18 tech CEOs met with the US President on Monday...
Tesla's Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger may have stepped down from the White House's American Technology Council over policy disagreements with Donald Trump, but 18 of technology's biggest names were still on hand to meet the US President in Washington yesterday.
Rather than putting the spotlight firmly on contentious issues that have enraged the tech world of late, such as Trump's proposed immigration ban and his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the focus was instead on modernising government.
With the likes of Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Alphabet's Eric Schmidt and Microsoft's Satya Nadella in attendance, Trump stated:
"Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens.
"Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution."
Cook was in agreement, saying:
"The US should have the most modern government in the world. Today it doesn’t."
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg could not attend due to a scheduling conflict, but Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner did make his first public speech since assuming his new position.
Kushner, who has been tasked with reforming government technology, said the administration wanted to "unleash the creativity of the private sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never happened before."
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos called on the administration to start making use of commercially available technologies, worker retraining, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The council also wanted to boost the security of the government's IT systems.
According to Reuters, Cook was anxious to raise the topic of immigration, with both the CEOs and the White House planning to discuss Trump's review of the US visa programme for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country.