Hoover Institution Director Condoleezza Rice announces forthcoming Stanford Emerging Technology Review At the Tech Track II seminar reception on Wednesday. The Hoover Institution, in partnership with Engineering Dean Jennifer Widom, aims to keep policymakers informed about technological breakthroughs.
“We think between Silicon Valley and the rapid changes we’re seeing here and in other centers of technological excellence in the U.S. and the way Washington, D.C. behaves, we think there needs to be some shift,” Rice said.
Widom will lead faculty in the School of Engineering’s biology, computer science, bioengineering, electrical engineering and other fields Evaluation.
“One of my goals is to make the College of Engineering more collaborative across campus, and I can’t think of a better opportunity than to join Condi and her colleagues in this new venture in Emerging Technology Review, ’” Widom said at the reception. “I think it’s going to have an incredible impact.”
This idea is the result of the work of the Technology, Economics and Governance Working Group and previous workshops. The group’s leaders, Amy Zegart and John Taylor, will serve as faculty co-chairs along with Rice and Widom. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former Stanford University president John Hennessy, and medical school dean Lloyd Miner have joined the project’s advisory board.
For Rice, the program’s unique value stems from bringing together the policy and scientific expertise of Stanford’s institutions.
“We have great expertise in how to translate ideas into the policy arena, how to help policymakers think through problems,” Rice said. “But we don’t have the expertise at Hoover to tell you what’s going on in nanotechnology, but at Stanford we have leaders in all of these areas.”
Symposium attendees, including Gen. Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr., spoke about the need for cutting-edge government research information.
“We don’t know what we don’t know. As an officer, I don’t do technical work on a day-to-day basis, so I do things by asking questions,” Brown said in comments to the Daily Mail. “The real beauty of an event like this is that it helps all of us better understand how technology works and think about policy around it.”
Tech Track II is a workshop at the Hoover Institution to foster deeper relationships between the U.S. Department of Defense and Silicon Valley. The initiative hosted a workshop on Wednesday followed by a reception where Rice made the announcement.
Former National Security Advisor HR McMaster co-chairs the 2022 workshop with Michael Brown, Raj Shah and Amy Zegart. At the reception, he emphasized the urgency of bridging the communication gap between the government and Silicon Valley’s innovative businesses.
“The Department of Defense is still too slow to innovate through the technology cycle and maintain our competitive advantage,” HR McMaster said. “Our risk calculations are wrong. We tend to think that action is risky. But the riskiest thing for us right now is to not act and become more agile and innovate more effectively.”
Gen. Brown agreed with McMaster’s assessment.”About 80 percent of the really critical R&D that drives the technology happens outside the Department of Defense,” he said. [Department of Defense]’, making collaboration with private actors such as venture capitalists a necessity for the defense sector.
“them [venture capitalists] Will do things, do a few iterations, and then things will fail. Within DoD, we generally try to really de-risk the program. When you do that — in some cases it drives up costs,” Brown said.
Close collaboration with the private sector allows the military to focus on successful investments that drive advancement in both the commercial and military sectors.
Michael Brown, a venture partner at Shield Partners and a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution, said Russia’s war in Ukraine offers lessons about the growing role commercial technology plays in the conflict. Familiar products, from drones to Starlink, are having an impact on today’s warfare.
“That means companies around us, in Silicon Valley, in Boston, in other centers of innovation, they can play a bigger role,” Brown said. “Defense needs to turn to them to supplement capabilities — and it’s not just aircraft carriers and fighter jets.”
Raj Shah, a technology investor and visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution, agrees with the initiative’s relevance in the ongoing war.
“You look at what’s happening in Ukraine. I mean, they’re fighting wars using iPhones, Telegram, Tiktok,” Shah said. “Wars will change. We want people who believe in democracy to win over people who don’t.”