Top takeaways from CES 2020

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— Here’s what caught our eye this week: Silicon Valley’s political reckoning has reached tech’s largest commerce present, however the occasion was mild on business criticism. Plus, why lawmakers ought to be looking out for the rise of wearables.

— Q&A with Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen: The home-state Democrat dishes on how tech corporations can increase variety of their ranks and what Capitol Hill can to do improve its tech literacy.

— Fort Value mayor not sweating HQ2 bid: Betsy Worth, certainly one of several native officials to partake in this yr’s summit, has no regrets concerning the region’s unsuccessful campaign to land Amazon’s second headquarters, regardless of critics' complaints that the tech big is receiving too many taxpayer perks.


IT’S FRIDAY IN VEGAS, the place your hosts — Nancy Scola and Cristiano Lima — are far too drained post-CES to take advantage of of what the town has to supply. (Although the Strip’s 550-foot High Curler Ferris wheel appeared neat. Subsequent time!) We recognize you reading our first ever POLITICO pop-up publication stay from CES. (You'll be able to look again by means of our on-the-ground reporting here.) We’re headed residence to Washington however hope you stay in contact at nscola@politico.com and clima@politico.com, or on Twitter @nancyscola and @viaCristiano.


TECH POLICY TAKEAWAYS FROM CES 2020 — Wanting at the week by way of our rear-view mirror, some key tendencies and storylines emerge. Here’s a look:

TECH’S SELF-RECKONING LACKED TEETH — The business’s largest commerce present flashed signs of the political introspection occurring in Silicon Valley, including at Thursday’s first-of-its-kind panel on whether the biggest, most powerful companies should be broken up. However the policy-focused discussions have been in the minority — and largely lacking those crucial voices that have fueled the tech backlash.

— Politicians calling for breakups? They weren’t here. “It will have been even more energetic if a ‘break ‘em up’ advocate was also on the panel,” stated Info Know-how & Innovation Basis President Robert Atkinson, who spoke at Thursday’s session on the topic and argued towards breakups. Teams calling for Congress to revisit the business’s online liability defend, Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act? Nope, not onstage at CES. Regulators considering ways to rein in the business? Some appeared and spoke, but with a couple of exceptions, most held back their hearth.

— Requested concerning the dearth of congressional representation in specific — no lawmakers and only two aides have been listed as speakers on the occasion website — Michael Petricone of CES’s organizer, the Shopper Know-how Affiliation, stated in a statement, “Coverage discussions are a crucial a part of the CES program,” however famous that "we set the dates for every CES years before a given congressional calendar is released." (Late into the convention in the present day, Rosen and fellow Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto dropped in to tour the convention flooring.)

— To make certain, the convention did boast speeches by and discussions with quite a few highly effective and high-ranking federal officials, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Chief Know-how Officer Michael Kratsios, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, Federal Trade Fee Chairman Joe Simons and Ivanka Trump, White Home adviser and daughter to President Donald Trump. But many caught to scripted remarks.

PLUS: OUR LATEST DISPATCH: "Washington is one American energy middle. Silicon Valley is another. But when any national policymakers entertained the concept a lot of the tech business lives in constant dread of D.C. — with voters complaining about privateness and CEOs pressured to testify earlier than Congress — they might have gotten a wake-up call at this yr’s CES." Read the full report here.

THE WEARABLES ARE COMING — Washington has largely stayed away from making real strikes on the regulatory implications of wearable tech, principally nibbling at the margins of what body-worn gadgets mean for privacy and extra. But one lesson from CES 2020? The business isn’t waiting.

— Wearable tech made up an enormous slice of the innovations on show, from advances in fitness trackers to the providing of one Shenzen-based firm: a colorful smartwatch for teenagers that guarantees mother and father the power to “real-time locate.” If the show’s any guide, federal officials are in all probability going to be giving a superb deal more attention to those types of merchandise within the years to return.


NEVADA’S TECHIE SENATOR ON BOOSTING STEM DIVERSITY — Rosen, who has a pc programming background, dropped by to tour the show flooring this afternoon. Earlier this week, Cristiano caught up together with her on the telephone to talk tech policy, including her push to spice up variety in STEM and what she thinks Congress wants to do to enhance its tech literacy.

— Rosen has some recommendation for tech: The senator, who over the holidays saw her invoice to boost young women' early schooling initiatives in STEM signed into regulation, stated the business should comply with that playbook and group up with faculties if it needs to boost variety within the subject. “I feel what they need to do is companion down at the elementary faculty degree with academics and principals in faculties,” she stated. The objective, she stated, ought to be to “excite young minds who're open before … perhaps somebody has informed them this job wouldn’t be for them.”

