Bloomberg Technology Summit
June 8, 2022
By Bloomberg Live
Digital transformation has touched every sphere of life. We are all immersed in a world of data. This data facilitates our healthcare, business and government activities, commerce and entertainment. The Bloomberg Technology Summit: Looking Forward highlights the ways in which society has been changed by technology and provides the roadmap for what lies ahead.
The biggest stories of the day – cryptocurrency, the Metaverse, supply chain management and cybersecurity – were all covered at this comprehensive and timely event. We also learned about new developments in space travel, gaming, and travel.
- Edwin Aoki, CTO, Blockchain, Crypto, and Digital Currencies, PayPal
- Michelle Bailhe, Partner, Sequoia Capital
- Geoff Belknap, Chief Information Security Officer, LinkedIn
- Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO, Interos
- Sean Catlett, Chief Security Officer, Slack
- Shannon Curry, Principal Investigator, NASA Mars Scout MAVEN
- Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive – Technology & Chief Technology Officer, Accenture
- Börje Ekholm, President & CEO, Ericsson
- Ann Hand, Chairman & CEO, Super League Gaming
- Naveed Hussain, Vice President and Chief Engineer for Defense, Space & Security (BDS), Boeing
- Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon
- Chris Kemp, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Astra
- Peter Kern, CEO, Expedia
- Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber
- Janet Lee, Chief Information Officer & Chief Digital Officer, Chevron Shipping Company
- Latha Maripuri, Chief Information Security Officer, Uber Technologies Inc.
- Tekedra N. Mawakana, Co-CEO, Waymo
- Michael Miebach, CEO, Mastercard
- Brad Oberwager, Executive Chairman, Linden Lab
- Satyan Parameswaran, President, Information Technology, UPS
- Joff Redfern, Chief Product Officer, Atlassian
- Catherine Hunt Ryan, President, Manufacturing and Technology, Bechtel
- Aydin Senkut, Founder, Managing Partner, Felicis Ventures
- Dr. Nashlie Sephus, Machine Learning Technology Evangelist, Amazon AI, AWS
- Brian Shroder, President & CEO, Binance US
- Harmit Singh, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
- Jan Söderström, Vice President, Advanced Technologies, Ericsson
- Erin Spring, Senior Director, New Ventures, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
- Jackie Sturm, Corporate Vice President, Global Supply Chain Operations, Intel Corporation
- Kiersten E. Todt, Chief of Staff, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
- Sandhya Venkatachalam, Partner, Khosla Ventures
- Edith Yeung, General Partner, Race Capital
- Roy Bahat, Head, Bloomberg Beta
- Dina Bass, Technology Reporter & Seattle Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
- Emily Chang, Anchor, Bloomberg TV
- Cecilia D’Anastasio, Reporter, Bloomberg
- Sarah Frier, Team Leader, Big Tech, Bloomberg
- Tom Giles, Executive Editor, Global Technology, Bloomberg
- Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Managing Editor, Bloomberg
- Pooja Malpani, Chief Technology Officer, Bloomberg Media
- Sarah McBride, Reporter, Bloomberg
- Mark Milian, Managing Editor, US Technology, Bloomberg
- Mark Miller, Global Editor, Bloomberg Live
- Brad Stone, Senior Executive Editor, Technology, Bloomberg
- Jeff Stone, Cybersecurity Editor, Bloomberg
- Ashlee Vance, Technology Writer, Bloomberg Businessweek
Delivering a New Uber
Coming out of the pandemic, the delivery service switch that kept Uber in business is still going strong. Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber talked about not anticipating Uber Eats to include grocery and alcohol delivery and such a large percentage of non-food items. All services are being consolidated into Uber One, what he calls the “big differentiation.” Demand has come back and drivers are jumping at the opportunity to earn $39 or more per hour, which makes rising fuel prices easier to absorb into a “healthy P&L.”
Up next is partnering with taxi services and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and their autonomous trucks, giving Uber access to billions of miles driven. “We will essentially wire any vehicle that’s available for transporting people or things,” Khosrowshahi said. Zero emissions goals include a $1 per ride incentive for EV drivers and a deal with Hertz to rent Teslas in California.
Gaming and the Metaverse – Real or Just Playing?
While tech and gaming have propelled each other forward, the metaverse is presenting a new challenge of online identities, as anonymity and accountability clash. Brad Oberwager, Executive Chairman, Linden Lab, compared it to the paradoxical Schrödinger’s cat, calling it a “super interesting future construct,” with the challenge to create a system, along the lines of Ebay, where users are “completely anonymous but absolutely known.”
