Emergent Technologies - Friend or Foe? A fireside chat: Janet Napolitano and Senator Mark Warner
good morning west coast and good afternoon east coast i'm daniel sargent associate professor at the goldman school of public policy at uc berkeley and i'm excited to be here today in partnership with the center for security and politics and the center for long-term cyber security to host and moderate a discussion about the risks and opportunities of emergent technologies with two leading national security experts and lifelong public servants former secretary of homeland security janet napolitano and senator mark warner from virginia our event today will be an hour-long fireside chat followed by 30 minutes of audience q a please use the google form linked in the event description to submit your questions please allow me to introduce our distinguished guests for today's discussion senator mark warner was elected as the u.s senator from virginia in november 2008 and re-elected to a third term in november 2020. he serves on the senate finance banking budget and rules committees as well as the select committee on intelligence where he is the chairman from 2002 to 2006 he served as governor of virginia the first in his family to graduate from college mark warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in virginia before entering public office an early investor in the cellular telephone business he co-founded the company that became nextel and invested in hundreds of startup companies that created tens of thousands of jobs janet napolitano is a professor of public policy at the goldman school and directs the center for security and politics at uc berkeley previously janet served as the 20th president of the university of california and formally as secretary of homeland security under president obama she is a former two-term governor of arizona a former attorney general of arizona and a former u.s attorney for the district of arizona professor napolitano i am pleased to turn this conversation over to you well thanks professor sergeant and good afternoon senator warner it's great to see you nice to see you madam secretary i hope you had a good thanksgiving and i know that you all have a very busy schedule uh over the next few weeks so we really appreciate you taking this time to uh be with us and uh share with us some of uh your thoughts uh about new technologies emerging technologies cyber security but other uh issues as well so let's let's just dive in if we can and uh uh what what do you uh view as the key emergent technologies that the united states needs to be preparing for is it ai quantum computing anything else what are your thoughts there well jenna one it's it's great to see you and it's it's a great opportunity i appreciate this opportunity and for professor sergeant thank you for the introduction um you know as you know but the audience doesn't i was fortunate enough to get involved in kind of an emerging technology back in the the early 80s uh the beginning is the wireless industry i just recently literally just an hour ago finished a zoom with um all of my interns and to see the looks on their faces when you know cell phone technology i said was a cutting edge emerging technology in the early 80s early 80s and they were kind of like baffled by that because it it you know it it seems so old old-school at this point so i'm not sure i can fully answer that question of what are the emerging technologies i know from the intelligence standpoint um we look at artificial intelligence we're looking at quantum computing hypersonics you know we're looking at supply chain issues around around things like semiconductor chip switches you know both both legacy chips and kind of cutting edge next generation but i think about last week our committee um or two weeks ago our committee had a fascinating brief on what has taken place in both biotech and bioengineering and there was a great analogy made actually by a professor from from stanford and and um a startup not so much startup company in life sciences that's done quite well and making the analogy that biotech and bioengineering or the equivalent where we are now is equivalent of 1975. and we think back to you know ones and zeroes in 1975 and there was a lot of on that on the horizon i'm not sure we could have fully predicted so i i am i would put that list out there but i think we have to include life sciences i think we have to include um you know the the challenges and opportunities especially from a national security standpoint of of overhead uh satellites and and what all is is happening there and i think we just also have to be on the on the recognize that no matter what definition we put around emerging today we have to be nimble enough to amend that so that the next thing that comes out of berkeley or stanford or mit or virginia tech um you know that we're flexible enough in our thinking to to you know move with where move as technology moves yeah yeah you you used to uh have a pretty funny line you used in speeches about nextel uh do you want to share that with you well i would i would always point out the fact that having involved in in excel and co-founded it that i was the only politician that said even when i was speaking leave your cell phone on because if it goes off others people hear an annoying sound i hear to ching chi ching and i was thinking about that joke last night and i realized even making that joke today janet would probably not would would not go over well with most generation z kids because they're saying well who uses a cell phone to call somebody on a voice call anyway anymore so yeah uh time goes very quickly both in in tech and biotech which i'm very interested that that you raised mike what do you think are some of the risks that we already know of associated with new technologies i i'm reading the um um uh the new henry kissinger and and um um not just henry kissinger it's also uh eric schmidt and another on ai at this point and you know obviously i think ai poses uh some of the most dramatic issues as we think about the ability for machines to outperform humans the ability for machines and to uh not only outperform but take on you know take on a decision-making process that may be independent uh of humans the idea that we would turn whether it's defense systems or other choices over to machines where there may be algorithmic bias you know too often built in by people that look like you and me as opposed to people look like the rest of the world um how we sort through all that uh i'm not sure that we are um sure of at this point i do think with like let's just start with ai for a moment if we look back i would argue if we look back now to the late 90s 1996 telecom act which put in place things like section 230 and kind of gave the the total freedom around social media platforms to kind of break things with no impunity or with total impunity um you know i think they're i would have a more fervent debate i would come as a policymaker and say maybe we should have put at least some initial guard rails in place or have a trigger that says 10 years from now we're going to put some guard rails in place because we we weren't sure you know as we think about social media platforms what both good but also i would argue just the dark underbelly of social media and now putting in place some of those rules and regulations it's been frankly one of congress's greatest failings that we've done nothing zippo uh california obviously has moved further ahead on privacy but on other guardrails we've not we've not been able to put any in place to what has become a fairly mature technology when we think about ai which makes makes the issues around you know social media platforms