Nov 02, 2016 - 9:00am

Dear 45: Help America's Innovators Drive Our Country and Our Economy Forward

Dear 45,

Our nation’s future economic success and competitiveness will depend largely on a thriving and innovative technology sector. American technology companies drive significant growth, innovation, export expansion, productivity gains, and wealth creation— not just in the tech sector but in the broader economy. And as you surely know, this sector isn’t slowing down. 

Technological innovations are revolutionizing our lives, our businesses and our economy. Artificial intelligence, for instance, is being used to reduce energy usage and diagnose medical maladies. Drone technology holds promise as a delivery method for lifesaving drugs in remote and impoverished parts of the world. Autonomous cars are being tested in cities around the country and have the capacity to make our roads safer and less congested. Wearable technologies are helping us lead healthier lifestyles, while the Internet of Things is making our lives more efficient and convenient in myriad ways. 

While technology seems to be advancing at a breakneck pace, policymakers at the state and federal level too often lag behind, missing the opportunity to spur additional economic growth and holding back American innovators from pursuing the world’s next life-changing technology. 

Take, for instance, self-driving cars.  There’s misunderstanding – and even some fear – among lawmakers when it comes to autonomous vehicles.  They fear the necessary policies aren’t ready, and that’s largely due to misinformation about safety. Our policymakers must embrace facts and recognize the benefits when it comes to this new technology. Otherwise, the policy environment will stagnate, and this innovation will stagnate with it. We need to allow the brightest minds to keep refining autonomous vehicle programming to ensure that when self-driving cars hit the road, our streets will be safer.


There’s even more angst and misunderstanding surrounding Artificial Intelligence, or AI. Sadly, policymakers in Washington have been misled by misconceptions, and again, many have failed to recognize the enormous life-changing benefits of this technology. FedEx offers a great example of this, as the company is incorporating AI-driven safety features into planes and trucks with the hope of ending fatal highway accidents. But transportation safety is just one opportunity. In the health care space, AI can help diagnose patients and provide information to doctors about which patients are at risk for complications, and it can be used to analyze massive amounts of data to find cures for diseases.

We encourage your administration to support policies that will allow all American businesses to compete and succeed in a dynamic global economy and continue to move the ball forward on these exciting new technologies.  We would like to partner with you to help pioneer the type of policies needed to keep up with the unique challenges and opportunities that new technology brings.

One area where we can continue the good work of your predecessor is in open data.  There is more transparency than ever thanks to the eight principles for open government data established in 2007, as well as an executive order that made open and machine readable data the new default for government information in 2013. More recently, Congress passed the DATA Act, which further boosted transparency. 

American businesses and citizens now have a big picture window into what the government is doing at all times, and as a result, we are now able to leverage data in ways we’ve never before seen. On this particular area, policymakers must stay the course.

These are challenging yet exciting times to become our country’s leader. If your administration embraces smart policies, and the public and private sectors work together, American innovators and technological advances will help power our economy for decades to come. We stand ready to work with you and your administration to ensure that the technology sector continues to thrive and have an overwhelmingly positive effect on our economy and our country.  


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