Kai Levin, 16, of Vancouver, British Columbia, admires his dad’s job as a corporate video producer but admits it feels less “cool” lately. “Before, he got to travel all around the world and make videos,” Kai says via Messenger. “But now he is at the living room desk when I wake up. He’s still at his desk when I come home.” His sister, Lauren, 12, concurs that her dad’s job seems a little less glamorous lately. “He doesn’t go anywhere,” she says, also via Messenger. “He used to dress really sharp for the office, but now he just wears sweatpants and housecoats.”
In his address to the joint session of Congress on April 28, President Joe Biden made the case for reinvigorating the government’s role in technological investment, laying out a vision for what you could call “progressive tech optimism”: the idea that government investment in tech is the path forward to solving Democratic priorities like the climate crisis and developing treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.
The president’s vision for the role of technology was striking given that both Republicans and Democrats have become incensed by the behavior of different big tech companies and their founders — from Amazon’s treatment of its workers and Twitter’s decision to ban former President Donald Trump. But while both sides of the aisle have been critical of tech companies lately, tech optimism resonates strongly with voters, according to a new poll with Data for Progress (DFP) and Vox.
The poll, conducted between April 16 and 19, surveyed 1,138 likely voters. It found 80 percent of respondents agreed with the relatively anodyne statement: “Technology is generally a force for good,” and then, when given both tech optimist and tech pessimist messages, voters again agreed that tech is a force for good.
Seventy-one percent of likely voters agreed with the tech-optimist statement: “Technology is generally a force for good. Large tech companies have provided innovations like vaccines, electric vehicles, bringing down the cost of batteries that store green energy, vegetarian meat options, and other ways that have improved our quality of life.” Only 19 percent agreed with the tech-pessimist statement: “Technology is generally a force for bad. Large tech companies are bad for workers, inequality, and democracy. The technological innovations they produce are not worth the cost.”
Republicans, perhaps scarred by the wave of tech companies that banned Trump and some of his allies from their platforms, are more likely to agree with the tech-pessimist statement: 30 percent of Republicans as opposed to only 12 percent of Democrats. Still, 59 percent of Republicans agreed with the tech-optimist message along with 78 percent of Democrats.
Traditionally, presidents of both parties have argued in favor of pursuing new technological advancements by citing America’s need to remain “first” in the world. And in their fight for increased funding for technological research and development, Democrats have repeatedly highlighted China as a growing adversary. This new survey data suggests specific appeals about the danger any one country poses to dominance are likely unnecessary in garnering public support.
Does public support for investing in R&D require anti-China rhetoric?
Bipartisan messaging pitting the US’s future against China’s has taken root. In his joint address, Biden warned that “China and other countries are closing in fast” as he urged Congress to increase public investments in research and development.
He’s not alone in this.
The Endless Frontier Act, a bill championed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, seeks to “bolster US technology research and development efforts in a bid to address Chinese competition,” Reuters’ David Shepardson reported. Schumer himself has repeatedly warned of the threat the Chinese Communist Party poses as he urges his colleagues to support the legislation — in one statement, he references China three times.
Some commentators have criticized the rise in this oppositional rhetoric, pointing to the attacks on AAPI people over the past year; author R.O. Kwon called Biden’s remarks before Congress “absolutely fucking terrifying.” Trump has been widely excoriated for referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus” or “Kung flu” — rhetoric which may have fueled the flames of anti-Asian sentiment over the last year — and these critics feel Democrats’ language isn’t helping matters.
In the new poll, DFP and Vox tested whether this focus on China was necessary to build public support for new technological investments. Respondents were divided into two groups: In the first, respondents were told that increasing public investment in science and tech would help in “maintaining our competitive edge over China.” In the second, they were told it would help in “maintaining our competitive edge over Europe.” Support for the anti-China message was nearly indistinguishable from the anti-Europe one.
