What Obama and Congress Should Do for Technology & Innovation
Amid much wrangling over how to allocate funds out of an increasingly out-of-control federal budget, the editors and writers at eight of the TechMediaNetwork’s sites sought the advice of dozens of researchers, technologists, futurists, analysts and business owners in fields ranging from space and Earth science to health and technological innovation.
We asked one simple question:
If you could ask President Obama and Congress to do one thing related to your field that would be for the good of the economy and the country, what would it be and why?
The insightful answers are presented in six linked articles on SPACE.com, LiveScience, MyHealthNewsDaily, SecurityNewsDaily, and BusinessNewsDaily, with reporting also provided by the staffs of OurAmazingPlanet and InnovationNewsDaily.
The respondents, ranging from actor Wayne Rogers to tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Esther Dyson, called for investment in science and technology and responsible regulation, but also asked government give researchers and businesses the freedom they need to do their work.
At TechNewsDaily, we asked respondents to focus their answers on technology and innovation. Here are their replies:
– Kathleen Allen, Professor and Director of the Marshall Center for Technology Commercialization at the University of Southern California (Credit: University of Southern California)
"I would strongly encourage them to dramatically increase funding for both basic and applied science in the area of energy – both traditional and alternative options. So much of today’s global problems and conflicts are rooted in this issue that will only continue to get worst if we do not initiate a major initiative now."
– Mark E. Zappi, Dean of Engineering at University of Louisiana
"I suggest putting a price on carbon and use that money for economic incentives. With that in place, the marketplace will develop technologies for clean and efficient energy, cost-effective power delivery, and integrated systems, such as virtual power plants that integrate several clean energy power plants – from solar and wind to bio-diesel and kinetic hydropower -- into one or two base load plants for a sustainable community."
– Trey Taylor, President, Verdant Power, Inc.
"Please, President Obama, I do not want my children listening to stories about how great the U.S. educational system was. I want my children (and all U.S. children) to receive the best education our country can afford so that they can continue the long-standing tradition of making the US the epicenter of technological innovation."
– Andrew Hsu, Technology Strategist for Synaptics Inc.
"I, along with my colleagues at Microsoft, believe that it’s crucial for the President, Congress and FCC to explore more intensive and efficient use of the nation’s radio spectrum, and also the use of innovative technologies, such as dynamic and adaptive spectrum access that can make more efficient and better use of this finite and shared resource. Spectrum is, in many ways, like a natural resource that has to be managed judiciously, especially if we are to continue to advance the digital economy and leverage technology to drive innovation—to create new services, new business models, new ways of communicating and living for the betterment of society."
– Dan Reed, corporate vice president, Technology Strategy and Policy, and Extreme Computing Group, Microsoft Corp.
"More funding is needed to provide access to current technology to those in the in the educational pipeline, in addition to those individuals seeking to reinvent themselves. The nation should make more optimal use of the intellectual capital provided by its universities, and there should be funding that fosters industrial – academic partnerships in translational research and commercial development. Funding should be equitably distributed across geographic areas and not targeted toward specific regions."
– William Fitzgibbon, Dean of the College of Technology at the University of Houston (Credit: University of Houston)
"Invest in autopilot lanes, not high-speed rail. Autonomous vehicle technology can transform US transportation, reduce commute time and burden of millions of commuters across the country, and offer substantial energy savings compared to rail. In addition, it would create numerous high-tech jobs and position the US as a leader in autonomous robotics. While rail technology is well established, it is localized and not easily scalable – requiring the investment of billions in a single artery. Autonomous vehicle technology is available, scalable and proven, but requires policy backing to become a reality."
– Hod Lipson, Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Computing & Information Science at Cornell University (Credit: Cornell University)
– Ken Perlin, Director, NYU Games for Learning Institute, Academy Award winner (Credit: New York University)
"Fundamentally alter the way we go about educating our youth. College is too expensive, high school is dysfunctional, and kids can learn more from Wikipedia per hour than they can in slow lectures. Time to change the paradigm."
– Kosta Grammatis, founder of AhumanRight.org
"I would ask th
– Paul Holland, Executive Producer of SOMETHING VENTURED and General Partner of Foundation Capital (Credit: Foundation Capital)
"In order to preserve America's lead in aerospace technology, Congress needs to unleash the power of private-sector entrepreneurs in space. Entrepreneurship already works everywhere from biotech to the Internet, and our space program could benefit from a dose of Silicon Valley style innovation. So Congress should fully fund NASA's proposal to invest in commercial astronaut-carrying spacecraft, an effort known as the Commercial Crew Program. Having NASA join forces with private-sector companies will accelerate getting U.S. astronauts back into space after the Space Shuttle retires, save taxpayer money, and unleash a host of new activities in space creating jobs and spurring innovation."
– Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Space Flight Federation (Credit: Commercial Spaceflight Innovation)
"All spending is not equal. Federal investments in basic research, STEM education and infrastructure such as broadband offer far higher returns on investment than most other government spending. As budget cutters properly work to reduce our deficit, they should limit low ROI spending and maintain high ROI spending, rather than making indiscriminate across-the-board cuts. Likewise, all taxes are not equal. Taxes on business activity, especially taxes on pro-growth activities such as wireless service, diminish economic growth and reduce domestic job creation."
– Bruce Mehlman, Co-Chairman of Internet Innovation Alliance
See more responses to the same question in other fields:
• What Obama and Congress Should Do for Science
• What Obama and Congress Should Do for Cybersecurity
• What Obama and Congress Should Do for Spaceflight & Space Exploration
• What Obama and Congress Should Do for Health & Medicine
• What Obama and Congress Should Do for Small Business