Tech Leaders Convene at White House for Coronavirus Confab

Officials ask for help pulling COVID-19 solutions out of data

Why This Matters:

This hastily called meeting between top tech companies and the White House’s Chief Technology Officer is an effort to engage companies with clear expertise in data and AI in the government’s plan to use data to combat the Coronavirus. The White House also wants their help in stamping out rampant misinformation on some of their platforms.

Woman on cellphone wearing surgical mask
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The White House is enlisting the assistance of multiple tech companies in its fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

Who did they call? According to multiple reports, the White House’s U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios met with Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, Twitter, as well as a number of industry association representatives on Wednesday.

What can Tech do? Kratsios showed tech leaders, some of whom dialed into the meeting, a new database of Coronavirus-related scholarly papers in the hope that the companies could join forces to analyze it and, possibly using artificial intelligence, derive useful insights that might help the U.S. government combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Why Now? Just this afternoon the World Health organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic (which means Coronavirus is a new infection that’s spreading globally beyond expectations). In addition, the amount of misinformation about the disease is spreading across some of these technology platforms. The goal was to engage the tech leaders on ways they could combat that spread and, presumably, help spread accurate and useful information.

Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort.

What’s Next? While most of the tech companies have yet to acknowledge the meetings, Kratsios indicated their work together would continue. He also said in a statement, according to, “Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort."

Bottom Line. It’s likely that each of these tech companies were more than open to Kratsios’ suggestions since each of their businesses has felt the direct impact of the Coronavirus spread, with many of them dealing with cancelled tech conferences, asking employees to work from home, and grappling with how to keep product development and sales on track. It’ll be interesting to see, though, if competitors like Apple and Amazon, and Facebook and Twitter, like heroes from Marvel and DC Comics, do somehow join forces to combat this pandemic.

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