Salesforce.Com (CRM) Stock Price Declined While Crosslink Capital Has Decreased Its Position …

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company increased its stake in Microsoft Corp (MSFT) by 9.41% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing …, inc. (NYSE:CRM) Logo

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company increased its stake in Microsoft Corp (MSFT) by 9.41% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company bought 1.24 million shares as the company’s stock rose 6.56% . The institutional investor held 14.44 million shares of the prepackaged software company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $1.93 billion, up from 13.20M at the end of the previous reported quarter. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company who had been investing in Microsoft Corp for a number of months, seems to be bullish on the $ market cap company. The stock decreased 0.15% or $0.2 during the last trading session, reaching $137.32. About 23.36M shares traded. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has risen 29.33% since September 14, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 29.33% the S&P500. Some Historical MSFT News: 21/05/2018 – Ayehu Wins 2018 TiE Award; 08/05/2018 – Change Healthcare Teams Up with Adobe and Microsoft to Put the “Consumer” in Healthcare Consumer Engagement; 26/04/2018 – Establishing work-life balance may be all the rage among employers right now, but it wasn’t a priority for Bill Gates during Microsoft’s early years. via @CNBCMakeIt; 15/05/2018 – lifelMAGE Announces LITE, a Breakthrough Capability to Build lnteroperable Clinical Networks; 24/05/2018 – PowerObjects Announces Platinum Sponsorship for Microsoft Business Applications Summit; 31/03/2018 – The Jerusalem Post: BREAKING U.S. government seeks end to Supreme Court privacy fight with Microsoft; 17/04/2018 – U.S. SUPREME COURT DISMISSES MICROSOFT PRIVACY FIGHT INVOLVING CUSTOMER DATA STORED OVERSEAS AFTER CONGRESS AMENDS LAW; 16/05/2018 – The enterprise still uses email, but is moving toward clients like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts; 22/05/2018 – Interstate Hotels & Resorts lgnites its Digital Leadership by Landing One of the Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing Minds in Hospitality; 04/05/2018 – Insight Public Sector wins $653 mln U.S. defense contract -Pentagon

Crosslink Capital Inc decreased its stake in Salesforce.Com (CRM) by 74.86% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Crosslink Capital Inc sold 42,080 shares as the company’s stock declined 4.72% . The hedge fund held 14,134 shares of the prepackaged software company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $2.15M, down from 56,214 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Crosslink Capital Inc who had been investing in Salesforce.Com for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $134.16B market cap company. The stock decreased 1.14% or $1.77 during the last trading session, reaching $152.98. About 3.51M shares traded., inc. (NYSE:CRM) has risen 11.93% since September 14, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 11.93% the S&P500. Some Historical CRM News: 24/05/2018 – Salesforce Positioned as a Leader in the 2018 Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Engagement Center for Tenth Consecutive Year; 29/05/2018 – SALESFORCE: EUROPEANS WITH GDPR ‘FLIPPED THE COIN’ ON DATA; 20/03/2018 – SALESFORCE TO BUY MULESOFT FOR $36.00 IN CASH & 0.0711 SHRS; 29/05/2018 – Salesforce Grows the Old-fashioned Way — Heard on the Street; 29/05/2018 – SALESFORCE.COM INC – RAISES FY 2019 REVENUE GUIDANCE TO $13.075 BLN TO $13.125 BLN; 09/03/2018 – Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is known for his social activism and is one of most outspoken business leaders promoting work and pay equality; 23/03/2018 – Salesforce and Mulesoft a Good Buy —; 09/03/2018 – DROPBOX & SALESFORCE NEW INTEGRATIONS SEEN IN SECOND HALF; 26/03/2018 – ASPERA’S NEW LICENSECONTROL FOR SALESFORCE RELEASE REDUCES; 30/04/2018 – Fidelity Capital Appreciation Adds Salesforce, Exits Cisco

Crosslink Capital Inc, which manages about $2.09 billion and $438.97 million US Long portfolio, upped its stake in Carvana Co by 63,360 shares to 375,489 shares, valued at $23.50 million in 2019Q2, according to the filing. It also increased its holding in Paypal Holdings by 4,880 shares in the quarter, for a total of 153,920 shares, and has risen its stake in Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW).

