Another week has passed in our Brave New Coronavirus World, and technology has had a chance to shine as countries look for help wherever they can find it to combat this pandemic. The New York Times’ Ben Smith declared Facebook more trustworthy than President Donald Trump, tens of thousands of New York City students are being equipped with iPads to continue their education remotely, and Zoom has worked its way into all of our hearts as the basis of our suddenly secluded work and social lives. In short, it’s been a promising time to look to tech for solutions – so much so that even our loser had a win this week.
WINNER: Andrew Yang
We wouldn’t have blamed former Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang if this week he’d let slip from his mouth four little words: “I told you so.” But despite lawmakers across the country proposing sending cash to families to provide relief caused by coronavirus-related economic hardship, Yang was gracious enough not to totally rub it in the faces of people like U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney and Bernie Sanders – and even the White House – that he had the idea for universal basic income first. Well, not first. Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr. offered similar ideas. But Yang made UBI famous this year during his long-shot presidential run. Still, in response to a tweet suggesting Yang would be angry to see his ideas get serious traction after ending his campaign, Yang replied, “I’m pumped about it actually.”
LOSER: Thomas Rutledge
Charter Communications built up a lot of goodwill this week by being one of the first telecom companies to announce that because of the coronavirus pandemic forcing students across the country to go to school remotely, it would provide free internet service for 60 days to new customers with students in their families. It’s a shame, then, that Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge ended the week with a barrage of bad press over forcing employees to still report to the office despite concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Rutledge at first defended the no-work-from-home policy by saying many employees can’t work from home, but it wasn’t a good look to make the roughly 15,000 employees who Rutledge admitted can work from home still report to the office. Charter seemed to realize this: On Thursday, the company reversed course and said it will allow some employees to work remotely.
For the rest of today’s tech news, head over to First Read Tech.