In Focus | Consumer Technology & Policy


– Hello, I’m Tom Campbell coming to you
from the LG Digital Studio
at Georgetown University
School of Continuing Studies.
In focus today, consumer technology.
I’m joined by Michael Petricone,
senior vice president, not of age,
Senior VP of Government Affairs
for the Consumer Technology Association.
Michael welcome.
– Tom happy to be here.
– And a Georgetown graduate by the way.
– Yes indeed.
– Ah your alma mater here.
You know in your position,
you’ve been responsible
for representing the Consumer
Technology Industry’s
position before congress
on critical issues
such as internet freedom,
intellectual property,
you name it.
Wireless spectrum, high
skilled immigration,
the new 5G we’ll be
talking about, you know,
and of course, you’ve
been a frequent speaker
on policy issues and have
been noted as one of the
very top DC technology lobbyists.
I want to thank you so much
and we’ve been, you know,
we’ve talked a lot about
the students’ interest
especially moving into
the world of technology.
The opportunities are more than ever
but we haven’t been
talking much about policy.
And that’s also critical Michael.
So tell me about this,
we’ve got so much new
technology coming out,
so many opportunities.
What are you doing as far as in the world
of technology and legislation?
– This is a very exciting time, Tom,
because what we’re seeing right now is
the emergence simultaneously
of a number of technologies.
The power to really transform
and improve our lives.
You’ve got self-driving cars,
you’ve got artificial intelligence,
you’ve got 5G, you’ve got robotics.
– [Tom] Augmented reality.
– Augmented reality.
– Absolutely.
– And all these will have the potential
to change society for the better.
With self-driving cars
alone, 40,000 people
who lose their lives on
American roads every year.
Most of them by preventable
driver accidents,
driver mistakes.
– Smart cities you’ve been
talking about for years.
– Oh those smart cities, smart cities
that have the potential
to really revolutionize
the urban experience for the better.
And all these technologies
are coming together and combining.
It’s a very exciting time.
– But you know, we don’t
hear a lot about policy.
Okay, we don’t.
On the news we hear about other issues
but there’s some issues here right now,
I mean technology is just
moving forward so quickly,
exploding, so many
opportunities right now,
not 10 years from now.
This year, next year, right now.
– [Michael] Yes.
– So what do we do to have policy catch up
or try to catch up with what’s
happening with technology?
– Policy is very important.
Because right now the United States leads
the world in technology.
If you think about it, the
United States platforms,
US companies are the dominant
platforms for global commerce,
global banking, information,
entertainment, communication.
All US companies.
The United States is more than half
of the world’s unicorn, our companies
are valued over a
billion dollars and over.
So we’re in the lead and
it’s not because we’re lucky
and it’s not because we’re
simply great or predestined.
It is because throughout
the history of this country,
we’ve made very good
pro-innovation policy choices.
We’ve had our first
amendment, that’s important.
We have the supreme
court betamax decision,
that says that if a
product has a legal use,
that’s a legal product
and you can sell it.
We have something called
intermediary liability
which means that if you’re
running an internet platform
and some bad actor on that
platform does something wrong
liability lies with the bad
actor, not the platform.
We have a congress that generally,
when there’s a disruptive technology,
and new entrants and
new competitors appear,
and the old legacy
conventions run to congress,
whether it’s like taxi cabs or hotels,
and they say pass the law,
pass the law, stop this.
Congress has generally said no,
competition is good, no.
So the reason we do well in technology
is because we have made a
series of correct choices
and in order to continue doing well,
we need to continue
making correct choices.
– What would you say about
disruptive technologies?
This is really something, it’s true.
It’s true.
I mean you look at what’s happened,
for example, where’s the cassette tape?
Where’s the CD we used to see, you know?
And now you’ve got the 4K
ultra Blu-Ray for example
and streaming and everything else going on
but to that point, what
are the current trends
that you see in consumer technology
and how is policy affecting that?