Ann Hand, Chairman & CEO, Super League Gaming, took the online identity issue further, talking about where it may go in the “open world,” where gamers express their aspirational selves, and the potential for a positive impact on reality. “Your digital self could be unleashed and change the way you physically manifest yourself, as well.”
Accenture Sponsor Spotlight: How The Metaverse Will Transform Business
An engaging, animated company profile video prefaced a one-on-one with Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive – Technology & Chief Technology Officer, Accenture. “The tokenization of the economy is transformative,” he said, and it will add to the already rapid acceleration of the digital revolution.”
He recalled 1999’s emergence of e-commerce and pitching website builds. “Most of the companies said, ‘No. We’re good’.” His message to leaders, “Think big. Imagine where it could go. But start small, with something that drives value in your business today. In five years, using the metaverse will be natural to us.”
On the Horizon: New Technologies Shaping the Future
The perceived science fiction of the metaverse pales in comparison to fantastical innovations, all the more amazing because they exist. Energy and climate solutions are moving fast, and attracting even more investors as low-end regulations begin to factor in, according to Aydin Senkut, Founder, Managing Partner, Felicis Ventures. “We’re talking micronuclear reactors and trees engineered to absorb double the carbon,” he said, talking further about Living Carbon’s species that have bark with a degree of fire resistance, grow two times as fast and would increase land values and provide carbon credits for owners.
Tires made from soybean oil – sans petroleum – are part of sustainability goals that are reaching reality at Goodyear. “Proof-of-concept was created last year,” said Erin Spring, Senior Director, New Ventures, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, noting the bonus of diverting the oil out of the foodstream.We’re also working on making rubber from dandelions.”
Sandhya Venkatachalam, Partner, Khosla Ventures looked to history’s lesson of finding success in pursuing something different. “This is the time to build transformational companies. What is the change in demand or behavior that you can play on? With clarity, founders looking for that will find success.” Languages are the next big thing, as demonstrated by a number of portfolio companies with goals of coding with natural language, and machines and software that “finally serve us,” Venkatachalam said. “For 75 years, people have been researching AI models that can understand human language. If you understand language, you crack AI.”
The next two years will be very interesting for cryptocurrency, predicted Michelle Bailhe, Partner, Sequoia Capital. Invented during the last financial crisis, “It’s only seen zero-interest and hasn’t been through a global macro-shift.” With a smart regulatory framework anticipated, “I believe we will weed out the less missionary projects and send it on a growth curve.”
The New World of Artificial Intelligence
Equity and safety are watchwords as AI becomes essential to industry. Asked why her new role as a tech evangelist is important, Dr. Nashlie Sephus, Machine Learning Technology Evangelist, Amazon AI, AWS, said, “Because switching over to anything else is like switching to the dark side.” On reaching out, “At the end of day, AI is so heavily based on humans.” A major challenge right now is eliminating bias – confound variables – from facial recognition software. It’s an iterative process, a learning life cycle for the machine, she said, noting they’ve made progress with data balancing.Then there are TSA body scanners that require a human to select male or female, by observation. “If they get it wrong, it’s a big problem.”
UPS started its automation journey in the early 90s. Now, they are moving from scanning to sensing labels; smart labels that “self-declare where they want to go,” said Satyan Parameswaran, President, Information Technology, UPS. Hazmat handling and a reactive network are the next AI hurdles. What cannot be replaced are the familiar faces of their drivers, he said, which means a hybrid delivery force going forward.
Naveed Hussain, Vice President and Chief Engineer for Defense, Space & Security (BDS), Boeing addressed the safety aspect; the core of fears around autonomous vehicles. “From the seabed to space,” Boeing operates fully autonomous vehicles on a vast range of missions, including aerial refueling. Safety paces progress. “We think about capabilities with boundaries around them,” Hussain said. “There’s human intervention, or the tech can save itself, if it goes outside those boundaries.
Dr. Sephus spoke about The Bean Path, a program in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi that provides resources and a downtown tech hub aimed at bringing a diversity of minds to tech teams.
