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Innovation

Technology Still Has the Power to Make The World a Better Place, Gary Shapiro Says at CES 2021

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Photo of Gary Shapiro from CES2021

January 12, 2021 – Technology still has the power to unite and to give, said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, at the start of 54th annual Consumer Electronics Show.

While the year of 2020 has upended virtually everyone’s lives in ways never before seen, and in spite of the challenges brought on by the pandemic, Shapiro maintained that “tech will help solve more fundamental human problems in the next two decades than it has in the last two centuries.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined the discussion with CTA Executive Vice President Karen Chupka and Shapiro, speaking about the important role Microsoft’s products including the Xbox, Teams, and Azure play in the home, at work, and for the community. Technology has been such a unifying force during the pandemic, Nadella said, and innovation is crucial to solve problems.

“The future of work will require more flexibility, how people collaborate and learn, and their wellbeing,” he said.

Shapiro emphasized that life will be better and safer for everyone with innovation. He particularly highlighted the need for high-speed broadband readily accessible in homes, acceleration of 5G deployment, and extending broadband to underserved and rural areas are serious needs that many find unity on.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced the health care industry to evolve and paved the way for telehealth to become a new norm, he said. He also noted the government’s role in technology innovation, specifically self-driving cars and contactless transportation. He called for government to set national rules to drive investment and deployment.

While political parties of any kind are difficult to please everyone, “innovation is bigger than one country or political party, and has the potential to lift everyone up,” said Shapiro.

In addition to calling for a more inclusive immigrant workplace, he referenced the incoming President-elect Joe Biden’s administration and highlighted the importance of having thoughtful, fact-based discussions about why tech is good with his new administration and in the internet of things as a whole.

AI will help solve challenges brought on by the pandemic

Other speakers in the opening session included Bridget Karlin, Global Chief Technology Officer at IBM and the new chair of CTA, Said $16 trillion will be added to the global economy by 2030 through artificial intelligence-fueled advancea in access to data and computing.

AI has solved some of the most challenging problems caused by COVID-19. For example, workers in supply chains are overextended and exhausted, increasing safety concerns. AI helps alleviate healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic by targeting certain individuals for clinical trials, accelerating drug discovery, and advancing social and economic developments.

Two years ago, CTA announced plans to invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color, and other underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs. Since then, five funds have seen investment. Shapiro announced that the newest fund to receive funding is Plum Alley, a New York based firm focused on healthcare companies.

Plum Alley CEO Deborah Jackson and President Andrea Turner Moffitt spoke about diversity and women in STEM. “Our vision for the future is that the next generation of hybrid technology and healthcare companies that go public or get acquired are founded by world class diverse teams,” they said. Jackson and Moffitt thanked the CTA for investing in and supporting women.

Chupka also recapped how, at CES 2020 last year, it launched the World Bank Global Tech Challenge. A series of programs and competitions designed to focus on healthcare and resilience and bridging the gender divide led to more than 1,000 applications, about 15 finalists were chosen. The two winners of this challenge were Butterfly Networks and Tricog, with Micromentor by Mercy Corps as winner of the gender challenge.

Born in China and adopted to American Fork, Utah, Reporter Derek Shumway graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in international strategy and diplomacy. At college, he started an LED lightbulb company. word

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Drones

Amazon Asks FCC to Allow Drones in 60-64 GHz Band in Preparation For New Delivery Service

Limited customer-facing operations are scheduled to begin this year for Amazon’s drone delivery service.

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Photo of Jaime Hjort, Amazon's head of wireless and spectrum policy

WASHINGTON, November 23, 2022 – Amazon on Friday continued its campaign to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to allow near–ground level drones to utilize the 60–64 GigaHertz band, a move the company said would make drone operations safer.

Amazon has long developed Amazon Prime Air, its drone-based delivery service. Then-CEO Jeff Bezos made a dramatic TV reveal in 2013, and limited customer-facing operations are scheduled to begin this year.

Allowing radar applications in this band would improve “a drone’s ability to sense and avoid persons and obstacles in and near its path without causing harmful interference to other spectrum users,” argued Friday’s letter, signed by Jaime Hjort, head of wireless and spectrum policy, and Kristine Hackman, senior manager of public policy.

In an October filing, cited in Friday’s letter, Amazon laid out its case more fully, stating that the proposed drone activity in the band would not clash with the existing operations of earth-exploration satellite services.