look puny in comparison the idea that we're going to allow this kind of set of technologies uh big data machine learning ai i mean the fact that we don't even have full definitions around each of these to evolve on its own kind of in the wild without any guard rails and then think that you know 10 years from now we're going to come back and put guardrails um that worries me now now if you were to say all right what gardner-webb has to put in place i don't feel i'm confident enough to answer that by any means so i don't want to you know but i i would hope that we would i was at the when i was in london recently at google deepmind there's some fascinating things going on there um they're moving ahead on a series of areas that that at least on first blush could benefit humanity i wish there was an equal set of of academics you know ethical theorists lawmaker policymakers thinking about how we ought to also put some some guardrails uh around what's clearly going to be a something that's going to fundamentally change all of our lives and i just worry at times in some of these technologies when we wake up to the reality of it um you know it may be too late the life sciences issue where the the ceo was talking about the idea around nitrogen you know that i believe was nitrogen around the need for that in terms of fertilizer and how you know how much money we spend trying to create these fertilizers whereby soybeans have the ability to to do this process literally through the root structure so the idea you know i thought with like biotech they over promised and under-delivered for years but literally they're talking about now grafting that kind of uh biological engineering onto you know corn or wheat or other products and you know you could obviously environmentally it's the right thing you know it sounds all these wonderful upsides but um for every upside you think in bioengineering there's also the chances of a dramatic downside so how we sort this out in a world where frankly our policy make our policy making in washington has gotten extraordinarily slower as you well know and what i almost feel uh i won't keep going on in this question but it's important one one of the things that has really concerned me over the last few years has been the fact that america and i would almost argue the west writ large has retreated from a lot of the standard setting entities that are taking place as these new technologies on international basis are developed i see this as a former telecom guy on 5g where frankly we were asleep at the switch and china and when i say china my beef is not with the chinese people it's with the prc and xi jinping's policies but they kind of flooded the zone and and and um you know took over the standard setting entities around 5g that has has implications well beyond the technology standards so how do we how do we think about each of these emerging technologies in a more holistic way and and not simply be chasing the technology or chasing the venture capital that's making money out of this technology yeah i think that i think that's uh right and so so i take it you would um uh recommend that the administration uh lead an effort to re-engage internationally with standard setting with these new tips i think that you know you think about when we think about standard setting the short answer is yes and when think about standard setting it's more than just again as a telecom guy which frequencies and and and kind of the basic kind of technology nuts and bolts i think implicitly we build our biases in and when those biases are coming from democracies we build in the notion of some level of transparency we build in the notion that maybe there should not be total governmental control uh we build in the notion that if a a a a call was going from you know berkeley to buenos aires uh it maybe shouldn't be routed to through shanghai the way huawei equipment would prove that and i do think there is a chance here to kind of reengage a an alliance of the willing amongst um amongst democracies around the world this does not and should not be american only driven and i think there is a real willingness in the inside the administration i've had a long talk with secretary blinken about this recently where they are you know they are putting in place both kind of an emerging technologies division at state department but also around this standard setting body because in the past what would happen is we would send you know both governmental people but also private industry would come to these these standard setting bodies and and um you know generally speaking kind of the west uh drove the agenda more uh i don't want to focus entirely on huawei and 5g but this was a case where you know government stepped back particularly under trump and then on top of that private sector was not sending as many um uh experts to these you know these associations and entities setting the standards and china flooded the zone so i i think this is a this is one in a variety of areas where i think there could actually be a re-emergence of american leadership in combination with our allies yeah uh senator to what extent does uh the ability of congress to be agile and nimble and proactive as opposed to reactive um require the um interaction uh of of both parties um and and what is um what what do you see as some of the issues with the kind of partisanship we see out of dc now well it's it's although we would are these issues if i might add are these issues some that uh members of both parties are are willing to engage in i'll give you the good news and the bad news and obviously you know your time as the homeland security secretary and as governor you know you governed you led always in a way that was also that effort of trying to to be bipartisan one of the one of the values of bipartisan does not mean that the objective solution set is necessarily better but it does mean that particularly in our country when we go from one team controlling power to the other team controlling power we don't relitigate the issue again you know whereas if we do it with only one one team it's constantly being re-litigated which i don't think makes um makes much sense uh you know i do think on on technology issues there's still more agreement i do think one of the great um frustrations i had coming as coming from the intelligence committee and kind of being the first to expose some of the manipulation done by the russians in in uh using facebook and other platforms is that we still have not been able to move at all in that area we've not been able to move in privacy again i point out california has moved in privacy obviously that the europeans have as well and we're ceding that traditional leadership so that would be the bad news um no section 230 reform even though facebook on my daily politico brief says they are in favor of section 230 reform you know we've not been able to meet some consensus yet um i'll point out two areas where i think that that we are finding agreement one on the the um um the need for america to up its game in the global and domestic production of semiconductor chips and seeing the shortages there i mean the chips act which was part of what's called euseka a a broader-based research bill got 68 votes in the senate it's crazy to me the house has not taken it up but that that is an area where bipartisan and some big money 52 billion dollars on semiconductors and 2 billion on 5g and o'ran open radio access network congress put its mark i'd also say we have right now the defense bill is up and one of the amendments we're trying to get on that i think will get 75 votes is around an area that you have a lot of expertise cyber security you know as you know we have no