Future Tense

Will 2020 Change American Tech?

A Future Tense online event.

A man sitting on a stage raises his hands as he speaks.
Reid Hoffman at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Sept. 6, 2018, in San Francisco. Steve Jennings/Getty Images

If we needed any reminders of the tech sector’s outsized power to shape how we live, 2020 has provided us with an avalanche of them, from the global pandemic to a social justice movement to address systemic racism and pressing debates about the boundaries of free speech in an election year. On the innovation and competition front, we have seen the rise of some interesting newer players—think TikTok or Zoom—in markets that seemed dominated by a few incumbent behemoths. And yet many Americans continue to feel uneasy about their growing level of dependence on tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, even as employees within these companies engage in social and political activism. The tech sector in this country is unlike any other in terms of the power it wields to improve and/or control our lives, and the amount of scrutiny devoted to its motives, the sense of its own identity, and its ability to sustain American economic competitiveness. How will 2020 shift our answers to these questions, if at all?

On Tuesday, June 30, at 4 p.m. Eastern, New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter and LinkedIn co-founder and New America board member Reid Hoffman will have an online discussion about to what extent this eventful year will revolutionize American Tech. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.