This is another Business Matters episode at the BBC with Tony Nash as one of the guests. They discussed about the possible problems if Apple starts scanning phones for child abuse imageries, electronic vehicles and their future especially in the US where President Biden targets 50% total sales in the next decade, and should vaccines from developed countries be sent overseas to help developing countries?
This podcast was published on August 6, 2021 and the original source can be found at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172xvqgghw0rpz.
BBC Business Matters Description:
Tech giant Apple has said that all of its smartphones and tablets in the US will soon scan them for images of child abuse and report those found. The move has already alarmed some, who are concerned devices could now be spied on. We speak to Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States who revealed details about Apple’s plans before they were officially announced. President Biden has said that by 2030, half of the cars produced in the US will be zero emission vehicles. But is this realistic and does it go far enough? We ask Becca Ellison, deputy policy director at the environmental campaign group Evergreen Action. Vaccine maker Moderna has reported net income of $2.8bn for the three months to June 30th. Rasmus Bech Hansen is chief executive of the life sciences data analytics company Airfinity, and tells us how the company’s coronavirus vaccine has boosted its prospects. Plus, in the wake of the saga of office sharing company WeWork, the BBC’s Ed Butler explores whether technology startup founders have become the latest wave of cult leaders. And after the news that Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona, we ask his official biographer Guillem Balague, why money is the reason the world’s greatest footballer is leaving his club of 20 years.
All this and more discussed with our two guests on opposite sides of the world: Tony Nash, chief economist at Complete Intelligence in Texas and Zyma Islam, journalist for the Daily Star in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
BG: Tony, what’s your view on this? Do you wonder why the technology companies can really control how this software is used around the world and in years to come? Because there is a real risk that it is the thin end of the wedge? And what do you do on your phone is no longer private?
TN: Yeah, I share all of the concerns that Zyma mentioned. I have three kids. I have the same worries as the person you interviewed. But these things always start with good intentions. Here’s the problem. The biggest problem of the interview that I heard him say is it’s under development. They haven’t even tested this stuff. They’re going to put it on everyone’s iPhone to snoop in their photos too. And what I worry about, there are planned layers of review in this. But what about that person, man or woman who is labeled a pedophile on accident? They will never get their life back ever. So all of this stuff starts with good intentions, but I guarantee they will ruin people’s lives with this.
BG: But if illegal material is being stored, passed around on people’s phones, surely tech companies do have a responsibility to do something.
TN: No I don’t. I run an artificial intelligence company. Computer vision is very good. That’s the technology generally that they’re using for this. But there are always anomalies. There are always problems. Tech companies have a responsibility to be tech companies. Tech companies are not the police. If we get pulled into an investigation, then we in all of our contracts, it says we will cooperate with the police. But it is not our responsibility, nor is it any other tech company’s responsibility to play the role of a police officer, unless they know that something’s going on. But this is going above and beyond, and I guarantee you they will label people pedophiles who are not pedophiles and they will ruin their lives.
BG: What kind of incentives do you think might be needed to try to get half of car sales to be electric or some other type of zero emission vehicle by the end of the decade?
TN: I think one of the things they really need to do is respect the intelligence of drivers. And they really need to look at the total emissions of the manufacturing process and the operation process of vehicles. Electric vehicles produce massive emissions during their manufacture with battery technology and so on. Once they’re alive, they plug into the grid. And depending on what your local power plant is generating from coal or gas or nuclear or whatever, there are other issues associated with those emissions, other indirect emissions.
What I would love to see is a side by side comparison with petrol based cars and electric vehicles through the lifecycle of their manufacture and use. How do they compare drivers in America? They like to have cars just like people in other places, although a little bit bigger here. I live in Texas. People here, though, are are getting wise to electric vehicles and the damage that the batteries that electric vehicles do just in the neighborhood, aside from mine here in Texas, a Tesla car caught on fire and melted the street, killed both people in the vehicle.
Consumers are becoming much more aware of the dangers of electric vehicles and they want to understand what’s going to happen. So those types of considerations as this transition happens, and I believe it will, but those types of considerations have to be taken into account and consumers have to be made aware or have to be told this information. Truly, the problem with these fuel efficiency standards is they only look at carbon and petrol vehicles. They don’t look at electric vehicles. So electric vehicles will look like zero when in fact. They’re not.
BG: This target that Joe Biden announced today is voluntary. What do you think it will be met this target of 50% of sales by 2030? You seem pretty skeptical that it will indeed, perhaps that it should be.
TN: I don’t think it will because I don’t think EVs can make that target without a subsidy for the buyer. So there’s these standards, but there are also massive subsidies for SUV buyers. What you’re doing is you’re penalizing low income people who pay taxes through sales tax or other things to subsidize. Let’s be very honest, highly educated cosmopolitans who buy EVs. You get fairly wealthy people who are subsidized by poor people with the subsidies they get when they buy a car. It’s a real problem.
BG: Tony, when you hear about the almost total lack of vaccine supplies there in Bangladesh, and we had the comments from the World Health Organization earlier in the week saying that they should wait in developed nations where pretty much every adult has been vaccinated. What do you think countries like the United States should be doing?
TN: I think we should make them aware. I think we should make them available globally so that people can catch up. Giving the boosters there is there is a sufficient portion. I know it’s not what the federal government wants, but there is a large portion of the U.S. population that has been vaccinated. Older people, people with complications who wanted to get vaccinated have been vaccinated early. So I think it’s time to move these into South Asia and other countries like Africa to make sure that there is enough for those countries. I’ve actually been pretty vocal about that.
BG: Presumably, though, there are an awful lot of Americans who say the US helped fund the research effort and they want their kids to be vaccinated.
TN: But kids under 12 can’t get the vaccine now. It won’t be approved by the FDA until the end of the year. So send it overseas. I just don’t understand what the problem is with sending this stuff overseas if they’re needed overseas. Again, I’m very supportive of sending this stuff overseas because kids can’t get the vaccine until it’s approved at the end of the year.
BG: Tony, in business, is the cult of the leader or of the entrepreneur really a bad thing?
TN: I think it can be a good thing. But specific technology, I founded our firm, I’m a tech CEO and I speak to a lot of investors. And no venture capitalist thinks that any of their companies are. We work. No venture capitalist believes that can happen to them.
BG: Which is a problem, right? Because, of course it can
TN: It’s an absolute problem. And when I listen in out of nowhere and pitch, gosh, I wish I could pitch in as well as he does because venture capitalists are suckers for a great pitch. They will fund anything that has a great pitch. And again, they’ll tell you they’re not OK, but they are. I meet so many entrepreneurs, founders who can pitch, but what is there to their business? Well, they get funded and that’s it. I think the pitch is something that that every tech founder really, really focused on learning how to do. They don’t actually learn how to run a business. Very few.
BG: Is there is there a cult of Tony Nash at your company?
TN: I wish there was. I wish that was the case, but it’s not. I’m sorry.
BG: It’s such a shame. This is Business Matters with my thanks Tony Nash and Zyma Islam. And join us again same time tomorrow bye bye.