mandatory reporting requirement for cyber security incidents so thank god the solar winds reported and colonial pipeline reported but neither of those entities needed to even tell which is the new entity that was you know i know you supported that's ultimately been created to try to have that kind of not regulatory but cyber security domestic cyber security expertise there was no requirement to report so we've worked to put a reporting requirement with appropriate indemnification and privacy protections and others because you've got to not only tell the government the government's got to then share it with other folks in the private sector and uh you know those are two examples of where there is still bipartisan and on and i take some more than a little bit of pride in this i think the intelligence committee which i'm proud to be chairman of we kind of view ourselves as the de facto technology committee because there is no committee of technology in the senate as you know or in the house for that matter um house has got a science and technology committee but it doesn't have as broad a scope as some of the things that i think we're looking at you know we we stay bipartisan uh on on these issues some ai to quantum to you know concerns about hypersonics uh so there's some good and some bad uh coming out of this but uh it is an area where um in the past america would have already has exerted its leadership in each of these areas and our failure to do so i think will has cost us yeah yeah i i i think that's right you seek as an interesting bill that was pushed by as you said bipartisan members of the senate i think senator schumer played a leadership role there in getting it through the senate what all is in you seca besides the chips act and i want to return to the chips act in a moment euseka has basically 52 billion dollars for chips 2 billion for 5g and next generation beyond 5g called open radio access network then there is roughly 150 to 200 billion that's not appropriated so it's simply authorized and a lot of the dispute in in that part uh has been it is a dramatic plus up of the national science foundation um there are other areas but one of the battles became should we simply plus up national science foundation or should we plus up as well department of energy our national labs again you guys in california are blessed with great ones we've got at least one in virginia and much of the the i think the unwillingness we reached some accommodation between nsf and doe and frankly it was not my debate i'm not sure whether we got the right mark or hit the right uh split there um but i think that could be resolved a lot of this um you seek a battle has been i think uh twofold one less a partisan battle and more a traditional senate versus house the fact that the senate did all this you know and and todd young republican center and uh chuck schumer kind of took the lead on one piece of it john cornyn and i on the chip speech took the lead and you know house felt they were left behind so some of the kind of traditional house versus senate exchanges and i think there is also um you know an understandably concern that this be viewed not as be viewed as a pro-america research and development bill and not be viewed as an anti-china bill and i again i think all of these and one of the things i'm very sensitive to or at least try to be is recognizing that when we talk about a rising china we make clear who our beef is with and that this you know some of this anti-china rhetoric does not become used as a tool for anti-asian american or anti-chinese-american discrimination which i know we have seen there's been stories recently that sometimes i think the fbi and others have had have um you know gone a bit too far yeah so um and i need to disclose for the audience i'm on an advisory committee for intel which is a semiconductor manufacturer the largest in in the united states and indeed the world but i think one of the things we've noticed uh is that semiconductors are pinch points in the supply chain if you don't have enough semiconductors you can't produce enough cars you can't produce enough ask about anything one uses has a semiconductor a chip or chips in it and i think and this leads to the issues with china but the bulk of semiconductors are actually manufactured at foundries in taiwan and that raises the issue of china taiwan the united states are we prepared have we thought through this uh what what are your thoughts there well you know this is an area you probably have more expertise than i but i've i've really tried to go to go to school on the industry over the last couple years you know interestingly enough um you know as you know this has been an area that's been boom and bust uh for some time and you know we have two fabs in virginia one that's expanding one that's actually been shut down for a number of years because it went through this boom and bust period matter of fact pre-covered there was even some concerns about oversupply in the chip industry and what happened with covid was you know we had this dramatic cut back in capacity and yet the the the and part of the consumer move towards buying more electronic products they operate at home that's where the chip manufacturers move their their business and kind of legacy industry like autos got left behind one of the reasons why why um you know we still have some of those auto plant plants sitting idle so this you know i think we do have to recognize there is kind of boom and bust number one number two i think we need to have to recognize that you know as you know from intel there's chips is more not all chips are made the same there's kind of cutting edge checks there's legacy chips there's memory chips and there are places in this equation such as packaging and the machining and other areas where we and our allies i think some of our allies like in the netherlands and elsewhere we're still doing pretty well um you point out appropriately though that that you know taiwan has a lot of some of those cutting edge manufacturing american manufacturing of overall chip supply has gone from roughly 40 to about 12 percent prc itself has gone from 12 closer to the on the path to 25 to 30.
so you have the concerns around national security at taiwan you have the kind of increase uh in china itself um making huge investments estimates of 150 billion dollars worth of capital investment uh and what you also have are our countries um from south korea that's talking about somewhere between 65 and 130 billion dollars of investment uh you've got japan talking about multi-billion dollar investments taiwan continues to do well so there is a there is a question here on a national security basis that we need to have some level of this domestic manufacturing facility uh in our country there is i think the the consensus that i've come to is that unless we provide some additional subsidy dollars there will not be new fabrication facilities built in america because these fab plants run between eight and 15 billion dollars and if other nations are willing to subsidize two to three billion dollars per fad and they take a lot of a lot of land a lot of water and the industry experts say we're about 20 more to 25 more expensive to do it here in america you know i think we have to make these investments from a national security standpoint from maintaining domestic supply chain from keeping kind of we keep some of the innovation but i still think having these long-term facilities in in america make a great deal of sense and this this you know 20 years ago would be called industrial policy but when we see other nations particularly china um make these kind of of huge multi-billion dollar investments not just in ships