Government Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross on Techonomy Policy 2015

Simone Ross onstage at Techonomy Policy 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

“What is it we want to borrow from the tech world? The tech itself? Or a fundamentally different way of approaching problems?” Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, asked in a presentation last week in San Francisco. Her question mirrored one that came up at a number of sessions at our recent Techonomy Policy in Washington, D.C. Techonomy Policy was created to probe ideas at the confluence of tech and policy. We were well aware that there are many events and demands for people’s time in the Beltway, but we wanted to bring something a little different and a little more broad in its approach. The feedback we've gotten from participants suggests we succeeded. People told us it felt like a different kind of conversation for Washington.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Slowly, Tech Innovation Makes Inroads in Government

An attendee asks a question at the "How Tech Is Making Government Work Better" session at Techonomy Policy 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Is tech making government work better? That was the question tackled by an expert panel at the Techonomy Policy conference in Washington in early June. The summary answer: a little bit, but not nearly as much as it could. There's no question technology can make government more effective, deliver more efficient government services to citizens, and help officials make better policy decisions. But there are two primary impediments to fulfilling that potential--bureaucracy (no surprise), and a general fear of the new. The U.S. government spends in excess of $80 billion annually on technology, and states spend $50 billion more. Yet numerous audits and studies have shown that 20 to 25 percent of this money is being wasted, said panelist Aamer Baig, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co. And citizens appear to realize it.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Onstage at TE Policy, a Bipartisan Call for Policies that Don’t Screw Up Innovation

At left, Sean Parker, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Deb Fischer, and David Kirkpatrick. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)

Tech policy development may help strange bedfellows get better acquainted. At Techonomy Policy 2015 in Washington last week, tech billionaire Sean Parker joined Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer, a Republican cattle rancher, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a vegan Democrat, for a conversation with Techonomy CEO David Kirkpatrick about “Technology, Innovation, and American Progress.” Parker, whose teen hacking escapades were sufficiently sophisticated that they were investigated by the FBI, joked that he was appearing as “Senator from the Internet.” The to-some-infamous cofounder of Napster, past president of Facebook, and investor in Spotify is fast becoming known as a bipartisan political contributor and policy wonk. His new venture, Brigade, aims to put the voter back at “the center of our democracy.” He also recently launched a Washington think tank devoted to bipartisan strategies for economic growth, called the Economic Innovation Group (EIG).   More

Business Government Techonomy Events

Watch the Video from Techonomy Policy 2015

The Techonomy Policy conference in June 2015 focused on the relationship between tech innovation and government. The tech industry and Washington need to better understand and work together, for our national good. (Videos play in reverse order, beginning with the Sean Parker and senators closing session. Click the arrow to scroll through earlier sessions.)   More

Government Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross: Techonomy Policy Next Tuesday

Our first Techonomy Policy conference takes place in Washington, DC, next week. This is our third focused new conference we've launched since the first wide-ranging Techonomy event in 2010. In 2012, we added Techonomy Detroit, and in 2013, we began our Techonomy Bio series. So why Techonomy Policy? There are many reasons. One is that in order for tech leaders and innovators to create the impact and benefit they envision, they must understand the complex ecosystem of government well enough to become valued partners and to create responsive relationships. The role of government, governance, and policy cannot simply be ignored. In addition, in a time when tech is changing everything around us at a rapidly accelerating pace, leaders of the institutions that serve us need close relationships with the techies who are changing the world.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government

For Genome Editing, Self-Regulation Beats a Government Ban

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A breakthrough method that makes editing the genes of living beings relatively easy, called CRISPR, is much in the news these days. So are the many implications—both terrifying and promising—associated with it. The seemingly endless possibilities of genome editing have even the scientific community on edge, and it’s stirring up heated debate about where the ethical limits are. At the moment, most of the calls for restraint in the use of CRISPR are coming directly from scientists, but it won’t be long before government officials or candidates hoping to be elected start airing their opinions about how this field should be regulated. It’s worth taking a moment to consider how different modes of oversight could affect the opportunities afforded us by genome editing.   More

Analytics & Data Government

Washington Is Changing. Companies Have to Change with It

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Digital technology transformed business models for the media, manufacturing, and sports industries. Now shifts in how Washington works require that companies adopt new, technology-driven government affairs strategies. Here are some of the signs of the transformation underway in Washington: a decrease in Congressional action; increased complexity in regulations; the growing relevance of social media; and the proliferation of information services and access to new information. For businesses of all sizes in all industries, there has never been a more critical moment to recognize these changes and act on them.   More

Analytics & Data Government

Let’s Use Data and Tech to Create a Government that Works

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Breakthroughs in medicine, data science, online education, renewable energy, and satellite navigation have changed the world. From smartphones to PET scans, from pest-resistant seeds to asteroid landings, the list of extraordinary, ingenious, life-changing achievements is almost endless. But from a public policy perspective, the pace of improvement is harrowing. Governments around the world need to find mechanisms that simultaneously enable greater opportunity for their social entrepreneurs as well as better protection for citizens. The new structures will need to use data more wisely, make decisions more quickly, and regulate more fairly. They will also need to provide data to collaboratively achieve performance-measured outcomes, and better engage communities and civil society’s participation in the process.   More

Government

FCC Chairman Looks to Close Digital Divide by Expanding Lifeline Program

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated a proposal within the Commission to dramatically expand the $1.7 billion Lifeline subsidy program designed to ensure all Americans have access to advanced telecommunications services. Lifeline was created in 1985 by the Reagan administration to subsidize landline phone service; in 2008 it was expanded to include cellphones. To qualify for the subsidy a household must, “have an income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty line, or must participate in a program like Medicaid or food stamps,” according to a recent article in The New York Times.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross: the American Ideal and Global Governance

