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'Silicon Valley' Season 6 premiere sees ignorant Richard accidentally lie to Congress about data privacy while Jared feels unimportant

Ultimately, the episode is emblematic of the failure of the tech industry to live up to its promises, especially on data protection and privacy
UPDATED OCT 28, 2019

Spoilers ahead for ‘Silicon Valley’ Season 6 Episode 1

The first episode of ‘Silicon Valley’ Season 6 is a cornucopia of contradictions and unintended consequences. ‘Artificial Lack of Intelligence’ began with Congressional hearings, based on Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 Senate hearings; the first in front of a joint session of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the second before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Talking about data privacy, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) promised the Committee his PiperNet would be unlike the internet kingdoms and fiefdoms -- Facebook, Google, and Amazon. His one, like the foundation of America, would be democratic and PiperNet would not record and collect data from its users.

In the words of one of his employees, “Way to kick Big Tech right in the d*ck!” Richard received applause from all present and the hundreds of people working at Pied Piper. His bubble of joy, pride and moral high ground was short-lived though.

Back at work, he was informed by his colleague Colin (Neal Casey) that he had lied to the Senate without knowing he was lying -- they were collecting user data. “Don’t beat yourself up about it,” Colin told a flabbergasted Richard, adding, “But going forward, maybe stop saying, ‘Pied Piper won’t mine user data’... Or do say it -- I don’t care. Maybe it’ll be like Google saying, ‘Don’t be evil,’ or Facebook saying, ‘I’m sorry. We’ll do better.’”

When Richard discussed this with the other core members of Pied Piper, he was pointed towards the bigger truth, they could fire Colin. On the other side of the same office (and approved by Richard), things were not going as planned for Jared Dunn (Zach Woods) either.

As the day passed by, he kept sensing Richard and he were no longer as close as they once were. He missed his “buddy”. Even on the other end of the Valley, things kept unraveling. Hooli, being bought out by Amazon did not sit well with Gavin Belson (Matt Ross).

In a bid to save the name ‘Hooli’, he downsized, sacrificed whole divisions, laid off scores of employees and would now, thanks to his ego, be forced to work out of an office leased from a chicken company. How the tables turn for Gavin. And without a doubt, the “i” falling from Hooli’s giant logo would have made everyone cheer.

Back at work, while Bertram Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh Chugtai (Kumail Nanjiani) kept messing with AI, Richard and Jared planned a way to fire Colin. With his audio compression tool and Colin’s constant surveillance, they map a graph of all the embarrassing and illegal things he had done.

As it happened, however, luck wasn't on the side of Jared and Richard that day. While it looked like he was rendered flabbergasted for a moment, soon enough, Colin pitched the graph to his investors as a better way to index data. And the investors loved it.

The episode ends with Jared returning to their old incubator and realizing he could help one of the coders there. He resolved to help one of the better coders there with her strategy. She reminds him of the old days when Richard too used to be a helpless little puppy. Will this be how Jared and Richard's friendship ends?

New episodes of ‘Silicon Valley’ premiere Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.