How the Silicon Valley Congressman Sees the Future – POLITICO

With help from Derek Robertson

Today we’re featuring The Future in Five Questions, a regular Friday feature where we’ll ask a tech thinker, doer or decision maker to share their perspective on the way forward.

This week we are launching with Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat whose district includes much of Silicon Valley. He is also the author of “Dignity in the digital age”, published in February.

What is an underrated great idea?

High-speed railways. However, it is only underrated in the United States. China has the largest high-speed railway in the world and its trains go more than 4 times faster than in the United States. We need to invest heavily in high-speed rail if we really want to be competitive in the 21st century.

What is one technology that you think is overrated?

Well, personally, I always prefer paper books to e-books. We spend so much time on our phones and computers these days, it’s nice to take a break. It’s just a better experience. And it’s easier to go back and re-read sections whenever you want.

Which book shaped your conception of the future the most?

Cyberspace Code and Other Lawsby Lawrence Lessig. It’s a deep dive into how the internet works and is regulated. It’s a brilliant, original book that tackles big questions about how to regulate the internet, the choices we’ll have to make, and what we want its future to look like.

What could the government be doing about technology that it is not doing?

In 2018, President Pelosi asked me to put in place a framework for a better regulated Internet. This became my Internet Bill of Rights, a set of ten consumer data privacy regulatory principles that I believe every American is entitled to. The principles are basic – things like making sure people have the right to know when their data is being collected and to be notified in the event of a security breach. It is even endorsed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the Web Foundation. But since I came to Congress, we haven’t passed a single meaningful data privacy law. I hope the new sense of urgency in light of the Court’s decision on Roe will generate action.

What surprised you the most this year?

I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about the implications of a fully functioning quantum computer. There are already many companies working to build one. Once one of these companies succeeds, I think it will be truly transformative. Quantum computing has a number of advantages, such as speeding up the process of developing new drugs and vaccines. But if we’re not prepared, a quantum computer could also pose a serious threat to consumer data protection and our national security. Congress is not known for being proactive, but I have a bipartisan bill that has just been passed in the House to prepare the federal government now and ensure our systems and valuable data are quantum proof.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Ambitious bipartisan legislation risks being seriously curtailed.

The Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in June 2021, which would have driven tens of billions into various “key technology areas,” including AI (see DFD’s rush report or lobbying), quantum computing, “immersive technology” (read: virtual reality) and robotics. But he has stalled in the House and now seems dead, at least for now.

Dan Correa, CEO of the Federation of American Scientists, described what could be lost if the bill died. According to the FAS, this type of funding is not only a budget boost, but can truly build new structures in places like the National Science Foundation. “new models of staffing, new models of funding, ways in which we can try to put into practice what is very promising in the laboratory” – this could increase the competitiveness of the United States and even seed new types regional growth.

Given the bill’s bipartisan support, it’s not impossible to imagine it being revived one day, but also these kinds of opportunities for big Congressional spending don’t come along every day. — Derek Robertson

Small reminder of frequent overlaps between the technologies we cover here at DFD: OpenAI, the search store that brought the world the GPT-3 language processor and DALL-E Image Generatorhas programmed an AI to play the “Minecraft” metaverse type game.

Video games featured some of the first widespread uses of what we now call “artificial intelligence,” by the simple act of programming virtual characters to have their own realistic “behavior.” But what OpenAI has done is something considerably more sophisticated than that: their AI has been trained over tens of thousands of hours of gameplay to mimic the decision-making process of a human gamer, for example by creating rare tools in order to collect game data more efficiently. Resources.

The idea of ​​a world populated by such programmed “actors” raises a host of questions: What does an autonomous virtual economy like “Minecraft’s” look like when AI “choices” are introduced into it? Should it be a terms of service violation to troll or hack an AI? How will AI behaviors change the way humans themselves interact with a virtual world or view its prompts? As the scale of these worlds continues to grow, these questions will no longer be esoteric for developers or game executives. — Derek Robertson

  • Crypto Bankruptcy Boom Earned White Shoe Giant Legal Assistance Kirkland and Ellis.
  • AI tools like DALL-E are fun, but still dependent on the human imagination.
  • An anonymous whistleblower accused GM to plan to launch its autonomous vehicles prematurely.
  • Startups compete to create a Web3 mail app.
  • Forget autonomous vehicles. What will it take to get us around vacuum sealed tubes?

Keep in touch with the whole team: Ben Schreckinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Constantin Kakaes ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on twitter @DigitalFuture.

Ben Schreckinger covers technology, finance and politics for POLITICO; he is a cryptocurrency investor.

If you have received this newsletter, you can register here. And read our mission statement here.

Comments are closed.