutering of even the most blatant, clear-cut cases of lying.
By coincidence, not design, I spent the two weeks after the election in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Washington, D.C., engaging with over 100 groups and leaders about the future of our country— bipartisan leaders in media, foundations, think tanks, NGOs, businesses, labor, technology, the academy, public service and the faith community. What I discussed with them is what we do now to move the United States forward. Is the American Dream dead? As we move beyond shock (and for many of us grieving), is there a constructive path out? Can it be bi-partisan? I believe so — it is called Progressive Federalism (a term coined by Andrei Cherny in the Democracy Journal and Joel Rogers and Richard Freeman in an important book on inequality).
My name is Elizabeth Wood and I am a senior content strategist within the IBM corporate marketing department, based in New York City. I have worked hard to get to this stage in my career, and have been a valued member of my team at IBM. However, I have chosen to resign, as I can no longer contribute to an organization that would ignore the real needs of its workforce.
(To be fair, in re-reading your post, I notice you didn’t ever come out and say Facebook didn’t deserve part of the blame. Like I said, people tell me you’re a good guy. I suspect you know that Facebook does bear some responsibility after all.)
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, most businesses have made long-term decisions based on the assumption that global trade was on an irreversible arc toward greater freedom. That era is now over.
In the short term, the Trans Pacific Partnership is dead, and China will move into the vacuum it leaves behind (The New York Times). This won’t end up “bringing jobs home.” It means more trade and more jobs will remain in Asia, where China and its trading partners will move forward with their own business. Progressives feared that TPP would open the door to foreign countries suing to overturn environmental rules in the U.S. Ironically, under a Trump administration, those rules are now in far greater danger closer to home.
Don’t like how the election turned out? Let’s secede! American history has a long tradition of threats like that, but people almost never act on them. That’s a good thing — since the one time it happened, we got four years of war, misery, death, and wounds that still haven’t healed a century and a half later.
Still, secession cries are ringing out again, and not from Dixie. Shervin Pishevar, the investor and Hyperloop One founder, has called for California to leave the Union, and he’s picked up some support in Silicon Valley (Fusion).
On Facebook, headlines are often more important than the articles themselves. Most headlines are browsed, not clicked — think about your own Facebook behavior; How often do you click on links? Because of this, the headlines frame our positions on topics without even having to read the content. It’s quick, simple, and we feel informed. But with respect to politics, this news feed browsing behavior creates an electorate that can become dangerously uninformed.
These same headlines also leave breadcrumbs of the 2016 political narrative, which we can analyze. For this study, we focused on four things:
Exploring media coverage frequency and bias of “Trump” and “Clinton” across different media sources (Headlines)
Comparing social media attention in 2016 to social media attention during the 2012 Obama vs. Romney campaign (Headlines)
Describing other topics the mainstream media brought up when describing Trump and Clinton during the 2016 election (Headlines)
Quantifying the differences in Facebook audience engagement for Clinton and Trump (Facebook Post Engagement)