President Donald Trump is meeting with senior technology business leaders in an attempt to upgrade the ageing American government infrastructure.
The American Technology Council includes the chief executives of 18 companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and Apple.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has been critical of the Trump administration, especially since the United States turned its back on the Paris climate change agreement, seemed to present a conciliatory tone, certainly as compared to his tweets and the infamous note to employees after the United States exit.
“The US, should have the most modern government technology in the world, today it doesn’t,” Cook said at a press conference.
Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, spoke of the importance of using commercial technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. He also mentioned how vital it is to maintain worker training, and ensure government employees are receiving the best up-skilling and support available.
Trump himself seems incredibly optimistic as to the impact of increased technology, especially when it comes to cost minimisation. He mentioned estimates which, he claimed, would save the taxpayer up to US$1 trillion over the course of a decade.
“Our goal, is to lead a sweeping transformation of the government’s technology. That will result in dramatically better services for citizens. The government needs to catch up with the technology revolution.”
Notable absences include Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger, both of whom made the decision to step down from all White House advisory panels following the move to withdraw from the Paris accord. The most high-profile absence perhaps was Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who, the company claims, was not present due to a scheduling issue.
On the agenda also is the issue of gaining access to international talent through expanding access to skilled worker visas for technology workers. This is likely to be something of a bone of contention, especially as Tim Cook is rumoured to be planning on bringing up immigration as a topic. Although, it is to be expected that any discussions outside of core topics will be quickly shut down.