Big Tech is pushing a ‘national cloud.’ Critics say Big Tech would profit from it.


Big tech has big designs on a big cloud.

A steady drumbeat from some of the most influential executives in the technology industry has emerged in recent months to push the idea that the U.S. government should invest in a “national research cloud” — a hub for U.S. research into artificial intelligence where researchers from academia and smaller tech companies could share data sets and other resources.

It’s an idea that has been backed by a government commission led by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and including executives from Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle, which recommended that the Biden administration create a hub for U.S. research into artificial intelligence. The White House has warmed up to the idea, ordering another report on it due next year with an eye toward competing with China on the development of artificial intelligence.

“We should be able to stay ahead of China. We estimated that we are one to two years ahead of China, broadly speaking, in…

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