More notable recent, inc. (NYSE:CRM) news were published by: which released: “Salesforce Earnings: What to Watch – Yahoo Finance” on August 15, 2019, also with their article: “After Hours: Hasbro Makes a $4 Billion Acquisition; Salesforce Posts Forceful Q2 – Motley Fool” published on August 22, 2019, published: “Salesforce shares rise on revenue beat and increased forecast – CNBC” on August 22, 2019. More interesting news about, inc. (NYSE:CRM) were released by: and their article: “Can You Imagine How Chuffed’s (NYSE:CRM) Shareholders Feel About Its 159% Share Price Gain? – Yahoo Finance” published on June 18, 2019 as well as‘s news article titled: “, inc. (NYSE:CRM): What Does The Future Look Like? – Yahoo Finance” with publication date: May 03, 2019.

Analysts await, inc. (NYSE:CRM) to report earnings on November, 26. They expect $0.20 EPS, down 23.08% or $0.06 from last year’s $0.26 per share. CRM’s profit will be $175.40M for 191.23 P/E if the $0.20 EPS becomes a reality. After $0.25 actual EPS reported by, inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -20.00% negative EPS growth.

Investors sentiment decreased to 1.46 in 2019 Q2. Its down 0.30, from 1.76 in 2019Q1. It worsened, as 75 investors sold CRM shares while 276 reduced holdings. 96 funds opened positions while 415 raised stakes. 625.71 million shares or 1.98% more from 613.53 million shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Bessemer Securities Ltd Company owns 4,800 shares. 5,987 are held by Rosenbaum Jay D. Congress Asset Ma holds 0.1% or 51,589 shares. Meristem Family Wealth Ltd Llc reported 1,813 shares stake. Jpmorgan Chase & owns 15.18 million shares or 0.45% of their US portfolio. Gateway Inv Advisers Limited Liability Co holds 105,565 shares or 0.14% of its portfolio. Aqr Cap Mgmt Lc holds 0.05% or 301,932 shares in its portfolio. Maryland-based Spc Finance has invested 0.16% in, inc. (NYSE:CRM). First Hawaiian Bank holds 0.23% or 28,944 shares in its portfolio. Appleton Ma has invested 0.04% in, inc. (NYSE:CRM). Oakmont reported 4.65% in, inc. (NYSE:CRM). Alley Lc holds 2,300 shares. American Intl Gru Incorporated holds 279,751 shares or 0.17% of its portfolio. Renaissance Techs Lc holds 476,319 shares. Fjarde Ap accumulated 248,524 shares.

More notable recent Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) news were published by: which released: “Technology Sector Update for 08/21/2019: LEDS, VIOT, ADI, MSFT, AAPL, IBM, CSCO, GOOG – Nasdaq” on August 21, 2019, also with their article: “Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Looks Interesting, And It’s About To Pay A Dividend – Yahoo Finance” published on August 09, 2019, published: “Microsoft Stock Buy Signal Flashes Again – Yahoo Finance” on August 27, 2019. More interesting news about Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) were released by: and their article: “Microsoft bull praises vendor Pentagon contract – Seeking Alpha” published on August 30, 2019 as well as‘s news article titled: “Google Gains Edge Over AMZN, MSFT & AAPL With Socratic Launch – Nasdaq” with publication date: August 19, 2019.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, which manages about $80.76 billion US Long portfolio, decreased its stake in Donaldson Inc (NYSE:DCI) by 495,550 shares to 11.88 million shares, valued at $604.04 million in 2019Q2, according to the filing. It also reduced its holding in Air Prods & Chems Inc (NYSE:APD) by 448,320 shares in the quarter, leaving it with 14.94 million shares, and cut its stake in Berkshire Hathaway Inc Del (BRKA)., inc. (NYSE:CRM) Institutional Positions Chart

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Artificial General Intelligence Is The Next Step In Machine Intelligence Journey

The journey of Artificial Intelligence started in 1956 when it was founded as academic discipline. One of the pioneers, John McCarthy defined it as “the …

The journey of Artificial Intelligence started in 1956 when it was founded as academic discipline. One of the pioneers, John McCarthy defined it as “the science and engineering of creating intelligent machines”.

Though it moved ahead in research and academics, it started gaining commercial traction only when the cost of computation power and storage started falling and network bandwidths allowed cloud computing and storage to become viable. The rise and rise on internet provided multiple use cases for its use.

Application of Artificial Intelligence

Its most visible application is Machine Learning (ML) which is based on the idea that computers can decipher patterns from data and predict outcomes thereafter. Machine Learning uses a single layer of functions to encode the patterns while its subset, Deep Learning (DL) uses multiple layers of functions. Its underlying architecture is called neural networks as each node called neuron connects to all the neurons in the next layer similar to working of human brain.

