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Posts Tagged ‘NYT’

Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Principal Doomsayer

Posted by hkarner - 12. November 2018

Date: 10-11-2018
Source: The New York Times By Nellie Bowles

The futurist philosopher Yuval Noah Harari thinks Silicon Valley is an engine of dystopian ruin. So why do the digital elite adore him so?

The futurist philosopher Yuval Noah Harari worries about a lot.

He worries that Silicon Valley is undermining democracy and ushering in a dystopian hellscape in which voting is obsolete.

He worries that by creating powerful influence machines to control billions of minds, the big tech companies are destroying the idea of a sovereign individual with free will.

He worries that because the technological revolution’s work requires so few laborers, Silicon Valley is creating a tiny ruling class and a teeming, furious “useless class.”

But lately, Mr. Harari is anxious about something much more personal. If this is his harrowing warning, then why do Silicon Valley C.E.O.s love him so?

“One possibility is that my message is not threatening to them, and so they embrace it?” a puzzled Mr. Harari said one afternoon in October. “For me, that’s more worrying. Maybe I’m missing something?” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Sundar Pichai of Google: ‘Technology Doesn’t Solve Humanity’s Problems’

Posted by hkarner - 10. November 2018

Date: 09-11-2018
Source: The New York Times By David Gelles

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

Growing up in India, he slept on the floor of a house without a refrigerator. Today, the chief executive is steering Google through the most turbulent period in its history.

Google is facing more challenges today than at any time in its 20-year history. Employees are outraged over sexual harassment. Executives are under scrutiny for an effort to secretly make a censored version of its search product for China. Google will shut down its social network next year after a data breach was discovered. Political and social debates, including one over building military-grade artificial intelligence, are roiling the work force.

Yet the man responsible for leading Google through this minefield is not one of the company’s founders — Larry Page and Sergey Brin — or even Eric Schmidt, the company’s former chief executive and chairman, who was ushered aside last year. Instead, the man in charge of arguably the most influential company in the world is Sundar Pichai, a soft-spoken engineer who grew up in Chennai, India.

Mr. Pichai was a voracious reader as a boy, and attended the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, then Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he received advanced degrees. After stints at Applied Materials and McKinsey, he joined Google in 2004. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What if Obama Voters Remember How Lousy the Obama Era Was?

Posted by hkarner - 14. Oktober 2018

Date: 13-10-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By James Freeman

The left worries that young people and minorities don’t hate Trump enough.

During the Obama administration there was much confident chatter on the left about the “coalition of the ascendant.” This rising population of young people, social liberals and minority voters not only carried Barack Obama to two national victories but was allegedly destined by demography to exert an increasing leftward tug on American politics. The potential problem for leaders of this coalition is that along the way some of their followers may have noticed the results of their policies.

A few warning signs have been appearing lately as the Obama generation makes it way into the workplace and as minority voters seem unwilling to hate President Donald Trump as much as Democratic politicians and the press expect them to do.

“It’s time for some alarm about the midterms,” writes David Leonhardt of the New York Times. “The most recent polls have underscored the real possibility that Republicans will keep control of both the Senate and House. According to Mr. Leonhardt: Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is as Creepy as You Feared

Posted by hkarner - 12. Oktober 2018

Date: 12-10-2018
Source: The New York Times By Farhad Manjoo

More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk.

No one really believed them, so few tried to stop them. Then before anyone realized it, the deed was done: Just about everyone had a Windows machine, and governments were left scrambling to figure out how to put Microsoft’s monopoly back in the bottle.

This sort of thing happens again and again in the tech industry. Audacious founders set their sights on something hilariously out of reach — Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect everyone — and the very unlikeliness of their plans insulates them from scrutiny. By the time the rest of us catch up to their effects on society, it’s often too late to do much about them.

It is happening again now. In recent years, the tech industry’s largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There’s just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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If G.O.P. Loses Hold on Congress, Trump Warns, Democrats Will Enact Change ‘Quickly and Violently’

Posted by hkarner - 30. August 2018

What a disgusting bunch of people! (hfk)

Date: 29-08-2018
Source: The New York Times

President Trump during a prayer at a dinner for evangelical leadership in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday evening.

WASHINGTON — President Trump warned evangelical leaders Monday night that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if Republicans lose control of Congress in the midterm elections.

Speaking to the group in the State Dining Room of the White House, Mr. Trump painted a stark picture of what losing the majority would mean for the administration’s conservative agenda, according to an audiotape of his remarks provided to The New York Times by someone who attended the event.

“They will end everything immediately,” Mr. Trump said. “When you look at antifa,” he added, a term that describes militant leftist groups, “and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”

A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, declined to elaborate on what the president meant.

The blunt warning — delivered to about 100 of the president’s most ardent supporters in the evangelical community — was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s attempts to use the specter of violence at the hands of his political opponents and to fan the flames of cultural divisions in the country. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Trump Reveals Himself as the Bully of His Allies

Posted by hkarner - 26. Juli 2018

Date: 25-07-2018
Source: The New York Times By Sylvie Kauffmann

Ms. Kauffmann is the editorial director of Le Monde.

