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Apple CEO Tim Cook on the nexus of technology and social change – CBS News

Posted: June 21, 2020 at 1:53 pm

Apple CEO Tim Cook is a man, "60 Minutes" correspondent John Dickerson said, who is "full of secrets."

"I'm full of secrets and it's hard not to overflow right now. But I've been trained well!" Cook laughed.

He will finally get to share those secrets tomorrow, when he kicks off Apple's 31st annual Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC). It's a gathering of programmers from around the world who create the content that fuels what Apple calculates is a half-trillion-dollar app-based economy.

"If you're a consumer, you find out some of your most favorite software features are announced there," Cook said. "If you're a developer, you get some new technology that you can incorporate in your app and make your app even better. And if you're somebody like me that sort of steps back and looks at it all, you see the intersection of technology and the liberal arts, and it really makes your heart sing."

"So, are you among your people there when this happens?" Dickerson asked.

"Oh yes. Oh yes. I'm among everyone. If it were physical, I'd be right there with everybody else!"

But the conference will not be physical this year, for the same reason Dickerson and Cook are conducting their interview 2,500 miles apart, as a consequence of COVID-19. Apple will host a virtual conference, promising more than just a grainy workaround: they're promising to innovate the form.

Apple's iPhone, introduced in 2007, has transformed not just communication, but nearly every aspect of our lives. And the iPhone has helped make Apple one of the wealthiest companies in the world, with a market capitalization comparable to the gross domestic products of Australia, Spain, or even Saudi Arabia.

Dickerson said, "Apple has a market cap of about $1.4 trillion. What is the role of the CEO in a socially-responsible company that has that kind of size in the world?"

"You know, there was a time back many years ago where CEOs were just supposed to focus on profits only, and not so much the constituencies. And that's never been my view. I've never subscribed to that,' Cook replied.

Cook recently posted a statement on Apple's home page addressing the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police an incident that may very well have gone unnoticed if not for cellphone video.

Dickerson asked, "Do you ever reflect on the role the iPhone has played in being able to record moments like the nearly nine minutes that George Floyd had an officer's knee on his neck?"

"We are humbled by it, we are humbled by it," Cook said. "If you look back in time, some of the most dramatic societal changes have occurred because someone captured video. This is true about things that happened in Birmingham; it was true about things that happened in Selma.

"The thing that has changed, though, and we're very proud of this, is that we put a camera in everybody's pocket. And so, it becomes much tougher as a society, I believe, to convince themselves that it didn't happen, or that it happened in a different manner or whatever it might be.

Of the George Floyd video, which has sparked global protests, Cook said, "I think fundamentally, this one will change the world."

Cook has been Apple's CEO for nearly a decade now, and he is the product of a very different world. He was born in 1960 in small-town Robertsdale, Alabama.

"Do you remember your first experience with racism?" Dickerson asked.

"I remember, John, as if it were yesterday, seeing doors that said sometimes it had been tried to scratch through 'whites only,'" Cook said. "And fundamentally not understanding how people could convince themselves that this was right.

I do believe, optimistically, this is one of those moments that we could make significant progress. For so many things it seems like there's such slow progress, and then all of the sudden, there's a giant leap."

"You wanna make that leap bigger?" Dickerson asked.

"That's exactly right."

Six years ago, Cook took a leap of his own becoming the first openly-gay Fortune 500 CEO.

Dickerson asked, "The Supreme Court recently said that there can no longer be disorientation against people based on their orientation. What was your reaction to that?"

"I was incredibly grateful for their opinion," said Cook. "And I applaud the justices who stood up and did that."

Cook's outspokenness on civil rights has put him on what might appear to be a collision course with President Donald Trump.

"In your interactions with Donald Trump, you have a lot of issues that Apple cares about," said Dickerson. "But the administration also has policies on immigration, on human rights that are totally antithetical to your personal views. Do you bring up some of these issues with Donald Trump in your conversations?"

"Of course I do," Cook replied. "And on that issue, my mind, as I said before, all roads lead to equality. I believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. It's basically that simple. And that we start life on this equal footing and then the people that work hard can get ahead and those sorts of things. But we should start life on an equal footing. And I long for that day."

There is one issue, however, where Cook appears to see eye-to-eye with the president: keeping corporate taxes low.

Dickerson asked, "What is the metric you think about in terms of your desire to be socially responsible, and your fiduciary duty to keep basically paying as low taxes as possible?"