ML/DL are creating significant impact on our lives. They have vastly improved the recognition techniques e.g. face, speech, handwriting etc. They help online companies recommend product to users, understand the responses, filter the emails etc. They help predict outages in IT systems and telecom networks, diseases in patients etc. They are replacing analysts in predicting financial market movements, asset allocations, preparing tax returns etc. Deep Learning is particular has changed the course of Natural Language Processing (NLP) as computers understand, generate and translate written text as well as speech. The rise of autonomous robots and vehicles is directly linked to advances in Artificial Intelligence. Affective computing focuses on systems which can even decipher emotions. These computers would use facial expressions, postures, gestures, speech, temperature of body etc to understand emotional state of user and adapt its response accordingly. The list is endless.

Artificial General Intelligence

However, current computers do extremely well on 1 set of tasks but perform miserably when same algorithms are applied to another set. E.g. a computer proficient in playing Chess is clueless when playing AlphaGo or a Natural Language translator which is accurate while translating English fails when attempting the same on French. Also their ability to use reasoning to infer answers from a set of observations is limited. Infact they perform worse than humans when transferring the knowledge or when using reasoning.

These computers need 2 attributes to match intelligence of humans, i.e. Machine Reasoning and Transfer Learning. Léon Bottou, an expert defined Machine Reasoning as “algebraically manipulating previously acquired knowledge in order to answer a new question”. Transfer learning refers to ability to transfer learned experience from one context to another. Today its role is limited to training algorithms on one set of data and using it to work on another set for the same problem.

The difference between current achievements and expectations has led to 2 separate definitions of Artificial Intelligence. The current set of computers have Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) also called Narrow AI or Weak AI as they do well on 1 set of tasks. In contrast Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) or Broad AI or Strong AI aims to create systems that genuinely simulate human reasoning and generalize across a broad range of circumstances. These systems should be as capable as human in every aspect. Incomplete understanding of human brain is an important roadblock in this.

One simple test for AGI suggested by Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, called Coffee Test expects a robot to enter a room, find all necessary tools, ingredients and procedures and make Coffee. Another test, The Robot College Student Test involves enrolling into a university and taking and passing classes and finally obtaining a degree.

There is a third definition, Artificial Superintelligence (ASI). One expert, Nick Bostrom has defined ASI as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.” Here computers would be somewhat superior to humans but they would continue to improve themselves. This is science fiction as of now but transition from AGI to ASI will a short one.


In 1997 Deep Blue, a computer created by IBM defeated the then Chess World Champion, Garry Kasparov who was then considered to be the strongest player in Chess history. This was display of brute computing power as Deep Blue used 30 nodes working in parallel enhanced with Chess optimised chips.

In 2016 AlphaGo, a software program created by DeepMind defeated a 9 dan rank player, Lee Sedol in the game of Go, a simple looking board game but with combinatorial number of possible moves. This was a shift away from brute computing power and used a technique called Reinforcement Learning (RL) which is based on providing feedback with every step in a changing environment.

In 2017 another software program, AlphaGo Zero defeated AlphaGo by 100-0. More importantly, AlphaGo Zero was feed only the rules of the game and it learnt the game by playing against itself. It also used RL but no Go specific strategies were fed to it. Infact it discovered established as well as unknown strategies. Later it learnt Chess and Shogi the same way and defeated a top Chess program (Stockfish) and a top Shōgi program (Elmo). It required only 4 hrs of training to learn Chess.

Machine Reasoning and Transfer Learning

For computers to have AGI, they should be able handle 3 types of reasoning, deductive, inductive and abductive. Deductive means formation of a conclusion based on generally accepted statements or facts e.g. testing a theory, where theory is known and deduction is prediction of observations. Inductive means moving from specific observation to generalization, predicting a theory based on some observations. Abduction starts with some observations and forms a likeliest possible explanation. Infact this ability to make educated guesses constitutes an important part of human intelligence. This process of taking information that is known along with background knowledge and using mentioned logical techniques to make inference about unknown information is Machine Reasoning.

If Machine Reasoning is in place, transfer learning will become relatively easy. AGI computer will use previously acquired knowledge and not only be able to cut time of training but also reduce the amount the data needed for training. Such a computer would have multiple competencies just like humans.

None of today’s commercial computers or computers playing games have Machine Reasoning. AlphaGo Zero is a promising forward step. AGI is an area of active research with no products available so far.


