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Science, Technology & Innovation

The Role of Big Tech in a COVID-19 World

Virtual Forum

Friday, September 25, 2020
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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A hotbed of technological innovation, the very term “Silicon Valley” was born out of a need to describe the quickly growing tech industry out in California. Ask most people why the San Jose Metropolitan Area, which includes Silicon Valley, is only third behind Zurich, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway, for the largest GDP per capita in the world, and they would respond that it’s simply brimming with talent. According to author Margaret O’Mara, however, the answer is quite complicated.

O’Mara’s book, The Code, is the result of five years’ worth of research into the history of Silicon Valley. A professor of history at the University of Washington, she investigates how the history of tech and America’s political history are deliberately intertwined, a linkage which has become even more relevant as COVID-19 has shifted much of the world into online spaces. The dominance of big tech has become social, political, and personal, and these business giants are massive stakeholders in the formation of a post-COVID world. Twitter recently announced that remote work will become a permanent option for employees – and working from home will last well into 2021 for many Americans. If corporations like Twitter, Apple, or Facebook go online permanently, how much of the world will follow?

Join us for a virtual City Club forum as O’Mara shares the forces behind the rise of Silicon Valley, whether or not its growth and influence is sustainable at home and around the world, and how the decisions of big tech may be indicators of what our lives will look like after COVID-19.

The livestream will be available beginning at 12:30 p.m. Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.

Want to read the book? Buy local at Mac's Backs! City Club members are eligible for a 20 percent discount on the purchase of this book. Email us at for details.

Production and distribution of City Club forums in partnership with ideastream is generously provided by PNC, Chautauqua Institution, and the United Black Fund.

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