"Well, our responsibility is to pay what we owe, just plain and simple," Cook said.

"But as you think about it, paying what you owe, that's the standard; every company does that. Is there a way in which the value proposition you've been talking about operates when it comes to paying taxes?"

"Well, you can see that we do a lot more than pay taxes,' Cook said. "We turned the company upside-down to help the world on COVID, and donated all of that, hundreds of millions of dollars. And so, I think my own view is, you pay what you owe in taxes. And then you give back to society. And Apple is clearly doing that."

COVID-19 is affecting more than just the company's bottom line. Apple's multi-billion-dollar California headquarters is nearly empty and Tim Cook would like nothing more than to get his people back under one gleaming roof.

"That is the biggest challenge I would say in what we're dealing with,' he said. "The thing that I worry that we'll be missing is the serendipity that we all count on. And for that reason I can't wait until we're all back together again."

"We are all called in the age of COVID-19 to tolerate extraordinary uncertainty," said Dickerson. "How has it been managing that, both in terms of products, and also your employees, the uncertainty of the world we live in now?"

"Well, you know, people generally just dislike uncertainty, I would say as a general rule," Cook laughed. "I know very few people that thrive on uncertainty. They try to take an uncertain thing and make it a bit more certain. They do that by estimating where things are going, by predicting the worst that can happen and the best that can happen.

"And we have done all of those things, I would tell you. But the most important thing for us is, we viewed it as a challenge to overcome."

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Story produced by Ed Forgotson. Editor: Mike Levine.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on the nexus of technology and social change - CBS News

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From Microsoft to the iPhone, getting technology right for 25 years – CNET

Posted: at 1:53 pm

The first iPhone's unveiling was a turning point in technology.

Editor's note: As part of CNET's 25th birthday, we're publishing a series of guest columns by former CNET leaders, editors and reporters. You'll find Dan's bio below.

In 1995, I was working in Boston as the editor-in-chief of PCWeek, the leading computer industry news weekly. It was part of the Ziff-Davis stable of technology publications and fledgling websites.

Subscribe to the CNET Now newsletter for our editors' picks for the most important stories of the day.

In the summer, Ziff-Davis made the decision to bring all the sites under a single umbrella called ZDNet. I signed on as the editor-in-chief and cat herder, charged with bringing all the content from across the publications into a new kind of tech information resource purpose-built for the internet. The idea was to bring the ink printed on pages into a digital world that was unbounded for content.

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Around the same time,CNET was starting up in San Francisco, an upstart TV-internet hybrid taking on establishment media at the intersection of technology and culture.

Over the next five years, ZDNet and CNET became archrivals, competing for eyeballs, making each other better and growing at a fast pace as technology burrowed deeper into our lives. In July 2000, as the dot-com bubble was bursting, the two rivals decided they were better off combining forces than fighting to the death in a traumatized, shrinking market for advertising. CNET acquired ZDNet for $1.6 billion in stock, and for the next 14 years I had many of the best years of my career in journalism.

Former CNET editor Dan Farber

Operating as two distinct brands, CNET and ZDNet together had a broad portfolio of tech-oriented sites addressing different audiences, from IT executives and gamers to tech news devotees and product fanatics. The powerhouse of talented journalists, product experts, video producers and developers pushed the creative boundaries of the new technology-driven century across print, online and broadcast -- and also inspired a flock of competing publications and a new generation of tech journalists.

We broke dozens of big news stories, chronicled the boom and bust cycles, the rise of the cloud, the colonization of the internet and the birth of a tech universe now ruled by the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebookand Microsoft. CNET could make or break products with the most trusted reviews in the industry. ZDNet created one of the first blog networks, featuring dozens of the most insightful writers and thinkers chronicling the tech industry. When CBS acquired CNET in 2008, we brought CBS News into the digital age.

There were many highlights during my tenure at CNET. The launch of the iPhone on Jan. 9, 2007, stands out as a kind of culmination of all the technology innovation over the last 50 years. But it was mostly working with a group of people deeply passionate about technology and getting it right.

Dan Farber is currently SVP of Strategic Communication at Salesforce. Prior to Salesforce, he spent 35 years as a journalist, serving as editor-in-chief of ZDNet, CNET News and CBSNews.com. He was also the editor-in-chief at Ziff-Davis' flagship computing news publications, PC Week and MacWeek, a founding editor at MacWorld magazine, and a member of the editorial staff of PC World and PC Magazine.