but in a series of other areas i think we in the united states and by implication the west needs to you know pony up as well we need to put our money where our mouth is and i found a lot of my republican colleagues that you know and i think about you know john cornyn or jonathan or or um you know a number of other uh senators on on the intelligence committee who you know this is a pretty dramatic change for them to acknowledge that we you know the market alone is not going to solve this if we leave this to the market alone there won't be additional fabrication facilities built in this country yeah we'll we will lose our domestic production capacity and we may then you know we may still keep some of the innovation but you know the innovation oftentimes sometimes goes with the fabs too so i i think this makes sense and i think getting it right um and this is why you seek or the chip spill is so important getting it right and having a process that 52 billion is about 12 billion research 40 billion roughly on that could help subsidize seven to ten new fabs built over a number of years uh here in this country um we got to make sure we put appropriate controls in place because i think what we're doing in chips we may have to do in artificial intelligence we may have to do it we are already doing in quantum computing there may be a series of other in our emerging technology areas that we have to make um these kind of large-scale investments in not just at the research basis but actually at the development bases as well right so i i think the the thought needs to go into what are the critical elements of emergent technologies where uh the united states from a security standpoint uh needs to put some of its public dollars in to remain competitive with the world and that's a very different approach to um uh spending uh government spending than we've seen before um uh where we're actually putting in significant dollars to support one private industry yeah and i i i i get this and matter of fact i think it was fortunately uh over the over the thanksgiving break had a a fairly good critique on on the chips bill saying we know maybe we're putting it in the wrong place and stuff and i would push back against some of this but i think this maintaining a domestic chip fabrication facilities and it's it's you know basic research um investing in some of these other cutting edge technologies i would argue is more important than adding an extra plane or ship or tank because i think most of the com i think the competition the 21st century is going to be around who wins the technology evolutions not who builds the most uh traditional military hardware although again as you well know you know even in the most sophisticated military hardware you've got to have those bleeding head chips as an absolutely critical component piece oh for sure and um so so they you can't easily segregate between uh hardware that you need on the military side versus what we need simply for supply uh domestic production of consumer goods and other other material well one of the things let me just add one thing here um jennifer you know one of the reasons why i think there's been part of this evolution is that i think coven showed you know that the just-in-time global supply chain model that we've all kind of gotten a long way and gotten used to that at the end of the day um that you know it may be worth a a an extra few cents on a on a chip or a you know an extra two cents on some ppe to make sure that there is a domestic or if not entirely domestic domestic plus allied supply chain because um again my friend debbie stabenow who argued very strongly with me in one part of the battle make sure at least some of this went into legacy chips which i was not 100 sure of at the beginning you know the number of auto plants that are sitting idle in michigan right now because they don't have access to chips um you know all the tanks in the world aren't going to stop that yeah yeah that that that is for sure um uh and turning to you seek uh mark um uh what do you hear on the house side is it is it gonna be stuck there forever is it gonna move i think it's i think there is a recognition there was an announcement um right before thanksgiving that that we would have a conference on uh this bill i'm not sure what the house is going to what's the house bill there was some minor bills that were kind of in this neighborhood but nothing of this scale um so it is in my mind one of the highest priorities that we that we need to make happen um i think secretary romando commerce secretary has been great from the administration at pushing this and advocating for it i wish the the white house had been as active on pushing for this again this was a case that of a bill that was passed in july and putting on my partisan hat for a moment you know um uh you know coming out of some of the challenges around afghanistan if we sent a strong signal of you know passing uzika that we were stepping up our game not only on chips but on investment in emerging technology i think that would have been a great win for the president and and a great signal to the rest of the world um and it's been more than a bit frustrating that uh that other than this kind of you know inner seeing who gets credit house versus senate uh there's not been a lot of clarity so i'm i'm hoping to be on that conference committee and uh ready and anxious to meet to get to yes uh uh the sooner the better yeah yeah uh i agree um we've talked a little bit about cyber security but let's let's turn to that directly if we could um uh when i started as secretary in 2009 uh our chief threat stream still involved aviation security and i spent maybe 10 percent of my time on cyber by the time i left four and a half years later i was spending a good 40 to 50 percent of my time on cyber i mean it was it was exploding um uh um given uh our hope that we don't end up in an actual kinetic war with uh china but we we uh can anticipate that we're in a a battle in a way in the so-called gray zone um uh where cyber is concerned um and you know how do you see uh our interactions with the chinese in this area but the russians the iranians others that um are active uh in in the cyber security realm well i i think you know secretary mayor is now the current homeland security secretary if he's not spending 60 or 70 percent of his time and with sysa which again i know uh was the independent agency that's been set up afterwards took us too long not due to you by any means but you know it took us too long to get it stood up um to try to have that domestic non-regulatory but you know the the fire person you call you know when the fire gets lit call sister so they can help you public privately respond um huge huge issue i mean china um you know during your tenure with tenure with president obama i think you did send a strong signal to china for a while and they cut back on some of the intellectual property theft but it is estimated that you know china steals 300 to 500 billion dollars a year of ip from us and around the world that's a lot of dollars that if you don't have to invest as a nation state then you can acquire you can steal that through cyber um or it's not just entirely cyber through joint ventures and other things and let me also say i think a lot of america and other businesses have turned a blind eye to the chinese government's bad behavior because of their you know fear that they would lose the chinese market and consequently have made compromises they wouldn't make anywhere else but that intellectual property theft is where china has done most of its activity russia has done you know traditional information exploitation the way solar winds but also uh you know