Cars, China, and “Smart Failure”

With the help of Derek Robertson

In the third edition of our regular Friday feature, The Future in Five Questions, Rep. Jim Langevin (DR.I.) — chairman of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on cybersecurity, technology innovation, and information systems — weighs his hopes for self-driving cars and competition with China.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What’s one underrated big idea?

Self-driving cars. He is going to automate transport in cities and especially in rural areas, giving people more freedom of movement, especially those who do not drive. This will improve our ability to move goods and cargo around the country, perhaps more efficiently once it is improved.

I am excited about what self-driving cars offer: autonomous driving that allows people with disabilities to live more fully and independently in their communities. In my case, I have a driver who will take me anywhere, it would be nice to have the independence to just get in the car and drive safely. [Langevinis the first quadriplegic to serve in the House.]

What technology do you think is overhyped?

TikTok is overhyped I think. I personally get sick of hearing about TikTok and don’t quite understand it – but maybe that’s because I’m not a Gen Z TikTok user.

I also have serious concerns about the security of TikTok and its ties to the Chinese government, as well as its ability to collect data on US citizens. In this age of machine learning, AI and datasets, we don’t know how this information might be used now or in the future.

What book has most influenced your vision of the future?

The book I’m currently reading is called Chain of Kills by Chris Brose, former national security adviser to John McCain. The preface speaks of John McCain’s concern that China has outwitted us and invested more than us in both future advanced technologies that will give them an asymmetric advantage, and technologies that invest in undermining our technological advantages.

I still believe we have the edge, but I also know that if we don’t follow the ball and invest in next-generation technologies — and create a culture where we accept reasonable failure and are able to push boundaries — things like hypersound may lag behind.

What can government do with technology that it doesn’t?

If we do not want future technologies to be inferior to us in maneuvering, we need to engage more in industrial policy. During the Cold War, or in the 80s and 90s, we were confident that the private sector would surpass our global competitors in innovation, and for the most part it worked, and it was true. Not so in the 21st century.

Think about 5G, for example. The United States, our partners and allies around the world have outwitted China and Huawei and developed the next 5G technology. Then they were already building this infrastructure for 5G, until national security issues were finally raised to the highest level. We need to invest in whatever next technology comes after 5G, i.e. 6G or 10G.

Another thing is that I would say that we, the government, could do more by encouraging smart failures, especially within the government. Companies like SpaceX understand this, and Elon Musk is one of those people who believes in pushing your people hard, and that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. We need to implement this cultural shift here and within government in our research and development.

What surprised you the most this year?

That offensive cyber operations were not used widely and aggressively both in Ukraine and against the United States and our partners and allies from Russia.

There are many reasons for this, some of which we are working on. We have been deployed in partnership with our partners and allies around the world to make sure we help bolster their cyber defenses. We proved to be more resilient, but we didn’t see the Russians being as aggressive in offensive cyber operations as we expected.

It’s been a whole week for machinery on the hill but the party isn’t over yet.

As reported by Brendan Bordelon of POLITICO to Pro subscribers in today’s Morning Tech NewsletterSenate appropriation bills introduced this week include an additional $1.5 billion for the National Science Foundation to advance “applied research,” or the process of figuring out how to transform laboratory breakthroughs into technologies for everyday use. This complements the Chip and Science Act, which bundles subsidies for microchip manufacturing and research funding in areas like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and more, bypassing the House of Representatives yesterday with little drama on its way to President Joe Biden’s table.

The so-called “Chips Plus Science” bill will send $20 billion to the NSF for these technologies, as well as for the development of 6G and “advanced manufacturing” (i.e., semiconductor manufacturing). And if you thought lawmakers would stop there, think again: Brendan also reports today that Democratic senators are already considering resurrecting technology competitiveness legislation that has been sidelined in a lengthy negotiation process, including provisions to build supply chain and the provision of green cards for STEM-savvy immigrants. — Derek Robertson

FACT CHECK: Here is a headline that may have flooded your Twitter feed today: 50ft Adam Schiff Announces Committee Findings January 6th in Fortnite

While we can’t blame you for believing that this could be true given the huge popularity of the game and its use for other non-gaming purposes such as Travis Scott concertwe regret to inform you that this is a satirical article from a humorous video game website Hard Drive similar to The Bow.

Quote from Epic’s fictional Hard Drive PR package: “Marshmallow, Travis Scott, Weezer, Star Wars, Democrats, we’ll scan anyone into this game if they pay us enough money and get people to play Fortnite a few minutes longer than they are. usually do.”

If this really happened in the future, then this might not be the reason. what cynical, given the all-encompassing nature of the promised metaverse. In the meantime, just enjoy this amazing Hard Drive photoshop of Schiff looming over the Fortnite landscape, and have a great weekend. — 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.

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