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Small satellites can help bring Internet access to more citizens of the world. This is good.
Do you know what that is? Rich friends whose space toys are better at fighting.
Let me tell you about the satellite space between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the technology they are working on and the risks of tackling complex problems to rely on technical issues.
Here goes: Musk’s SpaceX rocket company, Amazon and other wealthy companies are working on a network of relatively small satellites Internet access that beams on the ground. These networks orbit lower than conventional satellites and are cheaper to build and launch.
Supporters say These networks can extend Internet serviceIn particular Remote area, To reach the sea and other difficult places. Similar small satellites are being used For other projects Such as Forest fire monitoring. There Drawbacks, But we should be excited about the possibilities.
This week’s fight Began as SpaceX seeks permission from the US government to transfer some of its satellites to lower orbits. Amazon said it would interfere with its satellites. Oysters Got angry. Amazon Said He was trying to “smooth competition in the cradle” SpaceX. (Side note: America’s major online retailer probably shouldn’t accuse others of smuggling competition.)
Usually I like to see rich people whipping. Kardashian! But this time … ugh.
I understand why SpaceX and Amazon want to persuade an American agency. But I hope that Talk Talking does not distract them from important questions: Is this satellite technology the best way to help billions of people get online? Or is it one more are likely to be Misunderstood Attempts to throw complicated technology at A complex human problemThe
Put more simply: is it a good idea?
We should be excited by ambitious technology but not blind to it. Even the best existing Internet pipes can carry far more web traffic than thousands of satellites. Satellite Internet still usually requires specialized equipment on the ground, which is not easy to manufacture or pay for. These emerging Internet projects can be a very helpful supplement rather than an alternative to established Internet infrastructure. This is a reality.
The other reality is that if you want technology to change the lives of billions of people, you must also think… what is that word? Ah yes: people.
Even in a rich country like the United States, people do not lack access to the Internet simply because technology is not even sniffed. Misguided government policies, structural inequalities, many people need to spend money on urgent needs.
This means that bringing more people online in the United States – not to mention the rest of the world – cannot be done by technology alone. We need to think holistically about the barriers to internet usage between individuals and society.
See, billionaires can beat each other, get obsessed with rocket protocol, And Think about government policies and human motivations. But billionaires should also be given priority. If they and the rest of us defer to winning the “space race”, they fail to cast the first ones. (Or they might be inspired by earning money instead of bringing the world online. They can do both, I think.)
Front and rear satellites reflected me This interview with Tracy Chow, Which developed software to help harass online posts. She said that some companies believe that smarter technology can solve everything. it can not.
I am sure that Bezos, Musk and all the rest are involved in satellite internet projects. They just have to like it.
Robinhood’s wild ride
All from representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez For right wing personality Ben shapiro Stock Trading App Robinhood Announced a villain on Thursday. Robinhood likes to say that it enables anyone to enter the financial markets. Its critics said that the company played with the free markets to chase away the smaller ones.
But this week’s story could be simpler: a bubbling company was bad for money.
What happened: Reddit group-inspired gang helping to help GameStop drives up share prices And other companies. Robinhood and some other stock brokerages this week Limited customer transactions In grating shares. People went crazy and said Robinhood was trying to save wealthy investors from losing to online merchants.
But maybe Robinhood had no money? Stockbrokers like Robinhood need to have enough cash to pay customers, cover losses and keep a pillow in case something goes wrong. This week Robinhood seemed to have the ability to do that, and my colleagues Reported The trading platform is required to raise $ 1 billion in emergency cash.
What is the lesson here? My colleague Andrew Ross Sorkin Asked An important question: Is there anything wrong with Robinhood that he did not have enough cash without emergency funds or cut off customers? My dealbook colleagues asked: Has Robinhood’s business model broken?
Also, perhaps everyone should tweet less and ask financial regulators more questions.
Focus on how Robinhood makes money: It is a great moment to reread my colleague Nathaniel Popper’s article Rapid-fire stocks trading and how Robinhood attracts people hurt Young Americans in risky financial transactions.
And these no-fee stock trading apps may be less democratic than you think. Robinhood and its contestants Payments by Wall Street firms that trade real stocks, And try to squeeze some money from the transaction on what Robinhood customers pay. This is a long-standing industry practice and is not inherently bad. But being paid by the Wall Street giants does not match Robinhood’s image of empowering the public to beat the rich.
Before we leave …
Twitter crowd for corporate agenda: My colleague Adam Satriano investigated how a company used social media manipulation techniques commonly used by authoritarian governments To promote its policy goals.
The secret of Google’s deleted paragraph: A human rights group criticized Google for opening computer centers in Saudi Arabia. The company then made a change to a blog post about its Saudi project. Make a contract Understand what happened.
Hot weather, a bitcoin-friendly mayor and (By chance) Reduced tax: Please enjoy writing about my colleague Nellie Bolles Kite-surfing clubs and other cultural changes from technology to Miami as Titan. A rehab company is calling it “Mass Techxodus”.