they are russia and its quasi-agents of people that may work for the gre during the day and cyber criminals at night they have been much more um ransomware based attacks but i i like to step back and say for a minute you know solar winds where the bad guys the russians in this case been been attributed you know um got into 18 000 companies luckily they just exfiltrated information but if that had been a complete denial of service and shutdown of those 18 000 companies our whole economy could have come crashing to a halt so this is an area where we are still vulnerable and there was a fascinating story again i saw in in you know the public press over the last three or four days that has shown kind of the next where this kind of cyber um activity still not kinetic but uh conflict may be headed and that is the case and i've not gotten independent intel on this this is just from you know public demand domain stories that showed the recent back and forth between iran and israel where the iranians thought that the israelis were shutting down their all their gas stations and drove up the cost of their gasoline and food complete disruption for a couple of weeks into people's availability to get gasoline in iran and the israelis have then said you know the iranians broke into the uh um the biggest you know gay website in israel and disclosed a million and a half israelis private information so this is where this is different than a ransomware attack or this is different than stealing intellectual property or this is different than traditional spying but this may be the kind of where cyber conflict is headed where you've got again you're not bombing someone you're not um you may not be uh violating the rules of war but you are definitely affecting a domestic population's lifestyle so i think this is you know if you uh whether it's one two or three if you say what a as as chairman of the intelligence committee what keeps me up as much at night cyber is definitely one of the top three yeah uh uh well i'm i have to say i'm glad to hear that um but i'm not glad to hear that because we wish it it it weren't such a present risk but it it certainly is um you know one of the uh areas of risk associated with new technologies is there is the risks to our democracy itself um and uh the role of social media in uh um being sort of an accelerant on the flame of extremism uh on both sides but primarily in the u.s recently we've seen it on the on the right wing side um what what do you think uh congress can do or should think about that well um we ought to do some version of what california and europeans have done with gdpr and put in place some basic privacy rules number one number two um and and these go before the potential of breakup which i've not moved to yet but but i'm you know open to if we don't if we don't make some progress i think what we ought to do and i was a telecom guy as i mentioned earlier we ought to import some of the ideas from telecom there used to be really hard to move from one telephone company to another in terms of long distance so you had number portability i think we need data portability and interoperability so if you get tired of a certain platform you can easily migrate with all your data to newco and still then talk or communicate with people that remain on the on the the previous platform so data portability i think and this is something again i know the california legislature looked at uh but wasn't able to cross the line and this may probably would be too too much for the american congress to grapple with but i think you know the idea that facebook and google and twitter and so forth are free you and i both know they're not free their their model is simply based on they suck information out from us and then monetize that i think there's nothing implicitly wrong or morally wrong necessarily with that but i think we ought to become informed consumers so i'm a big believer that there ought to be some requirement that these platform companies share with their consumers or their their products as the case may be you know how much that data that they're sucking out of us is actually worth so some level of data viability law visibility law and then i finally think we we do need to take on um what i referenced earlier section 230 which back in the late late 90s when this legislation was passed basically put in place a complete complete impunity and a complete legal liability shield against any of the content on these platforms um you know maybe that was right in the late 90s i'm not sure 25 years later it still makes sense and again even the large platform companies like facebook say they're willing to do changes there and we have made certain changes i mean childhood pornography bomb making um i've got legislation with amy klobuchar and maisie hirono that would uh call the safe tech act that would say let's let's at least make certain things that are already illegal illegal if they're if they are used by social media companies so if you're doing civil rights violation in business and you're doing that over social media there ought to be some liability if you have uh the illegal tort illegal alien actor which is um basically you know what facebook allowed when when the miramar government was using uh facebook as a platform to encourage people to go out and murder their rohingya you know there should be some liability there if your levels of cyber bullying that are illegal in certain other areas maybe they should be illegal as well on on on on social media the ability to be able to enforce injunctive relief i mean there was this horrible case of somebody on i think the grinder site that got you know somebody manipulated somebody said he was another person had his life basically ruined um and there was no ability even though there was to get injunctive relief to try to prevent what the platform didn't even deny was happening but they said section 230 protects protections and then also i do think um there ought to not be uh well i think their first amendment obviously needs to be preserved and you have a right to say stupid stuff whether you have the right to have an amplified a billion times remains to be seen but i don't think there should be that same kind of first amendment protection if a platform is is uh receiving you know benefits from paid advertising i mean there are prohibitions on on television and radio from and other mediums if you are selling a a faulty product or a pyramid scam that's that's um you've been gone after there is no such prohibition uh on social media so this our safe tech act i think preserves the first amendment but it gets set at some of a a it's not full content moderation but it simply does enforce um uh some of the laws that are already out there now on social media there's also been and we're still looking we've had some good conversations with republicans that get uh bipartisan support there is a companion bill already in the house there's been another approach that has been gotten some bipartisan approach uh bipartisan support that i've been also looking at that looks at the again easy to say hard to put in place you know the algorithmic biases that may be coming in place if the algorithm is sending you disproportionately to some place that is is [Music] and i don't fully understand how they're how they're shaving this because it's easy to say but if it sends you to a illegal site by definition that is a little harder to sort through um but i think there is you know even this week it's been suggested that the house energy and commerce committee where probably this will more arise is going to have a meeting on on this whole universe around section 230 that i i hope would move i've gone on way too