Press Release

New Publication Series: Technology Factsheets

| June 19, 2019

Today, Congress is facing a wave of policy issues arising from the advent and application of new technologies. The rapid development of these technologies has often kept industry ahead of the legislative process or regulatory response. Under this steep learning curve, Congress has high expectations to not only grasp the technical aspects of each new technology or application, but simultaneously understand their policy implications and influence on societal values and rights.

The Technology and Public Purpose Project (TAPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) at the Harvard John A. Paulson School on Engineering and Applied Sciences have joined forces to address this widening gap between the halls of Congress and the technology firms in Silicon Valley. 

The Technology Factsheet Series offers a brief overview of the technical aspects of salient technologies and their policy relevance for Congressional members and their staff. As a collaboration between policy and technical experts, this series aims to provide the legislative branch with an accessible resource that bring its readers up to speed at a conversational level, without overburdening them with an exhaustive briefing. Each brief is accompanied with a series of questions that policymakers should consider as they pursue future work on these evolving issues. 

In the coming months and years, Congress will encounter these topics on a regular basis. The communication barrier that frequently exists between technical industry experts and policy makers has sometimes prevented a productive discussion on science and technology issues. A successful national debate, including testimony hearings and any subsequent legislation, will require a minimal base knowledge of complex technical issues. This series aims to bridge the gaps and bring different actors, with different interests, more closely aligned for the greater benefit of society as a whole. 

The first installment includes factsheets on: Machine Learning, Genome Editing, the Internet of Things, and Solar Geoengineering. Stay tuned for our next round of Technology Factsheets this fall. 

Download the Fact Sheets:

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:New Publication Series: Technology Factsheets.” Press Release, June 19, 2019.


Ash Carter