There is a consensus that AGI will happen even though our knowledge of human brain is imperfect. However there is a wide difference in opinion about when AGI will happen. In 2017, a survey of 352 AI experts estimated that there is 50% chance that AGI will occur until 2060.

While benefits of AGI are obvious, its eventual transition to ASI may create machines that human may struggle to control. Humans will gain as long as their natural intelligence controls intelligence of machines.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Apple Computer (AAPL) Position Maintained by Main Street Research Llc; AD-Beadell Investment …

More interesting news about Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D) were released by: and their article: “Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) Q4 …

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Logo

Main Street Research Llc increased its stake in Apple Computer (AAPL) by 17.65% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. Main Street Research Llc bought 10,309 shares as the company’s stock rose 1.20% . The institutional investor held 68,708 shares of the computer manufacturing company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $13.60M, up from 58,399 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Main Street Research Llc who had been investing in Apple Computer for a number of months, seems to be bullish on the $987.67B market cap company. The stock decreased 2.03% or $4.54 during the last trading session, reaching $218.55. About 36.38 million shares traded or 40.07% up from the average. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has risen 12.18% since September 13, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 12.18% the S&P500. Some Historical AAPL News: 07/03/2018 – Apple’s Push to Clean Up Supply Chain Gained Momentum in 2017; 23/03/2018 – Apple Plans To Introduce Low-cost Ipads To Win Back Share Of Education Market: Bloomberg — MarketWatch; 28/03/2018 – Apple has a new 9.7-inch iPad. It will start at $299 for schools and $329 for everyone else; 03/04/2018 – Spotify Initiated With Hold At Gabelli; Analyst Worries About Apple Competition, Record Label Leverage — MarketWatch; 11/04/2018 – APPLE CUTS ORDERS FOR HOMEPOD AMID POOR SALES: COMMERCIAL TIMES; 25/04/2018 – TRUMP MEETING W/ APPLE’S COOK HAS ENDED: WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL; 03/05/2018 – Apple faces these technical roadblocks in the comedown from earnings euphoria; 02/05/2018 – Correction to Apple iPhone Heard on the Street (May 1); 29/05/2018 – PEGATRON MAY SECURE APPLE ORDER FOR NEW MACBOOK: DIGITIMES; 12/03/2018 – CRN Exclusive: Apple Hires Oracle Channel Veteran To Help Drive Enterprise Sales Growth

A-D-Beadell Investment Counsel Inc decreased its stake in Dominion Resources (D) by 17.24% based on its latest 2019Q2 regulatory filing with the SEC. A-D-Beadell Investment Counsel Inc sold 8,073 shares as the company’s stock declined 3.69% . The institutional investor held 38,752 shares of the public utilities company at the end of 2019Q2, valued at $3.00M, down from 46,825 at the end of the previous reported quarter. A-D-Beadell Investment Counsel Inc who had been investing in Dominion Resources for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $63.03 billion market cap company. The stock decreased 0.11% or $0.09 during the last trading session, reaching $78.45. About 2.15 million shares traded. Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D) has risen 4.35% since September 13, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 4.35% the S&P500. Some Historical D News: 27/03/2018 – Dominion Energy Sees 1Q Adj EPS 95c-Adj EPS $1.15; 29/03/2018 – SCG: ” … slashing the nuclear charges, even temporarily, could cause Dominion Energy to drop its $14.6 billion offer to buy SCANA. Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell threatened to do just that earlier Wednesday if the Senate passed a rate cut; 27/04/2018 – Dominion Resources 1Q EPS 77c; 09/05/2018 – Dominion Energy Names Mark Webb VP, Corporate Affairs, and Innovation Chief; 27/04/2018 – DOMINION ENERGY INC D.N – COMPANY REAFFIRMS ITS PREVIOUSLY ISSUED 2018 OPERATING EARNINGS GUIDANCE OF $3.80-$4.25 PER SHARE; 27/03/2018 – DOMINION ENERGY – SEES OPERATING EPS TO GROW AT COMPOUNDED ANNUAL RATE OF 6-8% FROM 2017 TO 2020; 25/04/2018 – MEASURE AS WRITTEN MAY IMPERIL DOMINION’S TAKEOVER OF SCANA; 24/04/2018 – Japan to Receive First LNG Cargo From Dominion’s Cove Point; 26/03/2018 – DOMINION ENERGY – CREDIT FACILITY MATURES IN MARCH 2023, UNLESS EXTENDED; 01/05/2018 – Dominion Energy Foresees Even Greater Growth of Renewable Energy

