Senate Commerce Hearing Explores Industries of the Future

By: Bethany Patterson and Henry Rademacher

On Wednesday, January 15, the Senate Committee on Commerce Science, & Transportation held a hearing on the federal government’s role in promoting the “advancement of emerging technologies that will revolutionize the global economy.”

A wide range of emerging technologies were discussed, including driverless cars, quantum computing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and 5G.

The hearing featured testimony from experts representing the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce, National Science Foundation, White House Office of Science and Technology, and the FCC. 

Earlier this week, legislation was introduced in the Senate to bolster government expenditures that encourage the growth of emerging technologies. The Industries of the Future Act would “increase investments in the industries of the future to $10 billion per year by FY2025.” The bill was introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and is cosponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Co.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

Historically, the United States has been at the forefront of technological advances. Those who testified at Wednesday’s hearing believe that continued involvement by the government is necessary to preserve U.S. leadership in emerging technologies. 

According to Michael Kratsios, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, “For American innovation to flourish, the federal government must remove barriers, streamline processes, and be careful to not impose burdensome or preemptive regulation.”

Regarding White House policy on preserving U.S. leadership, Kratsios identified “four key pillars that underpin our efforts across AI, 5G, QIS, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing—fundamental research and development (R&D), workforce development, light-touch regulation, and international engagement.”

Photo credit: denisbin (flickr)