The TechTank Podcast looks back at important stories from 2020

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifies via video conference during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on "Online Platforms and Market Power", in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2020. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS

Since the TechTank Podcast launched in August of this year, its ten episodes have covered a wide range of issues, from antitrust regulation in the tech industry to adapting education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast brought together experts from around Brookings and beyond to discuss the year’s most important technology policy issues.

In September, Rep. David Cicilline joined Darrell West on the podcast to outline his ideas for online platform regulation following July’s House Antitrust Subcommittee hearings with CEOs of major tech companies. Congressman Cicilline said it was time for Congress to develop new rules of the road for the digital economy and stop firms from selling goods while also determining the shape of the marketplace.

When COVID-19 hit, telework quickly went from an option to a necessity. Overnight, more than half of Americans went to work over Zoom. Months into the pandemic, many major companies have announced that their employees will work remotely on a long-term basis. Darrell West, Nicol Turner Lee, and John Villasenor considered whether the American workforce is ready for long-term remote work.

The start of a new school year saw efforts to reopen schools across the country. All students, parents, and teachers were forced to navigate this new normal in education in the middle of a public health crisis. Nicol Turner Lee asked Alabama State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey, Prince George’s County Public Schools Principal Veda McCoy, and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel about what reopening schools looks like, how can it happen safely, and how will it evolve as COVID-19 continues to spread in America.

2021 promises further discussion of important topics from Brookings experts and guests on the TechTank podcast. The incoming Biden administration will have a chance to enact its technology policy agenda while the new Congress can revisit issues like digital privacy and broadband expansion that have taken on new urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned to the TechTank Podcast in the new year for analysis of these topics and more.

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TechTank is a biweekly podcast from Lawfare and The Brookings Institution exploring the most consequential technology issues of our time. From racial bias in algorithms to the future of work, TechTank takes big ideas and makes them accessible. In a series of roundtable discussions and interviews with technology experts and policymakers, moderators Dr. Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West unpack tech policy debates and highlight new data, ideas, and policy solutions. Future episodes will explore the role of technology in election interference, disinformation campaigns, school reopening and broadband access, the digital divide and more. Sign up to receive the TechTank newsletter for more research and analysis from the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings.