Facebook discovers Washington, DC – not the other way round


Feliciotti

From Om Malik’s April 28th weekly newsletter

❝ Bloomberg Technology host Emily Chang asked me where I think Facebook will be in a year. My answer: Pretty much where it is now. It will be unchanged or even emboldened, thanks in part to its new strategy of buying protection in Washington. Like many other industries — for example, tobacco and oil — Facebook has figured out that it can help write regulations that will allow it to exist blissfully and put its competitors at a disadvantage.

To tame Washington, you must have the right people. So, the company has begun hiring individuals that will help achieve this goal. These are seemingly innocuous moves in what is a long game…

❝ Neither advertisers nor Wall Street — the two constituents that matter more to the company than the people — don’t seem to care about the regulations and the stream of outrage news. Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter put it best when, in a note to his clients he pointed out that, if you “take away all the headlines, the controversies, the regulations, and what you are left with” is a company with lots of users on its platforms that “advertisers will pay to reach.”

The operative verb being “PAY”. Advertisers paying Facebook. Facebook paying lobbyists. Facebook paying new hires with experience at balancing the whole quasi-payola mechanism.

Attorney General Barr lies for Trump; but, he really sucks at it

❝ There was never any doubt that Attorney General William Barr would be more loyal to Donald Trump than to the American people. Trump would not have chosen him for the job if he were not…

His boss isn’t a man who values truthfulness. And, frankly, Trump isn’t even a politician who lies particularly well. So a “skillful liar” was never implied in the job description for attorney general. A “stupid liar” was.

❝ Barr began entangling himself in a web of lies in March when he released his four-page summary of Robert Mueller’s report to Congress. He cherry-picked phrases from the 448-page document in an attempt to vindicate the president, even using Trump’s favorite line in concluding that there was “no collusion.”

Barr must have known, or at least he should have known, that he could not get away with such a shallow and dishonest interpretation of the special counsel’s two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election…

Perhaps that never mattered to him at all. Maybe he knew that if he were to be called before Congress to explain his lies, Republicans would have his back just as fiercely as they have Trump’s…

What Barr and his Republican cohorts never expected, though, is that Mueller would call him out on his lies.

RTFA. Moves forward from this reality to further indictment of the criminals in charge of the administration of our government.

Elon Musk said what?

❝ In many ways, Tesla — Elon Musk’s lightning rod of a car company — is the perfect allegory for modern Silicon Valley. The ongoing psychodrama of personalities drowns out the amazing technical achievements that are happening all around us…

As usual, this has been a real “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of week for Tesla. It had a disastrous earnings report card, and Elon keeps creating all the wrong sorts of headlines. But in the middle of this maelstrom, the company announced a new chip that is going to eventually become the brain for their electric car. This chip is not just any chip — it will be able to make sense of a growing number of sensors that allow the car to become better and better at assisted (if not fully automated) driving…

❝ Tesla’s module is based on two AI chips — each one made of a CPU, a GPU, and deep learning accelerators. The module can deliver 144-trillion operations per second, making it capable of processing data from numerous sensors and other sources and running deep neural network algorithms. Ian Riches, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, told EE Times that this is “effectively the most powerful computer yet fitted to a production vehicle.” And Tesla is going to make a next-generation module that will be more powerful and will consume a lot less power.

As usual, Om Malik provides more depth, analysis and understanding than most of his peers. Please, RTFA, gather in another chunk of insight into Elon Musk’s apparently endless journey to reinvent the automobile along with any other software and hardware he bumps into in his young life.