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With schools closed, immigrant communities struggle with access to technology and connection – Summit Daily News

Posted: at 1:53 pm

Jorge and Rosa Barahona have parented through much of the pandemic the same as many other couples in Summit County: in shifts.

In the mornings, Jorge is there to help home-school their 14-year-old son, Erick, and 7-year-old daughter, Mia. After leaving at 4 a.m., Rosa works at a Summit County grocery store before returning home by 12:30 p.m. When she does, the mother undertakes the COVID-19 safety precautions she and her husband have executed on a daily basis throughout the pandemic: They immediately take a shower and put their work clothes into a bag to be promptly washed.

Jorge undertakes the same regiment when he returns home each evening from his job as a custodian at Dillon Valley Elementary School. He is one of the workers doing the deep cleaning copiously washing door handle after door handle, light switch after light switch, trying to not miss anything, he said.

But perhaps the toughest part for Jorge and Rosa has been balancing their work obligations with their childrens home schooling. On some days, when Jorge needs to go into work early at 10:30 a.m., there could be a two-hour window when Rosa has yet to return home from work. During that time, Erick watches Mia while they both complete schoolwork.

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At home, its really difficult, Jorge said.

Some of the challenge is our Latino community needs to work, Dillon Valley Principal Kendra Carpenter said about parents who often cannot work from home. The principal said a majority of the elementary schools population, 55%, comes from a household where the first language is Spanish and that many of them are immigrants.

So siblings (are) having to be in charge of siblings, she said. (They are) trying to get work done.

Dialing in dismissal

The Barahonas struggle to find work-school balance is just one example of the many challenges families faced during the two-plus month period the Summit School District referred to as a dismissal when students interacted with teachers from home. The educational hurdles came suddenly after the district switched to its online learning model in mid-March. Without their children attending school in person, many families encountered challenges with access to technology, food and social connection.

The main problem at the beginning was internet connection and the computers, Dillon Valley Elementary teachers aide Medaly Fonseca said. It was new to everyone, even myself.

So many times, some kids (were) just laying on the bed, playing, Fonseca said about her video conferences with students. They didnt have routine or structure at home because everything was sudden.

Local mother Yerania Reynoso of Silverthorne experienced what Fonseca described. Reynoso was candid in saying home schooling was bad during the first week. She was out of work and home with her then 9-year-old son, Leo.

It wasnt long before she empathized with Leos teachers about the challenges of keeping an energetic elementary school boy on task with distractions around. The difficulty of it all was amplified by the confines of home.

While Reynosos husband kept his job at a fast food restaurant, the mother had her hands full at home. She had to balance helping Leo with his school work with the needs of her 3-year-old son, Derek. Often, she would be up until 10 p.m. helping Leo finish assignments.

You have to work all day to make sure that he has met everything, Reynoso said.

Reynoso and her son also spent time helping Leos best friend connect to the internet to complete his course work. One day, with Leo struggling with his computer, Reynoso traveled to Dillon Valley Elementary to troubleshoot. Many families brought their childrens school-provided tablets to the schools front foyer. Thats where district technology support staff provided help in a makeshift hub.

Even after the computer was fixed, there was still a learning curve for the parents and children.

All that week, my son was teaching the other kid that program, Reynoso said. Myself, I was doing homework with my own son and taking care of my baby, and teaching another kid, too. For another mom, it was the same.

With Spanish being her first language, Reynoso said she was able to help more with assignments like math than English. But sometimes the language barrier even made helping with math difficult.

As the weeks passed, Reynoso said the process improved as teachers and parents learned together how best to educate elementary students in the unprecedented situation.

I definitely feel for the parents, Dillon Valley special-education teacher Amie Branson said. They really feel worse about themselves because they didnt know how to do this or couldnt figure out the technology, and they had to work and figure out other things. Its not that they didnt want to. They couldnt. And they really beat themselves up.

More than school

Carpenter and other district staff said the resource difficulties were more acute among the districts Spanish-speaking households. And those struggles varied widely.

At one end of the spectrum, there were families like the Barahonas, who struggled to balance home schooling with two parents working full time. Then, in the cases of Reynoso and Evelyn Galicia Lima of Dillon Valley, the difficulty of losing a job was tough in a different way.

Galicia Lima was suddenly home in a role similar to that of a teachers aide for her three children in different grades: Carlos at Summit High, Jennifer at Summit Middle and Dulce at Dillon Valley Elementary.

