Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trump gets to know the stakes for Silicon Valley

Donald Trump met with more than a dozen Silicon Valley executives in his “Rump Tower”, in a 25th floor “Board room” right out of “The Apprentice”, although with some nice views.  They even put on formal suits.  Elizabeth Dwoskin and Brian Fung have the story in the Washington Post on p. A14,   with a list of attendees.

The meeting had been organized by Peter Thiel.

Trump seems to be easing up a bit on immigration, going along with the idea of allowing highly skilled engineers (often from Asia or India) to come, and less concerned that companies like Apple and Tesla buy parts from overseas.  Apple has been criticized because so many of its parts come from China, where workers reportedly live in dorm factories.  This creates a “karma” problem for tech users.

Trump seems vigorous on pursuing the business tax cuts they want.

And he seems less concerned about weighing in on the vulnerabilities created by a lax attitude toward user-generated content (including “fake news”), which makes recruitment of unstable people by ISIS and other potential enemies easier.  But you still wonder how sustainable the business models of many of the major companies will be, as the public become skittish about ads and excessive consumerism.   There’s still an ethical question as to whether UGC should pay its own freight.
Twitter, oddly, was not at the meeting, or even invited – given Trump’s own Twitter storms.
Still, Tech is globalistic and "elitist" and anti-tribal (although Facebook didn't take into account a lot of people's tribal tendencies in picking news to share and believe).  Simon Shsuter, describing "people power" on p. 82 of the Time "Person of the Year: issue ((T)rump), views globalism as an antidote to prevent war and struggle.  But populist Farage is quoted as saying that globalism shows Europe's "'complete lack of understanding of human beings operate.' In a world of Farage and his allies, people gravitate more toward tribal notions of identity than to lofty principles of integration."  That  helps predict homophobia;  gay people (especially men) have less reason for "loyalty to blood" - even as promoted by "Jake 2.0" in one episode. FEE has a related article on how tribalism relates to Bannon's economic nationalism, keeping the world in conflict, and speakers in their proper place, here.

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