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Silicon Valley once promised to solve many of the world’s problems with a technological revolution. But now, the tech hub is the center of much scrutiny, and for many, that scrutiny is warranted. From privacy violations to flawed business models to a lack of diversity and representation, Silicon Valley has seemingly betrayed its idealism. And though technological progress has notably enriched a few, Silicon Valley has failed to deliver its promise to all. Has the prioritization of profits and conformity of thought corrupted its original “do good” agenda? Proponents argue no: Silicon Valley’s critics are simply overreacting. After all, it is still the center of innovation, and the tech giants have revolutionized the way we think, shop, communicate, and experience our lives for the better. Do big tech’s detractors simply expect too much from lucrative corporations? Or has Silicon Valley lost its soul?

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For:

Noam Cohen

11 Items
Noam Cohen
  • Journalist & Author, "The Know-It-Alls"
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"Algorithms should be another important check on the system, revealing patterns of unfairness with a clarity that can be obscured in day-to-day life."

Thursday, October 25, 2018
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"YouTube’s reliance on Wikipedia to set the record straight builds on the thinking of another fact-challenged platform, the Facebook social network, which announced last year that Wikipedia would help its users root out 'fake news.'"

Friday, April 6, 2018
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"After the election of Donald J. Trump, technology companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have been called to account for magnifying the anger and misinformation of the voters who helped propel him to the presidency."

Thursday, November 8, 2018
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"What Facebook is selling to political campaigns is the same thing Uber is selling to its drivers and customers and what YouTube is selling to advertisers who hope to reach an audience of children — namely, the right to bypass longstanding rules and regulations in order to act with impunity."

Thursday, March 29, 2018
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"A smug interpretation that Mr. Zuckerberg outwitted dopey legislators only plays into the Silicon Valley view that being called before Congress to answer questions is a bug of our democracy, instead of a vital feature."

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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"In 2004, Peter Thiel created a company, Palantir, that built on his PayPal cofounder Max Levchin’s algorithms for analyzing and making judgments based on an individual’s highly personal digital records."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
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"His new book “The Know-It-Alls” takes Silicon Valley to task."

Sunday, December 24, 2017
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"We are beginning to understand that tech companies don’t have our best interests at heart. Did they ever?"

Friday, October 13, 2017
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"A study of the ‘powerful uber-confident men’ who shaped the Web"

Friday, December 1, 2017
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A comparative review of Leslie Berlin's book "Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age," and Noam Cohen's book “The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball.”

Friday, November 10, 2017
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"Noam Cohen, The New York Times contributing writer and 'The Know-It-Alls' author, discusses his essay in the New York Times Sunday Review about the threat big tech companies pose to the public."

Friday, October 13, 2017
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For:

Dipayan Ghosh

20 Items
Dipayan Ghosh
  • Pozen Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
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"We have watched as the American technology industry has started up, conquered the world, and then -- in rapid succession -- inspired and fractured our democratic political system."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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"China’s claim that the regulation is meant to enhance individual privacy rights is a facade. The government wants to quell international competition by raising the barrier to entry for outside players. "

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
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"Facebook’s intervention to fix the News Feed is important — regardless of whether it works — because it signals a recognition that the relationship between media and democracy is in crisis."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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"The new Mueller indictment doesn’t get at the root of the problem: the unchecked market power of social-media companies."

Monday, February 19, 2018
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"When Spotify and Netflix joke about how they know so much about us, it’s entertaining. But there is a darker side to the intersection of digital data-mining and micro-targeted advertising."

Thursday, February 22, 2018
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"If there is anything we should learn from the Cambridge Analytica revelations, it is that unless things change, we can expect the spread of disinformation and the systemic manipulation of voters to happen all over again, not only in U.S. national elections but throughout the world."

Monday, March 19, 2018
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"But as Facebook, Google, Twitter and like companies now contritely cover their tracks and comply with the government’s requests, they simultaneously remain quiet about a critical trend that promises to subvert the nation’s political integrity yet again if left unaddressed: the systemic integration of artificial intelligence into the same digital marketing technologies that were exploited by both Cambridge Analytica and the Internet Research Agency."

