If we look back at the tremors that will reset America – the great technology-driven revolution that will span almost every corner of American life – it may be named after President Joe Biden, but it will not be his revolution. It’s the innovation revolution. He’ll help fund and smooth it out, but it’s already happening and accelerating.
Biden’s typically soft speech to Congress (not a Stemwinder er) was a wish list of things he loved, but also an affirmation of what was already on the move.
Technology is widespread, and the role of government should be partnerships, and most importantly, standards, according to two experts in the tech world, Jeffrey DeCoux, chairman of the Autonomy Institute and Morgan O’Brien, visionary in wireless telecommunications in the US to create Executive Chairman of Anterix, a company that provides private broadband wireless networks to utilities. Most importantly, in an interview with me for the White House Chronicle stationery program, they said that standards are essential for the new technology.
Partial association with various devices, from street sweepers to drone delivery vehicles that only talk to identical devices, is self-destructive. The Internet would have failed without international standards.
Biden will lead the greatest industrial leap forward as steam provided wave power to make factories a reality. If Congress allows, the Biden administration will fund much of the modernization of the old infrastructure. It is also asked to be part of the new infrastructure, the technological one. That will be expensive; Both DeCoux and O’Brien warned that building full 5G broadband networks that will carry the burden of interconnectivity will require huge sums of money.
In order for the nation to leap forward, these networks need to bring 5G broadband to every corner, O’Brien said. It must not be allowed to serve only places where the population density makes it profitable, such as cities.
In his speech to Congress, Biden presented a revolutionary summary for the future of the nation. The human side of the Biden infrastructure plan – things like daycare, free community colleges, better health care, prescription drug prices – is Biden’s real agenda.
The president sees the technological revolution not for what it is, as a reset of everything in America, but as a route to job creation. It will create jobs, but that is not the driving force. The driver is and was innovation: Science helps people. This in turn will lead to increases in productivity and prosperity, and with it new jobs, high quality jobs – robots will soon be turning hamburgers and painting houses.
That other agenda that will make the fundamental difference between today’s nation and tomorrow’s nation is the technological revolution. The evolutionary forces for this upheaval have accumulated since the microprocessor first started moving things in the 1970s.
Interconnectivity is at the center of the upcoming changes. This is what the future will shape. Cars on highways are connected to one another by thousands of sensors. These accelerate traffic and increase safety for both drivers and new autonomous drivers. Likewise, drones will deliver many goods and they will need to be interconnected and have superior flight management. Every aspect of the business is involved, from managing the railways to increasing power stability to the productivity of the electrical infrastructure.
In an interview at the Digital Roundtable, a Texas State University webinar this week, Arshad Mansoor, president of the Electric Power Research Institute, said that improved interconnectivity could increase the power available from dams and power plants, often without building new ones. He explained that interconnectivity is critical not only for managing different generation sources such as wind and solar, but also for getting more out of the system as a whole.
Technology got us through the pandemic. Most evident in the tremendous speed at which vaccines have been developed, but also in our ability to meet virtually and the effectiveness of online ordering and delivery.
Biden is by nature and demonstrably a politician, a Zephyr, as we heard in his address to Congress. But the story looks like it marks him out as a transformative president, a remarkable leader who presides over great winds of change.