Explore the intersection of technology, innovation, and public policy with the world’s leading think tank on these issues. Innovation Files serves up expert interviews, fascinating insights, and head-turning commentary on how to accelerate innovation, promote economic growth, and serve the public good. Expect to hear some unconventional wisdom.
AI and Defense Innovation, With Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan
For the military, capabilities in the field matter most, not R&D. So, when it comes to artificial intelligence, the Defense Department has been moving quickly by standing up a special team, like a startup enterprise. Its first pilot project, “Project Maven,” began as an intelligence application. Now the push is on to apply it in other areas. Rob and Jackie sat down with retired Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, the first director of the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), to discuss how AI is being used in the defense world and the implications for the broader AI ecosystem.
Daniel Castro, Michael McLaughlin, “Who Is Winning the AI Race: China, the EU, or the United States? — 2021 Update” (Center for Data Innovation, 2021).Rob Atkinson, Jackie Whisman, “Podcast: Innovating in the Defense Sector to Remain Competitive With China, Featuring Michael Brown” (ITIF, 2021).Related
Event, “How to Deepen Transatlantic Cooperation in AI for Defense” (CDI, 2021).Rob Atkinson, “Emerging Defense Technologies Need Funding to Cross ‘The Valley of Death’” (RealClear Defense, 2020).ITIF, “ITIF Technology Explainer: What Is Artificial Intelligence?” (ITIF, 2018).
Inside U.S. Industrial Policy and Operation Warp Speed, With David Adler
Industrial policy can produce great technological innovations to address major challenges for society. A perfect example is Operation Warp Speed, which has saved millions of lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rob and Jackie sat down with David Adler, an adviser on industrial strategy at the Common Good Foundation in the United Kingdom and author of “Inside Operation Warp Speed: A New Model for Industrial Policy,” published in the summer issue of the American Affairs Journal, to discuss lessons we can draw from the success of Operation Warp Speed to strengthen U.S. industrial policy in the future.
David Adler, “Inside Operation Warp Speed: A New Model for Industrial Policy,” American Affairs Journal 5, no. 2 (2021).Richard Lipsey, Kenneth I. Carlaw, Clifford T. Bekar, Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth (Oxford University Press, 2005).Erica Fuchs, “Cloning DARPA Successfully,” Issues in Science and Technology 26, no. 1 (2009).William B. Bonvillian, The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies - Perspectives on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2020).Related
Stephen Ezell, “Moore’s Law Under Attack: The Impact of China’s Policies on Global Semiconductor Innovation“ (ITIF, 2021).Robert D. Atkinson, “No Adopting an Industrial Policy Doesn’t Mean We’re Emulating China“ American Compass, 2021.Stephen Ezell, “TRIPS Waiver on COVID-19 IP Rights Wouldn’t Help Vaccine Access; It Would Just Harm Innovation“ (ITIF, 2021).
Addressing Climate Change Through Innovation, With David Hart
Addressing climate change requires accelerating clean energy innovation across the full range of economic sectors—from transportation to electricity, manufacturing, and agriculture. Rob and Jackie sat down with David Hart, a professor of public policy at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and director of ITIF’s Center for Clean Energy Innovation, to discuss the scope of the challenge and the best paths forward for policymakers.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Paris Agreement” (UNFCCC, November 2016).Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” (IPCC, August 2021).Related:
Peter Fox-Penner, et al., “Clean and Competitive: Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturing Leadership in the Global-Low Carbon Economy” (ITIF, June 2021).Robert D. Atkinson, “Growth Through Innovation Will Help Fight Climate Change” (ITIF, August 2021).Linh Nguyen, “Refreshing the Global Agenda for Climate Innovation” (ITIF, 2021).