Monday, March 26, 2018
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"While the spotlight has been on Facebook, the broader issue is that most of the industry is not transparent about its practices with data brokers because there are no regulations that directly require such transparency. "

Monday, April 9, 2018
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"Our challenge is not just to overcome the natural resistance of corporations to regulation, but to break free of self-defeating partisanship."

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
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"When application programming interfaces -- or "APIs'' -- were first conjured up by software engineers years ago, no one would have imagined the role these benign and esoteric technical protocols could play in attacking American democracy."

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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"The United States has become identified with the global internet economy — for better and worse."

Monday, May 14, 2018
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"Amidst a fresh cycle of reports last week, Facebook confirmed that it had data partnerships with no less than 60 device manufacturers, including four Chinese firms -- Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL. These companies maintained access to Facebook user data as well as information on a user's friends -- even though Facebook did not collect prior consent."

Friday, June 15, 2018
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"Key American companies are adapting their policies around the world in ways that may prove dangerous for U.S. national security."

Friday, July 6, 2018
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"The EU may have issued a record-breaking fine on Google last week. But by focusing on one big player, it overlooks industrywide practices that harm consumers."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
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"Trump claimed that Google and Facebook suppress conservative content. The reason why is simple: we see what they think we want to, because it’s in their business interest"

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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"The central problem of disinformation corrupting American political culture is not Russian spies or a particular social media platform. The central problem is that the entire industry is built to leverage sophisticated technology to aggregate user attention and sell advertising."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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"But the reality is that the digital wilderness stretches far beyond Facebook, to a much larger tech ecosystem that deserves holistic examination and, potentially, regulation in the days ahead."

Monday, July 2, 2018
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"Digital Disinformation: How Silicon Valley's Implicit Alignment with Malicious Actors Subverts Democracy"

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
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"On the latest Recode Decode, “Digital Deceit” authors Dipayan Ghosh and Ben Scott explain the “fundamental flaw” in the digital economy that must be fixed."

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
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"Dipayan Ghosh, former Facebook private and public policy advisor and New America Institute fellow, and James Williams, former Googler and Time Well Spent co-founder, discuss the pressure facing big tech over fake news, bots and manipulative business practices."

Monday, February 26, 2018
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Against:

Leslie Berlin

12 Items
Leslie Berlin
  • Historian, Silicon Valley Archives & Author, “Troublemakers”
Read Bio

"William Shockley held more than 50 patents for electronic devices and by one estimate was personally responsible for nearly half the worthwhile ideas in solid-state electronics in the field's first dozen years. He chose the Bay Area as the home for his eponymous company because his mother lived in Palo Alto and because the electronics industry -- seeded by World War II and nurtured by Frederick Terman at Stanford -- had already begun to take root in the valley's famously fertile soil."

Friday, September 2, 2005
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"Robert Noyce was called the Thomas Edison and the Henry Ford of Silicon Valley: Edison for his coinvention of the integrated circuit, a device that lies at the heart of modern electronics; Ford for his work as a cofounder of two companies— Fairchild Semiconductor, the first successful silicon firm in Silicon Valley, and Intel, today the largest semiconductor company in the world."

Thursday, May 31, 2007
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"History, Jobs understood, gave him a chance to see — and see through — the conjurer’s tricks before they happened to him, so he would know how to handle them."

Friday, May 1, 2015
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"Heroic lone-wolf entrepreneurs may be the preferred heroes of narratives spun by the media, but history has shown us that teams—and the networks that come from them—are the true engines behind innovation in Silicon Valley and far beyond. No one understood this better than Bob Taylor."

Friday, April 21, 2017
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Leslie Berlin says, "One of the reasons I love studying the history of Silicon Valley is that it's like someone took the history of the United States and pressed fast-forward," she said. "When you are at the end of the 1950s you are still dealing largely with [an] agricultural economy out here."

Monday, December 16, 2013
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"Project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University, Berlin spoke about her book in a fireside chat at the Computer History Museum (CHM) with the Exponential Center’s Marguerite Gong Hancock on December 13, 2017."