long on this answer i wish we could have moved some of these other areas like data portability data evaluations and i've got bipartisan legislation on what's called dark patterns and which again i think you know and this audience probably knows but for those who don't you know it's when a when something comes up on the site that you have no basic ability to opt out you you get the big flashing light here to sign up here and you've got to go three different pages to find a place to say no i don't want this so uh that's been you know that's technically called a dark pattern usage and that ought to be prohibited as well right so um what you're what you're saying is that there ought to be uh uh some guardrails i'll use that word on uh going to the business model that the platforms use um as opposed to government necessarily itself regulating the economy yeah i don't think we're going to get to because of the first amendment and because i don't think in any bipartisan way you can get to um content regulation i also don't know if i want to um i don't think you know i disagree with some of my friends on the right who say these social media companies have an implicit anti-conservative bias i think it's actually their biases to make money their biases to make money and if you look at who the top 10 um you know the posters on on facebook on a daily basis you know most of your audience has not heard of probably seven of them because they are far right wing uh you know bloggers and posters um so i yes so the thing is i think we do have to obviously respect our first amendment i think there are ways to respect that first amendment and but still put some uh appropriate guardrails in place you know although and one last comment because i've been following this abroad as well i know this is a hard subject to grapple with because even when you look at content moderation in countries that don't have a first amendment you know after the great tragedy in in new zealand at the mosque shooting and some of the activities in france um you know uh the bernie bell uh shootings and the manipulation of social media in the uk and elsewhere none of these other countries or kind of the western democracy countries at least have totally sorted this out i actually think the british are going to come out with some legislation that they think will get fully vetted early next year they may be one of the first but this is a you know even a country with countries that are not that don't have first amendment productions this is not an easy needle thread and that's one of the reasons why i think the idea that that there's so much attraction and why i've not ruled this out if we can't put some some guardrails in place or if we can't add some more pro competition notions like data portability and and data valuation then you know some of my colleagues have said we need to look at full breakup um you know i'm not taking that off the table okay and good good to hear so 230 is still uh an active topic of conversation with your colleagues it is it and it's and it's you know how how we can be in a in a situation after the um the whistleblower from facebook testified you know what was a month or two ago absolutely damning comments about how that platform uh is is uh um you know in her case i think it's the most powerful was manipulating young women uh around eating disorders and other issues uh and and say that that status quo is acceptable is just beyond me yeah yeah uh to totally uh agree um you you've mentioned several times uh uh working uh with the other side of the aisle and you were one of the lead negotiators on the so-called bipartisan infrastructure act that the president recently signed um how did you get that done uh and you know i'm going to ask about the reconciliation bill but first of all how did you get the bike give me the nice one first give me the nice one first yeah here's the here's the slow pitch over the center it was you know what was and i don't um the mainstream media's attention span is is is pretty short uh which is not exactly a news flash but you know people are saying how did this group come together well most of this group at least eight of the ten of us had worked very closely together with then secretary mnuchin on the last uh coveted relief bill that took place in in december of 2020 in the so-called 908 bill had 98 billion dollars of relief so we had you know many of these my republican friends like susan collins and and you know lisa murkowski and and bill cassidy and mitt romney uh and rob portman you know we've worked with in the past so this group kind of came about with rob portman kirsten cinnamon who not in the 908 group working we had a prior working existing relationship and so there was trust um and it was it was still hard sausage making you know it took a long long time to get there and you know the fact that we got 19 republicans and kudos to my republican colleagues who took enormous amounts of grief uh for working with us but you know it's kind of hard to deny that a nation like ours that hadn't made a meaningful investment in infrastructure in 50 years that that wasn't good policy and not just roads and bridges but things like resiliency things like you know broadband deployment 65 billion dollars things like frankly even the energy component a lot of transition to smarter grid to investment electric vehicle infrastructure electric buses um you know it was i think a good piece of work and again it was not i'm not putting on again my partisan hat for a second i thought it was completely stupid that you know democrats in the house would not go ahead and once we pass that in the middle of july go ahead and pass it then to give the president a big win and the country a big win yeah um and there was certain irony that we you know it it literally got signed about a week after our election in virginia and wearing my partisan hat again where we lost uh the governorship and you lost the whole ballot right we lost the whole ballot and partially due to the fact that we you know we had this big win that we could have gone and talked to people in virginia about and said you know and the gubernatorial candidate could have said listen i'm you know i know what we can do here about this road or i know what you can do here about this broadband um uh that would have been a tangible item so um um it was you know i'm proud of the work i think it will it will be um significant for our country and a host of areas i do think one of the things and you as a as a governor will get this more than most of my colleagues you know we all know those governors that passing the bill is just the first step how it gets implemented and this level of new spending in areas where you're either creating new programs entirely or pumping up historic numbers things like roads and bridges you know we need the best oversight team possible i think the president's taking a good step with my our mutual friend mitch landrieu but i think there ought to be a whole team of people on implementation yeah yeah um so turning to the next bill the reconciliation uh bill which um is uh now in in your chamber in the senate uh again kind of give me how you see the lay of the land there well i'm actually pretty optimistic um you know i'm not going to put a date certain on it but you know at roughly 1.75 billion and i was prepared to do more than that you know because i think again over a 10-year frame um you know the inflationary pressures we're feeling right now partially due to supply chain but if they're doing the government spending it's because of the five billion dollar five trillion dollars that we've spent um you know yes five trillion dollars we spent under both trump and and biden