MediaFile

Autonomy CEO’s terrifying prediction: the rise of the surveillance society

As a general rule, senior executives at technology companies tend to try to make the public feel excited about the future and about technology’s role to improve it.

Mike Lynch, the CEO of Autonomy, must not have gotten that memo; or he decided to ignore it.

During a talk at the Techonomy conference on Monday, Lynch described a dark world in which today’s celebrated technologies, such as social networking and smartphones, become the nefarious tools of a surveillance society.

This vision, Lynch explained, is not some dystopian, parallel universe, but rather the inevitable end-product of era in which technology becomes ever-cheaper, smarter and ubiquitous.

“There are going to be sensors everywhere. We’re all carrying the most incredibly sophisticated devices that can see and hear and learn where they are,” he said. While governments have long had the resources to build an Orwellian state, Lynch said the real danger lies in what “any arbitrary group of people” will soon be able to do with the technology.

Tech wrap: Autonomy a done deal

Hewlett-Packard completed its $12 billion buy of British software firm Autonomy on Monday, the centerpiece of a botched strategy shift that cost ex-chief executive Leo Apotheker his job last month.

HP said its 25.50 pounds-per-share cash offer — representing a 79 percent premium that many HP shareholders found excessive — had been accepted by investors representing 87.34 percent of the company’s shares, well ahead of the 75 percent threshold needed.

The rushed announcements and concerns about the lofty price offered for Autonomy sent HP’s stock, and Apotheker’s credibility, plunging. But according to analysts, it would have been nearly impossible under British takeover rules for HP to extract itself from the Autonomy deal.

Tech wrap: Oracle and HP keep sparring

Oracle and Autonomy escalated their war of words on Thursday, sparring publicly over whether the British software firm had ever been shopped to the U.S. technology giant.

Autonomy, which Hewlett-Packard this year agreed to buy for $12 billion, is at the center of a debate on Wall Street over the tenure of fired HP CEO Leo Apotheker and the future direction of the company he once ran. The spat comes at an inopportune time for HP, fighting to salvage its reputation with investors.

Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and HP board member, Marc Andreessen, referred to Oracle as an “oldline” software company and took a jab at outspoken CEO Larry Ellison: “Larry is one of my idols,” Andreessen said. “I wouldn’t quite say my role model.”