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2 Charting a Path into the Future In the second half of the forum, the panelists discussed a variety of issues raised by moderator Charles Vest and by forum attendees. STRATEGIES FOR INNOVATION Vest began by asking the panelists whether countries and com- panies need explicit strategies for technology development, given the tremendous amount of largely spontaneous creativity that occurs today, often in areas where new technologies are not expected to exert a great influence. Ruth David responded that countries and companies do need strate- gies and that these strategies must exist in multiple dimensions. Most important, nations need strategies to create ecosystems that allow inno - vation to flourish. According to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, the United States ranks eighth in the world in its environment for innovation, demonstrating the need for a national strategy to make the United States competitive with other nations.1 In addition, said David, a national strategy needs an international component, because so many of the problems countries face today transcend geographic borders. Esko Aho agreed that both national and private-sector strategies are needed. At Nokia, for example, the link from content providers to consumers is straightforward for entertainment. But for educational 1 James P. Andrew, Emily Stover DeRocco, and Andrew Taylor. 2009. The Innoation Impera- tie in Manufacturing: How the United States Can Restore Its Edge. Boston: Boston Consulting Group. 

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 GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY services, health care services, or banking services, governments have to be involved to create the conditions for innovation. Government involvement is also essential for the United States and European countries to compete with up-and-coming countries like China, Aho said. The capacity of the Chinese and Indian governments to create innovative environments is weaker than in the United States, but the United States and Europe are hampered by the fact that they do not have an explicit strategy to compete. “We don’t have awareness of what to do and how to do it,” he said. The United States and European countries can each have their own strategies, but there must also be an agreement to protect common interests. Eric Haseltine said that the issue is less what the strategy is than who has the strategy. “I am very skeptical that anything the government could do or would do ever will make a difference,” he said. The United States is undergoing a slow erosion of its preeminence in science and technology, in part because the nation does not perceive the current situ- ation as a crisis. The launch of Sputnik in 1957 was a crisis that impelled America to act, but no Sputnik exists today. The focus of a competitiveness strategy must be on the individual, Haseltine insisted. Both in government and industry, time horizons con - tinue to shrink, and reward cycles are becoming shorter and shorter. So industry is concerned largely with the next quarter, while the intelligence community is focused on the next week because terrorists operate in real time. A vision for tomorrow must pay off for individuals today so “I am very skeptical that that innovation makes both tomor- anything the government could row and today better. Some of the do or would do ever will make most important technologies of the a difference.” past several decades have had revo- Eric Haseltine lutionary long-term impacts while also paying off for shareholders in the present. “If there isn’t a strategy that does that, we [will] have no success at all.” Ray Stata, in contrast, said that the United States has a “pretty good strategy, and it actually works pretty well.” That strategy is based on the relationship between research universities, the federal government, and industry. “It works remarkably well,” said Stata, “there’s just not enough of it.” Past federal investments have helped produce America’s scientific and industrial success, and continued investments will be necessary for this success to continue. Universities also need the freedom to exercise

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 CHARTING A PATH INTO THE FUTURE their entrepreneurial judgment in taking on problems such as energy Knowledge inevitably leaks into the rest of society, but “we and health care. “It is a question of don’t regret that. This is one making that system work better and of the outputs that we should not allowing it to erode.” value.” In the private sector, compa- Ray Stata nies realize they have to be rep- resented in emerging countries, which pushes them to establish technical resources outside their boundaries to access talent and mar- kets. Multi-national companies in turn have a tremendous influence on the diffusion of technology. Stata’s company builds design centers in other countries and transfers knowledge to engineers working in those centers. This knowledge inevitably leaks into the rest of the society, but “we don’t regret that,” he said. “This is one of the outputs that we should value.” John Seely Brown suggested that the game may have changed in a fundamental sense. Strategies may have to focus more on institutional innovation than on technological innovation. “Are there fundamentally new types of institutions that we need to create?” For example, the open- source programs Linux and Apache both have constitutions outlining acceptable practices. These kinds of innovations, which are unknown to most people, may be necessary to create the kinds of ecosystems being discussed. The Media Lab was another institutional innovation in terms of its relationship with MIT and with industry. China is currently turning to institutional innovation to counter a lack of venture capital money for startups, Brown pointed out. Com- panies form networks among startups centered on good ideas. These kinds of institutional innovations may be the key to future success. For example, universities may have to find new ways of working with the outside world. Strategies are only as good as the mindset that creates them, said Bernard Amadei. People in the developed world have an obligation, not just an option, to address the needs of the 5 billion people whose lives are precarious. People and nations also have a self-interest in pursuing this obligation, because isolation tends to create insecurity and instabil - ity. “In fact, I am quite surprised that we have not had much instability in Haiti after the earthquake.” To change strategies, mindsets must be changed. For example, engineering projects that cross national boundaries are a powerful

