After the official announcement of Joe Biden as the United States’ new president, preparations began for the transition period, which will last 100 days. Based on the agenda, many startups can expect development assistance from the government, as infrastructure is high on the list of priorities for the new Biden administration. The new president strives to keep his campaign promise to “build better.”
It is planned to allocate investments for the modernization of infrastructure using new technologies. In other words, tech companies focused on next-generation telecommunications and utility infrastructure, transportation, housing, and energy efficiency building technologies could receive funding over the next four years. Rebuilding infrastructure is expected to create new, quality jobs, which is especially important in crisis times.
But how bright is the future for companies that are not associated with alternative energy sources, electric vehicles, and other useful solutions for infrastructure and the environment?
All the problem is that back in 2016, the scandal with Russia’s interference in the work led to the fact that Republicans and Democrats began to promote ideas on regulating social networks’ work and not only. If earlier, it seemed that global giants such as Google or Facebook were beneficial. In the end, it turned out that they became international information merchants. Something needs to be addressed with this.
Big tech and President Biden
I want to note that the new president did not focus on technology companies during the election campaign. Therefore, his attitude towards them has not yet been revealed. But Biden is expected to continue investigating the Trump administration’s antitrust case against Google, and possibly new lawsuits against Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.
The president’s team makes no secret of their dislike of Facebook, expressed in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, where Facebook is called the “main propagandist” of election disinformation. The deputy director of public relations for the presidential administration recently criticized Facebook for “tearing” the fabric of democracy. It seems that Facebook will soon regret deeply the actions it has taken to please the Trump administration.
But as we said at the beginning of this article, “big technology is not all technology.” Biden is planning generous funding for national infrastructure, from telecommunications and transportation to energy and high-efficiency housing.
We know that antitrust laws usually don’t bode well for technology, but from the startup’s perspective, this is quite a positive development. This is because significant technology companies have closed many paths to innovation, thanks to decades of anti-competitive behavior. It could change when the government drafts meaningful regulations, opening up new avenues for startups that would otherwise be bought and taken over or shut down entirely by a significant tech mega-company.
According to experts, the Biden administration will maintain ties with influential companies in the high-tech world, many of which worked under Obama and then rushed to Silicon Valley.
Technology the cabinet?
The future of the world of technology is still somewhat hazy. Everything will depend on how the offices in the administration will be distributed. Only after that will it be possible to talk about its priorities, but we can be content with only rumors for now.
According to rumors, Meg Whitman, the former CEO of HP and eBay, has a chance to enter the Department of Commerce. Although after she fails in Quibi, promotion should not be expected.
Eric Schmidt (the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, executive chairman of Google from 2011 to 2015) could join the White House technical working group. Again given the federal antitrust case against Google and the broader desire of legislators to do something about large technologies, it is difficult to argue that this is true.
On the other hand, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a contender for a cabinet position in the Justice Department. And even though he’s not from the tech world, he’s currently pursuing his antitrust case against Google. In recent interviews, he has denounced tech giants as “monsters” holding back innovation.
Summing up, we want to say that we will probably see many familiar names soon in ministries. Companies that have become the leading players in the technology world over ten years of their development will now be bound by legislation since regulation looms on the horizon in all directions. Regardless of the Biden administration’s political priorities, the technocratic golden age is over, and something new awaits us.