The study found 66 percent of respondents agreed that the US should “invest more in scientific and technological innovations” when they were told it would help the nation compete with China and 67 percent agreed with that statement when they were told it would help the nation compete with Europe. Looking at the partisan split, Republicans and Democrats are actually more motivated (4 percentage points and 2 percentage points, respectively) by competition with Europe.
In pursuit of drumming up public support for public investments in R&D, voters may be motivated by the desire to maintain American hegemony, but specific references to China do not appear to increase support for the policies.
But, as Vox’s Ella Nilsen and Alex Ward report, Democrats’ anti-China rhetoric may not be about convincing the public but rather a way to get Republican elected officials on board:
“The best way to enact a progressive agenda is to use China [as a] threat,” a Democratic congressional aide told Vox.
The theory that America is at its best when it’s united against a common adversary can motivate members of both parties, especially using the idea that the US will lose its competitive edge or cede ground to another country. Indeed, one of the few things both parties can agree on is the need to compete with China.
By ACACIA CORONADO and KANTELE FRANKO Associated Press
MANOR, Texas (AP) — The school bell rings, and about a dozen masked first-graders turn to the monitor and wave hello to their classmates — each a tiny Zoom square representing the other half of the class. The teacher — standing behind a plexiglass wall — shares her screen, grabs a pointer, juggles a laptop, projector, marker and board and embarks on another act of her one-woman show.
Ana Saul Romero has seen many changes in teaching methods, testing and technology during her four decades as a teacher. But the past year packed in a lifetime’s worth of tumult.
“It’s difficult for me — I am a baby boomer — it is difficult with the technology, and I have learned more, but it is not enough, it is never enough,” Romero said as she reminisced on the personal connections she made with students when she could see them every day in-person.
This spring marks a year since the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools across the U.S., forcing many students, parents and teachers into virtual classrooms. As scientists learned more about the virus and states eased restrictions on gathering, some students returned to school while others kept learning at home — but they all had to be taught. Many classrooms became a simultaneous combination of virtual and in-person instruction, like Romero’s class in the Austin suburb of Manor.
There was a learning curve for teachers, and inequalities in Wi-Fi and technology access added to the stresses, as did social and political unrest that gripped the nation over that period. Now districts everywhere are grappling with exhausted educators wondering if this academic year will be their last.
Educators have coped with their own personal and family impacts of the pandemic, while trying to support students dealing with academic struggles, food insecurity, trauma and social isolation, said Antoinette Miranda, an Ohio State University professor of school psychology who is also on her state’s school board and married to a high school teacher.
“We talk a lot about the stress on students,” Miranda said, “but I think there’s a tremendous amount of stress on teachers.”
As they raised health and safety concerns about resuming in-person classes, some people blamed them for holding up reopenings that could ease pressure on parents.
“I think there’s kind of a backlash against teachers,” Miranda said. “But I think there’s also a renewed respect for teachers — you know, especially parents that had to start teaching their kids at home.”
Andre Spencer, superintendent of Manor Independent School District where Romero works, said the district’s pandemic response has focused on students and teachers. It spent millions to ensure every student and teacher has the technology necessary for virtual learning, including distributing mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for those without internet access. He also gathered a team to examine the resources and compensation his district provides teachers to ensure it stays competitive with others in the growing Austin area.
“I would say to teachers: ‘Don’t beat yourselves up too bad because this was a shift for everyone and it was a shift in a direction that none of us were expecting,'” Spencer said.
First-year teacher Cindy Hipps, Romero’s mentee and teaching partner, said she was told she “was introduced to the ring of fire of teaching.”
“I feel like a superwoman now, like I can take on anything,” she added.
Even before this school year began, district leaders worried about shortages of instructors, support staff and substitutes. More than a quarter of respondents to one poll by the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, felt the pandemic increased the likelihood they would retire early or leave the profession. And some already did.
