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商业 - 科技

科技行业的好日子今年到头了?有5条故事线值得关注

Jeff John Roberts 2017年01月09日

也许2017年的政治风向不太有利,但科技巨头的地位依旧不可撼动。

2016年初,科技界一片欣欣向荣的景象,企业利润不断攀升,硅谷对美国政府的影响力也在日益增强。不过到了2017年,情况就不再这么美好了。

唐纳德·特朗普出人意料的当选,对科技公司在政治和经济上都堪称一次打击,它们本指望希拉里获胜,从而维持奥巴马任期下政府优厚的调控政策。

但毫无疑问,科技巨头仍然是美国企业界的霸主,尽管他们的情绪(和股价)不会太好。无论2017年的政策风向如何,硅谷的重要性依旧不可动摇。以下是我们值得关注的5条故事线。

1. Facebook和谷歌平台的力量

谷歌(Google)和Facebook可能会说他们是科技公司而不是媒体渠道。不过这样的谎言该垮台了,因为它们平台上的假新闻和凌驾于党派之上的故事对大选结果的影响已经闹得沸沸扬扬。

这两家科技巨头如今正在不情愿地采取措施,让自己平台上的新闻变得更加负责。不过对于它们权力的争论才刚刚开始。我们可以看看新政府是否会使用反垄断法(因为特朗普已经就此指责了亚马逊)来限制它们,或消费者是否会警惕它们的影响,开始选择其他替代平台。

2. 加密术成为主流

2016年初,苹果和美国联邦调查局因为解密iPhone的问题而对簿公堂。从那时起,保护消费者和公司的数据和设备免受他人窥探的加密技术就变得愈加流行。例如,《纽约时报》如今就通过加密应用Signal接受新闻线索,越来越多的网站也开始利用加密技术保护自己的网页通信。

3. 人工智能走进现实

说到大肆宣传的能力,科技界无人能及。无论是对“云”概念的热捧(还算合理)还是对虚拟现实的愿景(这些设想还未实现),他们总是热衷于谈论下一个热门话题。

不过在人工智能领域,这种吹嘘看起来并不过分。人工智能在谷歌翻译和亚马逊的家庭助手Alexa上已经展现了惊人的潜力,从无人驾驶汽车到医学研究,它的能力都在得到发掘。期待着人工智能成为2017年最重要的纯技术案例吧。

4. Snapchat的成功和苹果的困境

2016年,Snapchat表现出色,保持千禧一代用户飞速增长的同时,还推出了一系列优秀的功能,甚至是Spectacles可录像眼镜这样的硬件。与此同时,随着苹果曾经引以为豪的产品热度不再,公司也失去了光芒,投资者开始担忧苹果已经江郎才尽,产品创意已经枯竭。我们认为这两家公司在2017年会延续——并加速这一趋势。

5. 科技巨头与特朗普的恩怨

今年12月,候任总统特朗普与顶级科技高管在特朗普大楼达成了休战协定,他们合影留念,并宣布会建立高效的合作关系。不过这种关系可能只是看上去很好。从苹果首席执行官蒂姆·库克在会议上的表情,我们很容易推断出未来的情况——由于总统与科技界的商业和文化价值观存在着巨大的分歧,双方可能将重新憎恨彼此。(财富中文网)

作者:Jeff John Roberts

译者:严匡正

At the beginning of 2016, the tech industry was riding high as corporate profits kept popping and Silicon Valley's influence in Washington, D.C. kept growing. Things are not as rosy for 2017.

The surprise election of Donald Trump delivered a political and financial jolt to tech companies, which had counted on a Clinton victory to preserve the favorable regulatory policies of the Obama White House.

Make no mistake, the tech giants are still the kings of corporate America, but their moods (and their share prices) are not so sunny. But wherever the political winds blow in 2017, Silicon Valley is as important as ever. Here are 5 storylines to watch:

1. Facebook and Google's Power of the Platform

Google and Facebook like to claim they're tech companies, not media outlets. But that fiction came crashing down in the uproar over how the companies' delivery of fake news and hyper-partisan stories helped shape the election.

The two tech giants are now grudgingly taking steps to be more accountable for the information they show. But the debate over their power is just beginning. Watch to see if the new administration turns to anti-trust law (as Trump vowed to do vis-a-vis Amazon) to corral them, or if consumers grow alarmed about their influence and seek out alternatives.

2. Encryption Goes Mainstream

In early 2016, Apple and the FBI got into a legal showdown over an encrypted iPhone. Since then, encryption technology—which allows consumers and companies to secure their data and devices from outside eyes—has grown ever more popular. The New York Times, for instance, is now accepting news tips via the encrypted app Signal, while more and more websites are turning on encryption to guard their web communications.

3. Artificial Intelligence Is the Real Deal

Nobody does hype like the tech industry. Whether it's the commotion over "the cloud" (which is justified) or visions of virtual reality (whose promise is yet to be fulfilled), there is always a rush to talk up the next big thing.

In the case of artificial intelligence it's becoming apparent the hype is justified. AI is already showing its awesome potential in tools like Google Translate (googl) or Amazon's (amzn) home assistant, Alexa, and its power is being tapped for everything from driverless cars to medical research. Look for AI to be the most important pure technology story of 2017.

4. Snapchat Soars and Apple Stumbles

In 2016, Snapchat did a masterful job of maintaining rapid growth among millennials while preserving its cool cachet with new features, and even hardware like Spectacles. Meanwhile, Apple (aapl) lost more luster as the company's once-vaunted demo days lost their sizzle, and investors fret that Apple's ideas are stale and its product pipeline is dry. Look for this tale of two companies to continue—and accelerate—in 2017.

5. Tech vs. Trump

The President-elect and top tech executives reached a truce in December, meeting for a photo-op in Trump tower amid public proclamations the relationship would be productive. But this is likely to be as good as it gets. The look on the face of Apple CEO Tim Cook during the meeting provides a good clue to what might be in store—a return to animosity as the very different business and cultural values of the President and the tech industry became a chasm.

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