On Monday, a summit will be hosted by the White House of the top technology talent in the country. It is the first meeting of what has been named the American Technology Council that was created through a President Donald Trump executive order signed in May.
The group will discuss reforming of the H-1B visa program that Trump criticized and said is abused by technology companies that use it for importing inexpensive labor.
In addition, the council will look at modernizing the technology infrastructure of the government and keeping its computers safe against cyberattacks.
An official with the White House administration said leaders of 18 companies are planning to attend including Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, Alphabet’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Peter Thiel from the Founder’s Fund amongst others.
Trump upset the tech community’s big players in early June when he pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Facebook’s CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, Goggle CEO Sundar Pichai, General Electric’s outgoing CEO Jeff Immelt and Apple’s Cook condemned Trump’s decision.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not participating in the event. He resigned from two other advisory committees of President Trump after the climate decision was made by the president.
CEO at Uber Travis Kalanick will not attend. He too resigned from one of Trump’s councils and Uber confirmed he would not take part in Monday’s meeting.
Amongst those that will represent the government are senior adviser at the White House Jared Kushner who is also the son-in-law of Trump and Chris Liddell, the White House director of strategic initiatives.
It is expected that Vice President Mike Pence will be present and that the group will meet Trump late Monday afternoon to give him an overview of their discussions, said a top official at the White House.
President Trump and his White House team much like predecessors at the White House believe Washington has been slow in adapting to today’s digital age. They worry that the federal bureaucracy has become hamstrung due to outmoded technology.
They want agencies across the federal government to begin using new tools such as artificial intelligence as a way to address the ills, such as fraudulent government spending.
Officials at the White House have said they agree that not everyone will agree on every issue, but despite disagreements the White House and tech giants have a larger responsibility and one that transcends the debate over the Paris accord.