The company urged the commission to adopt a new perspective on drones, a novel technology: “A drone package delivery operating near ground level operates much more like a last-mile delivery truck than a cargo plane,” the October filing read.

Spectrum allocation is a top priority for lawmakers and experts, alike. Many believe increased spectrum access is vital to the development of next-generation 5G and 6G technologies as well as general American economic success.

In August, the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration – overseers of non-federal and federal spectrum, respectively – announced an updated memorandum of understanding to better coordinate Washington’s spectrum policy. In September, the FCC announced the winners of the 2.5 GHz auction and approved a notice seeking comment on the 12.7–13.25 GHz band the next month.

A senior NTIA official in October stated his agency would create “spectrum strategy” that will rely heavily on public input.

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Innovation

Semiconductor Export Restrictions Could Harm U.S. Companies, Industry Says

The United States acted unilaterally, and its allies are not yet ‘on board,’ said the Semiconductor Industry Association.

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Photo of Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2022 – The Department of Commerce’s recent export restrictions on semiconductors will make American companies less competitive in global markets unless U.S. allies agree to abide by similar measures, Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association, at a web panel Friday.

In October, Commerce prohibited the exportation to China of certain high-functioning chips necessary for supercomputers and moved to prevent other countries from providing China with certain semiconductors made with American technology.

The Commerce Department also limited American citizens’ ability to work with Chinese chip facilities. The restrictions were billed as a national security imperative and designed to limit the development next-generation, chip-dependent Chinese military technology.

However, the United States acted unilaterally, and her allies are not yet “on board,” Goodrich said.

Until allies opt into similar restrictions, the department’s new rules will “encourage the de-Americanization of [intellectual property] and supply chains,” Goodrich said. “If you’re a multinational company, you’re thinking about developing your intellectual property, where are you going to do it? Probably not the United States at this point.”

“You’re going to look to Singapore, Malaysia, India, Australia, where you may not face that type of regulatory environment,” he added.

China is a huge market for the American chip industry and related businesses, and based on the new restrictions, some firms are predicting revenue declines of $1 billion to $2.5 billion, Goodrich said.

“[The challenge] is balancing a national security with the economic security piece,” stated Paul Triolo, senior vice president for China and technology policy lead at the Albright Stonebridge Group. “There hasn’t really been a significant discussion of how China fits into [global] supply chains and under what conditions.”

Commerce added the export restrictions just two months after President Joe Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, which allocated $52.7 billion for domestic semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. Since CHIPS, Intel and others have announced or broken ground on several chip factories in the United States.

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Artificial Intelligence

AI Should Compliment and Not Replace Humans, Says Stanford Expert

AI that strictly imitates human behavior can make workers superfluous and concentrate power in the hands of employers.

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Photo of Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, in January 2017 by Sandra Blaser used with permission

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2022 – Artificial intelligence should be developed primarily to augment the performance of, not replace, humans, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab, at a Wednesday web event hosted by the Brookings Institution.

AI that complements human efforts can increase wages by driving up worker productivity, Brynjolfsson argued. AI that strictly imitates human behavior, he said, can make workers superfluous – thereby lowering the demand for workers and concentrating economic and political power in the hands of employers – in this case the owners of the AI.

“Complementarity (AI) implies that people remain indispensable for value creation and retain bargaining power in labor markets and in political decision-making,” he wrote in an essay earlier this year.

What’s more, designing AI to mimic existing human behaviors limits innovation, Brynjolfsson argued Wednesday.

“If you are simply taking what’s already being done and using a machine to replace what the human’s doing, that puts an upper bound on how good you can get,” he said. “The bigger value comes from creating an entirely new thing that never existed before.”

Brynjolfsson argued that AI should be crafted to reflect desired societal outcomes. “The tools we have now are more powerful than any we had before, which almost by definition means we have more power to change the world, to shape the world in different ways,” he said.

The AI Bill of Rights

In October, the White House released a blueprint for an “AI Bill of Rights.” The document condemned algorithmic discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or age and emphasized the importance of user privacy. It also endorsed system transparency with users and suggested the use of human alternatives to AI when feasible.

To fully align with the blueprint’s standards, Russell Wald, policy director for Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, argued at a recent Brookings event that the nation must develop a larger AI workforce.

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