The rapid pace with which technology is currently developing is the single greatest force affecting American families.
Automated systems and robots are replacing millions of jobs. Smart phones and tablets are stealing children’s attention while causing mental health issues we’re only beginning to understand. The threats posed by AI were a decade ago the thing of science fiction - now, they’re a top concern of our intelligence agencies. And cyberwar is at least as much of a concern these days as is traditional warfare.
At the same time, our government falls seemingly farther behind in understanding this every day. We have senior members of Congress asking how Facebook makes money, and they hardly understand what cryptocurrency is. How do we expect them to legislate these issues when they have aides print their emails out so they can read them in hard copy?
We need to bring technological expertise back to the government. Congress needs to bring back the Office of Technology Assessment, and the executive branch needs a Department that’s focused on ensuring those regulating technology understand it. This will require attracting top talent from the private sector, but it’s a necessity with the current threats we’re facing from technological development.
America is a country of innovators. We should be celebrating these technological innovations. Let’s be sure that the government is equipped to regulate them in a way that allows these developments to be exciting instead of threatening.
Problems to be Solved:
- The government is woefully behind on understanding current technology.
- The pace of innovation outstrips the government’s ability to understand and regulate it.
- The Silicon Valley companies that are developing these technologies are asking for this guidance, but they’re not receiving it and know that legislators aren’t competent enough to provide it.
“Artificial Intelligence and other new technologies have the potential to change our economy and society in unpredictable ways. Even techies don’t know what’s going to happen. We need to have government hand-in-hand with technologists to make sure that we fully understand the impact of AI and other innovations before they’re widely adopted in different settings—which means recruiting some of the smartest technologists to work in government and having government actively consulting with innovators.”
- Promote the creation of a Department of Technology, designed to take on regulatory powers over the technology sector and ensuring that other Departments have the technological know-how to operate.
- Push Congress to reopen the Office of Technology Assessment so that legislators can better understand new technologies and the impact of regulation on them.
- Increase salaries for individuals working in these departments to compete with the lucrative offers from the private sector - this is an area where we need top talent!
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