Dislike Trump, but work with him
Andrew Ross Sorkin
The New York Times
“What does it mean to be a patriotic company when you vehemently disagree with your nation’s leader?” asked Andrew Ross Sorkin. That’s the debate raging in Silicon Valley. Employees at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have lobbied their companies to drop government contracts; Google abandoned Project Maven, which used artificial intelligence to analyze images from drones. The argument is supposedly about morality and ethics. In truth, though, “the ethical arguments are a diversion. This is political.” It’s really about President Trump. But the idea that the tech industry shouldn’t work with elected leaders that employees disagree with doesn’t play well outside Silicon Valley. “How do you stand up and talk to a Marine or a special operator and explain to them” that you won’t let them use your software, asks the CEO of Palantir, a company that has many contracts with the U.S. government. Workers in Silicon Valley might ponder that and rethink their position. Helping the country with its defense was one of the ways that the Valley helped demonstrate the value of technology to the public. With so many questions emerging about the benefits that tech companies offer society, there could soon be a time when Silicon Valley needs the public’s support.