With only piecemeal data from districts and states, it’s tough to tell how the pandemic impacted turnover nationwide. Some places report more educators retiring, quitting or taking extended absences, but others say the exodus they worried about didn’t happen.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten anticipates a big uptick in retirements in the coming months, after a year of perpetual uncertainty and change and more strain for educators than she’s ever seen.
“They love teaching. They know how important it is to engage kids. But this year has been unsustainable,” especially for educators simultaneously teaching students in person and online, Weingarten said.
The union started providing a free trauma counseling program for members, including for those who had COVID-19 or were traumatized by it.
National conversations around racial injustice, the presidential election and the Capitol riot impacted the job too, especially for teachers of color.
Travis Bristol, a University of California, Berkeley professor who researches teacher workplace experiences and focuses on educators of color, recommends that schools intentionally set up opportunities for employees to talk about what they have been through and grieve if needed. Teachers who are supported in addressing their own challenges, stresses and mental health concerns from the past year will be better positioned to help students do the same, he said.
To boost retention and address challenges weighing on educators, some districts are considering spending some of their federal COVID-19 relief funding on professional development, equipping and training teachers for virtual instruction, and increasing mental and emotional health support for teachers and students. They can also use the money for expenses such as providing extra compensation for pandemic-related duties or recruiting to address staffing shortages.
Romero, the teacher in Texas, was considering retiring. But even after such a challenging year, at her core, teaching is who she is.
“Let’s just hope that in September, if it is not gone, at least we will be able to do a better job,” Romero said. “We will have the experience of an entire year of trying to be above the water, but we will make it — that’s what educators do. We try and we fail and we get up and we shake it off and we do it again.”
May 02, 2021Ed. Note: A version of this article originally appeared at Retail TouchPoints.
The fundamental shift in retail toward blended digital commerce has created several hurdles for retailers still clinging to traditional blueprints. At a time when brand interactions bridge digital and physical shopping, it is increasingly important for retailers to leverage technology to improve customer experiences and create value. Here are a few examples of how technology enhances customer experience and strengthens brand value.
Modern Warehouse and Production Management Systems for Product Customization
Following the rise of individualism, modern customers now seek customized products that connect directly with their lifestyles. A study by Deloitte revealed that customers are willing to pay 20 percent more than standard equivalents for customized products. Thanks to modern warehouse and production management systems, retailers can now satisfy individual customer preferences. These systems enable retailers to build tailor-made products at scale for each customer from a warehouse. For example, customers can create unique colorways for a pair of sneakers or add personalized text.
Allowing consumers to customize their orders creates a personalized retail customer experience and ultimately delights customers as they get to design products that suit their needs. Customization also helps retailers build an emotional connection with their customers through cocreation and improves customer loyalty.
Distributed Order Management Technology for a Unified Customer Experience
Customers expect a seamless omnichannel shopping experience that enables them to buy anywhere and pick up anywhere with the least cost and hassle. However, successfully delivering omnichannel fulfillment requires an up-to-the-millisecond view of inventory availability across channels. That is where distributed order management (DOM) technology comes into play.
Unlike static traditional order management systems that provide limited inventory visibility, DOM unifies disparate inventory pools across all channels and locations to give retailers visibility into available-to-promise inventory at eligible fulfillment locations and guarantees customers are promised what can be delivered. This creates a unified omnichannel experience that delights customers as products ordered online will be available in-store for pick-up. The ability to consistently honor customer promises improves the retail customer experience, builds trust and strengthens brand value as customers know they can depend on a retailer to deliver what they need.
Store-Fulfillment Technology for Flexible Fulfillment
As customers continue to demand convenient and free delivery, big retailers like Target are leveraging existing store networks to offer flexible fulfillment options. However, efficiently fulfilling orders from stores can be challenging due to inventory inaccuracy. Among retail executives surveyed by HRC Retail Advisory, 66 percent say that inventory inaccuracies make their “buy online, pickup in-store” (BOPIS) offerings inconsistent.