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0 GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY way to build international under- standing. Yet young people in the China is turning to institutional innovation to counter a lack ofUnited States are ill prepared by venture capital for startups. their educations to address needs John Seely Brown at the global level. When Amadei has brought civil engineering stu- dents into the developing world and asked them to pour concrete, they have no idea how to make concrete, even if they have studied concrete design. “They all want to change the world, but they don’t know how to do it.” Education must eliminate the gap that exists today between what students are taught and the needs of the real world. AVENUES OF COMMUNICATION The benefits of openness and communication were a prominent theme of the panelists’ responses. Amadei, for example, pointed out huge opportunities in thinking and communicating across borders. For example, he has been involved in a sewage project in East Jerusalem where Israeli and Palestinian engineers are working together. “These people have been taught because of politics to hate each other,” he said. But “when it comes to solving wastewater and water issues, they talk to each other because they have something in common.” Engi- neers can be peacemakers and make the world a better place by help - ing people find the interests they share, such as energy, water, and telecommunications. Engineers Without Borders is not a charity, Amadei emphasized. It is not about giving away fish but about creating fishing industries that can empower people who have the ability to succeed. “People have a lot of talent,” Amadei said. “I see more talent in some villages in Africa than I see at the University of Colorado to be frank with you: hands- on talent, skill-based talent, people who have lived through floods and droughts and difficult conditions, Engineers can be peace- makers and make the world a [people] who know the rules of the better place by helping people game. They know more about engi- find the interests they share, neering than I do. They know how such as energy, water, and to survive.” telecommunications. International development is a Bernard Amadei two-way street, Amadei said. The

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 CHARTING A PATH INTO THE FUTURE question is not only what the developed world can bring to the devel - oping world, but also what the developing world can bring to the developed world. Engineers in India and China are coming up with frugal solutions to local problems. They know markets, and the mar- kets are huge. They know how to package products and sell them to 3 billion people. Negroponte observed that the most important outcome of a proj- The most important outcome ect, regardless of its original goals, of a project, regardless of may be communication. The One its original goals, may be Laptop per Child program began communication. . . ending isolation. with the goal of changing educa- Nicholas Negroponte tion, but the most important out- come of the project has been end- ing isolation. The combination of poverty and isolation is devastating, he said. It is critical for children to be exposed to multiple points of view. When he was working in Gaza, he was struck by the fact that none of the students there had ever met a Jew, even though Israel was just a few miles away. Negroponte also pointed to the transformative power of commu- nications technologies. It is not possible to ship 10,000 books to a village in Africa, but 10,000 books can be made available through 100 interconnected laptops. Just as the developing world taught the devel - oped world that land lines are not necessary in a world of cell phones, the developing world can demonstrate the value and use of electronic publications. “This is a very interesting change, because the developing world is going to change it.” In response to a question from a forum par- ticipant, Negroponte said that, because of the value of communications, he believes that scientific literature should be open and freely accessible anywhere in the world. Stata observed that hundreds of millions of people are entering the middle class because of the creation of wealth by technology around the world. The involvement of these people in a global conversation could help solve global problems. Corporations too can be powerful instru - ments for change, he said. Much of the development of the workforce occurs in the private sector, and the corporate world is more respon- sive to the marketplace, to customers, and to social change than other institutions. “From that point of view, I am a bit more optimistic about where we are heading in terms of the impacts of globalization and the opportunities for cross-border collaboration.”

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 GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY The opposite of global is national, said Negroponte. He has lived in many countries over the course of his life and has always had multiple passports. “I look at nationalism as a disease, and as a consequence of that I don’t think of competitiveness the same way other people might.” For example, why is the United States more concerned about India than about Finland? The overriding focus on competitiveness can be destruc- tive, Negroponte said. One reason MIT is such a powerful university is because it has so many students from other countries. Those students provide “different points of view that make the graduate programs and the research programs so strong.” INTEGRATING SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Vest observed that the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering estab- lished by NAE—which address energy, water, climate, and sustainabil- ity; improving the delivery of health care; increasing security against both natural and human threats; and expanding human capabilities and joy—all require the integra- tion of social and technological sys- tems. How can this integration be “Until we get a lot better at integrating and understanding achieved in a world where societal how human behavior plays understanding and political will are into the solutions [to the Grand often lacking? Challenges] . . . our progress David pointed out that the will be limited.” Grand Challenges are “the mother Ruth David of all systems problems.” Humans are part of these systems, and the problems cannot be resolved by technology alone. “Until we get a lot better at integrating and understanding how human behavior plays into the solution[s] of these issues, our progress will be limited.” Another complication with meeting the Grand Challenges is the existence of what David called the “legacy infrastructure”—technological systems already in place that reflect outdated thinking. In many cases, this infrastructure has to be replaced or altered, which may give an advantage to nations with less infrastructure that can leapfrog ahead of the United States. Amadei observed that social issues are inevitably intertwined with engineering issues. To create a fishing industry, there have to be fish and water in a river. That raises issues of social and environmental justice. Fishermen have to be sure they can to go the river and that it will not be closed by insurgents. That is an issue of security. Fishermen need