Investors sentiment decreased to 0.72 in 2019 Q2. Its down 0.24, from 0.96 in 2019Q1. It worsened, as 60 investors sold AAPL shares while 954 reduced holdings. 139 funds opened positions while 596 raised stakes. 2.54 billion shares or 1.94% less from 2.60 billion shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Moneta Grp Advsr Limited Liability Com owns 12,613 shares. Alkeon Management Ltd Llc holds 0.14% in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or 175,000 shares. Piedmont Advsr reported 4.49% of its portfolio in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Gamco Invsts Et Al holds 54,357 shares. 400,398 were reported by Bokf Na. Moreover, Sanders Limited Company has 7.54% invested in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for 8.38M shares. Fayerweather Charles owns 14,331 shares. Court Place Limited Liability owns 0.92% invested in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for 11,858 shares. Burgundy Asset Mngmt holds 2.47% of its portfolio in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for 1.25 million shares. Carroll Financial, North Carolina-based fund reported 106,414 shares. Nichols & Pratt Advisers Llp Ma has 3.55% invested in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for 217,401 shares. Point72 Asset Mngmt Ltd Partnership holds 590 shares. South State reported 101,479 shares. Fiera reported 0.36% of its portfolio in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Grand Jean Inc holds 4.09% of its portfolio in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for 50,995 shares.

More notable recent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) news were published by: which released: “Apple bear cuts target on cycle weakness – Seeking Alpha” on September 10, 2019, also with their article: “Technology Sector Update for 09/04/2019: COUP, BOX, ELTK, MSFT, AAPL, IBM, CSCO, GOOG – Nasdaq” published on September 04, 2019, published: “Notable ETF Inflow Detected – SPYV, AAPL, BAC, UNH – Nasdaq” on August 27, 2019. More interesting news about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were released by: and their article: “Edtech Battle Heating Up: GOOGL, MSFT, AMZN & AAPL to Watch – Nasdaq” published on September 09, 2019 as well as‘s news article titled: “Monday Apple Rumors: Apple Terminates iPhone Walkie-Talkie Feature – Nasdaq” with publication date: August 26, 2019.

Analysts await Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D) to report earnings on November, 7. They expect $1.15 earnings per share, 0.00% or $0.00 from last year’s $1.15 per share. D’s profit will be $923.90M for 17.05 P/E if the $1.15 EPS becomes a reality. After $0.77 actual earnings per share reported by Dominion Energy, Inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts 49.35% EPS growth.

Investors sentiment decreased to 1.42 in Q2 2019. Its down 0.94, from 2.36 in 2019Q1. It worsened, as 43 investors sold D shares while 280 reduced holdings. 82 funds opened positions while 376 raised stakes. 507.39 million shares or 1.91% more from 497.88 million shares in 2019Q1 were reported. Amp Capital holds 0.19% or 454,788 shares. Bb&T accumulated 170,362 shares or 0.23% of the stock. Baystate Wealth Mngmt Limited Co invested in 743 shares or 0.01% of the stock. Trustmark Bank Trust Department invested in 0.02% or 2,837 shares. The California-based Cetera Advisor Ntwk Llc has invested 0.12% in Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D). Farmers Merchants Invs Inc stated it has 0.71% of its portfolio in Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D). Aviva Public Ltd Com has invested 0.16% in Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D). Bessemer Grp reported 0.01% of its portfolio in Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D). Icon Advisers has 28,100 shares. Guardian Life Ins Communication Of America has 2,305 shares for 0.02% of their portfolio. 42,055 were accumulated by Pinnacle Fincl Partners. Gillespie Robinson And Grimm Incorporated accumulated 4,529 shares. Davenport Ltd Liability Corporation holds 1.39 million shares. 4,740 were reported by Farr Miller Washington Limited Liability Company Dc. Brighton Jones Limited Liability Corp reported 0.08% stake.

More notable recent Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D) news were published by: which released: “If You Had Bought Panhandle Oil and Gas (NYSE:PHX) Stock Five Years Ago, You’d Be Sitting On A 59% Loss, Today – Yahoo Finance” on September 09, 2019, also with their article: “If You Had Bought Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) Shares Five Years Ago You’d Have Made 83% – Yahoo Finance” published on September 13, 2019, published: “Dominion Energy (NYSE:D) Use Of Debt Could Be Considered Risky – Yahoo Finance” on August 30, 2019. More interesting news about Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D) were released by: and their article: “Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) Q4 2019 Earnings Call Transcript – Motley Fool” published on September 13, 2019 as well as‘s news article titled: “Dominion Energy South Carolina Announces Early Tender Results, Increase in Offer Cap – Yahoo Finance” with publication date: September 12, 2019.

Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE:D) Institutional Positions Chart

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The Technology 202: Venture capitalists aren’t laughing about Andrew Yang’s ‘freedom dividend …

Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit and managing partner of the venture capital firm Initialized Capital, offered to pay the money out of his own …

Kamala Harris (L), Andrew Yang (C) and Beto O’Rourke. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP)

Ctrl + N

Andrew Yang’s debate-stage announcement that he would give 10 American families $1,000 per month to test his plan for universal basic income sparked Twitter jokes, legal questions and even accusations that the tech entrepreneur-turned-presidential candidate is trying to buy votes. But Yang’s risky strategy resonated with at least one group — venture capitalists.

Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit and managing partner of the venture capital firm Initialized Capital, offered to pay the money out of his own pocket if campaign finance law prevents Yang from using campaign donations to fund the program:

Hey @AndrewYang I like this idea so much I’ll do it personally for those 10 people if you can’t.

We talk about the future of AI often at @Initialized — our nation needs to start exploring ways to adapt to the massive automation shift that’s already happening.

— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 🚀 (@alexisohanian) September 13, 2019

Roy Bahat, the head of venture capital firm Bloomberg Beta, applauded Yang for trying this strategy to raise awareness about universal basic income.

“I think it’s great that a candidate is calling for experimenting, and experimenting with something bold,” Bahat, who focuses on the future of work, told me. “How else can we learn what works?”

The arguments in Silicon Valley are often far removed from what’s taking place on the political debate stage during a presidential primary. But Yang’s unique campaign — which has been compared to a tech startup itself — is acting as a bridge.

The rise of artificial intelligence has permeated almost every discussion in Silicon Valley for years, and venture capitalists have raised concerns that Washington lawmakers aren’t paying enough attention to the seismic shift new forms of automation will bring to the U.S. economy and American workers. Yang is using his time on the campaign trail to put the issue directly in the national spotlight.

His announcement last night ensured the idea got some shine even when campaign moderators were not at all focused on it. Tech issues received nary a mention in last night’s debate, except for a few brief references to intellectual property theft in China.

Yang has built his entire campaign around his central proposal for what he calls a “Freedom Dividend,” or a universal basic income that would provide every American adult with $1,000 per month. The idea of a universal basic income has gained traction in Silicon Valley, where prominent techies like Marc Andreessen and Tim O’Reilly have expressed support for such a system. Some venture capitalists like Bahat are closely watching a pilot in Stockton, Calif., where randomly selected residents are being given $500 a month.

Yang’s campaign has also drawn support from prominent Silicon Valley figures who are developing or investing in the very artificial intelligence Yang is warning could create new challenges for the U.S. economy. Elon Musk, the billionaire executive running Tesla and SpaceX, recently endorsed Yang on Twitter. Yang’s campaign website has an entire page dedicated to tech entrepeneurs and executives that have donated $1,000 or more to his campaign, including former Y Combinator president Sam Altman, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin.

But while Silicon Valley may be taking Yang’s proposals seriously, he faces an uphill challenge in convincing the political establishment. Last night as he unveiled his plan on the debate stage, Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded, “It’s original, I’ll give you that.”

Michael Avenatti, celebrity lawyer and Trump critic, criticized the plan as a gimmick:

And just like that, Andrew Yang craters any chance he had. What is this, a lottery? A game show? #RidiculousStunt

— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 13, 2019

And Trump ally and lawyer Rudolph Giuliani slammed the plan and raised concerns about its legality:

Dems have gone nuts. Yang wants to give people $1,000 each from his campaign funds. What? It’s illegal. This is why Progressives (Retrogressives) ruin cities almost always. The best thing you can say they have no common sense. They are too dangerous to govern.

— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) September 13, 2019

The legality of Yang’s plan has come under intense scrutiny as several campaign finance attorneys raised concerns about the sweepstakes-like distribution of campaign funds. Yang’s spokesman told my colleagues that they consulted with an attorney who approved the plan. The payments are considered a campaign expense because they are “being made to further the goals of the campaign, he said.