Ericsson Sponsor Spotlight: The Possibilities of Unlimited Connectivity
Börje Ekholm, President & CEO, Ericsson is very excited about global 5G and unlimited connectivity. It is essential, he said, to current, rapid change, and the future. “During the last two years, 80% of Ericsson’s team worked remotely, with better productivity. Mobile networks proved highly-resilient in dealing with increased traffic.” He predicted remote working and a high-dependence on mobile networks will continue into the future.
On climate and mobile connectivity, Ekholm said their smart grid in Texas has already cut energy consumption by a quarter.
Maintaining a Passion for Invention
Amazon has become a force, with the expected controversy. New CEO Andy Jassy offered a forthright look at how they will continue to move forward. As for most industries, the pandemic was a big push forward. Amazon had the advantage of being the go-to for PPE, food and essentials. “We doubled the first 25 years of Amazon in 24 months,” he said.
As they deal with a doubled workforce still not being enough, with building out their own transportation network, and evolving plans for new distribution centers, Jassy said employees remain the priority. Good pay and benefits, management training and making customer’s lives better make it an inspiring business. “It’s a compelling set of benefits that wouldn’t be accomplished under a union.”
Colonizing Mars, space tourism, a low earth orbit “marketplace” and tiny satellites. Chris Kemp, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Astra, talked about launching batches of bread loaf-sized satellites in four days, presuming the FCC granted a license by then. It’s NASA’s first earth science mission – Tropics – aimed at scanning hurricanes. At $50 million, it is relatively extremely cheap.
“More launches, with a higher ROI, are critical to getting more science done,” added Shannon Curry, Principal Investigator, NASA Mars Scout MAVEN. Getting out from under mission classes that start at $1 billion per launch is why NASA continues to seek commercial partnerships, such as SpaceX. “We’re testing these business models, and it’s looking good.” She gave space tourism two thumbs down, because “space is a very punishing place.”
On NASA’s future, they agreed it needs to remain primarily on the frontier. Its role on the commercial front should be what improves life on earth, such as finding new energy sources and global connectivity.
Ericsson Think Tank Briefing: Redefining Business and Society with Limitless Connectivity
In the keynote interview, Michael Miebach, CEO, Mastercard elaborated on the newly-announced partnership that brings Apple into the buy now-pay later space, internationally. On concerns that it’s just another way to get into debt, Miebach said it offers various ways to pay, and more specifically,”Oftentimes, it’s within an existing credit relationship, so it’s not a fundamental concern,” he said, adding, “We always advocate for responsible lending.”
With lockdown forcing people to use digital pay services, they have gained a firm foothold. In a global survey by Mastercard, 85% of people used those services and 93% said they would continue to do so. “This stuff is sticking, and we’re seeing it in our data, too.”
The New Connected World – Business and Social Outcomes
Latency, bandwidth and coverage issues; that’s a particular struggle on a cargo ship, yet Chevron continues to strive for the convergence of informational and operational technology, said Janet Lee, Chief Information Officer & Chief Digital Officer, Chevron Shipping Company. “We’re able to take advantage of real time ship and inventory monitoring, we’re able to automate critical processes more strategically, and combine data across systems,” what they call “the connected vessel.”
Harmit Singh, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Levi Strauss & Co. said his company is moving forward culturally by turning old habits into new ones. Distressing jeans, for instance, has moved from chemicals and cheap labor to lasers and algorithms. A pain point for their designers was using customer data to determine the next style trend.
Jan Söderström, Vice President, Advanced Technologies, Ericsson pointed out the three companies represented on the panel have each been around for well over a century. “They are companies that have innovated themselves throughout the generations. That’s also a big transition. Every industry will have to do this.”
AVOIDING the Next Supply Chain Crisis
“The world stopped, but we really got educated on how hyperconnected we are, and how fragile,” said Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO, Interos, of the pandemic’s disruptive force. One of Interos’ solutions was software that helps clients identify risk. Whatever the “new normal” is and may become, “It’s about how we handle it.”
Catherine Hunt Ryan, President, Manufacturing and Technology, Bechtel, addressed the theory that we may have gone too far with globalization. “I wouldn’t say it didn’t work. There’s an awareness of how and where products are made. Consumers will push us to invest in more localized sourcing.”
Even though “everyone is now shipping chips,” Jackie Sturm, Corporate Vice President, Global Supply Chain Operations, Intel Corporation, said a supply chain hold up persists because of companies using obsolete tech, with no sources for the semiconductors to support it. “No one is making them, or even has the equipment to make them. We should see some improvement by the beginning of 2023 as factories start to come on line.”
