Reports & Papers

16 Items

Paper

Responsible Investing and Venture Capital

| September 2020

Historically, venture capital firms have been the first investors in many of the world’s largest and most influential companies. The business model, culture, and values of global companies are often shaped in the early years of a company’s development, and venture capital firms as the first investors and board members play an important role in this process. 

In the last few years, the world’s largest tech companies have run into major challenges in managing societal issues—the result of which has been governments, media, and activists taking a much deeper look how foundational values and cultures were shaped.

This discussion paper highlights several challenges and some potential solutions for advancing the management of societal impacts of venture capital firms and portfolio companies. 

A Watrix employee works at his desk in their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31, 2018. Watrix, a Chinese technology startup hopes to begin selling software that recognizes people by their body shape and how they walk, enabling identification when faces are hidden from cameras.

AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Paper - Project Syndicate

Is China Beating the U.S. to AI Supremacy?

| August 2020

Combining decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and analyzing national security decisionmaking, on the other, we have been collaborating over the past year in an effort to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Building a 21st Century Congress: Improving Congress’s Science and Technology Expertise

| September 2019

While members of Congress in both chambers often produce thoughtful legislation on established science and technology issues, in legislation and high-profile hearings, Congress has appeared unprepared to reckon with emerging technologies and their effects on society. 

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship

Reimagining Investing in Frontier Technology

| June 12, 2019

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Technology and Public Purpose Project (TAPP) and Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship co-hosted Reimagining Investing in Frontier Technology on May 15, 2019. This workshop convened over 70 investors (Limited Partners and General Partners), entrepreneurs, technologists, and others investing in and building frontier technologies in areas including artificial intelligence, genome engineering, advanced computing technologies, and more. The workshop explored the challenges investors and entrepreneurs face in bringing products to market in ways that maximize their benefits to society while minimizing harms.

Paper

The Congressional Futures Office

    Authors:
  • Justin Warner
  • Grant Tudor
| May 2019

This report interrogates the widening gap between responsive lawmaking in Congress and the deepening complexity of advancements in science and technology. It finds that certain weakened capabilities have atrophied the organization’s absorptive capacity, or the ways by which it recognizes the value of, assimilates, and makes use of knowledge outside of itself. We propose the design of a new internal body—the Congressional Futures Office—as an optimal response among a set of considered options. 

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International affairs and Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy

Big Tech and Democracy: The Critical Role of Congress

| April 2019

Technology has reached a critical juncture in American society. The unfettered optimism of recent decades is now tempered through rising concerns over privacy and security, the impact of disinformation campaigns, and increasing calls for digital accountability. It is clear that the 116th Congress will face pressure to shape technological innovation through policies that protect and serve the best interests of their constituents. 

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

2018 State of Digital Transformation

| October 2018

On June 12-13, 2018, digital HKS welcomed public sector digital services teams from around the world to share stories of success, talk about lessons learned, and discuss the challenges they face in transforming government. The teams convened all agreed on North Star goals of building platform services and putting users at the center; what remains much more difficult is identifying how teams in very different political and technology contexts should think about how to reach that end-state. In this report, digital HKS shares best practices we gleaned from this group, to start a broader conversation for digital services groups around the world about what comes next.