This Week in Washington IP: Commercializing Climate Change Tech, Digital Dollars and Post-Pandemic Open Source Platforms

Washington IP - week in Washington IP news, both houses of Congress remain fairly quiet except for an executive session by the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss a few bills related to advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation hosts a pair of webinars Wednesday and Thursday exploring the United States’ potential implementation of a digital payment platform as well as ways the nation can improve the commercialization pipeline for climate change technologies. Elsewhere, New America focuses on the use of open source systems by government institutions through and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Center for Strategic & International Studies discusses the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s recent U.S. cybersecurity report.

Tuesday, May 19 

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Who Makes Cyberspace Safe for Democracy?

At 12:30 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

The growth of e-commerce supported by widespread access to Internet connectivity but many believe that policymakers have to take a stronger stance on cybersecurity to ward off threats to our country’s system of government as well as private enterprise. A recent report by the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission includes more than 80 policy recommendations based on an extensive survey of public and private sector cybersecurity practices meant to achieve layered cyber deterrence. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), CSC Commissioner; David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent, The New York Times; and Suzanne Spaulding, Senior Adviser, Homeland Security, International Security Program. 

Wednesday, May 20 

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Executive Session

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

On Wednesday morning, the Senate Commerce Committee will convene an executive session to discuss various nominations and proposed legislative measures, several of which relate to research and technology. These include S. 3704, the Advanced Technological Manufacturing Act; S. 3712, the Cybersecurity Competitions to Yield Better Efforts to Research the Latest Exceptionally Advanced Problems (CYBER LEAP) Act; and S. 3717, the Spectrum IT Modernization Act.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation 

How to Expand the Climate Toolkit: Rebooting Federal Support for Energy Demonstration Projects

At 12:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

Federally funded research has unlocked several innovations in the realm of climate change mitigation but commercializing these technologies hit several obstacles when researchers attempt to demonstrate that they can work under real-world conditions. This event will explore the findings of an ITIF report discussing ways that the U.S. can build a strong energy technology demonstration portfolio which can prevent climate change technologies from getting stuck in the commercialization pipeline. The report will be presented by David M. Hart, Senior Fellow, ITIF; and Robert Rozansky, Senior Policy Analyst, ITIF. Following the presentation will be a discussion moderated by Hart with a panel including Sydney Bopp, Associate Director for Technology Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center; and John Deutch, Institute Professor, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Center for American Progress 

Preparing K-8 Students for the Future of Work 

At 1:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

American high schools have made some progress in improving technical education programs to ready their students for 21st century careers but reaching students in grades K-8 is critical for preparing students for the opportunities and challenges they’ll face working with next-generation technologies. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Amy Lloyd, Vice President, Jobs for the Future, Inc.; Juanita Price, Kindergarten Teacher, Indiana; Victor Scotti, Pipeline and Program Development Manager, Google; and moderated by Scott Sargrad, Vice President, K-12 Education Policy, Center for American Progress.

Thursday, May 21 

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Digital Solutions to COVID-19 and Urban Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa

At 9:00 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

Sub-Saharan Africa is seeing a dramatic growth in urban populations and data compiled by the United Nations shows that this region is expected to see the world’s greatest amount of population growth over the next century. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated urban living issues being faced in African cities, including lack of social mobility and access to basic services, although some technological platforms in these cities are being developed to address these situations during the pandemic. The event will feature a discussion with a panel including Worku Gachou, Managing Director, Africa, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; Astrid Haas, Policy Director, International Growth Centre; Max Cuveiller, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA; and Judd Devermont, Director, Africa Program, CSIS.

New America 

Transformation: How to Upgrade Institutions Beyond the Pandemic

At 10:00 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

The use of open source tech platforms by public institutions has been explored both for the cost savings seen through reduced software license payments as well as greater agency interoperability. This event discussing public sector open source systems is the first in New America’s Transformation series, which looks at topics involving technology and innovation for a post-pandemic world. The event features a discussion with a panel including Beth Novak, Chief Innovation Officer, New Jersey, Former Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States; Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain and Data Policy, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum; Brian Whittaker, Acting Executive Director, 18F; and moderated by Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, Director, Digital Impact and Governance Initiative.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation 

Does the United States Need a “Digital Dollar”?

At 12:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

Economic stimulus measures being developed by Congress have contemplated the use of a digital payment platform, also known as the “digital dollar,” although language surrounding the use of a “digital dollar” system seems to have been removed from coronavirus legislation as of late March. This event will explore the potential of a two-tiered financial system using digital and physical currency outside of the current COVID-19 crisis as well as steps taken to implement such systems by other countries, like China. The event will feature a discussion with a panel including Daniel Gorfine, Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Director, LabCFTC; Garrick Hileman, Head of Research, Blockchain; Tanvi Ratna, CEO, Policy 4.0, 2019 Fellow on Public Interest Technologies, New America Foundation; and moderated by Hodan Omaar, Policy Analyst, ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation.

New America

Reimagining Work and our Workforce Through Mobility and Digital Innovation

At 2:30 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we conduct a majority of our business with video conferencing and remote work platforms that existed prior to the pandemic but are now a necessity thanks to closures of non-essential businesses and social distancing orders. This event, which will explore how mobility and digital innovations are shaping the future of work, features a discussion with a panel including Jeanne Holm, Chief Data Officer, City of Los Angeles; John Irons, Future of Work Fellow, New America and Former Director, Inclusive Economies – Future of Work, Ford Foundation; William Kehoe, Chief Information Officer, Los Angeles County; and moderated by Autumn McDonald, Senior Fellow and Head of New America CA; and Niles Friedman, Executive Advisor, Star Insights.

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