Situational awareness: The White House this morning announced nothing new regarding U.S. tech exports when discussing investment restrictions on China and other countries, although there are some export controls in a bipartisan bill that President Trump is expected to endorse, Axios' Dan Primack reports.
One proud thing: We’re celebrating as Axios was named “Best Digital News Start-up” at the 2018 North American Media Awards! Big thanks to all of you, who make this work possible.
Justice Department's antitrust chief Makan Delrahim. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Makan Delrahim, the top antitrust cop in the U.S., said Tuesday he's not concerned that a Supreme Court ruling this week will hurt the government's ability to rein in Big Tech. But, that doesn't mean he's ready to take action against any or all of the major tech firms.
"Just being big is not bad," he said during an on-stage interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "Being big, behaving badly is bad."
The standard: In order to take action, the Department of Justice must see proof of actual harm to competition, Delrahim said.
The context: Critics of large tech companies worry the SCOTUS ruling might offer Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Uber protection from antitrust prosecution because they use so-called two-sided marketplaces to connect parties (such as buyers and sellers).
What he's saying: Responding to a question from Axios, Delrahim said he didn't think the ruling would make it harder to go after Facebook and Google over competition concerns "for a couple of reasons."
"I was more worried the Supreme Court would come up with a test [that would] cause harm to new business models like Uber and Airbnb."
Two hats: Delrahim was also on the spot as a de facto representative of the Trump administration (the left-leaning event didn't have an easy time landing speakers from the administration). Asked how he felt to be a part of this administration as an immigrant, Delrahim said he was "proud to be serving in this or any capacity."
"People run into their corners," he said, noting that there is little room for moderates in today's politics, or to find common ground. "There seems not to be a debate to understand each other. I wish there was more of that."
Despite all the hype and attention that next-generation cellular networks have garnered, there are many carriers around the world that are still unsure of the business value of 5G, at least in the short term.
What's happening: That's the gist of a new report being released today by Bain & Co. The consulting firm cited public statements from more than half of 19 major carriers indicating they don't see a near-term business case for 5G.
The details: Here are some of the bearish comments Bain cited:
Other myths: Many carriers around the globe fear that they have to dramatically increase their capital spending in order to invest in 5G. But Bain's Herbert Blum tells Axios that's just one of several myths.
Risk of standing still: The real danger is for those carriers who choose to delay spending. "That would be the beginning of the (total) commoditization of telcos," he said.
Yes, but: The pessimism Bain is seeing in some parts of the globe is all but absent in China and in the U.S. where major carriers are racing to be first with a mobile 5G network.
IBM plans to release more than 1 million facial images to help better train the artificial intelligence behind facial recognition systems, Axios' Kim Hart reports.
Why it matters: The risk of bias being built into AI systems is a major hurdle for all companies developing facial analysis algorithms to, for example, recognize different skin colors and other attributes in a non-discriminatory way.
How it works: IBM says its new project will be the largest facial image dataset available that is specifically curated for the training of AI, and will be open to academics, public interest groups and competitors.
"No single company can tackle the challenge of AI bias in a vacuum, and we believe it’s essential that tools like this be available for everyone in the field so we all can play a role in advancing the technology responsibly."— Ruchir Puri, chief architect, IBM Watson
The challenge: AI technologies are developing quickly, but consumers are wary of the consequences. At the same time, consumers are becoming more aware of the power of their data — including photos and videos — being collected by tech giants to build AI systems.
Go deeper: Read more on the risk of bias in AI...
A JD.com tea shop helps incubate startups and showcase their products. Photo: Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images
Silicon Valley is still king when it comes to startups, but Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai are quickly catching up, according to new data from CB Insights.
Why it matters: China is a huge market, so it's not surprise its local startups are fast growing and raising buckets of capital to fuel that. But the country's increasing ambitions to become a tech superpower is sure to boost this trend.
Go deeper: Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva has more here.
"I finally figured out why they call it Fortnite. That’s how often I see my kid."— NextDraft's Dave Pell
One of my favorite authors, Jenny Lawson, announced she is working on two books: a new collection of essays and a graphic novel for young adults.