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 CHARTING A PATH INTO THE FUTURE access to good technology, which is engineering. People need to know how to skin a fish and how to sell it, which means they have to be social entrepreneurs. Engineers need to help create fishing industries, not just technologies for fishing. Universities generally are not set up to advance understanding of complex social-technological systems, observed Brown. Instead, solu - tions often trickle up from below rather than being imposed from above. For example, marginalized children in inner cities have amazing creativ - ity if they are given enabling platforms. Two-way avenues of communi- cation should be established to permit ideas from outside the United States to work their way into this country. “Americans don’t see it. They hear about it, but they don’t feel it.” Stata pointed out that institutional innovations can enhance the abil- ity of universities to deal with complex social-technological problems. A model is provided by virtual centers of excellence that bring together people from multiple universities to work on a particular problem or issue. “You get better results. But also the people from universities get together. They learn to work together. They learn from each other.” The obstacles to collaborative work are usually posed by institutional policies and structures, not by researchers, Stata said. Haseltine pointed out the tremendous impact of movies, television, and video games on people’s attitudes. For example, the television show CSI has led to a huge influx of people into forensic science because the show depicted technologists and sci- entists sympathetically rather than Obstacles to collaboration are as geeks. “We can help ourselves usually posed by institutional policies and structures, not by by working more closely with the researchers. media, not on what we do, but on Ray Stata who we are,” said Haseltine. “What audiences relate to is the human story of someone who is trying to accomplish something, encounters an obstacle, and through strength of character overcomes that obstacle. And everyone in this room wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t done that in life.” BANDWIDTH AS A FACTOR IN COMPETITION As an example of a particular technological need, one participant asked about bandwidth, pointing out that his daughter in the Colorado mountains can communicate with networks at 1.5 megabits a second,

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 GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY whereas a person in Tokyo or Taipei can access 100 megabits a second and soon will have access to speeds of 1 gigabit a second. Given the importance of access to adequate bandwidth in a nation’s competitive- ness, how can connectivity be broadened in the United States? Governments do not fully understand why bandwidth is important, said Brown, although the new administration has begun to change that mindset. Governments think that increased bandwidth is appropriately used just for education, whereas what bandwidth really allows is for people to get together and create things they could not create on their own. The United States needs to reconceive what the broadband infra- structure can do, which will change the discourse. The current head of the Federal Communications Commission intends “to bring some of these changes about,” Brown said. Aho observed that infrastructure alone is not sufficient. There must also be content to send over that bandwidth. “You need content, busi- ness skills, and talent as well,” and this is an area where the United States is strong. Member participation in a group discussion.

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 CHARTING A PATH INTO THE FUTURE CHANGING THE NATURE OF ENGINEERING To achieve the far-reaching goals discussed at the forum, it may be necessary to make fundamental changes in the engineering profession, panelists and forum attendees said. Haseltine, for example, insisted that engineering is not what engineers think it is. Engineering is not about changing technologies. It is about changing human behaviors. New technologies can perish in the “valley of death” between the research lab and the marketplace because people will not change their behav - iors. Therefore, engineers may have to focus on behaviors to develop a technology. Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland observed that many university faculty are having trouble shifting their attention toward social-technological systems, in part because universities are still reluc - tant to consider collaboration a measure of academic achievement. As additional signs of this lack of commitment, the National Science Foun - dation has only $15 million in its budget for social computational sys - tems, and NAE does not have a natural home for systems engineering or social media technologies. Karl Pister of the University of California, Berkeley, pointed out that the National Research Council has a division devoted to the behavioral and social sciences, and NAE could do much more to collaborate with this division. Another option would be for NAE to abolish its 12 sec- tions to encourage more cross-disciplinary work. Another forum participant asked about the feasibility of engineer- ing schools working with other parts of universities on multidisciplinary projects. David responded that when she was in graduate school the col- lege of engineering worked with the medical center at Stanford. “That was one of the most rewarding sets of projects, because it gave you a very different perspective as an engineer on seeing what you were doing in practice. I applaud those kinds of collaborative efforts that cross disciplinary boundaries.” Brown said that at the University of Southern California he has helped develop a collaboration between the Annenberg School of Com- munication and Journalism, the cinema school, and the school of engi - neering. The greatest problems with such collaborations are raising and allocating revenues and ensuring that young faculty members can work toward tenure, which is why institutional innovation is so important. Another participant noted that engineering education currently tends to be very narrow and that NAE could be a positive force for