Until she returned to work at the Outlets at Silverthorne a week ago, Galicia Limas experience was a test in patience, time management and communication. Through it all, she said it was her elementary-age daughter who proved the most challenging with home schooling, as Dulces shy nature wasnt ideal for virtual meetings.

She wanted to play video games, Galicia Lima said.

Without work, Galicia Lima sought out the districts free meal services. On top of being unemployed, her husband, a painter, also was without work for a month. Through the worst of the pandemic, she stopped by the schools midday meal service each weekday. After a grant extended the daily food service into summer, shes been coming twice a week into June.

School solutions

For many of the districts immigrant families whether they hail from Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Czech Republic or elsewhere the free food helps save money on groceries during a tough time when every dollar has to be carefully spent.

In order to provide these resources, district staff from administrators to teachers to teachers aides learned and helped on the fly.

We did a ton of calling, Carpenter said. We set up a system where everyone on our staff was in charge of 10-15 families. Then we reached out to them personally and asked, How are you doing? What do you need? How can we help you?

As a custodian at Dillon Valley Elementary, Jorge has been one of the mainstays at the school building with his work boots on the ground. When he pops his head out of the schools front doors, he can often see the network of Summits parents, teachers and school officials trying to make the best of a bad situation.

From his vantage point at the school, he has seen special-education teachers, like Branson and Anna Goldfarb, post up at the schools playground. Its a place they felt they could safely engage with students whether that be by reading a book or simply kicking a soccer ball around.

Weeks into the shutdown, the school extended the buildings Wi-Fi connection to help community members get on the internet.

(Goldfarb) felt kind of sad for some kids who couldnt get connected because of technology issues, internet connections, Dillon Valley paraprofessional Fonseca said. And she didnt want them to lose the opportunity. So she invited them to join her, like two siblings (at a time), then in the next hour inviting another kid at a different time.

Jorge also has seen aides like Fonseca and Adela Guardado do what they do best: help in whatever way they can.

The respected bilingual members of the countys Spanish-speaking community donned their face masks and put on their gloves daily to help hand out meals the school staff would pack. Fonseca estimated 85% of the families who came to the elementary schools meal service were from the local Latino community. On the busiest day, 190 meals were provided.

With in-person classes shuttered, the lunch drive-thru at the schools exterior became an educational and community hub. Come 11 a.m., mothers walked up holding their daughters hands, brothers came by while bouncing a soccer ball, and elders drove up and rolled down their car windows. Here, Fonseca and Guardado could catch up with familiar faces and ask how they were doing.

Carpenter knows the value of someone like Guardado, a longtime local in the Spanish-speaking community who people ask to speak with when they call the school.

And if Adela is not there, they will call back, Carpenter said. They dont want to talk to anybody else. Shes really, really connected with them, and we really rely on her a lot as a family liaison.

Just a short walk down Straight Creek Drive from the school, another COVID-19 resource was on display until recently. It was a school bus equipped with Wi-Fi in case anyone in the Dillon Valley community needed to get online. It was one of several the district set up around the county to help those lacking an internet connection. Some school officials and teachers also took the step of calling providers to get internet access at students homes.

Forecasting the fall

While chatting from underneath their face masks at the Dillon Valley meal service, teachers and aides reflected on the whirlwind experience that was the home-schooling trial of spring 2020.

They realize district leaders and administrators, including incoming Superintendent Marion Smith Jr., are focused on refining a blended learning approach for fall. The goal, Carpenter said, is to improve, coordinate and standardize remote-schooling communication between parents and teachers.

At the same time, the teachers and aides know the importance of in-person connection.

Its enormous, Branson said. You cant get around it. We can manage this this year because we have all the connections with students. The parents know us. But next year, starting fresh, we dont have those connections built in. School is enormously social.

Whatever next year has in store, Reynoso is grateful to community educational helpers. That includes her Colorado Mountain College professor Sharon Aguiar.

It was Aguiar who encouraged Reynoso to not feel ashamed to go to the free meal services. And Aguiar was the educator who surprised Reynoso with the mothers best moment of all amid the pandemic. It came May 15 on Leos 10th birthday.

She gave me a cake, Reynoso said.

Editors note: This is part three of a three-part series about the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the Hispanic community in Summit County.

