Innovation Improves Lives

Jesse Blumenthal, Vice President, Technology & Innovation, Stand Together and Director, Technology & Innovation at the Charles Koch Institute joins Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss how innovation improves lives.

The conversation begins with a discussion around innovation in society and the positive impacts it has had throughout history.

Innovator used to be basically a synonym for a heretic. An innovator meant someone who challenge[s] the King or challenged the Church.

– Jesse Blumenthal

As more individuals are able to try new things, there are more attempts at innovation which has a positive impact on society. Following on this trend, the conversation expands to platforms and how they grow knowledge in society through access to information.

Today billions of individuals around the world access information through a simple search or a scroll of a newsfeed. But in 1992, that was not the case as only 10 million individuals around the world had Internet access. In 1994, only 24% of Americans had a computer at their home.

During the Clinton Administration, President Clinton and Vice President Gore encouraged the private sector to lead on the internet and develop technologies that will help usher in the “New Economy”.

It is the policy of the United States that the private sector should lead on the internet. Internet innovation should be lead by the private sector and not the public sector.

During the mid-’90s, consumers did not have a credit card on file. There was a healthy level of skepticism about doing business online. This all changed when the Clinton Administration stepped up and lead on innovation.

Staying on the topic of policy and innovation, Grayson and Jesse discuss the AV Start Act and why a national framework for autonomous vehicles is needed. Individuals do not think about driving from Boston to New Hampshire, but without a national framework, they will have to as the autonomous vehicle will not be able to travel over State lines.

While there is the national issue of an autonomous vehicle framework, there is the California State issue of Prop 22 and AB5. AB5 came to be law because of special interests and their desire to curtail the rapidly growing gig economy.

While special interests and the politicians who they back are trying to slow down innovation, entrepreneurs across America continue to innovate and look to the future.

Tech Moves Faster than Government and that is a good thing.

– Jesse Blumenthal

Staying on topic. Grayson and Jesse discuss the politics of ride-sharing, the gig economy, and the economic impact on society. The gig economy gives individuals flexibility and voters value flexibility.

With voters valuing flexibility, they also value their privacy. Apple has clearly demonstrated that consumers value privacy. While this approach works for Apple, it might not work for other companies.

Apple’s approach to privacy will benefit the company if and when they decide to introduce an autonomous vehicle service.

Closing out the conversation, Grayson and Jesse discuss what can be done to ensure that America continues to lead on innovation. Innovation that will improve lives and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs to build companies with outcome-based approaches.

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