— What about tech schooling on Capitol Hill? Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have at occasions drawn groans over what many onlookers see as a scarcity of understanding concerning the internal workings of Silicon Valley. Rosen, a rare lawmaker with STEM experience, stated part of the answer needs to be diversifying the backgrounds of staffers in Congress. “Anybody of us just isn't an professional in any area but that’s why we ought to be positive that our teams are numerous, from their backgrounds, from their expertise, from their age, their schooling, no matter that is,” she stated. “Then they will inform us and help elevate what we know.”

‘I’D DO IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT’ — Worth, Fort Value’s Republican mayor, was certainly one of a number of local and state officials to talk on stage this week, collaborating at a Monday panel titled “Crawl, Walk, Run: Scaling Mobility Ecosystems.” At this time, she spoke to Cristiano about why she’s not wanting backward on North Texas’ marketing campaign to land Amazon’s HQ2 and other tech subjects popping up for cities throughout the country. Right here are a few of the highlights:

— She has no qualms concerning the HQ2 bid: Despite critics across the nation arguing that cities and states provided too many tax incentives and perks to land Amazon’s coveted second headquarters, Worth stated she has no regrets about her city's personal package deal. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It was an incredible expertise,” she stated. Worth stated the method of competing helped prepared the region for future improvement. “We laughed and stated, ‘It’s like a gown up, fake for a wedding,’” she stated. “Everyone’s preparing for it and had to rehearse what they have been going to do.”

— Plus, advice to lawmakers on turning cities into sensible cities: Worth, who discussed native efforts to foster “sensible cities” as part of her session on Monday, stated she has a message to regulators and lawmakers in Washington on find out how to achieve that aim: Don’t get in our means. “They should proceed to get the dollars right here, but they will’t overstep the boundaries and put limitations in the best way that might help us in creating that,” she stated.

— Don’t maintain your breath for a facial recognition ban in Fort Value: Worth shot down the thought of banning native businesses’ use of facial recognition software, which she stated is very important to an array of providers. “It's a must to watch out with it, but I don’t assume you possibly can ban it because I feel it’s going to have too many uses,” she stated.

Listed here are another equally memorable — although far much less consequential — moments from our time at this week’s summit:

SONG DU JOUR — The thumping bass-line intro of Billie Eilish’s megahit “Dangerous Man” blared via the speakers on the prime of lots of this week’s panel periods, typically startling your hosts and different attendees. (Eilish had the final snicker, enjoying hotter temperatures whereas reportedly vacationing in Hawaii this week.)

IF I HAD A CRYPTO-PENNY… If one have been to plan a bingo (or consuming) recreation around the phrases heard most often all through the week at CES, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro shouting “Are you CES ready?” originally of occasions would certainly be considered one of them. (Your hosts, admittedly, have been only somewhat “CES ready” for the craziness this occasion brings.)

And now a remaining phrase from our colleagues at Protocol:


As CES wraps up, Protocol’s David Pierce and Janko Roettgers are on the lookout for 2020’s next huge factor. One contender: foldable units. Huawei and Samsung are making telephones; Dell and Lenovo are making laptops; even LG’s TVs are getting versatile. A number of executives informed us these are the units of the future — however admitted that getting software program to work right will take time. Plus, everybody says they’re nonetheless ready for Corning to promote versatile glass.

Then there’s the search to seek out new kinds of content for all of our screens. Quibi has its 10-minute clips, there are TVs that display art when not in use, and there are new interactive codecs for fitness, cooking and more. “It’s still tremendous early,” Amazon Vice President Marc Whitten informed Janko, “but creators are getting snug being on these tremendous sensible units.”

One factor that’s undoubtedly not a 2020 development: The World’s First Sensible Potato. We’re not making this up. It was advertised as a not-so-serious solution to flip root vegetables into personal assistants, with the tag line “Make Potatoes Nice Again.”

The query "does CES nonetheless matter?" comes up every yr. In 2020, the answer is still yes. Designer and technologist John Maeda advised Janko why: “Gatherings like these are like the Olympics,” he stated. “The camaraderie is an enormous half of it.” That is still true regardless that Apple, Google and Samsung all announce new merchandise at their own events. “Despite the fact that there is skilled football, we still like the Olympics.”


Article initially revealed on POLITICO Magazine