On April 25, 2018, Darrell West testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress on how innovation can lead to economic growth and opportunity. In his testimony, West argues that the United States should take six steps to increase opportunity and make sure it does not fall behind other leading nations. These actions include:
- Increasing federal R&D,
- addressing critical needs in artificial intelligence and data analytics,
- developing a national data strategy,
- promoting STEM education,
- investing in physical and digital infrastructure, and
- improving digital access.
Citing detailed research and data, West explains the benefits of each component and why, taken together, they will ensure America’s standing as a leader in technology innovation. He writes:
The United States is at a critical inflection point in its history. Our success in technology innovation and building some of the world’s greatest internet platforms has positioned us for global leadership but also exposes us to risks in terms of the societal ramifications of digital disruption. … At this crucial moment, it is vital that we as a people and as a government invest in infrastructure, human capital, and research capacity because those are the things that will propel long-term growth and help us deal with the transition to a digital economy.