breaking-news-resized Tech Firms Pledge $300 Million for STEM Education 

Some of the nation’s leading tech firms have agreed to partner with the federal government and contribute $300 million to the effort to prepare more students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

“The money will be disbursed over a five-year period, with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce contributing $50 million each. Lockheed Martin said it would donate $25 million and Accenture, General Motors and Pluralsight, an online education company, said they would give $10 million apiece,” writes Cecilia Kang in The New York Times.

The corporate donations will be added to $200 million in federal grant money aimed at improving STEM education.

The money will definitely help. Only half of the nation’s K-12 schools offer classes in computer science, which is disturbing when you consider how much of our economy growth depends on innovative new technology.

Ford and Lyft Partnering to Accelerate Acceptance of Self-Driving Cars

It’s reassuring to see partnerships between companies with similarly positive visions for the future. Ford and Lyft seem like a good team: Ford has deep automotive technology expertise; Lyft has a robust network of users and understands how to grow new markets. Together, they can accelerate the development of autonomous transportation and a host of related services.

“Lyft has a network of customers, growing demand for rides and strong knowledge of transportation flow within cities. We have experience with autonomous vehicle technology development and large scale manufacturing. Both companies have fleet management and big data experience,” writes Sherif Marakby, Ford’s Vice President for Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, in a post on Medium.

I’m glad Ford and Lyft have decided to pursue common goals. Frankly, they’re setting a good example for future partnerships between players across the technology ecosystem. Our economy needs more collaborative efforts, and this is a good start.

Is AI the Ultimate Deterrent to Cyber Crime?

The debate over the value of perimeter defense continues, fueled by hopes that AI will prove the ultimate antidote to cyber crime.

“Some in the industry are beginning to focus less on sealing borders from outside threats and more on sensing bad behavior inside as it happens – when it can be stopped. They’re shifting from military metaphors to the language of biology; they’re designing immune systems rather than barricades,” writes Scott Rosenberg in Backchannel.

I recommend the article, which includes a fascinating interview with Nicole Eagan, CEO of Darktrace, a machine learning company for cyber defense. It’s definitely worth reading.