Science, Tech & Environment

Tech companies are helping in Puerto Rico. Residents are unsure if it’s aid or really an investment.


The sun rises behind the entrance sign to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park before the company's IPO launch, May 18, 2012. Facebook Inc, will begin trading on the Nasdaq market on Friday, with it's initial public offering at $38 per share, valuing the world's largest social network at more than $100 billion. 

Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

US-based tech companies are stepping up efforts to restore connectivity in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has deployed balloons to bring cell service back to the island. And Facebook on Monday announced an initiative with the Red Cross to use artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to identify and help areas in need of aid. The social media company's video from the island, however, took flak from tech critics as being insensitive to Puerto Rico.

But how are the major tech companies' efforts being viewed on the island?

“It’s very polarizing,” says Puerto Rico resident Gabriel Rodriguez. “People are really for it or really against it. There are the people that say that of course it’s going to be a great improvement for us … but then there’s a lot of people that are very mad because they say we are selling the island to outside interests.”

To hear more about what tech companies are doing, and about and grass-roots efforts to bring aid to the island, listen to the interview above.