The bloom is off the rose that was Big Tech. Washington may need to look to other sectors of the economy to sustain the pace of innovation. One candidate for that role is the defense industry, particularly big players with diverse operations, Much of what these companies do involves dual-use technology with relevance to commercial industry, and yet unlike in the commercial world there is a longstanding, bipartisan consensus supporting industrial policy in defense. Thus, if tech companies like Google falter, there is a framework in place to expand the scope of innovation in defense. The biggest military contractors, like Lockheed Martin, are already deeply engaged in university research, venture investment, technology incubation, and other activities potentially pertinent to commercial markets. It could be that America is headed back to an era when new commercial products are spun off of military breakthroughs, rather than vice-versa. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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