Jun 7, 2017

Axios Login

Welcome back. Still reporting from the Apple's developer conference in San Jose, but let's get to all the news...

​Why Siri is slower than Alexa to gain new skills

It's no secret that Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant are gaining new skills at a faster pace than Apple is adding things to Siri. But, at least to a certain degree, that's by design.

While others are content to let developers create their own keywords and language for handling things via voice, Apple prefers to open things up one category at a time. In part, that's so Apple can create many different ways to access each service ensuring customers themselves don't have to memorize just the right voice command.

WWDC conference: That was in further evidence this week at Apple's developers conference. Even as it previewed its new Siri-powered HomePod speaker, Apple introduced just a handful of new options for developers, including integration with third-party apps like those for reminder, note taking, banking account summaries, and balance transfers.

One big exception: Apple sometimes gives its own services far deeper Siri control than it does to third-party services. This is particularly noticeable with regards to music. Apple is building a ton of new skills for its service, while rivals like Spotify are limited to just basic controls, at least for now.

Apple's strategy: Going slow makes sense, according to Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi, who notes that many people who use other digital assistants give up after a couple bad experiences. "Getting those users to come back and give it another go is harder than convincing someone who never tried it," she said.

The more valuable the company, the fewer the workers

The five most valuable companies in the U.S. are all technology firms that employ far fewer workers than their industrial predecessors, Axios' Chris Matthews reports.

Why this matters: These companies symbolize the central issue of employment in a new age of technology, automation, and artificial intelligence. For example, Ford, which is worth a tenth of Facebook, employs 200,000 workers compared with Facebook's 17,000. Worse, Ford is cutting jobs, saying last month that it will lay off 1,400 workers despite record revenue.

Accelerating economic change: The success of these tech giants highlights the changing face of corporate America -- three of them did not exist 25 years ago, and the other two are just 40. That such relatively young companies are on top illustrates the trend of a higher churn rate among American companies. According to consulting firm Innosight, the 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1965 narrowed to 20 years in 1990 and the average tenure is forecast to shrink to 14 years by 2026.

​Exclusive: The most viral TV shows of 2016

Nielsen conducted its first social media ratings study that includes data from Twitter and Facebook to find which TV shows got the most social media attention and Sara has a look at the results.

The top picks were mix of obvious choices like the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards and some surprises like "The Walking Dead."

Bottom line: Ratings ≠ social engagement. TV measurement is going to have to change to account for the role digital plays in television consumption. Sara has more here.

Americans want tech giants to do more to stop bad actors

A report out today from the Digital Citizens Alliance suggests Americans are losing faith in the most popular and influential online platforms due to an increase in cybercrime, privacy breaches, fake news and illicit content. According to a poll of more than 1,200 people:

  • 64% said their trust in digital platforms has dropped in the last year.
  • 75% said digital platforms need to do more to keep the internet safe and trustworthy.
  • 60% said digital platforms should be responsible for what people do on them.
  • 72% see the pairing of brand name advertising with offensive online content – like ISIS/terrorism recruiting videos – as a threat to the continued trust and integrity of the internet.
  • 64% said that the fake news issue has made them less likely to trust the internet as a source of information.

Why it matters: "Americans are looking for digital platforms to step up and help protect them," the report says."If we don't get a handle on the way bad actors are trying to turn these platforms into their own version of the Dark Web, we risk hindering its growth and appeal to developers who work on it and consumers who use it."

Russia looms large over Senate surveillance hearing

As David McCabe reports, the Senate Intelligence Committee today will discuss the reauthorization of a key law used to justify the digital surveillance of foreign nationals located abroad.

Why it matters: Privacy advocates take issue with the way that surveillance under the statute captures the data of American citizens. Some Republican senators, meanwhile, have introduced legislation to make the provision permanent. Silicon Valley cares about this debate because it impacts how much consumer data the government can access.

What to watch: Expect the discussion to turn to the government probe into ties between Trump and Russia, thanks to the witnesses appearing before the committee: acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

Take note

On tap: Apple's developer conference continues in San Jose...Business Roundtable is holding an event about closing the skills gap, which will include White House's Reed Cordish and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

Trading places: We told you first on Friday Bozoma Saint John was leaving Apple, and now, of course, we all know she is headed to Uber to be chief brand officer...US Patent and Trademark office chief Michelle Lee has resigned, sources told Recode and Reuters...FCC CIO David Bray is taking a new post as chief ventures officer for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

ICYMI: Apple announced yesterday that one of its main component suppliers, Jabil Circuit, has committed to powering all of its Apple-related operations with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of next year...Uber has fired 20 employees after digging deeper into incidents of past sexual harassment...The New York Times has a look at how tech billionaires are trying to reshape U.S. schools.

Errata: Sorry. We flubbed the numbers in yesterday's graphic about brand values. Should have been trillions and billions instead of billions and millions. Thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who caught it. Here's a link to the corrected graphic. (We try not to get things wrong, but please let us know when we do.)

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