White House officials meet with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm chiefs – CNET


White House officials meet with Google, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm chiefs

The Trump administration is holding a “listening session” on AI, 5G and quantum computing.

Washington, D.C., scenics

The White House wants to know how the US can dominate AI, 5G, and quantum computing.

Robert Alexander / Getty Images

The White House is holding a roundtable “listening session” on innovation with top tech executives on Thursday, part of the Trump Administration efforts to ensure US leadership in emerging fields, such as artificial intelligence, 5G wireless and quantum computing.

Executives participating include Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Oracle’s Safra Catz, Oracle’s Steve Mollenkopf, IBM’s Ginni Rometty and others, according to White House officials. Representatives of Blackstone Group, Carnegie Mellon University and MIT, will participate, as will former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the officials said in a briefing. 

The meeting starts at 12 p.m. ET and is expected to last about an hour and a half.

The executives will meet with a handful of top administration officials, including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to the president; Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor; and Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council. Michael Kratsios and Chris Liddell, both senior technology advisors, will also attend the meeting. 

President Donald Trump isn’t expected to participate, but may make a brief appearance, the officials said.

Administration officials said the meeting is the first of many that the White House plans to have with a wide range of companies. In the future, the guest list may include executives from Amazon, Apple, and others, they said.

The meeting comes amid tension in the relationship between Silicon Valley tech firms and Washington. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are looking to rein in tech firms, especially when it comes to security and privacy concerns. Up to now these firms have operated with little to no government regulation or oversight.

President Trump has also been critical of several internet companies, including Google, accusing the company of “rigging” its search results so that they return “fake news” that is critical of him.

“Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good,” Trump tweeted in August. “They are controlling what we can & cannot see.”

Google’s Pichai is expected to testify before Congress next week to discuss these issues.

But White House officials said neither of these issues will be discussed at this meeting. Instead, the meeting will focus on technologies of the future, relieving regulatory burdens and preparing the US workforce through STEM educational initiatives.

One topic that is likely to come up is the Trump administration’s trade war with China, which has many in the tech industry concerned. It’s still unclear what President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to at a meeting held over the weekend. 

Read nowEverything you need to know about the 5G revolution

Read next: Samsung, Verizon will partner on 5G smartphone in first half of 2019

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