Innovation, Technology, & Infrastructure

In this podcast, host Karim Nurani welcomes Co-Founder of the Honest Impact Fund Natalia Olson to discuss what is happening in entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, and the resulting impact on infrastructures around the world.

In this podcast, we explore four major themes:

New Times in Washington

Over the last few months, we’ve entered a new era in Washington DC, as the new administration takes over and re-emphasizes the key role of innovation and entrepreneurship in the US economy. After the financial meltdown in 2008-2009, the Office of Science and Technology Policy involved technologists in the task of recovering from the recession. It’s important that we re-energize those links and find ways to address today’s challenges more effectively. 

Government and Entrepreneurs

How do we get government and entrepreneurs to better communicate with each other? Congress needs to understand that things have moved on in the last decade or more, and people now have more voice, through technologies like blockchain for example. The infrastructure bill is coming into play, and its role in promoting technical advances is going to be crucial, both within the US and around the globe.

Leapfrogging Infrastructure Deployments

US government research investments over the decades produced the internet, space communications, autonomous vehicles, and so on. In particular, the internet-enabled other places to get new systems and services in place, as we’d already made the big research investments. Leading-edge US work enabled many economies to leapfrog several technology advances in their infrastructure deployments, such as in Estonia and South Africa, for example.

Global Technology Advances

But some of that US research is pretty old now, and many recent technology advances have been taking place outside US government circles. The exploratory work on blockchain and cryptocurrency in Argentina comes to mind. China continues to out-invest us; at this point, they’re talking about testing experimental 7G comms systems. In another direction, the EU tends to overanalyze systems, being particularly conscious of privacy issues, for example.  In the case of GDPR, it was seen as being too hard policy-wise for the US to deploy it, so we decided to let the EU do the heavy lifting there.

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