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Ford’s electric Mustang will offer hands-free driving technology next year – CNN

Posted: at 1:53 pm

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Ford's electric Mustang will offer hands-free driving technology next year - CNN

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Carbon capture technology is an elusive dream – The Durango Herald

Posted: at 1:53 pm

Our region took a major step toward a cleaner energy future recently when New Mexico regulators gave Public Service Co. of New Mexico approval to retire the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station outside Farmington in two years.

But alas, its never straight-line progress. Farmington city leaders have latched onto a desperate last gasp effort to keep the aging power plant running for another decade. They understandably hope to stave off the loss of hundreds of associated jobs.

Sensing the citys desperation, a couple of Chicago and New York speculators swooped in with a shaky scheme premised on billions of dollars in taxpayer handouts. Their plan: Take $2.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies to dig up carbon, burn it and put it back in the ground.

Years ago, Congress created a program to subsidize carbon capture and sequestration as a means of tackling climate change. Before solar and wind energy prices plummeted and made burning coal uncompetitive, the idea was to cut carbon emissions through new, elaborate technological inventions.

Today, it makes no economic or environmental sense to retrofit a 45-year-old coal burning power plant with experimental technology costing billions in taxpayer subsidies when clean and cheap renewable energy is readily available.

Consider the scheme. Dig up carbon otherwise forever sequestered in underground coal seams, burn it in a power plant that consumes more than one-quarter of the generated energy to just operate, try to catch 70% or 80% of the carbon dioxide released if youre lucky, and stick that captured carbon back in the ground next to the coal mine.

Unsurprisingly, this Rube Goldberg contraption is greatly more expensive than solar or wind. Its only possible with a $2.5 billion taxpayer handout provided over a dozen years to mine carbon, burn it, lose millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and put what you can back in the ground.

Whether one looks at it from an environmental or a taxpayer perspective, the scheme is a head-scratcher. It only make sense for those who hope to cash in on a major cut of the billions in taxpayer handouts. Or for desperate Farmington officials who hope to delay the inevitable energy transition from coal.

Only two carbon capture power plant projects exist in North America. Enchant Energys scheme for San Juan Generating Station is four times larger than anything built to date, but Enchant expects to construct its project in record-breaking time and for a cost of less than one-third that of the existing projects in Texas and Canada.

How does a project like this hope to turn a profit, beyond the tax subsidies? It seems Enchant hopes theres a market for expensive coal-fired electricity, but with every major utility across the Southwest committing to a coal-free future in the next decade or two, there would appear little appetite for Enchants expensive product.

Another idea is to sell the carbon dioxide into Kinder Morgans pipeline that transports CO2 from Cortez to the Permian oil basin in west Texas where it can be used to enhance recovery from oil fields. But thats barely a break-even prospect that depends on unprecedented levels of technological success in capturing 90% of carbon dioxide.

Real money is already being spent in the projects pursuit. The U.S. Department of Energy has provided more than $10 million for initial feasibility studies, and legal firms representing Farmington have racked up over $1 million in fees.

Energy transition is painful and makes communities susceptible to illusory fixes. For a thorough analysis, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has reported on carbon capture and the financial pitfalls inherent to it.

Mark Pearson is Executive Director at San Juan Citizens Alliance. Reach him at mark@sanjuancitizens.org.

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Carbon capture technology is an elusive dream - The Durango Herald

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Microsoft and SAS announce deep technology partnership – TechCrunch

Posted: at 1:53 pm

Microsoft and SAS, the privately held enterprise data management and analytics company (and not the airline), today announced a far-reaching partnership that will see Microsofts Azure become SASs preferred cloud, and deep integrations of SASs various products into Microsofts cloud portfolio, ranging from Azure to Dynamics 365 and PowerBI. The two companies also plan to launch new joint solutions for their customers.

While you may not necessarily be familiar with 44-year-old SAS, the North Carolina-based company counts more than 90 of the top 100 Fortune 1000 companies among its customers. Marquee customers include the likes of Allianz, Discover, Honda, HSBC, Lockheed Martin, Lufthansa and Nestl. While it provides tools and services for companies across a wide range of verticals, they all focus on helping these companies better manage their data and turn it into actionable analytics. Like similar data-centric companies, these days, that includes a lot of work on machine learning, too.

