TR Daily CTA’s Shapiro Emphasizes Tariff Opposition, Other Policy Positions
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

CTA’s Shapiro Emphasizes Tariff Opposition, Other Policy Positions

LAS VEGAS — Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Technology Association, used his keynote remarks at CTA’s CES trade show and conference to emphasize the group’s opposition to tariffs, support for pro-innovation government policies internationally, and the industry’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and empowering women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups as founders and entrepreneurs.

“Tariffs are harming our country, and tariffs are nothing more than taxes,” Mr. Shapiro said.

He also announced CTA’s latest International Innovation Scorecard ranking 61 countries as environments for innovation, including factors such as freedom, broadband, entrepreneurial activity, and a new factor, resiliency, which aims to quantify a government and society’s sustainability. The scorecard named 16 countries as Innovation Champions: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Germany and Israel are new to the list of champions.

Three former Innovation Champions dropped in the rankings, CTA said. “Austria's top individual tax rate of 55 percent, the Czech Republic's 15 percent year-over-year decline in R&D investment and Portugal's decision to pressure short-term rental websites to share their data with the government moved them down to [the lower ranking of] Innovation Leaders this year,” it added.

During the keynote presentation, Mr. Shapiro presented Innovation Champion awards to officials from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Estonia.

Mr. Shapiro also announced the launch of a program for the consumer technology industry to track its greenhouse gas emissions, and to “recognize those who reduce their emissions and those who help others to reduce their emissions.”

He also announced a commitment by CTA to invest $10 million in venture firms and funds that “focus on women, people of color and other underrepresented groups.”

“To continue to evolve and grow, the tech industry needs more equal access to venture funding,” he said. “Various research reports indicate diverse teams make better decisions and achieve greater profits. At CTA, this is one more tool we are deploying to help promote diversity in the technology industry.”

Mr. Shapiro and Karen Chupka, CTA’s executive vice president–CES, both emphasized the idea that all companies are becoming tech companies.

Ms. Chupka noted that “companies you wouldn’t normally think of as tech companies” are exhibiting at CES. “John Deere is showcasing new technology this week,” she noted.

“We have more than 120 exhibitors just in the auto sector,” Ms. Chupka said. As for the health sector, she noted that “for the first time ever at a tech conference, doctors and medical professionals can earn continuing medical education credits here at CES.”

Also speaking at this morning’s keynote session was Ginni Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO of IBM Corp., who emphasize the value of “deep data,” or data that is not yet being collected, and of “broad” AI (artificial intelligence) as the developmental stage between “narrow” AI capable of great proficiency at a specific task and “general” AI, which would match human capacity for proficiency at a wide range of task.

“We estimate that less than 1% of the data the world is emitting is collected and analyzed,” Ms. Rometty said. New frontiers in data collection include “a fingernail sensor [that] is leading us to early detection of Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia” and data on diet and other factors that could predict blood sugar trends for an individual “four hours ahead of time so you can do something about it,” she explained.

IBM is also working with the Weather Co. to collect and analyze data that will enable global forecasts every hour for geographic points every three kilometers, Ms. Rometty said. She said the aim is to use crowdsourced data, such as “barometric data from cellphones that can do it, with consent — we expect 100,000” phones to provide data.

“We should be able to forecast turbulence an hour ahead” so that jets can avoid it, she said.

Regarding broad AI, Dario Gill, chief operating officer of IBM research and VP-AI and quantum computing, said that “we’re likely decades away” from general AI, but broad AI is much closer. Broad AI “recognizes learning is not enough, that you have to bring learning and reasoning together,” and will require transparency into how AI is reaching its conclusions, as well as assurances that it is fair and secure.

He explained that broad AI is enabling IBM’s new Project Debater, in which an AI “can engage in live debate with humans” and “develop a rebuttal” in response to the human’s argument.

Mr. Gill announced the latest member — and first energy-sector member — of IBM Q System One’s quantum computing project is ExxonMobil Corp. —Lynn Stanton, [email protected]


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