HMG Tech News Digest January 03

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Despite Geopolitical Risks, Innovative Tech Will Continue Fueling Dynamic New Growth in 2020

Driven by the impressive performances of innovative technology companies, markets rose dramatically on the first day of trading in 2020, before retreating on Friday morning after news of more turmoil in the Middle East.

Stocks rose to all-time highs on Thursday as the strong rally in 2019 was set to continue in the first trading day of the new year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 200 points, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 traded 0.6% higher while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9%,” writes Fred Imbert of CNBC. “Intel shares climbed 1.5% to lead the Dow higher. The energy and tech sectors both gained more than 0.8% to lift the S&P 500. Western Digital was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500, climbing 3.9%. Tesla shares, meanwhile, traded 2.2% higher.”

From my perspective, this is a clear sign of technology’s highly positive impact on the wider economy. Truly, we are experiencing an amazing and genuinely unprecedented convergence of tech innovation and economic growth.

At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore the growing threat of geopolitical instability. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that global tensions subside and we can enjoy another decade of prosperity.

The End of the Phone as We Know it? Swisher Predicts Tech Leaders Will Step Up With Innovative New Solutions

Many of the recent year-end/decade-end wrap-up articles focused on the past. Kara Swisher’s column in the New York Times looks into the future, and generally, the veteran Silicon Valley journalist likes what she sees.

While acknowledging the problems, “there are some big, positive ideas that I think you will hear a lot more about in the coming years,” she writes.

Swisher foresees tech leaders becoming more directly involved in fighting climate change, reimagining employment and education, creating new and more positive forms of social communication, supporting diversity and developing healthier alternatives to smartphones.

I strongly recommend reading Swisher’s column. Similar to my post on Monday, it envisions a future in which tech plays a major role in solving many of the world’s most difficult challenges.

Ghosn Burns Bridges on Global Scale

I’m including this item because Nissan is essentially a tech company specializing in transportation and because the story of Carlos Ghosn has taken such as bizarre turn.

The former Nissan chairman had been arrested for allegedly withholding millions of dollars in income from filings, and was awaiting trial in Tokyo. He apparently jumped bail and fled to Lebanon.

“Ghosn, who is of Lebanese origin and holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian passports, disclosed his location in a statement through his representatives but did not say how he managed to flee Japan. He promised to talk to reporters next week,” writes Yuri Kageyama of the Associated Press.

According to Kageyama’s article, Ghosn “has now committed a clear crime and can never return to Japan without going to jail.”

In a statement released by his representatives and quoted by the AP, Ghosn said, “I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold.”  

Amazon Moving Swiftly to Build HQ2

The legendary Amazon flywheel continues to spin. After fueling a nation-wide competition among cities, Amazon decided to put its second headquarters in Arlington, VA. A couple of weeks ago, it received approval from local authorities to move forward with the project.

Amazon’s second headquarters in northern Virginia is taking shape,” writes Annie Palmer of CNBC. “Earlier this month, the company cleared the last hurdle to begin building its second headquarters, called HQ2, when its plans received unanimous approval from the Arlington County, Virginia board. Amazon now expects to break ground on the 2.1-million-square-foot development in early 2020 and construction is slated to be complete in 2023.”

The new headquarters is expected to generate 25,000 jobs over the next ten years, according to CNBC.

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