One technology engineered to help retailers efficiently manage inventory is a store-fulfillment solution. Such solutions improve store inventory availability accuracy and give retailers the ability to pick from store inventory efficiently, while keeping available inventory 100 percent accurate. Achieving this enables flexible fulfillment such as BOPIS and “buy online, pickup at curbside” in a time-efficient way.
With store-fulfillment solutions, sales associates can also locate inventory quickly and prepare it for delivery. Store-fulfillment solutions make omnichannel shopping a delightful experience for customers, as they can shop on their terms and satisfy their need for fast, free and convenient fulfillment.
Distributed Order Management System for Order Routing
Fast delivery remains an area of crucial importance for customers. Fifty-five percent of consumers switch to a competitor if that competitor offers faster service, according to a report from Capgemini. With distributed order management (DOM) systems, retailers can meet the customers’ need for fast fulfillment. DOM ensures speedy delivery by determining the most cost-effective and efficient shipping location to fulfill an order. This may be to the store closest to the customer or a distribution center with the largest volume of products.
The ability to intelligently route orders results in more positive post-purchase experiences as customers get their orders fulfilled accurately and fast. Rapid delivery delights customers, improves the retail customer experience and incentivizes customer loyalty. DOM also enables retailers to control shipping waste in packaging and reduce carbon footprint in the last mile through order routing and consolidation. By making the last mile ecofriendly, retailers create a great customer experience for sustainability-minded shoppers while still meeting financial goals.
Additionally, DOM has delivery-management capabilities that enable retailers to offer personalized home delivery, such as white-glove services and appointment-based in-home delivery using retailer-owned vehicles and personnel. For instance, a customer purchasing a home theater online can select white-glove delivery when placing an order and schedule a convenient appointment time for order delivery.
By offering this type of personalized experience, the customer has control over the transaction, and the shopping experience is a delightful one as customers get their orders according to their priorities. In all, DOM enables retailers to go beyond the standard expectation for delivery, enhances the retail customer experience and builds customer loyalty.
Teleconferencing for Seamless Digital Retail Experience
Despite the recent surge in digital adoption, human touch remains an integral element of the retail shopping experience. One technology retailers can use to mirror the human connection provided in-store is teleconferencing using live video technology.
Teleconferencing allows brands to offer contactless consultation from anywhere and interact with customers while respecting the need for social distancing. For example, Gucci is maintaining customer relationships by setting up a “faux luxury store” at its Gucci 9 hub in Florence, where store personnel livestream from a replica showroom, pulling items to the camera based on customer requests via cellphones or laptops.
Using teleconferencing, retailers provide customers with high-touch personalized interactions, tailored customer support and a human connection that delights customers. This translates to less customer-service related problems and more repeat business for retailers.
Augmented Reality for Seamless Digital Retail Customer Experience
The modern consumers’ desire for real-life experiences is gradually pushing augmented reality (AR) into retail. AR overlays digitally created content into a user’s real-world environment. Its superimposed computer-generated images change the perception of what a user sees in front of them, and 51 percent of consumers are willing to use AR technology to assess products.
In retail, AR technology enables customers to visualize products pre-purchase via a smartphone or on a website. This enhances the digital shopping experience by giving shoppers immersive and interactive experiences. For instance, with IKEA’s AR app, shoppers can virtually preview what a piece of furniture would look like in their homes before they make a purchase.
Consequently, with AR, customers can make personalized product selections and informed buying decisions wherever they are. This reduces friction in the purchasing journey, makes shopping an exciting experience for customers and leads to increased satisfaction AR provides retailers with new opportunities to offer new and exciting value propositions to customers, differentiate themselves from the competition and drive customer retention.
Let Technology Be Your Secret Weapon
In a world where customers face no shortage of choice, technology will play an important role in how retailers meet the needs of customers. Retailers must invest in technology to make their supply chain agile, deliver seamless omnichannel customer experiences, build customer loyalty and stay ahead of the competition.