PARIS — Maybe this July will be remembered as the month when Europe tried to save the liberal world order that President Trump is doing his best to dynamite. The reality is probably more prosaic. Europe is finally realizing that before saving the world, it needs to save itself from the assault of its former protector, the United States.

The European side of the trans-Atlantic family is at last accepting the idea that its reliable uncle has turned into a bully. Sure, that kinsman was always bossy, easily irritated. But when the going got rough, Europeans knew they could count on him. After all, they came from the same world, with common memories and values, and shared interests.

Since Mr. Trump’s July sweep through Europe — to Brussels, England, Scotland and Helsinki — that certainty has evaporated. The American president made clear that he could not care less about common memories and values, that he hates the family’s culture, its do-gooder attitude. He sees America’s interests differently. He has convinced himself that the family is taking advantage of him. “You’re stealing from my piggy bank!” he rages. He wants his money back. “Me first!” has become his motto. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Time Split to the Nanosecond Is Precisely What Wall Street Wants

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juli 2018

Date: 30-06-2018
Source: The New York Times By John Markoff

SAN FRANCISCO — Computer scientists at Stanford University and Google have created technology that can track time down to 100 billionths of a second. It could be just what Wall Street is looking for.

System engineers at Nasdaq, the New York-based stock exchange, recently began testing an algorithm and software that they hope can synchronize a giant network of computers with that nanosecond precision. They say they have built a prototype, and are in the process of deploying a bigger version.

For an exchange like Nasdaq, such refinement is essential to accurately order the millions of stock trades that are placed on their computer systems every second.

Ultimately, this is about money. With stock trading now dominated by computers that make buying and selling decisions and execute them with blazing speed, keeping that order also means protecting profits. So-called high frequency trading firms place trades in a fraction of a second, sometimes in a bet that they can move faster than bigger competitors. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tech Leaders Are Growing Up (Again). That’s a Good Thing.

Posted by hkarner - 16. März 2018

Date: 15-03-2018
Source: The New York Times

Several years ago, a plastic figurine began appearing around Google’s offices, an aging alien with gray hair, a Google Glass headset and a sign that read, “Get Off My Lawn!”

The doll, a special edition of Google’s Android mascot, was a jokey tribute to the Greyglers, a group for the 40-and-over crowd at Google, and the doll hinted at how it felt to be an older worker in tech: funny, self-conscious, a little out of place.

The Greyglers still exist, but they’re no longer such an anomaly. Sundar Pichai, Google’s 45-year-old chief executive, would fit in the group. So would Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who co-founded the search engine as graduate students two decades ago; Susan Wojcicki, an early employee who runs YouTube; and most of the company’s other high-ranking executives.

For years, the self-appointed leaders of Silicon Valley were young people — mostly men — with age-appropriate behavior. They adopted brash mottos like “move fast and break things” and eschewed work-life balance in favor of all-night hacking sessions in offices that looked more like college dorms. Their successes were cheered, and their sins were shrugged off as the cost of innovation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Google Is Trying Too Hard (or Not Hard Enough) to Diversify

Posted by hkarner - 12. März 2018

Date: 11-03-2018
Source: The New York Times

The internet giant is being sued by former employees who say the company is going too far with diversity. Other lawsuits accuse it of the opposite.

SAN FRANCISCO — In 2014, Google became one of the first technology companies to release a race and gender breakdown of its work force. It revealed — to no one’s surprise — that its staff was largely white or Asian and decidedly male.

The company explained that it disclosed the figures, in part, because it wanted to be held accountable publicly for not looking “the way we wanted to.”

Since then, Google has made modest progress in its plan to create a more diverse work force, with the percentage of women at the company ticking up a bit. But a spate of recent incidents and lawsuits highlight the challenges the company has faced as it has been dragged into a national discussion regarding politics, race and gender in the workplace. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The U.S.-China Rivalry Is, More Than Ever, a Fight Over Tech

Posted by hkarner - 8. März 2018

Date: 07-03-2018
Source: The New York Times

The chip maker Qualcomm is the target of a hostile takeover bid by Broadcom, a proposal that the United States government has said could give Chinese rivals an advantage.

WASHINGTON — As the United States and China look to protect their national security needs and economic interests, the fight between the two financial superpowers is increasingly focused on a single area: technology.

The clash erupted in public on Tuesday after the United States government, citing national security concerns, called for a full investigation into a hostile bid to buy the American chip stalwart Qualcomm — a review that is often a death knell for a corporate deal.

The proposed acquisition by the Singapore-based Broadcom would have been the largest deal in technology history, creating a major force in the development of the computer chips that power smartphones and many internet-connected devices. But a government panel said the takeover could weaken Qualcomm and give its Chinese rivals an advantage. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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