Photograph by Getty Images
By Alan Murray and David Meyer
July 3, 2018

Good morning.

Because tomorrow is July 4th, let me make a patriotic plea: workers at Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Salesforce should back off their insistence that their companies stop working with the U.S. government on defense and immigration issues. And if they don’t back off, their employers should ignore their pleas. (For background on the issue, this story in Wired is worth reading…even if unduly sympathetic to the workers.)

Readers of this newsletter know I’m a fan of employee activism, which in most cases pushes companies to be better. But let’s be clear: tech is no longer just an industry, it’s a fundamental underpinning of every industry, and indeed, of our lives and of our future. It also has disturbing “winner take most” tendencies that are exacerbated by the move to AI, where quantity of data becomes an unbeatable advantage.

As a result, both money and talent are being funneled to just a handful of behemoth companies, based in two countries: the U.S. and China. I had breakfast yesterday with Kai Fu Lee, who is one of the few who understands the profound nature of this great divide—and has portrayed it compellingly in a book out this September called AI Superpowers. (Worth ordering in advance.)

Leave aside the argument that AI could help reduce collateral human damage in warfare, provide more humane policing of the border, and possibly even improve the government’s ability to reunite children with their parents. The bigger question tech workers should ask themselves is this: Do they want to live in a world where the Chinese government has unfettered access to the best technology its companies have to offer, while the U.S. government does not? Do they really think they are helping humanity by unilaterally disarming the superpower that was founded on a fundamental declaration of human rights?

That’s worth pondering during tomorrow’s fireworks. CEO Daily will take the day off to do so.

And by the way, we are taking nominations for Fortune’s 4th annual Change the World list—which highlights companies that do well by doing good—addressing pressing social problems as part of their core profit-making activity. You can learn more about the list here. Shoot me a note if there’s a company you would like to nominate.

News below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like