What’s new in tech
D.C. calls tech support
The White House wants Big Tech employees “to leave behind their big paychecks and snazzy office perks” and do short tours of duty in government, said Tony Romm in The Washington Post. In a meeting with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and other firms this week, Trump administration officials asked the companies to “encourage employees to take leaves of absence to help modernize state and federal agencies.” Silicon Valley talent, officials believe, could help tackle problems such as improving veterans’ health care and combating hackers. Attracting skilled tech workers has long been a challenge for federal agencies, some of which were still using floppy disks as recently as 2016. Recruiting has only gotten harder as the “ever-widening cultural and political gap between the White House and the left-leaning Silicon Valley” has expanded.
The wildest West yet
Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 marks the arrival of a new “era of prestige video games,” said Nick Romano in Entertainment Weekly. Games have long sought to “emulate the realism of cinema and television”: the original Red Dead Redemption (2010) took its cues from gritty Westerns such as Unforgiven and The Wild Bunch. That deeply immersive game would go on to inspire HBO’s hit drama Westworld. The sequel, out now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, creates an even more complex and intricate world. As the main character, the outlaw Arthur Morgan, you can make moral choices that will shape the game and “get lost in a seemingly endless world.” I found myself wandering a Louisiana swamp so detailed that it “calls on you to explore like a siren calling wayward thrill seekers to their deaths.”
Uber’s drone-delivery timeline
Uber is advertising for an executive who will “make delivery drones functional as soon as next year and commercially operational by 2021,” said Greg Bensinger and Andy Pasztor in The Wall Street Journal. The company’s food delivery service, UberEats, “has been a bright spot,” and the company is eager to expand the division. One hurdle: “Before Uber can make any drone deliveries, the Federal Aviation Administration will have to develop rules for operating the vehicles.” Other companies are racing to develop delivery drones: This summer, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, “demonstrated one of its latest models making an ice cream delivery in Virginia.”