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 GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY change in what engineers learn. Also, involving larger numbers of young people in NAE could have a beneficial effect on the profession. WOMEN IN ENGINEERING The panelists discussed the role of women in engineering, who could be instrumental in changing the nature of the profession. Amadei pointed out that 56 percent of the members of Engineers Without Borders are women. Engineers Without Borders emphasizes the com - passionate aspect of engineering, he said, which may be why so many women are interested in the program. A traditional approach to engi- neering has been simply to try harder if brute force does not work. “Guess what? You are not going to attract too many young women into engineering with that kind of marketing strategy. It is time to change the discussion.” The problems addressed by Engineers Without Borders reveal that “engineering has a human face. It is not engineering just for the sake of the technology. It brings the left brain and the right brain and also brings the heart into the equation.” David agreed that the closer engineering gets to the application of ideas, the more it will attract women. There are huge opportunities for getting closer to the impact of what engineers do. There also are opportunities for reaching out to girls at much younger ages and show - ing them role models and examples of the effects engineers have on the world. Brown said that engineering is going to shift more toward a sense Problems addressed by of design as a part of engineering, Engineers Without Borders and “designers have no trouble reveal that “engineering has a attracting women into their profes- human face. . . . It brings the left brain and the right brain sions.” Infusing schools of engineer- and . . . the heart into the ing with the spirit of design from equation.” schools of architecture and other Bernard Amadei parts of universities could hasten this transition. Vest noted that according to a survey of women with strong math- ematics skills, 99 percent said they wanted to go into a field where they can make the world a better place. As a result, NAE has been investigat- ing ways to highlight the impact engineers can have on the world.

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27 CHARTING A PATH INTO THE FUTURE THE GLOBAL ENGINEER The changes cited and predicted by the presenters suggest a new role for engineers, one in which the increasing prominence of trans - national problems and the globalization of technology will create a distinctly global perspective. But how can engineers learn to see beyond boundaries, a forum participant asked, when boundaries are so often used to divide rather than unite people? Haseltine responded by saying that he had gone to hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Washington, D.C., the week before. In the final movement of the symphony, hundreds of people were on stage all sing- ing together. “It occurred to me that [we all have] different politics, different points of view, different neighborhoods, but music is border- less. [With the] people up on stage, what united them—and uniquely in Washington—was something of the heart, some passion.” As digital communications lower or eliminate boundaries of time and space, people can readily find others who share their passions, and this trend is just beginning. “We are not at the end of social network- ing,” said Haseltine. “We are at the very beginning of it. Some of these social networks will help people find each other based on what connects them versus what separates them. I think that is one of the great and exciting things about cyberspace.” Brown agreed that passion can “I am optimistic . . . that unite people across boundaries. new methods [will] create The new Chicago public library has local, national, and global a huge digital media learning cen- communities that will have their ter where students from inner-city impact. . . . It [will take] time neighborhoods throughout Chicago before we . . . see all these human and social impacts . . . gather to create things. “It is amaz- [but] we have good reason to ing if you go in there at 3:30 in the expect that many of them will afternoon to see people from all the be possible.” different neighborhoods, almost all Esko Aho marginalized kids by the way, com- ing there to actually do things. These creation spaces offer more to work with than does formal education.” The coming changes in engineering are momentous, and the prob- lems that must be solved are pressing. Yet change of this magnitude will take time even if it begins immediately, cautioned Aho. When Gutenberg’s printing press first came to Europe, it was used exclu - sively to do old things in a new way—printing books that monks had

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 GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY been copying for hundreds of years. Only in the 16th century was the printing press used in new ways, helping to inaugurate religious and scientific revolutions. “I am optimistic,” he said. “I believe that these new methods [will] create local, national, and global communities that will have their impact. But it is not coming overnight. We are just in the beginning.” Bangladeshis now have a mobile device in their hands with the same computing capacity as the Apollo moon lander. “It takes time before we are going to see all these human and social impacts, [but] we have good reasons to expect that many of them will be possible.”