Laurie McGrath serves as the chief marketing officer at Tecsys, a global software firm specializing in supply chain and omnichannel commerce. She brings more than 20 years of executive insight and deep domain knowledge into supply chains and the technologies that power them. McGrath is passionate about brand messaging and customer experience, and in using the levers of digital marketing to drive business results.
Got a Dear John letter this week.
“Dear Cenex Consumer Cardholder –”
Cenex said: “The decision to stop producing the Cenex Consumer Card is due to technological, financial and industry changes.”
I read: “You came into my life and made it worth living. No doubt it will hurt knowing the past few years have gone to waste, but you and I now approach life from completely different perspectives.”
Seems like only yesterday when I first got my Cenex card, back when we would have done anything for each other. I remember it vividly, hooking up on the rebound after what I thought was my lifetime soulmate skipped town. Phillips 66 was steadfast and devoted, seemingly on every corner in Manhattan, there when I needed them.
Then one day you wake up and WHAM! Phillips 66 has packed up and left town, without so much as a note on the kitchen table.
Cenex had the temerity to include a sheet of Dear John Frequently Asked Questions, which parroted the same painful heartbreak conveyed in the letter, in q and a form, as if that could cushion the blow. It just compounds the anguish. We used to finish each other’s sentences, anticipate each other’s questions.
“Once accounts are closed, cards should be shredded and securely discarded.”
I love you, too. You want to forget about me altogether. Wash me away. Scrub any evidence that we were ever together.
Your letter references “financial and industry” changes, but please don’t sugar coat it. You’ve found somebody else. You want more from a credit card relationship than I can provide. There’s someone else out there who will support you in your growth while loving you exactly the way you are.
You try to let me down easy, pointing me in the direction of a Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Mastercard, allowing me to double rewards points there when I fuel up at Cenex using the new card.
Like a camo hunting vest can take your place.
There were hints, I was just too blind to see them.
In hindsight, you seemed arms-length from the start. It’s far too early to objectively analyze this breakup, but the technology you mention in your letter may well have been the third wheel that got in the way, preventing unconditional, requited love. Even though it should have made things easier, more convenient, maybe we allowed it to become a barrier.
You wanted me to punch in a four-digit “driver ID” which required me to remember four specific digits. It’s almost as if the relationship began without trust. When I allowed myself to think about it, the feeling was there, in the deep recesses of my mind, with each and every fill up. I tried to compartmentalize it, but I should have seen it coming.
Cenex said: “An account or card can be closed at any time by the cardholder. The account will remain in an active status without the ability to make additional purchases until the account is paid in full.”
I read: “I know it hurts now, but it’s my abiding hope that you’ll be able to look back on our time together with fondness and warm feelings.”
You don’t love me anymore. You want to see other people. People with shiny new rewards programs and cutting-edge technology.
In the future, I know I’ll relive our time together a thousand times. So go ahead, Cenex. I’ll give you back your credit cards.
I wish they would have saved the postage and just texted me:
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
Mike Matson’s column appears every other weekend in The Mercury. Follow his blog at mikematson.com
Haven’t we all been around someone who was more interested in their phone than talking to us?
Coming in second place to an electronic device never feels meaningful or good. And I admit, I have been on both sides of this equation myself. I have seen the distraction, and I have been the distracted.
We learn at an early age that presence with somebody we care about is what makes experiences more meaningful. That may be part of the reason why kids are constantly saying, “Watch me.” Presence matters because presence enhances the quality of our relationships.
I believe presence is a meaningful and godly value. God wanted to be more present with us. That is why he came to earth in human form.
In Ephesians 3:16-17, we are told that “when Jesus returned to his father in heaven, he promised to make his home in our heart, through the power of the holy spirit, as we trust in him.”
You can’t be much more present than that. The spirit of God comes to live within us. Presence seems to matter to God, and if it matters to God, don’t you think it should matter to us?