As we put the final touches on the program for our first Techonomy Policy conference I’ve been thinking a lot about government, global order, democracy, responsibility, and communities. And of course politics. It’s hard to avoid politics when you live in the U.S. and there’s 18 months to go before the Presidential Election. Apparently it’s never too early to start obsessing over it. In our archives I came across this short talk (beginning at 11:48) from David Liu, co-founder of the XO Group.   More

Global Tech Government

A Critical Moment for the Future of the Internet

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The Internet, the greatest invention of our generation—several generations in fact—is in many ways a reflection of the American Dream. It’s vast and open, unlimited in its potential reach. It’s inclusive and welcoming. Anyone can be part of it and make a difference. The fastest growing part of the global economy is Internet-based, and the Internet accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP. According to Boston Consulting Group, the Internet is contributing up to 8 percent of GDP in some economies, powering growth and creating jobs. You’d be correct in arguing it’s an American-made innovation. We can trace the roots of the Internet back some 50 years to a U.S. Defense Department research program. But as the Internet has expanded globally, it’s become increasingly clear that one government cannot lay claim to it. The Internet is a worldwide resource. It belongs to everyone.   More

Global Tech Government

Towards a Truly Global Single Digital Market

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Europe is in the midst of a messy negotiation on how to build a single digital market—putting all 28 members of the EU under one set of rules. The potential benefits are clear: consumers will gain access to new services, regulations can be made more consistent and growth enhanced by market norms. According to one study, such efficiencies could give the region an estimated $400 billion economic boost in the first year alone. But the ambitions of Brussels policymakers are too small. A single European digital market should be just the first step in the creation of an open global digital market that will allow companies and individuals everywhere to continue to exploit the Internet’s potential.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Techonomy Policy June 9 in DC: the Age of Data Exhaust

Recently Techonomy hosted a dinner in New York, and our guests wanted relentlessly to talk about data. Where will society produce it? How much can we manage? Who will control it? What will they do to us with it? How can individuals retain influence over it? These are elemental questions for our era. They are questions that not only citizens, but government itself needs to be methodically asking. The dinner had nothing to do with our impending Techonomy Policy conference next Tuesday, June 9, in Washington. But it’s no coincidence that the opening session is entitled “Keeping America Innovative In the Age of Data Exhaust.”   More

Business Government Techonomy Events

Techonomy Policy 2015 Live Webcast

Techonomy Policy aims to bring a higher level of dialogue to the confluence of technology innovation and government. The need for the tech industry and Washington to better understand, engage and productively work together is crucial to the future of economic progress and social cohesion in our tech-enhanced, digitally-enabled times. As tech’s advances spread into virtually every sector of business and society, how do government and policy keep up and respond? And as tech companies aggressively move into diverse industries and more and more areas become tech-infused, how does business better work with policymakers?   More

Government Manufacturing

Driverless Cars Debut Soon—But Will We Be Ready for Them?

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Is operating a driverless car legal? With Tesla, Audi, and Cadillac all set to roll out vehicles featuring autonomous functions over the next year—in a legal climate where the federal government and a majority of states lack any regulation at all—the question is difficult to address, but urgently demands an answer. Many automakers say that if a state doesn’t expressly bar hands-free driving, it’s permitted. And legal experts agree. But they also point out that how police officers elect to actually handle driverless cars is another matter.   More

Government Techonomy Events

TE Videos Set Stage for Policy Conference in DC June 9

In June we’re launching a new conference, Techonomy Policy. It will focus on the pressure and friction points created when the speed of tech butts up against the ability of government, governance, regulators, and institutions in general to keep up. We’re trying to regulate things that are completely new, be it the technology itself or the applications it enables. And by the time we start thinking about implications, it’s already too late. Can policy become less reactive and more proactive? And how do you navigate such ethically and politically complex issues with huge economic, social, and moral implications?   More

Government

The Peculiar Charms (and Perils) of Electronic Voting

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It’s remarkable that in a world where it seems everything is becoming more digitized most of the globe still elects their political leaders with pencil and paper. Only a peculiarly-diverse handful of countries—including Belgium, Brazil, India, and Venezuela—use electronic voting machines nationwide. (The U.S. and other countries use them in some areas.) What these countries have discovered is that when you have a robust system the cost of elections falls, people’s votes count more, fraud is cut, and the results are known faster. And, rather extraordinarily, replacing paper with machines can change societies in ways that save lives.   More

Government

Can Open-Source Voting Tech Fix the U.S. Elections System?

(Image via OSET Foundation)

American voting technology is trapped in the last millennium. This lifeline to democracy is kept secret—closed off from public inspection and controlled by large businesses. It is decades old to boot. Our voting methods ought to be at least as cutting edge as our selfie apps, but they’re not. Open-source technology could offer a solution that upends the entire elections technology market, dislodging incumbent voting machine companies and putting the electorate at the helm.   More

Davos 2015 Government

Davos 2015: Boston Chief of Staff Daniel Koh on Driven Decision-Making

Daniel Koh, chief of staff for the city of Boston, joins Hub Culture at the World Economic Forum Davos 2015. Koh shares his thoughts on driven decision making and its impact on the city of Boston.   More

Global Tech Government Techonomy Events

How to Meet the World’s Grand Challenges

The best opportunities will come from creating the greatest impact on the biggest realms of human activity, like healthcare, food, water, energy, and education. How can businesses rise to the occasion and focus on the things that really matter? How can they best partner with governments and NGOs to implement the solutions? At the Techonomy 2014 conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Larry Brilliant of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Pfizer's Geno Germano, Leila Janah of the Sama Group, and Ericsson's Rima Qureshi discuss applying tech tools to global challenges in a session moderated by The Economist's Matthew Bishop.   More