Demystifying Industrial Automation, With Dave Vasko
From bottle manufacturing to machine repair, automation has made just about every industry more efficient and adaptive to consumer demands. But despite its omnipresence, policymakers have failed to fully understand what drives industrial automation and why it matters for the economy. Rob sat down with Dave Vasko, director of advanced technology at Rockwell Automation, to discuss the latest trends in industrial automation—including innovations powered by artificial intelligence and virtual reality—and to consider how policymakers can spur manufacturing productivity and ensure the United States is globally competitive.
Robert D. Atkinson and Daron Acemoglu debate: “Is the United States Tax System Favoring Excessive Automation?” (ITIF event, November 2020).Robert D. Atkinson, “Federal Statistical Needs for a National Advanced Industry and Technology Strategy” (ITIF, July 2021).Stephen J. Ezell, “Why Manufacturing Digitalization Matters and How Countries Are Supporting It” (ITIF, April 2018). Lawrence Summers and Alan Auerbach, “The Investment Tax Credit: An Evaluation” (National Bureau of Economic Research, November 1979). Related:
Robert D. Atkinson, “10 Types of Work to Automate or Move Online for a COVID-19 World” (ITIF, July 2020).Robert D. Atkinson, “The Enterprise Automation Imperative—Why Modern Societies Will Need All the Productivity They Can Get” (ITIF, November 2019).Robert D. Atkinson, “How MIT’s ‘Work of the Future’ Project Gets It Wrong: Raising Taxes on Machinery and Software Would Kill Jobs and Hamper Wage Growth” (ITIF, 2020).
Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism, With Dr. Angela Zhang
Antitrust policy provides a perfect lens to see the systematic differences between China and Western liberal democracies, according to Dr. Angela Zhang, director of the Center for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong. In her book Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism: How the Rise of China Challenges Global Regulation, Zhang argues China leverages antitrust law to achieve industrial policy objectives—including in the tech sectors that are crucial to its rivalry with the United States—but it does so through an insular bureaucracy that is surprisingly fragmented and therefore difficult for outsiders to understand. Rob and Jackie sat down with Dr. Zhang to discuss the internal power dynamics that shape China’s regulatory environment and how it affects the competitive balance of power in the global economy.
Angela Huyue Zhang, Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism: How the Rise of China Challenges Global Regulation(Oxford University Press, 2021).Robert D. Atkinson and Michael Lind, Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business (The MIT Press, 2018).Related:
Robert D. Atkinson and Michael Lind, Who Wins After U.S. Antitrust Regulators Attack? China. (ITIF, 2018).Robert D. Atkinson and David Moschella, Competing With China: A Strategic Framework (ITIF, 2020).
A Doorman for the Masses—Debunking Attacks on Facial Recognition, With Daniel Castro
Facial recognition technology has faced widespread allegations of discrimination in recent years, leading some cities to restrict its use—but exactly how valid are these claims? Rob and Jackie sit down with ITIF’s vice president and director of the Center for Data Innovation, Daniel Castro, to discuss why many of the claims are misleading, and how facial recognition can make public and private services more accessible, efficient, and useful.
Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gebru, Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification (FAT, 2018).Jacob Snow, Amazon’s Face Recognition Falsely Matched 28 Members of Congress With Mugshots (ACLU, 2018).NIST, NIST Study Evaluates Effects of Race, Age, Sex on Face Recognition Software (NIST, 2019).Related:
Daniel Castro, Note to Press: Facial Analysis Is Not Facial Recognition (ITIF, 2019).Daniel Castro and Michael McLaughlin, Banning Police Use of Facial Recognition Would Undercut Public Safety (ITIF, 2019).Daniel Castro and Michael McLaughlin, The Critics Were Wrong: NIST Data Shows the Best Facial Recognition Algorithms Are Neither Racist Nor Sexist (ITIF, 2020).Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, ITIF Technology Explainer: What Is Facial Recognition? (ITIF, 2020).
The highlights all aspects of tech, innovation and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
The host of the Innovation Files podcast, highlight all aspects of technology and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
Always very informative - and accessible. Really enjoy the hosts.