It has gotten to the place that I cannot number the times I have seen people sitting together in a restaurant while everyone is staring at their phones. I suppose most of us have been guilty. It happens all of the time with married couples, families and friends.
This is an issue in our culture that is affecting all of us. One of the saddest pictures is when adults are constantly distracted from their children by their device. Is this really how we want to live?
How many times have you been caught looking at your phone or tablet and didn’t even realize that someone was speaking to you or as someone else was speaking, you allowed a call, a text or other notification to interrupt a meaningful conversation?
The American Psychological Association has labeled it technoference, which is defined as the interference of technology in relationships.
There is no question technology is having a negative impact on relationships today. Divorce lawyers are seeing mobile devices and social media show up as key factors in separation and divorce hearings.
Day after day, new studies about phone use are being connected to depression and loneliness. Join me over the next few weeks as we dig deeper into this concern.
The stakes in patent disputes are profound. Often, such lawsuits involve core proprietary inventions and technologies on which a business is built. Manatt’s patent litigators bring the firepower and trial experience needed to win.
We assist clients through every step of the patent process, from preparation and prosecution of patent applications and post-grant proceedings—including inter partes review—before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to licensing and enforcement activities in federal courts and before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Our attorneys frequently represent clients in high-volume patent jurisdictions such as the U.S. District Courts in California and the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, as well as the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
When disputes arise, Manatt acts decisively from the first call. We provide end-to-end representation, guiding clients through all phases of bet-the-company suits against key competitors. Whether prosecuting or defending cases, our attorneys litigate aggressively with the goal of achieving a fast and fair resolution. Our renowned trial capabilities, intensive planning and willingness to defend your interests in court help you secure the outcome most friendly to your business needs—whether that is a precedent-setting jury trial victory or a swift, cost-effective settlement.
We also understand that the marriage of smart legal counsel and strong technical skills can make all the difference between success and failure in court. Our team includes attorneys and consultants with technical backgrounds in computer science, communications, networking, electrical components, Internet technology and mechanics. Manatt’s wide range of technical experience translates into an ability to step in seamlessly as your counsel, swiftly understand your technologies and patent claims, and cogently explain complex details to juries, judges and arbitrators.
Trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets
Novel technologies can build a company, but a globally recognized brand can define it. From logos and product packaging to slogans and protected trade secrets, intellectual property is often a company’s most valuable, customer-facing asset. In collaboration with our Advertising Litigation and Trademark and Copyright Litigation practices, Manatt’s IP litigators help clients navigate complex disputes with millions of dollars at stake and produce precedent-setting victories.
When your trademarks—including trade names, domain names and associated logos, trade dress, and the closely connected “right of publicity”—are in jeopardy, our attorneys serve as the wardens of your global brand. We do not hesitate to use the full scope of enforcement and litigation tools available under state and federal laws and international treaties.
In the copyright arena, we frequently represent clients in guarding the value of works they have produced in content ownership and work-for-hire disputes. We file and defend such suits in courts throughout the United States, particularly in the entertainment and media industries.
Manatt also regularly advises clients defending their trade secrets from misappropriation by competitors or, often, departing employees and executives. Trade secrets can define your product and provide a significant advantage over alternatives, and their exposure can swiftly compromise your market position. When your secrets are revealed, our IP litigators act quickly to, first, prevent further disclosure and, second, hold those responsible to account under unfair competition, espionage and other trade secrets laws.
Who we work with
Manatt represents major multinational corporations and leading-edge emerging companies in industry sectors that have long played to Manatt’s strengths, including technology and telecommunications; health care, including life sciences and medtech; media and entertainment; financial services; and consumer products.
What we do
- Patent litigation, prosecution and dispute resolution
- Copyright, trademark and trade secret litigation
- Database infringement and computer trespass
- Domain name and cybersquatting disputes
- Technology rights disputes arising from license agreements