Innovation converges with controversy in Silicon Valley

Global Business

At TechCrunch Disrupt, it’s all about market disruption.

CGTN’s Mark Niu has the story.

“We use deep learning to understand all the body parts. I would say within two years, we are going to understand, ‘Is the person depressed? Happy? Has their mood changed over time,’” Paul Kruszewski, wrnch CEO said.

Tech tools and toys expanding, like a VR games which actually takes users inside a song.

“A whole new environment you can customize. And you can bring out sounds that you can visualize and change the actual note or pitch,” Dilun Ho, LyraVR Co-Founder & CEO said.

And the Couch coach app allows fans to give coaches their advice.

“The idea is for basketball fans to help their team win by proposing to head coach which players should go on the court and which ones should go out,” Nenad Nikolin, Couch Coach CEO.

That’s probably amusing to professional basketball players like NBA Champion Kevin Durant. But Durant has caught the tech bug himself, having made thirty investments in startups.

“It’s just the world will live in now. Tech is a huge deal. Guys come in and out of this area to play. They see how much startups have affected the world in general. They want to be a part of change,” Durant said.

But even as the tech sector blossoms, it’s also suffering growing pains. This past year, the industry has been hit by numerous cases of sexual harassment and sex discrimination that have led to high-profile resignations.

Earlier this year, Sarah Kunst brought to light a message she received from a well-known Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Dave McClure that he didn’t know whether to hire her or hit on her.

“If you are not firing anyone for sexism, racism and bias, you are not doing your job as a manager,” Kunst, Proday CEO said.

An even bigger resignation this year was Uber’s Travis Kalanick, who was under fire for presiding over a sexist company culture.Tasked with cleaning that up that image is Uber’s new Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John, who says diversity efforts have a long way to go.

“Not satisfied but working towards it. I think it’s really important to work towards this and make sure that other people also come along the journey. I hope it doesn’t feel like Uber’s gonna do it and then everyone else can relax. Everybody’s gotta work toward this,” Saint John said.

And that includes having technology work on the problem.

Startup Pymetrics has created neuroscience games for job seekers, to not only weed out hiring discrimination, but to better match applicants to jobs based on their personality traits.


Pymetrics Frida Polli discusses technology staffing

Pymetrics is being used at more than fifty companies around the world, including some in Asia, to help employers and employees find the right job match. CGTN’s Mark Niu sat down with the company’s CEO, Frida Polli, a MIT-trained neuroscientist who decided she wanted to leave academia.