Big Tech Execs to meet with legislators to discuss escalating tensions with China, Women get equality of opportunity but not wages in Project Management and celebrities tell Elon Musk that he can check them off his list.
Welcome to Hashtag Trending for Monday, April the third.
I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and TechNewsDay in the US – here’s today’s top tech news stories.
A bi-partisan group of lawmakers will be going to Silicon Valley this week to meet with CEOs and top executives from a host of the top technology firms including Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and more according to a report in Axios.
The largest tech companies are increasingly caught up in the escalating tensions between the U.S. and China ranging from trade issues, to intellectual property and even the recent moves to ban Chinese owned Tik Tok.
The members are part of a newly formed House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Among the executives the committee will meet with are Microsoft president Brad Smith, Alphabet president of global affairs and chief legal officer Kent Walker and Apple CEO Tim Cook, who just returned from his first trip to China since the pandemic last week. There will be additional meetings with industry experts and top venture capitalists as well as a meeting with Disney CEO Bob Iger. Disney has its own issues with trying to penetrate the Chinese market, having been banned during the pandemic.
According to the Axios sources the trip is just hear about how these executives are thinking about various issues, and they are coming with “no legislative agenda.” But another committee aide told Axios that they “need to be thinking about offensive and how do we out-compete” and noted that artificial intelligence will also be a major topic of discussion. Other reports noted concerns from committee members on the use of forced labour.
A new study from the University of Kansas claims that there is a clear linkage between innovation and investment in Information Technology. The study used a sample of 36,812 “firm year observations.”
Originally, one of the leaders of the study expected that investment in IT would only have an impact on IT innovation – both incremental innovation and what they termed radical innovation – the creation of new knowledge.
Part of the methodology was to trace correlation between IT investment and the number of patents and link these to market capitalization as a means of understanding the value of technological innovations.
The team claims to have found links to business innovation on what they termed “non-IT innovation output” as well.
Adi Masli, a professor at the University of Kansas, said, “What we find is investments in IT systems and in IT human resource is critical to maximize innovation across multiple categories.”
Masli noted, “What we’ve found is why companies shouldn’t overlook that the IT department itself serves as a critical support mechanism for innovation programs and departments.”
“Whether they’re managing the communication, the networking or the actual system in place, the knowledge of IT employees is very important in maximizing innovation output. We can’t forget about the human element.”
Source: University of Kansas
Twitter made good on its promise and made public at least parts of the code that drives its algorithm to promote content to users on the platform. Musk announced this in a tweet on Saturday, promising more to come, writing “in the coming weeks, we will open source literally everything that contributes to showing a tweet.”
In a blog post entitled “A new era of transparency for Twitter,” the company announced two repositories on Git Hub “containing the source code for many parts of Twitter including our recommendations algorithm, which controls the Tweets you see on the For You timeline.”
The post noted that Twitter would exclude “any code that would compromise user safety and privacy or the ability to protect our platform from bad actors, including undermining our efforts at combating child sexual exploitation and manipulation.” As well, the release did not include training data or include any code that powers advertising recommendations.
Musk has been attempting to manage expectations and to blunt any criticisms or negative discoveries made during this process. He has called the Twitter code complex and not fully understood and tweeted a warning that “No doubt, many embarrassing issues will be discovered, but we will fix them fast!”
According to a story in Reuters, one such discovery has already surfaced where someone noted that Twitter’s code appeared to classify users as Republicans or Democrats. A Twitter employee responded that this was an old feature, no longer used and that Twitter was looking to remove it.
Twitter has also faced criticism in the past for how its algorithm contributes to division and conflict or promotes disinformation. Other articles have alleged that the algorithm has been manipulated to favour some posts, particularly those by Musk himself.
Whether this new transparency will address concerns from users and lawmakers about what social media algorithms do is still an open question but this experiment will certainly be watched by the public, by legislators and most certainly by other social media companies.
A new survey done by the Project Management Institute has found that women and men have achieved equality in leadership positions in project management. That’s the good news. Men and women hold leadership roles at about the same percentage, despite the fact that men outnumber women in overall project management by a factor of about 3 to 1.
The report also had disappointing news in terms of compensation that “higher salaries, management roles and certifications are still more common for men than for women.”
The study noted that in the U.S., women in project management earned 12% less than men. Women had a average salary of $106,000 compared to $120,000 for men. While the pay gap varied in different countries, according to the PMI report – women earned less than men in every case.
One reason for the discrepancy may be that women are less likely to have certifications in project management, which is important as the study found that those who had certifications earned on average 16 per cent more than those who did not.
The annual global study surveyed 8,313 people, 1,927 of whom identify as female.
The deadline for renewing the controversial blue check mark which is supposed to identify a Twitter accounts as “genuine” came and went on April 1st and a some very notable people have taken a pass.
The New York Times has announced that it will not pay for the new check mark. Corporations are charged $1,000 per month versus the eightdollars per month for individuals.
But the Times will not be covering even individuals. A spokesperson noted, “We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts, except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes.”
An article in TechCrunch featured a list of celebrities who have taken a pass on the new check mark. The list included Lebron James, Ice Spice, William Shatner and NFL players Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints and Superbowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.
Thomas tweeted, “Don’t nobody want that raggedy blue check no way anymore” but Mahomes, who is certainly one of the top paid athletes, complained he couldn’t afford the 8 dollars tweeting a reply to someone who urged him to “pay for the guys” – “Can’t Bro, I got kids.”
Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame tweeted that there “are bigger issues in the world than the blue check mark” and announced that he’d be leaving Twitter.
And Monica Lewinsky, posted a list of the various impersonators who were on Twitter at some of whom had paid for blue check marks. She noted “in what universe is this fair to people who can suffer consequences for being impersonated?”
That’s the top tech news for today. Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with the daily tech news and we have a special weekend edition where we do an in depth interview with an expert on some tech development that is making the news.
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I’m your host, Jim Love, have a Marvelous Monday!