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City Club of Cleveland - 9-25-2020 - The Role Of Big Tech In A COVID-19 World
A hotbed of technological innovation, the very term "Silicon Valley" was born out of a need to describe the quickly growing tech industry out in California. Ask most people why the San Jose Metropolitan Area, which includes Silicon Valley, is only third behind Zurich, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway, for the largest GDP per capita in the world, and they would respond that it's simply brimming with talent. According to author Margaret O'Mara, however, the answer is quite complicated.

O'Mara's book, The Code, is the result of five years' worth of research into the history of Silicon Valley. A professor of history at the University of Washington, she investigates how the history of tech and America's political history are deliberately intertwined, a linkage which has become even more relevant as COVID-19 has shifted much of the world into online spaces. The dominance of big tech has become social, political, and personal, and these business giants are massive stakeholders in the formation of a post-COVID world. Twitter recently announced that remote work will become a permanent option for employees - and working from home will last well into 2021 for many Americans. If corporations like Twitter, Apple, or Facebook go online permanently, how much of the world will follow?

Margaret O'Mara, Ph.D.
Howard & Frances Keller Endowed Professor of History, University of Washington, and author, "The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America"

Dan Moulthrop
CEO, The City Club of Cleveland
September 25, 2020