White House urges tech CEOs to weigh in on modernizing gov't

Angelica Greene
June 20, 2017

According to Recode, in a meeting with the White House's American Technology Council, Trump conceded that federal agencies desperately needed to catch up with the private sector when it comes to technology.

In spite of pressure for the tech community to denounce the Trump administration, the new tech summit's lineup remains almost the same as it was back in December, again featuring Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Satya Nadella and Brian Krzanich, among others. That's in large part due to tech workers' anger toward a president who has attacked U.S. immigrants (often their colleagues), vowed to gut visa programs such as the H1-B (which are frequently used to employ foreign engineering talent in the US), reneged on U.S. promises in the Paris Agreement to slow climate change (a priority issue to many in California), among other things.

The administration drew a mix of flattery and policy requests from the assembled technology leaders and university officials.

Specifically, Tim Cook pitched to President Trump that the united States should make coding a requirement in school's, something he has voiced his opinion on in the past as well.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also agreed, saying increasing competitiveness could be achieved through government spending in research.

"If you set the data free, the entrepreneurs are going to do the rest", he told the president.

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Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, gave a speech to CEOs of technology companies at the White House on June 19, promoting the innovative power of the private sector to update aging federal IT infrastructure. The Pentagon has continued to use floppy disks - years after many consumers stopped - to manage its nuclear arsenal.

Silicon Valley and Donald Trump have disagreed on many issues, most notably Trump's recent decision to pull the USA out of the Paris climate accord and issues surrounding immigration. Leaders at Apple and Google were among the American corporate executives who appealed to the president to stay in the pact.

Cook, Bezos and others have since been vocal critics of some of the administration's policies, including the attempt to institute a travel ban for visitors from some majority-muslim countries.

Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley descended on the White House on Monday (19 June) for the first meeting of the American Technology Council.

A 2016 US Government Accountability Office report estimated the US government spent more than $80 billion in IT annually, excluding classified operations.

But none of the executives criticized the president in public sessions, and Trump projected a jovial mood, touting the gains in technology stocks since he took office and expressing confidence his administration would overcome such long-running challenges as modernizing the air traffic system.

Other reports by GizPress

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