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Today's Login is 1,309 words, a 5-minute read.
As giant tech firms fight for the attention of their industry, they're putting more money and effort into transforming their conferences into mindshare-grabbing shows.
Why it matters: Tech firms use these events to woo business partners, inspire users, reward loyal developers and attract programming talent. For a wildly profitable industry, they're also becoming a new arena of excess.
Driving the news:
What they're saying: "Every year we look at the previous year's Dreamforce and think 'How can we go bigger and better?' Somehow every year we raise the bar," Brigitte Donner, Salesforce's Dreamforce chair, told Axios.
New this year:
By the numbers: Dreamforce is the biggest of the company events, drawing 170,000 people to San Francisco's Moscone Center and snarling traffic downtown.
Perks: In addition to providing a roster of celebrities during the day, it's common for these conferences to throw a gigantic attendee party at a big stadium, concert venue or amusement park. I've been to...
Yes, but: Developer conferences can also cost a couple thousand dollars to attend. That's fine if your employer foots the bill, but can be quite a burden for freelancers and the self-employed.
The bottom line: Corporate decision makers wield a lot of purchasing power and tech companies are spending freely for their attention.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
While artificial intelligence is an important new wave of tech, the term is being vastly overused. As Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports, zealous marketing departments, capital-hungry startup founders and overeager reporters are throwing the AI label on many products that are actually driven by simple statistics — or in some cases, human labor.
Why it matters: This "AI washing" threatens to overinflate expectations for the technology, undermining public trust and potentially setting up the booming field for a backlash.
The big picture: The tech industry has always been infatuated with the buzzword du jour. Before AI landed in this role, it belonged to "big data." Before that, everyone was "in the cloud" or "mobile first." Even earlier, it was "Web 2.0" and "social software."
Plenty of companies rely on one or the other of those tactics, which straddle the line between attractive branding and misdirection.
"It's really tempting if you're a CEO of a tech startup to AI-wash because you know you're going to get funding," says Brandon Purcell, a principal analyst at Forrester.
The tech sector's fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude plays into the problem.
Sen. Josh Hawley. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, a prominent Big Tech critic, is introducing legislation today meant to protect Americans' online data from flowing to China and other countries that raise national security concerns, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports..
How it works: Hawley's bill takes aim Apple and TikTok by prohibiting American companies from storing user data or encryption keys in China, and preventing Chinese companies from collecting more information on American users than necessary to provide service here.
The big picture: Hawley's introduction of the National Security and Personal Data Protection Act follows his repeatedly raising concerns about TikTok's and Apple's connections to China, including at a hearing this month before the Senate Judiciary crime and terrorism subcommittee.
How it works: For TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, the bill bans the transfer of user data to China, and curbs both the collection of data and what can be done with the information.
On the Apple front, the legislation would prevent American companies from transferring user data or encryption keys to China, as well as prohibiting them from storing data in China.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Just as humans use technology to connect with one another, they're now using machines to interact with their pets, as Axios' Ursula Perano reports.
The big picture: Apps and devices are now offering pet owners a more intimate look at their animals' wellbeing, from veterinary care to fitness.
Details... Technology dips into pet care with:
Yes, but: Just as tech is improving lives for pets, improvements in robots create virtual pets that can cuddle and play fetch without needing to be fed or go for walks.
Now this is how you woo a mate.