Obama advisers want ideas on how the U.S. can best use the “golden triangle” of IT, nanotechnology, and biotechnology to bring economic benefit to society.
The White House is seeking public opinion about how best to utilize what it’s calling the “golden triangle” of modern technologies, according to a blog post co-written by Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Schmidt and post co-writer Shirley Ann Jackson are members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which is seeking input on how the government can best use three categories of technology — information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology – to provide economic benefit to society.
Jackson is president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) — a part of the PCAST that advises Obama on science, technology, and innovation policy — is coordinating the information-gathering effort.
The council aims to bring in ideas from a diverse community — including researchers, the private sector, universities, national laboratories, foundations, and nonprofits — to inform both the PCAST and PITAC as they advise the president on policy and programs that concern these technologies.
Schmidt and Jackson defined each of the technologies in their post, and said that each represent one of three areas that is transforming the technology landscape — hence the “golden triangle” designation.
They described IT as encompassing “all technologies used to create, exchange, store, mine, analyze, and evaluate data in its multiple forms.” Biotechnology, they said, “uses the basic components of life (such as cells and DNA) to create new products and new manufacturing methods,” while nanotechnology is the “science of manipulating and characterizing matter at the atomic and molecular levels.”
“Each of these research fields has the potential to enable a wealth of innovative advances in medicine, energy production, national security, agriculture, aerospace, manufacturing, and sustainable environments — advances that can in turn help create jobs, increase the nation’s gross domestic product, and enhance quality of life,” they wrote.
Specifically, the president’s advisers want to hear ideas about the intersection of these different technologies as well as identify gaps in research and scenarios that may prevent broad use and commercialization of them, according to the post.
They also are requesting input on what kind of infrastructure is needed to test, prototype, scale, and manufacture bleeding-edge technologies and where people think the federal government should invest its resources.
People can contribute ideas in two ways. One is by submitting ideas on the OpenPCAST Web site. The other is by joining a live Webcast discussion scheduled for Tuesday, June 22, from 10 a.m. until 2:30 pm EDT. The Webcast can be accessed via the PCAST Web site, and people also can submit comments via Facebook or Twitter.
In addition to using suggestions as they advise the president, the council and committee plan to use ideas for the president’s Strategy of American Innovation, according to the blog post. The initiative calls on government agencies to use prizes, challenges, and awards to help create new technologies that will make American industry more competitive globally.
The Obama administration is concerned about the current global U.S. position in terms of science and technology expertise, and feels the country is losing ground to other nations. The Strategy of American Innovation is one of several initiatives aimed at improving where the United States stands in this regard.
An initiative called Creating New Jobs Through Science, Technology, and Innovation that PCAST and PITAC have undertaken also will benefit from ideas gathered, Schmidt and Jackson wrote.