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Carole Cadwalladr. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

For Big Tech, TED is usually a friendly place. Companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft have used past conferences to show off new advances, while executives from those companies mingle with leaders from finance and government.

The backdrop: In years past, despite some skepticism about the future of robots and artificial intelligence, the large companies themselves have generally enjoyed a warm reception. This year, though, things got decidedly chillier at TED 2019, which ended Friday.

Driving the news:

  • 2 prominent Facebook critics spoke: U.K. journalist Carole Cadwalladr and Roger McNamee. Many attendees I talked to pointed to Cadwalladr's talk as the most notable of the event, in particular her claim that Facebook had subverted Western democracy.
  • As for the tech companies, Facebook was a sponsor, but declined an invitation to send a top executive. Twitter's Jack Dorsey did appear, though the general consensus was he didn't help the company's cause, largely reiterating past pledges to improve the dialogue without much in the way of new proposals.
  • There was one talk from Google: Ivan Poupyrev showed off Jacquard, an effort to weave technology into everyday objects. Although Jacquard has been around for some time now, Poupyrev struggled to get his touch-enabled Levi's jacket to control the slides.

The bottom line: Even the elites think it's time for action, not talk, from social media companies.

Go deeper: Our AI future dominates the conversation at TED2018

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.