But other legal experts aren’t so sure. From the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center on Twitter:

“Campaign donors give their hard-earned money to fund campaign activities & the law makes clear that paying personal expenses is not a campaign activity.” @CampaignLegal‘s @AdavNoti

— Campaign Legal Center (@CampaignLegal) September 13, 2019

Despite the backlash, Yang told ABC reporters after the debate that giving 10 families $1,000 a month is the “most powerful illustration of what this campaign’s all about, which is putting economic resources into Americans’ hands.”

He told reporters voters should take him seriously because they can already see the impact automation is having in their towns, where stores are shutting down because they can’t compete with Amazon. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Post.)

“I’m talking about very very serious problems and of course they going to get more serious in the days and months to come,” Yang said.

You are reading The Technology 202, our guide to the intersection of technology and politics.

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Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., left, chair of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, speaks alongside ranking member, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing with representatives from major tech companies, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BITS: The bipartisan House investigation into competition in the tech industry escalated this morning. Lawmakers asked Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google to hand over key documents — including top executives’ private communications, my colleague Tony Romm reports.

House Judiciary Committee lawmakers called the companies “to share detailed information about their internal operations, including copies of key communications between top-level executives about potential merger targets and records related to ‘any prior investigation’ they have faced on competition grounds,” Tony writes.

The document requests shed some light on where the lawmakers are focusing as they attempt to understand the unique competition issues with each company, especially because every tech company in the spotlight has a differentiated business model. With Google, lawmakers appear interested in its efforts to dominate search and advertising, requesting records related to its mergers like the purchase of YouTube. With Facebook, lawmakers requested communications in which chief executive Mark Zuckerberg might have talked about the company’s corporate rivals, like the now-shuttered video streaming service Vine.
The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mithril Capital co-founder Peter Thiel Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

NIBBLES: U.S. officials, including at the FBI, are probing possible financial misconduct at venture capital firm, Mithril Capital, co-founded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel,Recode’s Theodore Schleifer reports. The investigation represents a rare instance of government scrutiny into the widely unregulated world of venture capital and a potential embarrassment for Trump ally Thiel.

“This federal probe is just the latest — but most significant — problem for the firm, which has increasingly struggled with internal tensions, declining morale, and employee departures,” Schleifer reports. Cambridge Associates, which directed some clients to invest in Mithril, is also looking into the firm’s conduct; investors, which included the MacArthur Foundation and Temasek, have expressed concerns directly to Thiel, who has been relatively silent about the controversy.

“This is a foiled plot by a self-serving ex-employee. There are no allegations from any government agency, or any [investor.],” a Mithril spokesperson told Recode. “Nevertheless, our attorneys are in contact with government authorities in order to protect [investors], employees, and portfolio companies against any extortionate behavior.

Google employees outside its headquarters (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

BYTES: Federal regulators are ordering Google to notify employees of their rights to speak out on political and workplace issues, and otherwise notify employees of a change in rules that had limited sharing of confidential information internally and with the media,” Rob Copeland at the Wall Street Journal reports.

The order settles complaints brought to the National Labor Review Board by former Google employee Kevin Cernekee that he was discriminated against and ultimately fired for his conservative viewpoints and a second, unnamed current employee. Cernekee’s claims drew attention from President Trump, who tweeted his support for the former employee and said he was “watching Google very closely.”

“The NLRB’s settlement is a victory for Google inasmuch as it doesn’t make a formal determination about whether Google was in the wrong,” writes Rob. Cernekee’s request for backpay and to get his job back were not met by the settlement. Both complainants plan to challenge the settlement, Rob reports.


An iPhone displaying apps (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

— Apple has amended privacy changes that would have prevented developers who market their apps to children from displaying ads and collecting analytics on their users,my colleague Reed Albergotti reports. Developers originally lambasted the changes to The Post last month, saying they would harm businesses that already had safeguards for child privacy and demonstrated Apple’s unchecked influence over the app industry.

Under the revised rules, analytics software will be permitted if it doesn’t transfer any identifiable user data; advertising will have to be vetted first. The company introduced the original changes in June in response to parent concern, it says. Apple said it would reconsider the rules after the Post reported on the matter.

“We appreciate Apple listening to the kid tech community and developing policies that benefit kids while supporting the growth of responsible developers in this space,” Gerald Youngbold, the developer of a kid-safe YouTube alternative Tankee, said of the changes to Reed.

