The feat is one of the reasons tech news outlet Engadget dubbed Obama “the most tech-savvy president” in 2017, saying the creation of the post brought a “Silicon Valley mindset” to the federal government and helped “enable the Administration Modernization” branch. “
But more than 20 months into his presidency, Joe Biden has yet to name a single U.S. chief technology officer (CTO) nominee, leading to a vacancy in a key position that helps guide the government’s technology policy.
In December, Chief Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Alexander McGillivray Announcing that the government is looking for candidates for the top job. But the White House has yet to provide any major updates on the search.
The result, according to tech industry leaders and former federal officials, is that the government has no one to lead key artificial intelligence and data initiatives and a lack of a unified voice to articulate the benefits of technology in government.
“Frankly, it’s very disappointing. … It shouldn’t take this long,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that receives funding from tech companies including Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Who is Atkinson Serving on the Policy Committee For Biden’s presidential campaign, advisers said Biden’s team recommended many candidates for the position to Biden’s team. He believes the failure to pick from a broad talent pool shows a lack of urgency.
“It’s not hard to find a CTO. It really isn’t,” he said. “The challenge is that they just didn’t make it a priority. They could have easily done it a year and a half ago if they wanted to.”
Historically, in addition to advising on policy issues, U.S. CTOs have helped spearhead technological innovation in the private sector, leverage data and other tools for use across government agencies, and expand the federal government’s technological expertise.
While Biden has yet to choose who to appoint for the top job, he did have Macgillivray as his chief deputy along with two other deputies, Dennis Ross and Lynn Parker. Ross also serves as the chief data scientist for the United States. Parker, a Trump appointee, left this year.
Biden also promoted the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the chief technology officer of the United States, to the cabinet level for the first time.But the post was vacant for several months after the former OSTP director Eric Rand Resigned over a bullying scandal, only recently officially refilled.
“Under the leadership of Dr. Alati PrabhakarUnder his leadership, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is successfully fulfilling President Biden’s mission to develop groundbreaking new policies designed to benefit the health and well-being of everyone in America,” a White House spokesman said. Olivia Dalton said in a statement.
Dalton added: “OSTP is fortunate to have a strong chief deputy chief technology officer as we complete the personnel process for a permanent officer.”
Former President Donald Trump took longer to fill the position, but Biden could still outpace him with a record delay.
In March 2019, after more than two years as president, Trump used the Michael Krasios As US CTO, elevating him from the role of deputy. Kratsios, former chief of staff at Trump Supporter Investments Peter Thielconfirmed in August of that year.
Less than a year later, in July 2020, Kratsios was also designated as acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, an unusual dual role that allowed him to serve additional responsibilities in the Defense Department while still serving as a U.S. Chief Technology Officer.
The result is that the U.S. CTO position has been vacant for most of the time since Obama left office, and CTOs have been divided elsewhere during that time.
Three officials held the U.S. CTO title under Obama: Anish Choprawho served as technology secretary to the Virginia governor. Tim Kane; Todd Parkformerly Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services; and Megan Smitha former Google executive.
“I think this is a very important and emblematically important role in the Obama administration, which means he wants to use technology in a positive way and have nuanced discussions,” said Adam KovacevicCEO of the Progressive Chamber of Commerce, a center-left trade group that gets funding from major tech companies.
Atkinson, who has been seen as building the connective tissue between the Gulf and the Beltway, sees the CTO vacancy under Biden as another sign of a thaw in relations between Silicon Valley leaders and some officials in Washington.
“With the ‘tech shock’, especially among progressives, who see technology as a problem rather than a solution…I think the government is like, ‘Why are you pushing this?'” he said.
The Musk-Twitter experiment now continues
“The trial of Twitter Inc.’s lawsuit against Elon Musk is still expected to begin in October. Because the court has not yet received an agreement to stay the case, the Delaware judge overseeing the matter said in a letter Wednesday. The court said in a letter on Jan. 17,” Bloomberg News said. Neil Weinberg and Chris Dolmage Report.
“There is no provision for a stay of this action by the parties, nor a stay by either party,” the judge said. Katherine Street J. McCormick Say. “Therefore, I will move forward with our trial that will begin on October 17, 2022.”
The comments come a day after Musk offered in a letter to go ahead with his deal to buy Twitter at the initially agreed price, the latest shock in the legal saga, as have my colleagues Faiz Siddiqui, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Rachel Lerman report. Twitter said in a statement that it planned to close the deal at the original share price offered by Musk’s team.
“The company plans to accept the offer, but is waiting for a judge to confirm whether it can oversee the process,” said one person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity and described the sensitive matter,” my colleague reported.
Democrats want tougher checks on federal chip subsidies
Congressional Democrats are calling on the Commerce Department to do more to ensure that federal subsidies for semiconductors are not used for company share buybacks, Reuters reported. David Shepardson Report.
“Without tight controls, we are concerned that CHIPS funding could lead to subsidies for additional buybacks, enriching executives and shareholders at the expense of taxpayers, while undermining the goals of the legislation,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Sean Karsten (Dill.), Jamal Bowman (DN.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (D-wash) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) in a letter to the Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
President Biden Legislation was signed in August to allocate $52 billion to boost semiconductor manufacturing and research in the U.S., but progressive Democrats have expressed concern that the funds are being misused by big companies. The Commerce Department said it would “prioritize rewards to companies that commit to making future investments to develop the domestic semiconductor industry … and do not participate in share repurchases.”
Spotify acquires content moderation firm to combat harmful material
The music streaming platform on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Kinzen, a company that uses machine learning to analyze and detect hate speech and other harmful content in audio material, Techcrunch’s Sarah Perez Report.
“At Spotify, Kinzen’s technology will be used to help the company better use machine learning and human expertise to manage podcasts and other audio — the latter including analysis from local academics and journalists,” the company said, according to the report.
Spotify has been criticized by advocacy and civil rights groups for not cracking down harder on hate and extremist content in podcasts and music streaming. As first reported by The Technology 202 last month, a report by the Anti-Defamation League found at least 40 white supremacist artists on the site. The company responded by saying it removed dozens of items identified in the report.
Former Uber security chief convicted of covering up 2016 data breach (Joseph Menn)
Facebook allows users to customize what goes into their timelines (Wall Street Journal)
Political spam has gotten out of hand. Now, Gmail is about to make things worse. (Jeffrey A. Fowler)
Facebook is the only digital political ad game (Bloomberg)
Elon Musk may soon own Twitter. What will it look like when he does? (Elizabeth Dwoskin and Will Orems)
- The Carnegie Foundation will host an event on Chinese technology in the Middle East and Southeast Asia on Thursday at 9 a.m.
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