Tech Executives Aren’t Fortune Tellers

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People working in technology are often incredibly smart. But they do not necessarily make accurate predictions of human and social behavior.

This week, Chief Executive of Airbnb said He thought that when the epidemic would end more people would hope among many households. Mark zuckerberg talked about His vision of people using dark glasses that read his mind. Digital Finance Start-up, a co-founder of Stripe, Spoke Regarding many things, including worker productivity metrics and the need for better medical technology.

These were well thought out ideas, and successful technical officers were a very right one.

But I am asking the technologists to be a little polite and a little more skeptical of the rest of us. Technical officers do not make oracles because of the really smart and oversizing products used by millions of people. (This is also true for a tech company named Oracle.)

As technology continues to evolve more in our lives and economies – and as technology founders become red-carpet-worthy celebrities – people want to know what technologists think about … everything: cities Future, education, health care, job and environment. It makes sense. I want to hear what they think.

Technology companies get insights by seeing the activity of millions or billions of people and businesses that few others have. We want powerful corporate leaders to be thoughtful about the world. And technologists can transform their beliefs into our reality.

But like all of us, technologists have blind spots and biases. They may misinterpret or opaque on topics they do not really understand. And humans are not always good at understanding humans.

I fear, the problem is that we often associate an innovative company with the ability to predict the future. And this can have real consequences If we make policy And we have our life around what they say.

One of the most compelling examples was Uber’s announcement that it would help reduce traffic and pollution in major metropolitan areas and reduce the number of cars in the United States. In 2015, Uber co-founder Travis Kalnik Described His company’s future: “Less cars, less congestion, more parking, less pollution and creating thousands of jobs.”

Research now shows Uber and other on-demand ride services have done a stark contrast. They Traffic made worse in many cities, Contributed to the increase in miles driven in the United States and People pulled from shared transit to single cars.

Maybe Kalnik and other Which did not mean Uber’s vision of a less car-dependent country. Maybe they just wanted to make Uber sound virtuous.

But more likely, the lesson here is that technologists often don’t think about how people will respond to what they create. Zuckerberg now says he did not anticipate that Facebook would empower authoritarian people and create incentives for the most radical voices.

Some similar promises which were recovering a few years ago, are now working on those companies. Computer driven cars, Fast trains And other transportation innovations. I am excited about these ideas, but also think about what happened to the original hope of ride services.

This track record calls not for cynicism but for healthy skepticism and self-criticism. We need more questions asked by both technology companies and us. We can start: What do you think? What if you are wrong? What would you be missing?

It might also help if technologists answered, “I don’t know,” when someone asks them to weigh in on China’s GDP.

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I wrote In Wednesday’s newspaper Regarding the blurred line between countries’ desire for technology self-sufficiency and protectionism. Now I want to make a connection to the underseat cable. (As regular tech readers know, I love boring techniques.)

Most of us will never see Cables that run under oceans and oceans, But a few hundred of these pipelines transfer almost all international Internet and telephone traffic around the world.

This creates the people and companies that control undersea masters of the Internet. They eliminate choke points that can be abused for online espionage or cut off a country on a large scale of the Internet.

With that kind of power, these dull groups of glass fibers are of great concern to governments.

You can see that Trussley has a new underseat Internet cable called Peace which is penetrating underwater around China from Pakistan to Pakistan and then from Africa to France.

The cable is being built by Chinese companies, and US security officials worry that the Chinese government may use the peace to sabotage or monitor. France says that the underseat link will help its economy, and It is stuck between its American allies and China.

The Wall Street Journal too Reported On Wednesday, a group led by Facebook dropped their plans to build a new Internet cable between California and Hong Kong after months of pressure from US national security officials. Again, officials worry that a physical link to Hong Kong – and a greater emphasis on control over China’s island – could pose a security risk.

The fights over the underseat cable raise a messy question about technology in a fragmented world: Is there a way to connect people without laying the foundations of security threats? Shared Internet infrastructure is necessary to connect the world, but it does not work if countries do not trust each other.


  • Two new technology stars: Roblox, beloved by video game tweens, went public On Wednesday, my colleague Kellen Browning reported. (Fun aside: Reese Witherspoon does not get Robox.) My colleague Choe Sang-hun also elaborated on how the newly public e-commerce giant Kupang is Turns into South Korea’s always-connected, distribution-centric economy. Its couriers are now called “Coupang Friends”.

  • Want to continue? Wall Street Journal Reported Regularly record the records of travel of Americans on license plate scanners on tow trucks, garbage trucks, telephone poles, police cars, parking garages, and more. License plate data has helped solve crimes, but there is little information about how the information is used.

  • I do not understand any meaning of this: A digital file by artist Beeple Sold for $ 69.3 million At a Christie’s auction. This is one of those “NXTs” that … yes, just read the article. (Related: Erin Griffith wrote about last month New Frenzy for Digital Almanac.)

Harbor seal sydney Was orphaned in California and now lives in a Brooklyn aquarium. Sydney loves to play!


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