on covent relief um but i think you know if we talk about what's in it that are pro growth like you know we know we need more people back in the workforce disproportionately women well child care and and guaranteed preschool are two pretty good places you know making sure that the piece this morning that i saw on the news that one out of every five americans is a caregiver and one level or another whether it's for kids or for aging parents providing some support particularly for you know aging parents and disabled i think that makes a lot of sense taking on climate change in a meaningful way i would do a carbon tax but you know even without that you know hundreds of millions of dollars of incentives and you know i say this is you know father of one of my daughters a type one diabetic at least trying to bring down or put a cap on on a drug like insulin costs um you know makes some sense to me i think we've spent you know and it's easy you know i guess i've been partially guilty of this as well we've spent the last four months talking about top-line numbers and mostly americans don't have the foggiest idea what's in this legislation component parts are are popular so i'm trying to talk about what's in it i would have you know if i could have even corrected a little bit more i would have probably tried to do less for a longer period of time than you know the the whole wish list because again i think you and i both know um from our time as governor and you being more in the belly of the beast of the federal government even than me you know having the record of the federal government under any president to implement a whole lot of new programs simultaneously has been mixed to say the best yeah yeah um and uh you know one always worries when you see a program that that is only funded for a year or two years um uh given how the political lay of the land can be changing etc etc regardless of the merits of the program so neither party has much neither party has clean hands on creating fiscal cliffs whether it's on tax cuts that expire too early or expire at some point or starting new programs and i think again i if i could wave partial magic wand i would have i would have made it less programs the only other thing i'd just say on this second half is um and i'm not sure we can shift the battleship again you know a lot of the initiatives well you know extraordinarily important to climate change um a lot of the other kind of social initiatives in this plan feel like they were the list was put together pre-covered and if there was a major change i would make in this legislation it would be you know thinking through the ideas of the fact that i think many americans are post coven rethinking what they want to what their work life balance ought to be and how we invest in human capital and treat that investment from a tax accounting and reporting system at least as well as we treat things like research and development intangible goods would be a would have been the area that i wish we would have spent some more time on um we're about at the end of our part of the the session but let me just ask one concluding question if you could step back a moment um uh the the united states um has been the world's leading economy because we have led in technology and innovation for years and our universities have been talent magnets from around the world actually what do you think the united states needs to do and what congress needs to do to to sustain that position as the number one kind of innovation center for the globe well um i think we've seen let me step back and say i think we've seen that without american leadership candidly the rest of the world flounders a little bit and we saw that when president trump so dramatically tried to take you know basically take america out of that leadership role and i think you know waiting for the europeans or the japanese or any other countries to kind of take on these macro risks on their own without american leadership uh you know i think the world suffered i think democracy suffered over the last four years but to get this right we need to make these kind of investments like euseka but we also need to make sure that we continue to be a attraction of top talent from around the world immigration reform um you know making sure that our challenges for example with with china are are focused on the challenge of the communist party and not turn this into an anti-asian or anti-chinese you know uh kind of political propaganda i think there are countries like australia that seem to have even managed particularly that component of how you deal with the chinese diaspora better than america i think there's things we can learn there so let's keep investing in our our universities let's go ahead and realize we are going to have to get into at least the area of quasi-industrial policy to stay competitive with china in many of these areas and let's make sure we continue to be the the place where the best talent from around the world want to live and then study and and live their lives there you go well thank you so much senator uh it's been a wonderful conversation uh i know we have some questions coming in from uh the audience i'm going to turn it over to professor sargent terrific and i'm going to seize the opportunity to lead off with a question of my own if you don't mind um earlier in your conversation i think senator warner uh you reflected uh that you wish there was a set of academics uh theorists sort of policy makers thinking about how to manage the consequences of artificial intelligence uh for uh security for for society and in response to that observation i would like to ask you both uh to reflect upon the role that universities can play in managing threats emanating from emerging technologies now i'm mindful as a historian of the role that the service academies historically have played anticipating and responding to disruptive technological change from the advent of battleships to the rise of air power do you think that civilian universities which are after all key generators of technological disruption could be more proactive in anticipating uh security risks social risks that emanate from disruptive technologies and in participating in the development of solutions janet you want to go first you want me to go first you go first all right well let me just one it's a great question and obviously uh to a world of of mostly academic audience i'm going to say yes but uh but with a couple of caveats one um there's an interesting idea that senator kirsten gillibrand and senator ben sasse have um that i'm very intrigued with i want to see it fleshed out a little more about creating in a sense the equivalent of a cyber security academy um that would be you know maybe not guaranteeing military service but recognizing again that that this is going to be an ongoing threat but you know how you train people and how we kind of move people in and out of government around cyber security and this also begs the question of kind of a nerdy issue but security clearance reform so you can get people in and out of government reform on an easy basis on the issue of ai and the others i absolutely think the academic community is is critically important i i do think though it needs to be married in some in some format so that it gets the recognition that it deserves i am sure that on at berkeley and you know there's probably 50 different around the country not just berkeley 50 different you know academics or even working groups that are looking at ai and its implications for ethics and policy and but how that information filters to policymakers and how it's done in a collaboration with the the very investors who are making these decisions the the