Introduction 3 There are over 5.1 billion internet users as of 2021, 2 and all manner of human activity depends on the internet. The modern banking system relies on foundations and concepts—such as currency, fi nancial instruments, fi nancial markets, fi nancial institutions, and central banks—developed over the course of recorded human history. However, these instruments have been digitized and now comprise vast networks and communications chan- nels that speed transactions across the globe in milliseconds. 3 Nations are using the internet to spy on other nations, steal intellectual property, and gain national security advantages. Cybercrime is on the rise, disinformation has become pervasive, and telling fact from fi ction on the internet has become virtually impossible. Social media contributed to irregularities in several national elections including in the 2016 presidential elections in the United States and the legislative council elections in Hong Kong. The decoding of the human genome as part of the thirteen-year-long, pub- licly funded Human Genome Project would not have been possible without the combination of these information technology and foundational biotech- nologies such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing technolo- gies. 4 We have learned to read and write the human genome, although we are still trying to understand how the genotype relates to the phenotype—in other words, how the gene sequences relate to the observable characteristics of an individual. We are rapidly moving into the Augmented Age, which could fundamentally change what it means to be human. Ominously, we have come so far in biotechnology, but as our global preparedness and response to COVID-19 has demonstrated, the journey has only just begun. AI is rapidly becoming a reality for all manner of uses. It not only offers great benefi ts for improving economic effectiveness and effi ciencies but also threatens to upend humanity. Will AI be used to augment human capacity or replace it? What does AI mean for the future of work? What about the future of warfare? We are on the verge of seeing autonomous vehicles on U.S. roads but have not worked out the legal, policy, and ethical issues, or the regula- tions and standards that will be necessary for widespread adoption. Nor have we gained the public trust in driverless cars and the broader system in which they will operate. Each of these three technologies—the internet, biotech, and AI—has something else in common. Government funding in the early stages of each served to move these technologies from concepts to programs and ultimately to commercial applications. So, while centralized planning is an anathema to the United States, and also to innovation, we see that critical innovations have resulted from U.S. government direction and fi nancial support. Cer- tainly, these are not the only examples as the Manhattan Project and the space program demonstrate. How to manage these tensions and opportuni- ties is a key focus of the book.
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