Not only wealthy and influential, the co-founders have absolute control through a special stock class created with the original IPO of Google to lock in that influence. And, thanks to a specific change made in the 2015 creation of Alphabet, the mechanism that would have let Page and Brin pass on their control forever is no longer.
Nine of ten U.S. public companies have a stock structure in which each share gets one vote on any one issue, according to the Council of Institutional Investors (CII).
It may look to the outside eye that Silicon Valley just prints money, funneled through startups to give you things like cheap Uber rides. But if you trace the money that comes into startups through their venture capital firms — and trace the money that comes into those venture capital firms from their so-called limited partners — one can see the makings of a great gold rush, financed by overseas investors eager to overstuff money into hungry young companies.
Take Y Combinator Demo Day. The iconic see-and-be-seen event for tech investors hunting the next great company was, a decade ago, a cloistered opportunity for the best-connected, elite professionals — friends who knew the equivalent of a secret password — to see a dozen or so startups. It was small enough to fit in a room at YC’s Silicon Valley offices.
Now Demo Day is more like a world’s fair, bursting with hundreds of presentations by foreigners and to foreigners. In the converted parking lot alongside San Francisco Bay where it was held last month, hustling foreign-born entrepreneurs munching on M&M cookies were pitching startups to wealthy investors and government officials from places like Russia, Spain, Germany, Nigeria, Japan, and — of course — China.
The Trump administration’s posture toward China is having profound consequences across Silicon Valley.
This is Silicon Valley in 2019 — a playground for foreign countries eager to fulfill their grand strategies.
Current Earth observation technologies are not accurate enough when it comes to monitoring carbon dioxide emissions, according to delegates at the EU’s space week in Helsinki. A new system set to launch in 2025 should change all that.
The EU’s Copernicus satellite system will get an upgrade in just over five years time, with a new model, Sentinel-7, dedicated to monitoring anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Three satellites are expected to orbit the earth 14 times a day.
Each satellite will be capable of viewing 250km of the earth’s surface during a pass, marking a significant improvement on the current crop of orbiters, the most advanced of which can only see 15km. The European Space Agency has already been in contact with potential manufacturers.
In accordance with article 48(2) of the EU Cybersecurity Act, the European Commission has requested ENISA to prepare a cybersecurity certification candidate scheme for cloud services, taking into account existing and relevant schemes and standards.
Cloud services provide important business opportunities for public administration and businesses. A single European cloud certification is critical for enabling the free flow of non-personal data, which allows for the unrestricted movement of data across borders and information systems within the EU.
The cybersecurity certification of cloud services will bring enhanced trust and legal certainty in the security of cross-border data processing, as acknowledged by the Free Flow of Data Regulation. Certified cloud services will reinforce the impact of this regulation helping the EU data economy to further contribute to GDP growth.
Transformation must, in a holistic manner, take into account the interplay of the various challenges and innovation drivers, both horizontally and vertically, at local, regional, national and international levels. Cities must join forces, work together with businesses, academia, civic society and, above all, citizens.
The aspirations for digital transition to solve many of the urban challenges should come from the residents and must be echoed in the strategies and carried through procurement and facilitation to allow new digital urban ecosystems to develop and evolve.
ESPON policy brief “Digital Innovation in urban environments” aims to help European, national, regional and urban authorities, businesses, academia and citizens to better understand how digitalization and new technologies can be harnessed. It also supports discussions surrounding digital innovation in cities and urban policy during the EU Finnish Presidency (second semester of 2019).
The European Commission will present a revised ePrivacy proposal as part of the forthcoming Croatian Presidency of the EU, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton announced on Tuesday (3 December), after previous talks failed to produce an agreement among member states.
The revamped measures will be made in a bid to find consensus between EU countries on the ePrivacy regulation which would see tech companies offering messaging and email services subjected to the same privacy rules as telecommunications providers.
The initial Commission proposal had been put forward in January 2017, in a bid to “reinforce trust and security in the digital single market.”
NATO leaders wrapped up their acrimonious 70th-anniversary meeting in relative harmony on Wednesday (4 December), bridging a series of intense internal divisions and agreeing to focus more on the challenge of China’s “growing international influence” and military might.
The strategic shift comes after a dispute between French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump exposed major rifts in the Cold War-era military alliance.
Despite internal disagreements, several of the leaders gathering for the half-day summit in Watford, on the outskirts of London, repeatedly emphasized they were able to agree “on substance” that a reflection on the “political dimension” of NATO is necessary.
In the end, the joint declaration said Russia remains a “threat to Euro-Atlantic security” and “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to all”. But NATO leaders expanded their gaze even further east to Beijing, with the US spearheading the drive to add a greater focus on China to NATO’s watch-list.
The Greek government is open to the idea of further Chinese investment into a range of public and private sectors, including in the field of telecommunications, the country’s digital minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis, told EURACTIV on Tuesday (3 December).
The comments – likely to ruffle some feathers across the Atlantic – came just a day after US President Donald Trump revealed that he would like to discuss Greece’s stance on 5G security when the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visits Washington on 7 January.
“With regards to the presence of specific companies we are, on the whole, welcoming of Chinese investment in Greece,” Pierrakakis said in response to a question on whether Greece would consider working with the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei while concerns remain about the involvement of third-country players in the EU’s 5G network.
What do we really understand about how decisions are made about us using artificial intelligence (AI)?
The potential for AI is huge, but its implementation is often complex, which makes it difficult for people to understand how it works. And when people don’t understand a technology, it can lead to doubt, uncertainty and mistrust.
ICO research shows that over 50% of people are concerned about machines making complex automated decisions about them. In our co-commissioned citizen jury research, the majority of people stated that in contexts where humans would usually provide an explanation, explanations of AI decisions should be similar to human explanations.
The decisions made using AI need to be properly understood by the people they impact.
As Ursula von der Leyen took office as the new President of the European Commission this week, she said her administration will prioritize two issues above all: guiding Europe through the energy transition in response to climate change, and guiding it through the digital transition in response to new technologies.
On the latter, she has her work cut out. “Digitalization is making things possible that were unthinkable even a generation ago,” she told the European Parliament ahead of her approval last week.
“To grasp the opportunities and to address the dangers that are out there, we must be able to strike a smart balance where the market cannot. We must protect our European well‑being and our European values. In the digital age, we must continue on our European path.”