SAS COO and CTO Oliver Schabenberger

It is a technology partnership, SAS COO and CTO Oliver Schabenberger told me ahead of todays announcement. Our customers are increasingly moving to the cloud. I have something that I call the principles of analytics. The first principle is: analytics follows the data and increasingly, data is moving to the cloud. We have our own cloud operation at SAS. We have done enterprise hosting for over 20 years and have a lot of experience in that. So one of the strategic questions that I asked myself is how do we combine what we love so much about our own cloud and managed services and working directly with a customer with the scale, the agility and the reach of a public cloud?

The answer to that for SAS was a partnership with Microsoft. Both companies, Schabenberger said, are looking at how to democratize access to technologies like machine learning and analytics, he noted, but are also trying to build data visualization tools and other services that make it easier for anybody within a company to work with the increasingly large data sets that most enterprises now gather.

The technologies of SAS and Microsoft to me go hand in hand, said Schabenberger. They really complement each other. What Microsofts doing with Dynamics, with Power Platform, I can envision a new class of business applications all low-code, no-code where data and analytics drive logic and drive decisioning. And so for us, whats really interesting, fascinating and innovative about this relationship is that this is not about bringing a service to Azure, or an integration into Synapse. It is really looking at the entire Microsoft Cloud estate, if you will, from Azure to integrating with AD, with AKS, with [Azure] Database for PostgreSQL. These are obvious things, but then looking at Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, how can we be part of this ecosystem? I think thats a very powerful integration.

Its important to note that this is not an exclusive agreement and Schabenberger stressed that SAS will continue to offer support for customers who choose a different public cloud provider.

Scott Guthrie, Microsoft executive VP of its Cloud and AI group, echoed this. We couldnt be more excited on the Microsoft side for this partnership. If you look at pretty much any business out there, theyre using SAS for analytics and theyre using Microsoft software as well. And the thing that Oliver called out and what we really look for in strategic partnerships like this is, where can we help our mutual customers do more and achieve more? And I think both from a technology alignment perspective and then also from a mission statement and culture perspective, thats where were so aligned.

Both Guthrie and Schabenberger stressed how deep the integrations here are. As an example, Guthrie noted that users will be able to take SAS models and embed them into SQL Server statements and there will be similar integrations for Microsoft products into SASs tools, too. Guthrie also noted that the two companies will go to market together in a deep way, too, leveraging the existing sales forces of both companies. So its a little different from what we might do with a startup, which tends to not have a big sales force. But as part of this partnership, youll definitely see our go-to-market deep alignment and Microsoft sellers will be heavily incented to promote and push the SAS integration and likewise, SAS is going to be highly incented to drive this integration from their perspective as well.

One interesting aspect here is that both companies offer competing products, be that around data management and analytics, as well as data visualization. Guthrie and Schabenberger were quite open about this, though. Im perfectly comfortable with that, said Schabenberger. Ive recognized for a long time that our customers have choices and they exercise those choices. And if we bring the right technology to bear and offer it to them, then Im proud of the technology we built. Were not the best at everything and I am really looking forward actually to focusing on our core competency, where were strongest and Im happy to have customers make other choices. [] We have an existing customer base that wants to make use of their existing investment in SAS technology, but also wants to modernize, wants to be part of a cloud ecosystem, wants to operate with agility and speed and we can combine all that.

Weve been around long enough and were big enough and we have enough customers to also realize, what really matters is making your customers successful, noted Guthrie. And the complementary capabilities that were bringing together by partnering is so powerful that, yes, there might be some overlap in a few places, but for the most part, this is such a powerful accelerant for our customers and were going to both benefit from that.

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Microsoft and SAS announce deep technology partnership - TechCrunch

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Why tech didnt save us from covid-19 – MIT Technology Review

Posted: at 1:53 pm

In the US, manufacturing jobs dropped by almost a third between 2000 and 2010 and have barely recovered since. Manufacturing productivity has been particularly poor in recent years (chart 5). What has been lost is not only jobs but also the knowledge embedded in a strong manufacturing base, and with it the ability to create new products and find advanced and flexible ways of making them. Over the years, the country ceded to China and other countries the expertise in competitively making many things, including solar panels and advanced batteriesand, it now turns out, swabs and diagnostic tests too.

No country should aim to make everything, says Fuchs, but the US needs to develop the capacity to identify the technologiesas well as the physical and human resourcesthat are critical for national, economic, and health security, and to invest strategically in those technologies and assets.

Regardless of where products are made, Fuchs says, manufacturers need more coordination and flexibility in global supply chains, in part so they arent tied to a few sources of production. That quickly became evident in the pandemic; for example, US mask makers scrambled to procure the limited supply of melt-blown fiber required to make the N95 masks that protect against the virus.

