November 7, 2022
Photo: Gehad Hamdy/picture alliance via Getty Images
Good morning! Yesterday was the start of COP27, where climate negotiators and corporate leaders meet to discuss how to reach net zero, among other climate challenges. And more than ever, Big Tech is playing a pivotal role in the discussions.
It’s once again climate conference season. Negotiators are descending on Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for international climate talks known as COP27, Protocol Climate editor Brian Kahn writes.
The hot topic at COP27 will be loss and damage, or a framework for rich countries to pay emerging ones for climate damages. It’s a highly complex and contentious topic.
The tech industry sees itself as part of the international order. It’s impossible in many ways to disentangle business interests from nation-state interests at this point, but particularly when it comes to the climate because everyone has to live with the world’s choices.
Progress could take a number of different forms. So far, it’s taken the form of climate pledges that have yet to bend the emissions curve at the company and global levels.
But there are deeper discussions to be had at COP27 and beyond about how the industry uses its power to shape the world. “The tech sector exists to see around the bend,” Jamie Beck Alexander, the director of Drawdown Labs, told Protocol. “Given this foresight, industry leaders know that we will all one day soon wake up and realize that we have to make impossibly hard changes in our economy on impossible time horizons.”
Read more: What the tech industry wants at COP27
Some candidates have already started repeating “Big Lie” charges ahead of tomorrow’s midterms. And the social platforms that help them spread their message have prepared few measures to stop it, Protocol’s Ben Brody reports.
Companies haven’t updated their playbooks for the midterms. Many of the efforts from the likes of Twitter, Meta, YouTube, and others to protect 2022’s elections look a lot like the measures the platforms took in 2020.
Twitter could be making the problem worse, especially given Elon Musk gutting half the company’s staff. In terms of policy, Twitter actually goes a little further than some of its peers, limiting “misleading claims intended to undermine public confidence in an election.”
Meta seems to have mostly recycled its 2020 playbook, despite reports that suggested the company’s three platforms were particularly helpful in supercharging the original Big Lie — focused on Biden’s election — in the leadup to Jan. 6.
Other platforms’ approaches don’t inspire confidence, either. YouTube, for example, prohibits “false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in certain past elections to determine heads of government.”
There's a real risk that some people will seek to overturn legitimate losses — or even that a few Democrats will sense an opening for bad behavior — by fostering doubts about whether the U.S. can still pull off real elections. The social networks seem mostly to be hoping they have the tools to tackle that. It’s not clear they do.
Read more: Trump allies are questioning U.S. democracy. Tech is letting them.
For tech companies that rely on the housing market, which has been hard hit by inflation and rising interest rates, it’s a tough road ahead, Protocol's Tomio Geron writes.
Real estate tech companies face a tough slog in the current environment. Until inflation and interest rates show some real signs of dropping, the companies face both the challenges of all high-growth tech companies whose stocks have been hit, as well as the effects of the real estate downturn. “They're doubly affected,” said Melody Brue, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
Zillow is betting on becoming a super app. The home-prices site beat analysts’ estimates for the third quarter but its fourth-quarter outlook fell short. It also laid off 300 employees.
Rocket’s mortgage operation is no longer soaring. Refis boosted Rocket last year: It processed more than double the volume of such loans than any other lender. But refinancings have cratered with soaring interest rates this year.
And Opendoor faces an overhang. The iBuyer doesn’t just face a real estate downturn among consumers, it also has to take on the risk of buying and selling homes itself — the enduring challenge of its controversial model.
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While tech can be a transformational tool for change, there must be a balance to ensure we are not only depending on multilateral institutions to implement policy and standards, as authoritative regimes can easily dismiss those initiatives. Instead, we must have a holistic diplomatic approach that ensures tech diplomacy and collaboration can be spread through various platforms.
Jack Dorsey tweeted an apology for growing Twitter “too quickly”:
Activision Blizzard reports earnings today.
Zoom’s hybrid two-day conference, Zoomtopia, starts tomorrow in San Jose.
EU antitrust regulators will decide by tomorrow whether to clear Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The CIO’s Future of Cloud Summit happens tomorrow and will be virtual.
Microsoft is adding helicopters and gliders to Microsoft Flight Simulator on Friday.
The FNCS Invitational 2022, Epic Games’ Fortnite competition, runs Saturday and Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center in North Carolina.
Meta is planning to lay off thousands of employees, reports The Wall Street Journal. The cuts could be announced as soon as Wednesday, according to the newspaper.
Twitter is asking some laid off workers to return, according to Bloomberg. Apparently some were let go my mistake, and others have skills that may still be required by the company.
Chris McGugan is the new CEO of Televerde, a sales and marketing company. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and general manager of Oracle CX Service.
Lidar manufacturers Ouster and Velodyne are merging to create a company worth around $400 million.
What's happening at Twitter today? Well, Elon Musk apparently wants to ban non-parody impersonation on the social network. Semi-relatedly, Mastodon now has more than 1 million monthly active users monthly active users!
The former CEOs of MoviePass have been charged in a securities fraud case. Ted Farnsworth and Mitch Lowe are alleged to have falsely claimed that MoviePass' $9.95 plan "was tested, sustainable, and would be profitable or break even on subscription fees alone," according to the indictment.
Kai-Fu Lee wanted to spread knowledge about AI in China with the U.S. so both countries could succeed. Instead the world-renowned researcher and investor started a fierce rivalry.
Chinese chip designers are skirting export controls imposed by the U.S. by tweaking the designs of chips to make them slower.
Ebook site Z-Library had its domains seized by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday. But the circumstances surrounding the shutdowns are still unclear.
Apple expects to ship fewer iPhones this quarter than aniticpiated due to production cuts in China at COVID-hit factories.
The Biden administration highlighted five areas where research today could have a major impact on cleaning up carbon pollution. The five areas are: building efficiency, the power grid, aviation, industrial processes, and fusion energy.
Binance helped Iranian firms exchange nearly $8 billion in crypto in 2018, despite sanctions intended to block the country from global financial systems at the time.
Are you tired of waking your phone with a friendly greeting whenever you want to set a reminder or know the weather? Apple might be doing something about that: Bloomberg reported that the company is working on dropping the “Hey” from “Hey Siri” for its voice commands, so the assistant will respond to just “Siri.” As simple as this sounds, the switch would actually require some major AI training and complex engineering work. Apple is also reportedly hoping to integrate Siri more into third-party apps and services.
New tech innovations like Web3, blockchain, and AI have massive potential to strengthen democracies and global economic security while decreasing the digital divide. However, these innovations come with significant risks. Political scientist Ian Bremmer underscores disruptive technology as one of three looming global crises for which we are largely unprepared.
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