Sunday, September 18, 2022

What Does Joe Biden Believe In? Science.

And the power of government to promote it, and use it to make life better. Ezra Klein in the NY Times:

Let’s start with Biden’s ambition. Four major bills have passed during his presidency: The American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Every one of them, at a core level, is about creating or deploying new technologies to solve ongoing problems.

The American Rescue Plan deployed vaccines and widespread testing and genomic surveillance to stifle the pandemic; the infrastructure bill is thick with ideas to make broadband access universal and develop next-generation energy and transportation technologies; CHIPS is an effort to break our reliance on Taiwanese and South Korean semiconductor manufacturing and keep ahead of China in fields of the future like artificial intelligence and quantum computing; and the Inflation Reduction Act uses tax breaks and loan guarantees to supercharge the wind and solar industries, build up advanced battery manufacturing, develop cost-effective carbon capture systems, and give the auto and home-heating industries reasons to go entirely electric.

Much attention, in recent years, has revolved around how technology can coarsen politics and denude communities. Look no further than the disinformation enabled by social media or the factories closed and towns wrecked by the communication and shipping advances that supercharged globalization. But new technologies can also create new possibilities. The politics of climate change would be impossible if solar panel costs hadn’t fallen by 89 percent and onshore wind costs by 70 percent in 10 years. California’s decision to ban the sale of cars running on internal combustion engines after 2035 would be unthinkable without the rapid advances in battery technology. Vaccination can curb the threat of disease in ways that social distancing can’t, as vaccinations can be sustained, but lockdowns become economically, politically and educationally ruinous.

You can add in the administration's push for more lithium mining, better public transit, and the new ARPA-H, which is supposed to make big, risky bets in medical technology, as DARPA does for military technology.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power! The power to create machines! The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful! To make this life a wonderful adventure!

Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world! A decent world! That will give men a chance to work! That will give youth a future and old age a security!

By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power - but they lie! They do not fulfil that promise! They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people!

Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason! A world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness! Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!

~ Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator, 1940