The U.S. is losing its advantage to China and other countries when it comes to innovations related to artificial intelligence, blockchain and other key technology, according to an analysis of patent filings over the past decade. While American inventors still command the largest portion of the nation’s patents, the percentage is dropping in the high-tech fields, according to a yearlong study conducted by the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and researchers at GreyB Services Pte.
In a grocery store somewhere in North America, a small drone floats from aisle to aisle, hovering like a hummingbird that has traded its nimble wings for tiny propellers. Each time the autonomous robot drops down to scan a crowded shelf using an onboard camera, the machine collects valuable data about the store's ever-changing inventory.
There is broad support in the United States for faster economic growth--a goal that ultimately depends on boosting labor productivity. In the long run, that requires more innovation, a big component of which comes from private research and development (R&D). But what, if anything, can countries do to increase domestic innovation?
So much has been said about design thinking, lean startup and agile as the way innovation should be practised. However, the organizations that have employed these strategies, including former companies I was a part of, are in a state of denial that doing these things will actually make your company more innovative.
Innovation drives productivity, and productivity is what drives jobs growth and the wealth that pays for our health, education, defence and social security systems. In short, innovation really matters. Governments, businesses and academics obsess over it. We need to know what works, what doesn’t and why - and that means turning to measurements and metrics. But can we really measure innovation today?
The FBI’s director said that the U.S.’s biggest threat is China’s “Whole-of-society Approach” to stealing American innovation. Speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations on Friday, April 26, Christopher Wray said, “Put plainly, China seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder, at our expense.”
Chief information officers from across the federal government are addressing the challenges of a demanding data-driven world by ramping up efforts to improve innovation. One of the greatest challenges is instilling a culture of change in the workplace, according to leaders from the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence at Tuesday's GDIT Emerge event in Washington, D.C.
Threats facing the United States are both known and unknown, dynamic and significant. China and Russia, competitors for global military and technological dominance, no longer trail the United States in developing and acquiring military capabilities. They are beginning to take the lead in strategic domains such as hypersonics, space and cyber warfare.
If technology is advancing crazy fast, why aren’t those advances showing up in the broader productivity and economic growth numbers? Or as economists Erik Brynjolfsson, Daniel Rock, and Chad Syverson describe this mystery in their 2017 paper “Artificial Intelligence and the Modern Productivity Paradox: A Clash of Expectations and Statistics:”