Technical.ly Pittsburgh New US-EU Business Council will discuss data privacy and climate technology. His first meeting place? Hazel green

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International eyes are on Pittsburgh this week as a top council holds its first meeting in the city.

Wednesday the new United States and European Union Trade and Technology Council will meet in Pittsburgh to discuss future trade, investment and regulations between the two entities in an increasingly tech-centric economy.

In particular, the council will take place at Hazel green, a former steel mill site that is now a growing hotbed of modern manufacturing and tech entrepreneurship. Diplomatic leaders attending the event include the Secretary of State Antoine Blinken, secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo and United States Trade Representative. Katherine tai, in addition to European Commission Executive Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis dombrovskis.

Industry and community leaders see importance in choosing Pittsburgh for the first meeting of this new committee.

“Pittsburgh has become a global poster of how you can transform regions, not by deindustrializing them and abandoning historic industries, but by fostering an innovation community,” wrote Audrey Russo, Chairman and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, in an e-mail to Technically. “Pittsburgh is still home to many of the world’s leading manufacturers and companies related to advanced materials, but today we are also at the center of several new industries including AI, cybersecurity, robotics and autonomous vehicles. We are incredibly proud that the Biden administration has chosen [our] story to present to the world.

View of the Hazelwood Green development in July 2019 (Photo courtesy Carnegie Mellon University)

On the table of the council’s 10 working groups will be discussions on climate change and environmental technologies, data security and privacy, and updated technology standards, among other topics. Russo herself will be participating in a workforce development panel.

“During my meeting with world leaders, I plan to discuss the powerful role apprenticeship programs can (and historically in many industries) play in helping us address critical labor shortages, including shortages of tech workers, ”she said, referring to the local conference recently launched by the Tech Council Apprentice program. “Most importantly, apprenticeship programs create alternative and dynamic pathways to well-paying, family-friendly jobs for populations who have often felt disconnected from the tech sector.”

But one of the main thrusts of the meeting, as mentioned by one note released last week, will be spinning in big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon – all of which have local offices.

The EU has recently been stricter in regulating these companies than the US, with Google in particular facing a antitrust investigation on his ad unit there. The memo also said hate speech, algorithmic processes and access to data for research would be part of the discussion. This concentration comes after internal company documents revealed that Facebook was aware of the hate speech and mental health issues triggered and amplified by its social media platforms.

These concerns are important to the local software development community, wrote Colin Dean, software engineer and general manager of Code and provisioning, in a message via Technical.ly’s Soft.

“Americans need to have a tough conversation about who owns the data about them as individuals.”

Colin Dean, Code & Procurement

“Americans must have a tough conversation about who holds data about them as individuals,” he wrote, adding that the Pittsburgh tech communities he is involved with frequently discuss security and privacy.

Part of it has to do with the accessibility of data for research and other important information, Dean said the meeting could lead to more pressure for the United States to model the use of open data. by European governments for research and other initiatives.

“While convincing the government to use open source software is a huge challenge, Pittsburgh has had great success in opening up its data through the Western PA Regional Data CenterSaid the engineer, emphasizing again that the city is an ideal choice for the inaugural meeting of the council.

Stefani Pashman, the CEO of the Allegheny Conference who will speak at the start of the meeting tomorrow, said these general concerns about the ethical use of big tech will likely spark discussions on other parts of the industry.

“My understanding of what they will be focusing on is, number one, artificial intelligence and how that can drive future economies and especially around privacy and digital relationships,” she said. Mention Carnegie Mellon University deep history of AI development, continued Pashman, “it’s our expertise to do what we know and to be able to kind of benefit from that kind of thinking and having these conversations with Pittsburgh is pretty important.”

The city’s burgeoning environmental tech sector will also be relevant to the discussions, said Pashman: “Being able to inform this conversation and be a part of how we drive the future of energy and energy. energy economics is certainly a commentary on Pittsburgh’s potential. “

Beyond those discussions, Pashman said she hopes this board meeting will attract more collaboration between Pittsburgh and Europe in the private sector. While many transcontinental partnerships are already in place, she hopes foreign diplomats at the meeting will notice that Pittsburgh is open for business and ready for even more business alliances.


Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of the Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.

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