The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

28. The Next Ten Years of Tech with Eli Dourado

The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast
28. The Next Ten Years of Tech with Eli Dourado

Eli Dourado is a senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity (CGO) at Utah State University. He focuses on the hard technology and innovation needed to drive large increases in economic growth — speeding up infrastructure deployment, eliminating barriers to entrepreneurs operating in the physical world, and getting the most out of federal technology research programs. He has worked on a wide range of technology policy issues, including aviation, Internet governance, and cryptocurrency. His popular writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy, among other outlets.

In today’s podcast, Mr. Dourado discusses technology opportunities in the next decade, the economic impact of shifting technology trends, and their impact on global security.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with him:

  • According to economic statistics, technological growth has stagnated since 2005. While some claim that the economy has fully matured and further growth will be limited, others argue that there is still room for growth, but U.S. culture and complacency has prevented further growth.
  • In the next two decades, geothermal energy will have the biggest impact on economic development. Cheap, unlimited geothermal energy will enable the use of more expensive materials like silicon carbide by significantly reducing the cost to create them, produce energy without carbon emissions thus mitigating the effects of climate change, and reduce food security concerns via indoor growing models.
  • The United States is now energy independent, which could incentivize a shift away from intervention in the Middle East. Conflict in the region could still significantly impact U.S. supply chains, given Asian reliance on Middle Eastern energy flows.
  • While genetic enhancements are still decades away, brain computer interfaces (BCI) could allow soldiers to command technology at the speed of thought in the next ten years. Related bioethical concerns, while important, may also be limiting the growth of beneficial technologies.
  • Decreasing launch costs are facilitating both commercial and governmental expansion in space. High resolution earth sensing technology could soon enable a “live Google Earth,” in which viewers could watch scenarios unfold in real time (e.g., Uyghur camps), impacting social movements.
  • Augmented reality will be widely adopted by the middle of the decade. However, systems will still require the development of ‘contextual awareness’ to prevent overloading users with information. In a conflict situation, a balance will need to be found that does not distract soldiers, but provides critical information in real time.
  • The U.S. military should use its procurement power to stimulate private investment in developing hard technologies. Currently, talent is pulled into app design and software development due to higher capacity financing.

Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring Mr. Shawn Steene (OSD Policy) and Mr. Michael Meier (HQDA OTJAG), discussing the ground truth on regulations and directives regarding lethal autonomy and what the future of autonomy for the force might mean in a complex threat environment on 18 February 2021!

Brought to you by The Army Mad Scientist Initiative of The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast