SCOTUS Vacancy, Becky Hammon, Google’s Diane Greene: Broadsheet June 28
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Justice Kennedy’s retirement triggers anxiety over abortion rights, the NBA’s first full-time female coach gets promoted, and Google’s Diane Greene talks principled tech. Have a terrific Thursday!
• Setting boundaries. At a Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner in San Francisco last night, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene talked about how technology is moving faster than regulation. She cited, for example, an airport official who recently told her to not take any photos. If she did, her camera would be confiscated.
“And I said, ‘Well how are you going to get it out of the cloud?’”
The incredible pace of advancement is especially apparent in artificial intelligence, a technology that's provoking anxiety among developers and end-users alike.
Google is fielding those concerns first-hand.
It recently grappled with outcry from employees who objected to its contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, which uses AI to improve the accuracy of drone strikes. Greene said Google doesn't plan to renew the Maven contract.
Greene told the audience last night that AI researchers at Google care deeply about developing principles to determine how their technology is used; she likened it to the challenge of a government writing a constitution that reflects its values.
“You have to talk about what the worst possible use of a technology is,” she said, “and say whether or not that’s okay.” Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• No Roe? News that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring—leaving a vacancy for President Donald Trump to fill—immediately drew attention to the future of abortion rights. The president has long vowed to appoint justices who'd work to overturn Roe vs. Wade, so anti-abortion activists are seeing the open seat as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Campaigners on the other side, meanwhile, are concerned. The "right to access abortion in this country is on the line," the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said yesterday. NBC News
•Hammon with the assist. Becky Hammon, the first full-time female coach to collect a salary in the NBA, is moving on up. The San Antonio Spurs have promoted her to the "front of the bench" or the top assistant coach position. Sports Illustrated
• Acing it. As pro tennis continues to consider players who've taken breaks to have children, Wimbledon has given seven-time champ Serena Williams the No. 25 seed for its up-coming tournament. The decision recognizes Williams's stellar record on grass and, unlike the recent French Open, doesn't excessively penalize her for a 13-month maternity leave. Washington Post
• At Sarah's service. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will reportedly begin receiving Secret Service protection, giving an unusual level of protection to someone in what has traditionally been considered a low-threat job. The Secret Service told CNN, “For operational security purposes the Secret Service does not comment on its protective operations.” Sanders didn’t provide comment. Reports of the new protection come after Sanders was publicly confronted by the owner of a Virginia restaurant and asked to leave the establishment. CNN
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jocelyn Moore was named the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs. Ann Dunwoody, retired general of the U.S. Army and the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve a four-star officer rank, has joined the board of directors for Automattic, the parent company of Wordpress.com.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The Terrible 10. Thomson Reuters Foundation has published a ranking of the most dangerous countries for women. Landing at No. 10? The United States, falling in line behind nations like Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. In including the U.S. in this dubious bunch, the report cites the rise of the #MeToo movement that has helped reveal the near-ubiquity of sexual harassment. In fact, the U.S. and Syria tied for third for the risks women face in terms of sexual violence, harassment, sexual coercion, and women’s lack of access to justice in cases of rape. Fortune
• Not enough doctors in the house. Fortune's McKenna Moore has the scoop on the looming shortage of OB-GYNs in the U.S. By 2020, there will be up to 8,800 too few doctors in the speciality. The crisis is expected to hit some regions harder than others with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Miami most at risk. Fortune
• Trying Times. The New York Times fielded high-profile heat from two sources on Wednesday. First, former executive editor Jill Abramson blasted the paper for not tracking the ascent of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pulled off a shock victory in a New York primary on Tuesday. "Missing her rise akin to not seeing Trump’s win coming in 2016," she tweeted. Then The Village Voice pointed out that the Times food section—as it reported on sexual harassment in the restaurant industry—did not review a single woman-run restaurant between November 7, 2017 and May 1, 2018.
ON MY RADAR
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Netherlands approves partial ban on face coverings New York Times