What is Technology Policy?
A quick review of any online platform specializing in high tech policy news -- such as Wired, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and, of course, our podcast -- reveals the vastness of the public policy and technology universe. Comprising information technology, science and engineering, the semiconductor industry, national security, homeland security, cybersecurity, health, the environment, foreign relations, and the diverse economies of various nation-states, the nature, and form, of what institutions consider "technology and public policy," depends on mission-based goal-alignment between these institutions and the external institutions upon which they depend.
Technology Policy Institutions: Knowledge, Market Share, Goal-setting, and Development
A broad technology policy example scenario is the relationship between the prototypical high-tech focused think tank and its sponsors. Once tech policy institutions establish their missions they seek the resources necessary to execute.
The issues funders care about, and the research and development funds they are willing to commit, drive the technology policy issues an organization seeking program, research, and development support will pursue. A single program proposal may include a long menu of technology and policy knowledge specialties. However, an organization's mission and staff experience must match the technology policy knowledge areas their funders care about.
Therefore, it is critical for institutions dependent upon membership, corporate, and foundation support to demonstrate relevance within information technology knowledge areas in which other technology policy institutes fall short.
The Washington Center for Technology Policy Inclusion -- WashingTECH -- is a technology policy organization committed to the principle that technology public policies cannot promote well-being without improving relations with and drawing from the experience and knowledge of, America's diverse citizenry. Given the lack of racial, ethnic, ability, gender, age, and internationally-diverse diverse viewpoints among technology policy influencers in Washington, our goal is for lawmakers to enact a technology policy framework that reflects these diverse perspectives.
To that end, we work to ensure aspects of the knowledge base from which high tech institutions, influencers, lawmakers, and other stakeholders draw, when they render advice, influence public policy, or allocate resources, reflects, in part, the perspective of a representative cross-section of America's overall population.
In order for America's innovation system to work, the nature of its political discourse must improve. Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, conquest, decades of Asian exclusion, and media concentration are just a few of the roots of polarization in America today. The enforced prevention of Americans from all walks of life coming together to influence policy has produced severely one-sided outcomes.
The high tech industry will either scale up those disparities with selfish internal and external policymaking tactics, or they will pursue diversity and inclusion, with as much enthusiasm and investment as they have pursued assigning their research funds towards engineering goals, increasing market share, and allocating r&d resources to inform science or advance new technologies.