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The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) organized the “American Leadership in Emerging Technology” event to bring together industry leaders who are developing, financing, and safeguarding some of the most promising new technologies today.
As Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios stated in his opening remarks:
“We must craft policies that can keep pace with the rate of technological innovation. By encouraging the advancement of emerging technologies, and by ensuring that our scientists and tech entrepreneurs can build their greatest innovations here at home, we can continue to drive American prosperity for decades to come.”
During three separate breakout sessions – dedicated to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), 5th generation wireless systems (5G) and the Internet of Things (IoT), and financial investment in emerging technologies – Federal and industry participants explored the policy implications of these technologies and their applications, including technological development, regulatory frameworks, and commercialization pathways. In addition to OSTP, other Federal departments and agencies represented included the Departments of Commerce and Transportation, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Economic Council, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Key takeaways from breakout discussions included:
Remove regulatory barriers to technological innovation. Attendees in each of the breakout streams highlighted the need to modify legacy Federal regulations and develop a flexible regulatory framework able to adapt to new technological changes. Participants across multiple sectors discussed the importance of operational testing to gathering the right data that can support further development and eventual deployment of emerging technologies. When regulatory restrictions prevent that testing, development gets stymied, innovators move to more favorable jurisdictions, and investors look elsewhere for opportunities to finance.
Increase American’s access to the benefits of emerging technology. Emerging technology has the potential to improve lives across the country. The same UAS can be used commercially for both urban surveying and rural agriculture applications, and increased broadband connectivity paired with 5G data speeds and widespread bandwidth will enable new opportunities for millions of Americans. Industry attendees emphasized the need to broaden geographical access to tech talent and venture capital, so that the startup economy does not leave regions of the country behind. And on the investment side, offered thoughts on policies that could increase the opportunity for more Americans to participate in investment opportunities within the emerging tech economy.
Prepare for an interconnected economy. Over the past two decades the American economy has transformed into a high-tech, interconnected economy, and it is anticipated that the advent of emerging technologies will only further increase that evolution. Industrial applications of UAS and 5G deployment will not only improve the safety and efficiency of American jobs, but will enable the creation of hundreds of thousands more.
Following the breakout sessions, attendees met with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other senior Administration officials to discuss the issues raised, and the importance of forward-looking policies that encourage emerging technologies to flourish in America.