By Doug Kelly, CEO, American Edge Project

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) pending before Congress contains several key technology-related provisions that will help both strengthen our national security and accelerate America’s innovation capabilities. These provisions, focused on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, quantum sciences, and a dozen other strategic technologies, will also help us maintain our technological edge over China, our greatest geopolitical competitor. 

Yet at the same time, many in Congress continue to push anti-innovation bills that, while purporting to apply to only the largest U.S. technology companies, could in fact damage America’s entire private sector tech industry and the hundreds of local innovation ecosystems across the country. 

In the last decade alone, America’s private sector technology companies have developed or accelerated the development of a long list of powerful technologies that are transforming our lives. The top ten include:

  1. Smartphones: Smartphones have revolutionized how we communicate, access information, and consume entertainment. They have also allowed us to stay connected with friends and family in ways that weren’t previously possible.
  2. Cloud Computing: Cloud computing has allowed businesses to access and store data from anywhere in the world and has enabled the creation of software as a service (SaaS).
  3. Social Media: Social media has changed the way we interact and share information. It has allowed for the spread of ideas in ways that weren’t possible before.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has enabled computers to learn and understand data in ways that weren’t previously possible. It is being used to automate tasks and is paving the way for a new era of machine learning.
  5. Internet of Things (IoT): IoT has enabled devices to be connected and controlled remotely, allowing for a new level of automation.
  6. Big Data: Big data has enabled businesses to analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately, allowing them to make better decisions and improve their operations.
  7. Autonomous Vehicles: Autonomous vehicles are vehicles that can drive themselves, eliminating the need for a driver. This technology is paving the way for a safer, more efficient transportation system.
  8. Augmented Reality (AR): AR has allowed us to interact with digital information in our physical environment. It has enabled us to explore and learn in ways that weren’t possible before.
  9. Blockchain: Blockchain has revolutionized the way businesses store, process, and share data, and allows people to securely transfer funds and assets without the need for a third-party intermediary. 
  10. Quantum Computing: Quantum computing is a new form of computing that uses quantum mechanics to solve complex problems faster than traditional computers. It has the potential to revolutionize many industries, medical discoveries, and national security.

It matters greatly which country builds the future. In the past, short-sighted policies by Congress surrendered our manufacturing edge to China. We can’t make the same mistake again with technology. Rather than handcuffing America’s tech innovators with onerous new regulations that wouldn’t apply to our China-based competitors, Congress needs to help accelerate domestic innovation. The world is counting on us to get it right.