private capital and um some folks in the government that's where i think we could still make some improvement but the basic premise is absolutely dead on well i have to agree with my my friend the distinguished senator from virginia um uh and i and i i i think what we need to develop is a better bridge between the academy and uh the policy making world and the political world quite frankly um uh and and i think if we can do that one of the advantages to the political and policy-making world is to have um access to those in the academy who are thinking not just of today's technology but who can see around the corner and see what's in development what what's the next thing so that we can become as a country more nimble agile and proactive um and uh uh you know i i i think perhaps for example on ai where we know there are technical legal ethical moral questions around ai um uh you know uh the idea of forming some sort of an independent commission with kind of one goal you know in you know four months give us your best recommendations on how we handle ai i and i and i think um academicians would leap at that opportunity and i would simply add to the secretary's comment that you we did have eric schmidt and bob walt did a pretty good paper on ai that was some of this multi-disciplinary but it needs to be ongoing and i would just to be so it doesn't sound like i'm being a total um uh you know playing to the audience here uh i would i would say i would challenge um the academic world that i i feel when i see this you know in my own state with our institutions that because the sausage making has gotten so ugly and because in certain areas we've looked so inept and then you've had you know the the antithesis of the the epitome of kind of anti-science uh academic leadership under the former president um i think there's been a lot of the academia academia that's kind of basically said you know we're not going to mess with policymakers in politics and i think that is a is a horribly wrong decision and and um you know both the kind of intellectual rigor that we need in debates and the ideas and this janet said the ability of people who can see around the corner a little bit we need you more than ever and it's going to be messy yeah um and and you know one of the things that eric schmidt and all has have spoken about is the need to have a technology sophisticated workforce in the government uh and that's one of the things we've been trying to think through at berkeley like how do we support that development of that kind of a pipeline um and and i think by in the government i mean both in the in the interagency in the federal executive agencies but also in the staff for the for the senate and the house because as you know uh so much of the prep work gets done by staff yeah and that's again where i think the kind of nitty gritty issue and i've been working on this a lot and we even made some progress under trump getting security clearance reform done so that people can move in and out from academia into the government and for that matter back in the private sector you know i i see on a regular basis um you know a good staff in cities with one right here who got stolen away by industry or get stolen away by academia because you know because it's uh the sausage making process at least recently has been pretty damn messy yeah you got that ability to come back and forth for sure for sure so let me pick up in response uh sort of this metaphor of bridge building uh which you've both deployed i think to describe the relationship between academia and and government and i would be you know really interested uh to hear reflect upon whether um academics might be more sort of proactive in getting engaged with congress as distinct from from the executive agencies you know often officials in the executive agencies are you know really you know fixated with operational tactical sort of day-to-day problems is congress a venue in which uh you know academics might be more sort of constructively engaged with sort of longer-term more strategic level uh challenges um i'll i'll start again since i'm here yeah the short answer is yes and and i think about um you know the intelligence committee we have a technical advisory groups that we have where we've put academics you know i i i've been now chair for only about 10 or 11 months um but we need to use those more often and there's a little bit of when the congress goes from radically one in to the other back and forth having that continuity because building these relationships particularly with academics into the congressional sausage making process you know i don't think any academic is going to come and and feel fully utilized on a short-term basis it has to be some level of trusted relation because again what secretary napolitano said is we got to do this just not at the member level but you got to have that trusted staff people that could again continue to build those relationships but i think this is that's an area that that we have um um underutilized you know for that matter we've even under you likes outside of academia you know as janet knows there's a whole totally other industry in washington of very smart people that are in the think tanks and at least on the democratic side our ability to use the even the brains that are 15 minutes down the road uh has been pretty pretty poor over the last few years yeah and i think uh daniel one of the um uh challenges is because congress is involved in sausage making um and um it's a big place you got 535 members you've got all this stuff et cetera it's knowing how to plug in and where to plug in um and uh you know working out some sort of process uh by which um uh congress knows where to go and in the reverse those in academia know where to go great so let me introduce some audience questions there's a lot of audience interest in the topic of artificial intelligence so i'm going to you know just read a question verbatim an audience member asks artificial intelligence is a fast emerging technology that straddles industries from national defense to health care when will congress propose definitive federal legislation to create a regulatory body or even a new department to manage this this new technology it's a big question but the topic is so important that it you know seems seems worth pondering and i'm not i answered first the last you'd take that one first you know i i think you know my my read is that there will need to be some sort of crisis regarding ai before congress actually acts but i do think there will be a need for some sort of regulatory approach uh to ai and i and i think we actually would be benefited if we had it um if it was beginning now but i think congress moves when there's a crisis and i i would agree and i think you know that's kind of where we started the conversation i am you know rather than trying to fix this guardrails after the quote-unquote ai industry has fully stood up um would be a mistake so how can we get ahead of it or at least how can we uh enhance some regulatory entity that would be at least looking at it but we don't even have a good definition at this point and and you know somebody who spent a bunch of time um i could sort through a little bit of the differences between you know big data machine learning ai where one begins and the other ends you know i think python louise book about the the challenging the china u.s competition
around ai fascinating um but i'm not sure most policymakers we need you know we need academia combined with with you know the emerging ai industry to help us at least get the definitions right um so we can you know figure out where that regulatory or at least advisory group ought to be right and and i think a