Friday, January 5, 2018
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"The history of Silicon Valley is riddled with tension and surprising outcomes, said Leslie Berlin, project historian of the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University. Again and again, founders of technology companies started out to solve an immediate problem only to see their work grow into something with broader, sometimes global, consequence."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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"While piecing together a timeline of the Valley’s early history—picture end-to-end sheets of paper covered in black dots—Berlin was amazed to discover a period of rapid-fire innovation between 1969 and 1976 that included the first Arpanet transmission; the birth of videogames; and the launch of Apple, Atari, Genentech, and major venture firms such as Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital."

Friday, November 17, 2017
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Leslie Berlin speaks about her new book "Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age" on the Recode Decode podcast.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
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Leslie Berlin discusses her new book "Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
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"Leslie Berlin, author and Silicon Valley historian, talks about the rise of big tech and its role in the future of media."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
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A comparative review of Leslie Berlin's book "Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age," and Noam Cohen's book “The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball.”

Friday, November 10, 2017
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Against:

Joshua McKenty

5 Items
Joshua McKenty
  • Vice President, Pivotal
Read Bio

An interview between Robert Brennan Hart of Betakit and Joshua McKenty about the Canadian Cloud Council.

Monday, March 5, 2018
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"At this year’s Redis Conference hosted by Redis Labs in June, Josh McKenty, Vice President at Pivotal gave a very interesting talk that challenged assumptions many of us in the tech world have about Conway’s Law."

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
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"Pivotal, the cloud computing and big data company that spun out of EMC and VMware in 2013, has hired Joshua McKenty, a big name in the OpenStack world, as field CTO for the company’s open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service framework."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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"During the very first Microsoft Azure OpenDev event, Joshua McKenty, Head of Global Ecosystem Engineering, discusses how Pivotal helps large organizations transform their businesses by adopting cloud-native patterns with modern Java applications on Pivotal Cloud Foundry, powered by Azure."

Thursday, June 22, 2017
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Joshua McKenty (Piston Cloud) speaks at XLDB-2012.

Friday, October 12, 2012
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Background

4 Items
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"In 2008, it was Wall Street bankers. In 2017, tech workers are the world’s villain."

Saturday, December 16, 2017
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Erin Griffith

"Silicon Valley is a name that is synonymous with the technology industry, but when and how did this small area of California become the center of the tech world? The area's transformation happened gradually, over a period of more than 100 years."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
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Corey Protin, Matthew Stuart and Matt Weinberger

A list of the world's top tech companies.

Monday, July 16, 2018
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Jeff Desjardins

A conversation with Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen, "Silicon Valley luminaries, epic entrepreneurs and prominent financiers."

Monday, April 29, 2013
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Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen

For The Motion

6 Items
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"Can Silicon Valley recapture the hold it once had on our imaginations? Probably not. That’s for the best."

Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Siva Vaidhyanathan

"Whether its Facebook’s horrific privacy violations, the excesses of Uber’s bro culture, or concerns about Amazon’s labor practices, Silicon Valley’s reckoning is well underway."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
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Tim Wu

"A sector that once promised revolutionary change is finally hitting its backlash."

Friday, July 31, 2015
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Don Peck

"Wall Street has long been the industry people love to hate. But as big tech’s reputation plummets, suddenly a job at Facebook doesn’t seem so cool."

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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Olivia Solon

"Technology companies can no longer turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses of one of their largest investors."

Friday, October 12, 2018
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Anand Giridharadas

"Tech companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve conditions for female employees. Here’s why not much has changed—and what might actually work."

Saturday, April 1, 2017
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Liza Mundy

Against The Motion

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"And that's the true value of Silicon Valley. It serves as a beacon - a sort of Statue of Liberty for the 21st century, if you will. It is the one thing that unites the hacker in Kiev with the protester in Istanbul. However, unlike the Statue of Liberty, those who seek it do not have to cross oceans in steerage, a simple Internet connection will do."

Sunday, July 14, 2013
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Greg Satell and Digital Tonto

"Defeating global poverty is the latest start-up trend. But is there really an app for that?"

