Trump tells tech CEOs that Washington needs to ‘catch up with the revolution’

At a meeting with top tech leaders Trump promised a transformation of outdated federal technology, which astonishingly still includes floppy disks

Donald Trump called for sweeping transformation of all federal departments technology during the first session of the American Technology Council, established by executive order last month.

Eighteen of Americas resulting technology executives including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Eric Schmidt, the executive heads chairman of Google parent Alphabet convened at the White House Monday for the summit.

Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution, said Trump. America should be the global leader in government technology just as we are in every other facet, and we are going to start our big edge again in technology such an important industry.

The tech leaders expended four hours meeting officials including vice-president Mike Pence, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross before meeting with the president. Ivanka Trump, the presidents daughter, was also present.

They discussed modernizing the governments technological infrastructure, cutting fraud and government costs and improving services for taxpayers. The White House believes these measures could save up to$ 1tn over 10 years.

Together we will unleash the ingenuity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before, told White House senior consultant and Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner, before its present session started.

Kushner highlighted some astonishing examples of outdated federal IT infrastructure, including the fact that the defense department still uses 8-inch floppy disk on some of its legacy systems. He also mentioned that civilian agencies preserve more than 1.6 m email addresses per month employing on-premise servers at an average cost of $20 -per-user per month. Switching to cloud-based email services could reduce these costs down to$ 3-per-user per month, he said.

Our goal here is simple: we are here to improve the working day to day lives of the ordinary citizen. Thats a core promise and we are maintaining it, told Kushner.

We will promote a new define of start ups focused on gov-tech and be a global leader in the field building government more transparent and responsive to citizens needs.

Ivanka
Ivanka Trump sits beside Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, at the roundtable in the country dining room of the White House. Photograph: Alex Brandon/ AP

The tech CEOs were also pushing their own agendas, according to Recode . Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, called on the government to take advantage of the type of commercial technology that Amazon sells. Palantir CEO Alex Karp said that big data analysis, the kind Palantir offers, could help stop fraudulent federal spending. Apples Tim Cook wanted coding to be made a requirement in schools.

This was the first session of the American Technology Council since the president announced its creation in an executive order signed on 11 May.

Within the order, which builds on plans laid out by the Obama administration, Trump announced the creation of the council, whose mission is to coordinate the vision strategy and direction for all federal departments use of information technology and the delivery of services through information technology.

The council was given 90 days to come up with a plan to transition antiquated, fragmented systems across government to either one or more consolidated network architectures or shared IT services, including email, cloud and cybersecurity services.

Other members of the council include: Ajay Banga, the CEO of Mastercard; Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle; Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel; Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM; and Peter Thiel.

The council is led by Chris Liddell, a top aide to Trump and the former chief financial officer of Microsoft.

Notably absent from the session was Facebook neither Mark Zuckerberg nor Sheryl Sandberg were able to attend due to scheduling conflicts. It was the only one out of the top-five most valuable companies in the US to not have a representative at the meeting.

The meeting goes at a time when a number of people in the tech world have chosen to distance themselves from Trump after he withdrew from the Paris climate accord. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and Space X, announced on Twitter: Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

Elon Musk (@ elonmusk)

Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

June 1, 2017

Before that Ubers embattled CEO Travis Kalanick left Trumps business advisory council after the company faced criticism for working in close collaboration with the Trump administration and for its reply to the White Houses travel ban affecting people from seven Muslim majority countries.

In January, the social media meme #DeleteUber exploded online after the ride-sharing company was accused of exploiting the travel prohibition for commercial gain. In protest at the travel ban the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called on its members to avoid JFK airport. However, Uber flouted the strike although removed upsurge pricing from journeys to and from the airport. It was far from Ubers most egregious endeavours, but enough to give arch rival Lyft a 7% boost in users.

Uber NYC (@ Uber_NYC)

Surge pricing has been turned off at #JFK Airport. This may result in longer wait times. Please be patient.

January 29, 2017

Uber apologized for the misunderstanding and Kalanick sent a memoranda to all of Ubers staff.

There are many routes we will continue to proponent for simply change on immigration, but remaining on the council was going to get in the way of that, he told.

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