2020 has been an intense year, packed with interesting news that have led our community to debate on how technology is impacting our daily lives. Apart from THE topic (Covid-19), platform work, advances on artificial intelligence, political campaigns in the digital era and big tech monopolies being put in doubt, have been some of this year’s top tech news to keep on our minds. Here is a quick review:
- Facebook and Google are too powerful. Federal and state authorities, probing whether the tech giants abused their power in the internet economy, are preparing as many as four cases. One of the most relevant allegations, claims that they have had “anticompetitive and unfair methods of competition”. In October, Google faced an antitrust suit, this December was Facebook’s turn, accused of “rising rivals to cement its dominance over social media”.
- Uber and Lyft lead Proposition 22 in California, to establish that their workers should be treated as contractors. The same discussion, on the rights and legal situation of platform workers, has taken place in different countries, like Spain for instance. Moreover, in a pandemic situation, these jobs have not just remained the same but risen in demand. Could these legislations rewrite labour laws throughout the world?
- USA’s election coverage campaign. Decoding the 2020 campaign: this election race, as well as post election with the elected president Joe Biden almost entering the White House, disinformation, microtargeting, data collection and other data related tactics have been widely used to tackle vulnerable and not so vulnerable populations.
- How Big Tech is using Al to combat climate change. In a moment when climate change remains a crucial topic concerning all societies, and the development of growing global actions to combat it, like the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, we have seen how artificial intelligence enables climate modelling and can help us develop more sustainable spaces. An interesting factor is how some of the world’s biggest tech firms are turning their technologies in favor of combating this pressing challenge for our planet. Discover more about this topic on our report ‘Risks and opportunities of emerging tech in the climate decade’.
- Al and Covid. In a year where Covid-19 has grabbed all of the headlines, we have learned that although AI is capable of saving us in the future, it did not save us from the coronavirus this time. But as we were saying, it can however, play a significant role in future epidemics if we make some major changes – that are also controversial because they imply giving up (even) more personal data.