The topic of Science, Technology, and Innovation—which entails understanding the potential of scientific discoveries, the positive and negative effects of our growing dependence upon certain technologies, and the roles of both our government’s regulators and the companies who bring about and control those discoveries and technologies, to ensure we are deriving their full benefit while avoiding the brunt of their detrimental effects—are critical to our current and future wellbeing. Innovations should be beneficial to the widest possible swath of humans.
In our time, scientific knowledge and technological innovations play major roles in safeguarding and improving our future and facilitating our daily lives. Similarly, though, lack of knowledge and/or information and/or understanding and/or access, or misinformation about these essential issues, can be detrimental to our present wellbeing and our futures.
If we are not cognizant about what science tells us we should do to protect ourselves from Covid-19 we are susceptible to acquiring the virus. If we do not know what to do to help combat it, we may succumb to it. If we do not have access to a modern computer and broadband internet, we will not be able to participate in today’s educational system or economy, let alone in tomorrow’s. If we are not aware of how to protect our privacy on our mobile phones or laptops, we will fall prey to cyber predators.
If we are not aware of the contract negotiations between a cable provider, or library or school learning technology provider, and our county and end up having a monopoly situation or a poor provider, we have no one but ourselves to blame. We must also be informed about what capabilities our government has in terms of facial recognition or eavesdropping or access to our health information. Many times our government contracts that type of work out to the private sector and those companies do not all have the high ethical standards we would want them to have.
If we have a Richmond Highway Corridor Technology Accelerator and Co-Working Center what companies will be brought into our district and on what terms and who gets to decide? Why would it not be beneficial to the district as a whole to extend that series of endeavors to other corners of the district, and if the companies outgrow their homes why would we not first consider expanding their footprint in-district rather than exporting them county-wide? If our district should be the epicenter of a technological boom—a discovery, a factory of newly critical components, an incubator of great coders or designers—what will the district do to keep much of the benefit of that boom in-house, in Lee District?
These and other questions like them, about science, technology, and innovations, are the ones we will be keeping tabs on.