The industry's pre-coronavirus agenda isn't vanishing — but its priorities have already been reshuffled. These agenda items have jumped to the top of the list: 1) Transforming healthcare, 2) Distance learning and the digital divide, 3) Network bandwidth and resilience, and 4) Misinformation and media polarization.
The coronavirus crisis has reset the tech industry's ecology with the speed and force of a meteor hitting a planet. Just as the industry's tools and services have shaped our experience of this disastrous moment, the pandemic has reshaped the industry itself in a matter of weeks. Big Tech's giant apex predators will strengthen their dominance while facing new threats. In the middle ranks of the industry, where freshly IPOed newcomers on the way up pass middle-aged firms on their way down, chaos and carnage loom. Tech's teeming underbrush of small startups wi
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, tech companies are stepping into the void left by a reluctant or incapable federal government — enabling contact tracing, wrestling with testing, and ramping up the capacity of government operations like unemployment services. Public-private partnerships are common in times of crisis, and tech companies always love to show off their "how can we help?" reflexes when calamities arise. But the pandemic response is breaking from the normal pattern in which government calls for action, specifies needs, and sets standards and priorities while companies apply
As the coronavirus crisis forces daily life across the US into a new homebound template, the tech industry is swooping in to reshape how we shop, eat and entertain ourselves. Trends toward e-commerce, delivery services and online entertainment have long been underway, but this moment is accelerating them — and pushing the companies and industries behind them into a new position of dominance. The longer our public health crisis lasts, the more deeply these changes will etch themselves into the economy. As one of its side effects, the coronavirus pandemic could seal the fate of the digital ec
The most consequential stories for tech in 2020 pit the industry's corporate colossi against the US government, foreign nations, and the human needs of their own customers. The big battles ahead include: Securing the 2020 U.S. election; Defining the limits of privacy; Coping with the antitrust onslaught; Defending a global industry in an age of "decoupling;" and Flipping tech from harm to "wellness."
Cyber Monday — with a predicted $9 billion in US sales online — has become a self-sustaining phenomenon in the world of e-retail, with email blasts and ad blitzes pushing pre-holiday season discounts. This event did not emerge organically. It's a marketing construct built around a discredited prefix that was originally coined for an invented science. Back in 2005, data showed online sales spiking the Monday after Thanksgiving.
The tech industry spent the last two decades connecting the world and getting computers into every home and hand — but that's turning out to have been the easy part. Now, every problem tech companies face is fiendishly hard. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple have entered a world where their product innovations and profit margins are beginning to matter less than their ability to navigate treacherous political, social, and ethical rapids. Policymakers and engineers are both accustomed to making and living with tradeoffs, but someone has to make a final call over where these choices land.
Axios is launching a series to help you navigate the new avalanche of misinformation, and illuminate its impact on America and the globe, through 2020 and beyond. Hostile powers undermining elections. Deepfake video and audio. Bots and trolls, phishing and fake news — plus of course old-fashioned spin and lies. The sheer volume of assaults on fact and truth is undermining trust not just in politics and government, but also in business, tech, science and health care as well. The bottom line: We won't be able to solve our problems if we can't even agree which ones are real.
The Trump administration's policy toward big tech moved in two opposite directions recently, as the White House sought the big platforms' help in predicting mass shootings while it was also reportedly drafting plans to punish them for perceived bias. On Aug 9, the administration invoked the help of Google, Facebook and other companies to detect and deter mass shooters before they act. Meanwhile, the White House has circulated a draft of a new executive order aimed at imposing new restrictions on tech platforms' freedom to moderate the content users contribute.
Today's tech giants achieved success and scale by promoting their openness, but the industry's open doors are shutting, one by one. Today's dominant tech platforms are privately owned and governed, and their owners will readily adjust the "openness" dial to suit their needs — booting users perceived to be undesirable, blocking competitors, and locking down key data structures (like Facebook's "social graph") to prevent users from choosing alternatives.