Atlassian Sponsor Spotlight: Working Differently, Together
“We’re a very unconventional company,” said Joff Redfern, Chief Product Officer, Atlassian, describing aspects such as no sales team, with software used then sold, rather than sold then used, a very different industry approach when they started. Their founders are still in charge, and are “great visionaries,” he said. They plan to remain mostly a remote workforce, with offices turned into meeting spaces and nearly half of their workers living beyond commuting distance.
Autonomous Driving at the Crossroads
A Bloomberg poll shows 29% of respondents are “ready to ride,” with the rest “not there yet.”
Tekedra N. Mawakana, Co-CEO, Waymo, said the result is consistent with their data, but that, “It’s hard for people to get excited about something they haven’t experienced.” The irony is that autonomous vehicles are designed to increase road safety, but people prefer what they are used to, and the hazards they ignore.
She spoke about all the ways Waymo is making a driverless ride service safe, consistent, clean and private, and tens of thousands of applicants for their “trusted tester” program. “This is the challenge of our generation,” Mawakana said.
Next up is Class A trucking. Mawakana said that Waymo is hitting its milestones, but it’s always good to be “constructively dissatisfied.” “It keeps you focused on executing.”
Cryptocurrency: What’s Next?
Surveys show a majority have an interest in owning cryptocurrency, but the burning question is, Under what circumstances will it be allowed to exist?
Brian Shroder, President & CEO, Binance US, said a bipartisan legislative announcement this week is a big step toward a regulatory framework, which will start with a draft and feedback.
PayPal is empowering people through their financial services, said Edwin Aoki, CTO, Blockchain, Crypto, and Digital Currencies, PayPal. “Our view is around how we get digital currency to be useful to people, such as for payments across borders.”
Edith Yeung, General Partner, Race Capital noted El Salvador has made crypto their main currency, and how differences will factor in. “In the U.S., a credit card is attached to your phone. Not in the rest of the world.”
What’s next? “The beauty of our platform is we don’t know how people will use it until they get there,” Aoki said. Shroder is ready for crypto’s ability to overcome constraints such as the four days it took, and a large fee, to move funds between U.S. and China Citibank accounts.
The Cybersecurity Landscape
What’s the most interesting thing about the new law to report data breaches within 72 hours? “The industry is asking to do it,” said Kiersten E. Todt, Chief of Staff, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which makes sense, because they see what’s happening first. “We can’t help if we can’t see what they are seeing.”
She spoke about the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) coming together last December, with no one anticipating it would soon be activated for the war in Ukraine. Currently, CISA’s key priority is to continue to build a workforce; one with neurodiversity.
Code Wars: The New Cyber Weapons
“Getting into the weeds of their security,” is one way LinkedIn’s dedicated team vets organizations in its software supply chain, said Geoff Belknap, Chief Information Security Officer. “We look at their security posture, what we’re sharing with them, and in case there’s an issue, if we already have a warm relationship with a contact person.” On ransomware, he said it’s still a major concern, and even with multifactor identification, “criminals are monetizing your inability to operate your business.”
“It’s a balance between speed and accuracy,” Sean Catlett, Chief Security Officer, Slack. “What it comes down to is, is it helping your customers? How do we keep this information where the customers expect it? We like having a nexus of security that offers protections wherever you operate.”
Latha Maripuri, Chief Information Security Officer, Uber Technologies Inc. said the partnership between the public and private sectors is critically important, noting government-issued alerts in the telco space within the prior 24 hours. On breach notification, she said it is highly-regulated, but always evolving, on a global basis. “The key thing, if there is an issue, is how you respond and making sure you’re transparent both within the company, as well as with, ultimately, any users that are impacted.”
Online Travel Prepares to Take Off
Travel uncertainties, or, as Peter Kern, CEO, Expedia, put it, ‘Is my plane even going to take off?’ He has faith that it will, at least at some point, and in the continued massive demand for travel this summer, regardless of the economy. “We’re not seeing any discernable moment or timeline toward a big fallout,” he said. “People are using their two years of underspend on travel.” As the world reopens, some areas are lagging, but “growth everywhere is still going up and to the right.”
Kern talked about Expedia’s Open World platform, where they collaborate with other organizations, such as Delta’s car rental side, and the recent announcement about their price-tracking app. It’s not a game to find the cheapest price, he said, but to give customers the confidence of price predictions and remove the urgency to book.
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