BRIDGE-BUILDERS: Rabbi Steven Jacobs, husband of Betty Yee, Andrea Haughian of Invest NI, Betty Yee and entrepreneur Séamus McAteer at the AI Roundtable in Stanford University on 9 May

Tech Bridge between California and Ireland must be Underpinned with Equality: Betty Yee

The former Controller of California has told the Irish Roundtable in the Valley that any initiatives to link the tech sectors in Ireland and the U.S. must be founded on respect for rights and a belief in equal opportunity for all.

Addressing last week's AI summit in Silicon Valley, Betty Yee, who has declared as a candidate for the 2026 Gubernatorial race in California, said the shared values of the Irish and Californian people were based on "education, our shared robust labor movement histories (and) our shared immigrant experiences".

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"This golden bridge of innovation between our peoples represents our commonalities," she told over 100 tech leaders at the Stanford University event which was backed by the Irish Echo. 

"However, as we continue to strengthen our golden bridge of innovation, let us be mindful of our shared pasts marked by segregation and oppression and the more recent past of increasing numbers experiencing social isolation.  

"Just as the Irish diaspora was instrumental with the peace process, so it may be with our future of innovation that is informed by our shared pasts."

FALL VISIT: Betty Yee and Rabbi Steven Jacobs pictured in Belfast's James Connolly Center last October

FALL VISIT: Betty Yee and Rabbi Steven Jacobs pictured in Belfast's James Connolly Center last October

And Betty Yee said that on her visit to Belfast in October of last year, she had been buoyed by the optimism of the leaders she met. "When I met Gerry Adams, I was taken with how positive he was," she said. "If he can be positive after all he has come through then I think we all can be optimistic about the future. On my visit, I could see and feel the excitement of the educators and innovators and government leaders whose brilliance included how to work and develop for social good. I believe the opportunities from harnessing AI can uplift all workers for the greater good."

The Irish Roundtable in the Valley was sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland and included speakers from University of Galway, Google, and Stanford University.