Jared Kushner might be singlehandedly tasked with securing peace in the Middle East among other totally reasonable assignments from his father-in-law, but today he basked in the warm glow of his favorite private sector heroes. At a White House tech summit that lured Silicon Valley’s most powerful and obsequious, Kushner made a rare public speaking appearance to mostly say some unobjectionable stuff about floppy disks, a topic surely in the front of every American’s mind.
“Today we’ve assembled a very impressive group of leaders from the private sector and are putting them to work here today to work on some of the country’s biggest challenges that will make a very meaningful difference to a lot of its citizens,” Kushner said, kicking off the White House’s Technology Week, which will include more tech policy meetings as the week goes on.
“The Department of Defense for example still uses 8″ floppy discs on some of its legacy systems,” Kushner declared hollowly, with his hollow voice. He went on to decry the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act and declare the VA’s electronic systems overdue for an update. He also claimed that federal agencies operate 6,100 data centers which could be “consolidated” and migrated to the cloud, though did not offer any immediate specifics about what that process would entail or how to keep that whole cloud thing secure.
In spite of pressure for the tech community to denounce the Trump administration, the new tech summit’s lineup remains nearly the same as it was back in December, again featuring Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Satya Nadella and Brian Krzanich, among others. Elon Musk, absent today, famously rage-quit his White House relationship after Trump left the Paris Agreement in early June. And this time around, Facebook didn’t send COO Sheryl Sandberg (apparently due to a scheduling conflict), though noted maybe-vampire and longtime Facebook board horror Peter Thiel was there.
Kushner also asserted that his new White House office of American Innovation will seek to “modernize the government’s technology infrastructure” as well as make “an effort to bring business sensibility to a government that for too long has relied on past practices as an automatic justification for their continuation” which out of context would be a scary thing to hear coming from an administration with little regard for the foundations of American democracy but in context was mostly kind of boring and about migrating to the cloud.
So far, Tech Week is shaping up to be every bit as memorable as Infrastructure Week!