— News from the private sector:

Square has lent billions to small businesses and consumers and applied for a banking license, but it says it isn’t a financial company.
Wall Street Journal
It’s the first union effort at a well-known tech company.
Less than 2% of its workforce, or 1,900 employees, will no longer be eligible for medical coverage in 2020.
The video site’s algorithm promotes medical misinformation in a number of languages, the BBC finds.
BBC News

— News from the public sector:

France’s Bruno Le Maire said Thursday that he would try to stop the development of Facebook’s new virtual currency Libra within Europe, claiming that “the monetary sovereignty of states is in jeopa…
Supporters of the 2020 candidate harness chat groups to help Andrew Yang make the most of his time on stage.
Mother Jones
A chatbot function on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page has been temporarily suspended after it sent out a message to visitors that violated the company’s policies on hate speech,
The Hill
French investigators have since 2015 been investigating Google’s tax set-up. The company declares profits from activities across the E.U. in one country, usually a low-tax state.
The Associated Press

— Tech news generating buzz around the Web:

Twitter is trying to rebrand itself as a safe space by displaying users’ tweets. But its new campaign runs it afoul of the law.
San Francisco Chronicle
Internet Culture
The two YouTube stars from the Netherlands were arrested after allegedly trespassing outside the government facility famed for conspiracies about aliens and UFOs.
Kim Bellware

— Coming soon:

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will host an oversight hearing on the enforcement of antitrust laws Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time
  • The Senate Commerce Committee will has a hearing on “Mass Violence, Extremism, and Digital Responsiblity” with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will host a hearing to “explore issues relating to competition in technology markets and the antitrust agencies’ efforts to root out anticompetitive conduct” on September 24.

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Tech & Engineering Brief: Mary Meeker invests in Sarah Friar’s Nextdoor, feds to Google: don’t be evil

Safra Catz’s co-CEO at Oracle, Mark Hurd, is taking a leave of absence to focus on his health. No specifics nor a timeline for his return were revealed.

GO BIG OR GO HOME: Mary Meeker’s new VC company, Bond, is investing in Nextdoor, the neighborhood social network run by Sarah Friar and co-founded by Sarah Leary. The company is currently valued at $2.1 billion [WSJ]. The Wing is expanding its networking concept from just the physical to the digital with an online hiring marketplace, according to its CEO and co-founder, Audrey Gelman [Recode]. Andreessen Horowitz led a $15 million Series A round for Incredible Health, a hiring platform for nurses run by co-founder and CEO Iman Abuzeid. Her company has raised a total of $17 million to date. “At the end of the day, a hospital recruiter or hiring executive does not want to see 200 candidates in their app, they want to see 12 that are the right fit,” Abuzeid said of the platform [TechCrunch]. Here’s a new profile of Bumble’s CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, who says combining the digital and physical experience is the next frontier for her company [Fast Company]. Apple VP and managing director of greater China, Isabel Ge Mahe, is joining Starbuck’s board [BI].

STAGING AN INTERVENTION: The States vs. Big Tech is so ON. A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general, led by New York AG Letitia James, will investigate Facebook for alleged anti-competition practices. Meanwhile, more than 40 state attorneys general announced their plans to investigate Google for potential violations of antitrust laws and privacy issues, among other alleged malpractices [Recode & WaPo]. The feds told Google they must assure employees that they can speak freely about issues in the workplace and politics as part of a settlement concerning workers who were allegedly punished for doing so [WSJ]. Danish politician Margrethe Vestager was named the European Union’s executive vice president for digital. She also will serve a new term as competition commissioner. Vestager has been investigating the practices of Google, Facebook and Apple for years [The Information].

THE DATING GAME: How much of a threat to Mandy Ginsberg’s Match Group is Facebook Dating? Match’s shares dropped following the announcement, but some are skeptical of the long-term impact [Fast Company].

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF…Cloudflare, co-founded by Michelle Zatlyn who serves as COO, went public on Thursday. The other big news about the cybersecurity company? Buried in its IPO registration is the disclosure that the company may have broken several laws, including by providing its services to terrorists and drug traffickers [BI].

MISC: Nominations are open for the “Women in PropTech Global Awards,” the first award of its kind to recognize women in the PropTech industry. Don’t be shy, toot your own horn! Enter here. Safra Catz’s co-CEO at Oracle, Mark Hurd, is taking a leave of absence to focus on his health. No specifics nor a timeline for his return were revealed. Catz and Oracle founder Larry Ellison will pick up his duties [WSJ].

P.S. We’ll just let this headline speak for itself: “Silicon Valley sucks at diverse hiring. Lesbians Who Tech wants to change that” [Fast Company].

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