How a Silicon Valley congressman sees the future – POLITICO

With the help of Derek Robertson

Today, we’re introducing The Future in Five Questions, a regular Friday column where we’ll ask a thinker, doer, or policy maker in the world of technology to share their vision for the way forward.

This week we start it with a representative. Ro Khanna, a Democrat whose district includes most of Silicon Valley. He is also the author of “Dignity in the digital agepublished in February.

What’s one underrated big idea?

High speed railroads. However, it is only underestimated in the United States. China has the largest high-speed railroad in the world and trains run 4 times faster than in the US. We need to make huge investments in high-speed rail if we are serious about competing in the 21st century.

What technology do you think is overhyped?

Well, I personally still prefer paper books to e-books. We spend so much time on our phones and computers these days that it’s nice to take a break. It’s simply the best experience. And it’s easier to go back and reread sections whenever you want.

What book has most influenced your vision of the future?

Code and other laws of cyberspaceLawrence Lessig. This is a deep dive into how the Internet works and is regulated. This is a brilliantly original book that addresses important questions about how to regulate the Internet, the choices we will have to make, and how we want the future of the Internet to be.

What can government do about technologies that they are not?

Back in 2018, Speaker Pelosi asked me to create the foundation for a more regulated internet. That became my Internet Bill of Rights, a set of ten consumer privacy principles that I believe every American is entitled to. The principles are basic, such as ensuring that people have the right to know when their data is being collected and to be notified when security is breached. He was even supported by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the Web Foundation. But since I got into Congress, we haven’t passed any meaningful data privacy legislation. I hope that a renewed sense of urgency in light of the Roe Court’s decision will spark action.

What surprised you the most this year?

I’m surprised that more and more people aren’t talking about the implications of building a fully functional quantum computer. There are already many companies working on its creation. Once one of these companies is successful, I think it will really make a difference. Quantum computing could bring a number of benefits, such as speeding up the development of new drugs and vaccines. But if we’re not prepared, the quantum computer could also pose a serious threat to consumer data protection and our national security. Congress is not known for its activity, but I bipartisan bill just passed by the House of Representatives prepare the federal government now and ensure that our systems and valuable data are quantum.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Part of ambitious bipartisan legislation under threat seriously curtailed.

In June 2021, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which would have raised tens of billions of dollars in various “key technology areas” including AI (see below). gold rush lobbying), quantum computing, “immersive technologies” (read: virtual reality) and robotics. But he’s stuck 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 dies. According to the FAS, such funding is not only an increase in the budget, but also the actual construction of new structures in places like the National Science Foundation. “New staffing models, new funding models, ways in which we can try to take what is very promising in the lab and put it into practice” could all improve US competitiveness and even sow new kinds of regional growth.

Given the bipartisan support for the bill, it is possible that it will be resurrected someday, but such opportunities for large congressional spending do not come along every day. – Derek Robertson

A quick reminder of a frequent match between the technologies we review here at DFD: OpenAI, the research center that brought the world GPT-3 Language Processor as well as DALL-E Image GeneratorIt has programmed the AI play a game similar to the metaverse, “Minecraft”.

Video games were one of the earliest widespread applications of what we now call “artificial intelligence”, through the simple act of programming virtual characters to have their own realistic “behavior”. But what OpenAI has done is something much more sophisticated: Their AI has been trained on tens of thousands of hours of gameplay to mimic human decision-making, for example, creating sparse tools to collect game information more efficiently. Resources.

The idea of ​​a world inhabited by such programmed “actors” raises many questions: what does an autonomous virtual economy like the one in Minecraft look like when AI “choices” are introduced into it? Is trolling or AI hacking a violation of the terms of service? How will AI behavior change how humans interact with or see stimuli in the virtual world? As the scale of such worlds continues to grow, these questions will no longer be esoteric questions for developers or game managers. – Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter @DigitalFuture.

Ben Schrekinger writes for POLITICO on technology, finance and politics; he is a cryptocurrency investor.

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