Monthly Archives September 2010

Innovation in Washington: the Ultimate mash up? In Aspen with Tom Lehrer on my Mind

Nigel M. de S. Cameron
Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies

Once a Tom Lehrer fan, always one; at least, you can’t keep him out of your head. Poisoning pigeons in the park. We’ll all go together when we go. So I was sitting in Aspen at the TPI innovation confer¬ence (August 2010), and this time it was his Vatican Rag. But the tagline had morphed. “Inno¬vate, innovate, innovate.”

Of course, in tech circles innovation is the talk of the town (as in, Washington), even though it is twinned with a sense of resignation. The problem is that politics was never designed for a society in which the rate of technology’s development is exploding...

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Tomorrow’s technology, today’s process: The National Nanotechnology Initiative 10 years on

Stardate 2010. Early 21st century America. Washington, DC, that handful of 202 phone numbers and zipcodes in the 20000s where responsibility for the human future most tangibly intersects with planet earth – and its lead policy community. Or where it should. Where the fierce urgency (sorry) is not of now, but of then, whether leaders and bureaucrats realize it or not. Where some of the smartest and most humane of women and men are tasked with shaping strategy for a generation – in a slice of space where time is marked off in votes and hearings and FY11 and the electoral cycle. (Did I hear someone whisper “cognitive dissonance”?)

There’s no doubt that developments on the nanoscale will transform, power, and shape, the 21st century...

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