The problem was made worse because manufacturers keep inventories razor-thin to save money, often relying on timely shipments from a sole provider. The great lesson from the pandemic, says Suzanne Berger, a political scientist at MIT and an expert on advanced manufacturing, is how we traded resilience for low-cost and just-in-time production.

Berger says the government should encourage a more flexible manufacturing sector and support domestic production by investing in workforce training, basic and applied research, and facilities like the advanced manufacturing institutes that were created in the early 2010s to provide companies with access to the latest production technologies. We need to support manufacturing not only [to make] critical products like masks and respirators but to recognize that the connection between manufacturing and innovation is critical for productivity growth and, out of increases in productivity, for economic growth, she says.

The good news is that the US has had this discussion during previous crises. The playbook exists.

In June 1940, Vannevar Bush, then the director of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, went to the White House to meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The war was under way in Europe, and Roosevelt knew the US would soon be drawn into it. As Simon Johnson and Jonathan Gruber, both economists at MIT, write in their recent book Jump-Starting America, the country was woefully unprepared, barely able to make a tank.

Bush presented the president with a plan to gear up the war effort, led by scientists and engineers. That gave rise to the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC); during the war, Bush directed some 30,000 people, including 6,000 scientists, to steer the countrys technological development.

The inventions that resulted are well known, from radar to the atomic bomb. But as Johnson and Gruber write, the investment in science and engineering continued well after the war ended. The majorand now mostly forgottenlesson of the post-1945 period is that modern private enterprise proves much more effective when government provides strong underlying support for basic and applied science and for the commercialization of the resulting innovations, they write.

A similar push to ramp up government investment in science and technology is clearly what we need now, says Johnson. It could have immediate payoffs both in technologies crucial to handling the current crisis, such as tests and vaccines, and in new jobs and economic revival. Many of the jobs created will be for scientists, Johnson acknowledges, but many will also go to trained technicians and others whose work is needed to build and maintain an enlarged scientific infrastructure.

This matters especially, he says, because with an administration that is pulling back from globalization and with consumer spending weak, innovation will be one of the few options for driving economic growth. Scientific investment needs to be a strategic priority again, says Johnson. Weve lost that. It has become a residual. Thats got to stop.

Johnson is not alone. In the middle of May, a bipartisan group of congressmen proposed what they called the Endless Frontier Act to expand funding for the discovery, creation, and commercialization of technology fields of the future. They argued that the US was inadequately prepared for covid-19 and that the pandemic exposed the consequences of a long-term failure to invest in scientific research. The legislators called for $100 billion over five years to support a technology directorate that would fund AI, robotics, automation, advanced manufacturing, and other critical technologies.

Around the same time, a pair of economists, Northwesterns Ben Jones and MITs Pierre Azoulay, published an article in Science calling for a massive government-led Pandemic R&D Program to fund and coordinate work in everything from vaccines to materials science. The potential economic and health benefits are so large, Jones argues, that even huge investments to accelerate vaccine development and other technologies will pay for themselves.

Vannevar Bushs approach during the war tells us its possible, though the funding needs to be substantial, says Jones. But increased funding is just part of what is required, he says. The initiative will need a central authority like Bushs NDRC to identify a varied portfolio of new technologies to supporta function that is missing from current efforts to tackle covid-19.

The thing to note about all these proposals is that they are aimed at both short- and long-term problems: they are calling for an immediate ramp-up of public investment in technology, but also for a bigger government role in guiding the direction of technologists work. The key will be to spend at least some of the cash in the gigantic US fiscal stimulus bills not just on juicing the economy but on reviving innovation in neglected sectors like advanced manufacturing and boosting the development of promising areas like AI. Were going to be spending a great deal of money, so can we use this in a productive way? Without diminishing the enormous suffering that has happened, can we use this as a wake-up call? asks Harvards Henderson.

Historically, it has been done a bunch of times, she says. Besides the World War II effort, examples include Sematech, the 1980s consortium that revived the ailing US semiconductor industry in the face of Japans increasing dominance, by sharing technological innovations and boosting investment in the sector.

Can we do it again? Henderson says she is hopeful, though not necessarily optimistic.