Monday, June 24, 2013
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Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur

"Through the digital platforms, social networks, technology and products it designs and controls, the Valley’s startups and power brands can rapidly influence our global society at scale. But how do we make the most of this impact, for people and the planet?"

Friday, March 24, 2017
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Celine Herweijer

"It's crowded. It's expensive. It's also still growing and creating plenty of good jobs."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
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Justin Fox

"Employees at several of the world’s biggest technology companies have been exercising newfound political power where they work, pushing their bosses on business ethics with help from established and fledgling nonprofit groups."

Friday, July 13, 2018
Joseph Menn

"Silicon Valley has failed to fill the massive unmet needs of the social sector on issues ranging from poverty and education to human rights and the environment."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
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Jim Fruchterman

Algorithms & Tech Addiction

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"Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
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Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson

"From policing and healthcare to defence and dating sites AI is being woven into the fabric of our lives – for better and for worse."

Friday, November 3, 2017
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Ian Sample

"As Facebook shapes our access to information, Twitter dictates public opinion and Tinder influences our dating decisions, the algorithms we’ve developed to help us navigate choice are now actively driving every aspect of our lives."

Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Adriana Stan and Mihai Botarel

"Algorithms are driving behaviors that may very well be inadvertently targeting society's most vulnerable."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
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Thomas Koulopoulos

"A better analogy is our modern love-hate relationship with food. When grappling with the promises and pitfalls of our digital devices, it helps to understand the similarities between our technological diets and our literal ones."

Thursday, February 1, 2018
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Robbie Gonzales

"Computers are inheriting gender bias implanted in language data sets—and not everyone thinks we should correct it."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
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Will Knight

An interview between Sean Illing and Hannah Fry about her new book "Hello World: Being Human in the age of Algorithms."

Monday, October 1, 2018
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Sean Illing

"My experience is a reminder that artificial intelligence, often heralded for its potential to change the world, can actually reinforce bias and exclusion, even when it’s used in the most well-intended ways."

Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Joy Buolamwini

Regulation

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"Most of my fellow tech entrepreneurs oppose government oversight. They’re wrong. Good rules create healthy markets."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
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Marcus Ryu
Monday, April 30, 2018
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Scott Thurm

"In wake of violence in Charlottesville, one technology company after another shut down or cut off service to right-wing accounts and sites."

Thursday, August 24, 2017
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Elizabeth Dwoskin and Hamza Shaban

A conversation between Wall Street Journal's Rolfe Winkler and LinkedIn's co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Rolfe Winkler

"The stampede of media coverage focusing on digital disruptions and the sins of Silicon Valley excess is fueling momentum for Big Regulation. Bill Gates, among others, has warned that current behaviors are a path to government intervention."

Friday, March 23, 2018
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Mark P. Mills

"[I]t’s vital that we take the time to develop our own approach — one that will provide protection without stifling American innovation that has made Silicon Valley the technology leader around the world."

Monday, April 23, 2018
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Melissa Blaustein

"Legislation that puts consumer information and choice first could build trust across the ecosystem. If policymakers follow the lead of Europe and California, however, many of these technological solutions could be blocked."

Thursday, September 27, 2018
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Bret Swanson

"Bias is necessary for life, even though bias sometimes gets things wrong."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
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Mark Jamison

Silicon Valley Labor Movement

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"Employees at Google and elsewhere are protesting their bosses’ business decisions. Will that evolve into a more sustained labor movement?"

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
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Rick Paulas

"In a tech-dominated world, when the decisions made by a handful of Silicon Valley executives have the ability to reshape nations and transform billions of lives, there’s no better time to stand up. Together, you can encourage your employers to behave in ethical and humane ways, and blow the whistle publicly when they fall short."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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Kevin Roose

American Jobs & Silicon Valley

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Global Perspectives

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"Silicon Valley is the new Rome. As in the time of Caesar, the world is grappling with an advanced city-state dominating much of the planet, injecting its technology and ethos everywhere it lands and funneling enormous wealth back home."

Thursday, June 9, 2016
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Kevin Maney

"The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight back."

Friday, July 27, 2018
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Zach Dorfman