In this writing, Max Mickelsson, Strategist in Ecosystem Relations and Partner at Co-founders, sets the tone on how you should be thinking about technology and the policy developments around it.
Privacy culture on the rise
Too often businesses think that technology policy and regulation is something that targets and affects only the tech giants, the Googles, Amazons, Facebooks and Apples. The need to regulate the rapid development of technology is certainly driven by this group, also called GAFA, but the impact of it is a lot broader. It probably touches your business, too.
Let’s use privacy legislation as an example. EU certainly set the standard globally via GDPR, the development moved fast into state level regulation also in the US – for example in California and Washington. But the development did not stop there. As the tech giants complied with GDPR, they also started to apply it more broadly in their services. Eventually, all businesses have needed to comply with it and think through how they handle personal data. The impact of GDPR has created a new culture of privacy in many companies.
The Biden administration sets the tone
The 2020s will be an era of tech policy and technology regulation. The needle has moved from academic debate to real policymaking. For businesses, this means a growing need to understand the field. For policy makers, elected and appointed, it means a growing need to understand technology and its many impacts on society.
Artificial intelligence (later AI) is currently one of the most important areas of public policy and also a field that tech businesses both are paying a lot of attention to and directing resources towards. With the new Biden administration in the US, this MIT article becomes interesting for businesses. It asks the question: What might we expect from the administration when it comes to AI?
First, Biden appointed the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to a cabinet-level position. This signals not only the position science and technology policy has in the new administration, it also shows how science and technology are interrelated. Tech policy is not treated only as a geopolitical issue, as it was in the previous administration. Biden appointed top geneticist Eric Lander, the founding director of the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute, as the director of OSTP. Other governments, diplomats, and universities: take notice. This means that relationship building and collaboration around the work of OSTP will grow.
Secondly, Biden named a prominent sociologist to serve as the OSTP deputy director. Alondra Nelson, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, studies the societal impacts of emerging technologies, like gene editing and artificial intelligence. Her appointment suggests that the Biden administration understands that effective science and technology policy must also consider the influences scientific advancements have on society.
Thirdly, the new State Secretary, an experienced diplomat Anthony Blinken, made it clear in the Senate hearing that technology policy will be an important geopolitical focus also for this administration. This naturally gets seen as one component particularly related to China.
Managing ecosystem relations
When supporting businesses to grow and develop, Co-founders underlines the importance of what we call ecosystem relations, meaning all the relationships between your business and the surrounding world. Technology policy is one of the areas that will require more attention of business leaders this year when thinking about the surrounding world. While most businesses become digital, we are here to bring clarity on what you need to know to succeed in this field.
Image credits: Unsplash / Possessed Photography