The test of the countrys innovation system will be whether over the coming months it can invent vaccines, treatments, and tests, and then produce them at the massive scale needed to defeat covid-19. The problem hasnt gone away, says CMUs Fuchs. The global pandemic will be a fact of lifethe next 15 months, 30 monthsand offers an incredible opportunity for us to rethink the resiliency of our supply chains, our domestic manufacturing capacity, and the innovation around it.

It will also take some rethinking of how the US uses AI and other new technologies to address urgent problems. But for that to happen, the government has to take on a leading role in directing innovation to meet the publics most pressing needs. That doesnt sound like the government the US has now.

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China and India need each other. Just look at technology – CNN

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China and India need each other. Just look at technology - CNN

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Expert view: Technology is a blessing and a curse when it comes to global cybersecurity threats – Stockhead

Posted: at 1:53 pm

The ongoing risks to businesses and governments from cybersecurity threats was highlighted again last week, when the federal government announced Australia was the target of a sophisticated state-based cyber actor.

While no key government or business networks had been breached, the number of attacks had been steadily increasing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

To get some on-the-ground perspective, Stockhead took the opportunity to speak with Rob van Es Asia Pacific vice president of cybersecurity firm Illumio.

The main takeaways were that while Australian companies are increasingly taking the threat of attacks more seriously, rapid improvements in technology pose complex challenges of their own in the months and years ahead.

What weve seen is thefrequency has gone up and with that, the chance that yourenext is increasing so its a concerning situation for a lot of companies, van Es said.

Its really something were seeing around the world, with more sophisticated attacks. So I think what were seeing now such as this the governments announcement is the effects of these attacks are becoming more public and so everyones getting an education very quickly.

van Es said the overriding challenge for companies in 2020 was a catch-22; cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, in an environment where technology is increasingly used.

He pointed to the rapid adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in industries such as mining and manufacturing, where companies rely on sophisticated sensor networks to transmit key data.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also created material risks of its own, as businesses move to secure their networks from a higher number of remote locations.

Trying to defend a parameter that is constantly changing thats what makes it really hard, van Es said.

Companies want open network communications and the latest technology, but the downside is that from a security perspective, in effect you want nothing to be connected.

So you have those opposing forces where companies need to stay connected, but they also run the risk of being held to ransom.

In view of that, van Es said a key theme he noticed on the ground was a definite uptick in interest about solutions to fit this new paradigm.

At industry conferences for example, theres an increased focus on the zero trust framework a cybersecurity buzzword coined by Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag.

In effect, the idea questions existing security mechanisms which work on the assumption that all networks within an organisation can be trusted.

In the current era, that leaves companies vulnerable to modern-day cybersecurity attacks which typically move laterally breaching an individual computer or network and using that as an entry point to the wider information system.

Traditional systems where people only program standardised firewalls, in an environment that could be changing every minute or every day theyre not going to work anymore, van Es said.

Thats how ransomware attacks happen move very quickly. They dial into companies networks, get an understanding of what they have access to and control the blast radius.

From our perspective, the most important thing right now is visibility. You need visibility across your network to as, what are the paths that people could attack me from and if theres connections that shouldnt be there, we have to close the door.

The bottom line is, dont trust anything unless you can explicitly and simply explain why you should communicate with this particular device or server.

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Expert view: Technology is a blessing and a curse when it comes to global cybersecurity threats - Stockhead

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Scientists split over which disease to put in 6G technology – The Big Smoke Australia

Posted: at 1:53 pm

Emboldened by their success with the coronavirus, scientists the world over are debating which disease to spread with 6G technology.

A new report has surfaced which shows the worlds scientists and engineers are already hard at work on producing 6G technology. With 5G already rolling out around the world and causing the current COVID-19 pandemic, the teams are currently considering which disease to encode into 6G.

A respiratory virus is the easiest type of disease to cause with these low-frequency waves, explained Dr David Thoms. But thats been done to death (pardon the pun) so we would really like to try something different this time.

According to the report, the team is spit-balling several ideas including an ARO (antibiotic-resistant organism), a blood-born infection, or even a deadly prion disease similar to CreutzfeldtJakob disease (CJD/mad cow).

The world is really our oyster here so to speak, says Thoms. The idea of a prion is very exciting. CJD is a great disease, but unfortunately not very contagious. We have also looked at a modified form of measles, just a much deadlier version.

6G will not be available until at least 2022 and may be pushed back as far as 2024 depending on how the US political landscape is looking at the time.

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Scientists split over which disease to put in 6G technology - The Big Smoke Australia

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