The Lede, Tuesday, March 6, 2018
By David Royse
In the divide between the emerging knowledge economy and the old industrial one, between a future, new America built with brains and a longing for the old one built with brawn, between a new culture that values information and an old one that is skeptical of information, it should have been easy to see this coming.
In the culture wars, technology companies are the new enemy for many people.
There are obvious reasons – they have tons of data on us, which scares people. They disrupt old industries, which scares people. They challenge some people’s religious beliefs, which scares people. We don’t exactly understand everything their products can do, which scares people.
But the New York Times looks at this issue today, through a more political lens, and sheds a light on some of the ire in some parts of the conservative culture against Big Tech, focusing on a new film that aims to show how some Big Tech companies can filter and skew information.
From the New York Times piece, by Michael M. Grynbaum and John Herrman,
“If the mainstream media is a perennial enemy of the right, Big Tech is a fresh and novel foe, arguably more relevant to 2018 … ”
The article hints, however, at Big Tech’s role in this – in some cases it doesn’t do itself any favors. It IS opaque. It IS insulated, culturally.
As the Times notes, “operational opacity at Facebook, Google and Twitter, which are reluctant to reveal details about their algorithms and internal policies, can leave them vulnerable, too.”
Well, here’s the difficulty with the storyline of “salt-of-the-Earth Luddites out in the Heartland” hating on the new information economy: the companies typically associated with hometown Middle America (rightly or wrongly) are going all Silicon Valley, too, just without the address change.
It may be based in Arkansas, but Walmart is showing again that it’s not stuck in the past.
From the story:
“Retail giant Walmart now thinks of itself as a tech company — but it’s not putting all its eggs in Silicon Valley…..’We have a vast amount of data that we haven’t truly democratized or captured the value out of it to create new products,’ Enslin said, discussing the opportunity Walmart sees in investing in these emerging technologies.”
And, also on a related note from the New York Times today: Facebook and Apple are now embedding themselves in the Heartland
NOTES FROM THE AGE OF DISRUPTION
23 And Me
Gets FDA Approval to Report Breast Cancer Risk Without a Doctor. Washington Post.
Is planning a five-city 5G rollout in China. Venturebeat
Is suing Facebook. Fortune
SANCTUARY CANNABIS STATES
With several states now claiming that their local residents have the right to have access to marijuana, but the federal government continuing to consider it illegal, the battle between the states and the feds is firmly at work with regards to cannabis. And that has some states considering becoming “sanctuaries” from federal marijuana policy.
From the Associated Press:
“Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, some states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.”
And here’s more on the same issue in Massachusetts
Another interesting story this week
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES IN CALIFORNIA
The law of unintended consequences is at play in California, where some patients who previously were able to get free or low cost cannabis are seeing their sources dwindle, because of legalization.
“Under state regulations that went into effect Jan. 1, compassionate care programs must collect taxes on the market value of cannabis that they give to patients. Many of these programs say they cannot afford the taxes nor the cost of state and local permits required to obtain cannabis from legal growers.”
For a full roundup of Cannabis News, read the Cannabis News Roundup from LedeTree and watch for our newsletter on the issue coming soon.
Finally, today, on the death of Roger Bannister.
Celebrating an Everyman athlete:
An insightful piece from Malcolm Gladwell on why we celebrate Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile. Because he wasn’t a freak we could never understand. He was just a guy who trained hard for something he wanted to do. Lots of others have also done it. Good stuff.
“He was a medical student at the time of his record run, in 1954. He trained during his lunch hour. A few weeks before, when things weren’t going well, he took off with his friend for some hiking in Scotland.”
The video version of that news reel coverage of his run (with awesome music) is below.
“Bannister, a superb tactician, has suffered some criticism in the past for adopting his own rather unorthodox training methods, but they’re paying dividends now.”