– Well it’s interesting.
We put on a show every year called CES
in January in Las Vegas.
– [Tom] Consumer Electronics Show.
– Consumer Electronics Show and it is
over just 2 1/2 million square feet.
I’m somewhat biased, but
the biggest, coolest,
most fun, most extraordinary
show on the planet.
And you could walk through it,
the two million square feet.
You can walk through it if
you’re wearing comfortable shoes
and you can see in front of you
just everything that’s going on.
– And these aren’t just TV sets.
– They’ve got good TV
sets, I mean great TV Sets.
But they’ve also got self-driving cars,
and robotics and AR and VR
and over 800 entrepreneurs and an area
called Eureka Park,
which is like, I think,
could be just may be
the biggest standalone entrepreneurship.
– Michael, I just had some
of the Georgetown staff
at CES a couple of years ago.
This guy was sitting on
the floor with some tofu,
“hey man, check out my…”
Looked like a diver’s helmet.
– [Michael] Right.
– That was oculus.
How many billion did that sell for?
Quite a bit, quite a bit.
It started at CES.
– I always say if you ever want to be
reaffirmed of the power of America
and our future and the power
of American innovation,
just walk through CES.
– You’re an attorney, and
you are the interface really
if you take a look at
between the technology
and legislation, that’s you.
– [Michael] Yes.
– So let me ask you on
this, how are consumers
being protected from the negative,
or potential negative
aspects of technology?
– Well technology is
inherently disruptive.
Right?
– Yes.
– It changes things.
And history has shown that
it is generally for the good.
But there are always consequences.
And we, as a society, have to
deal with those consequences.
Right?
And I mean the upside is tremendous.
But you’ve also got to deal
with the negative externalities.
And that is our
responsibility as an industry.
Right?
Being disruptive doesn’t
mean you can just walk into
the room and flip over the tables
and then wave goodbye and walk out.
You’ve got to deal with these things.
So, for example, one
thing is job training.
We need to make sure that students today
are graduating with the skills they need.
– Both men and women.
– Both men and women,
well, that’s another thing.
Gotta make sure–
– Diversity.
– Right, we gotta make
sure that students graduate
with the skills they need,
we gotta make sure that,
again, all of America
is able to take part and all of America
is able to use their skills
and we have full representation.
Not just because it’s
the right thing to do.
But because this is a globally
competitive environment.
– But what is your message
that technology management
students on how policy affects technology
and technology as a service?
What would you say to that?
– The most important thing,
and I’m saying this because
it’s really, really rare,
is to have a working
knowledge of both worlds.
To have the technical knowledge,
to have the programming knowledge,
to have the business knowledge
and combine that with
the policy knowledge.
Because that’s invaluable.
Because it’s always a struggle.
As you know, the pace of
tech is very, very fast
and the pace of government policymaking
is really slow.
It was designed that way and it works
and the one outcome that you don’t want
are regulations, top down regulations
that are well intended,
because they’re always well intended,
but will inadvertently choke off–
– Encumbered
Right.
– Encumbered and because of that,
things that could happen
that could be beneficial
wouldn’t happen, right?
So that’s the outcome
that you want to avoid.
– Well we’re looking at issues right now
from anti-trust, a number of
things that are right now.
– Yes.
– Privacy, which I know we only have
a few more minutes left, but
Michael I really appreciate
you making the time
for us here today and Gary Shapiro,
who is of course the
CEO, President of CTA,
he’s done a lot and I know when you made
the change from consumer electronic show
to consumer technology
show, it really represents
a lot more than just a TV set
or a computer or whatever.
It’s really technology.
– Yes.
Software.
– Intellectual property.
What you’ve done is just phenomenal.
And I believe CES is
the largest trade show,
one of the largest in
America right now, isn’t it?
– It is the largest
professional show in the world.
– Oh my gosh.
Well thank you so much really
and it’s been a pleasure having you here.
Thank you Michael.
– [Michael] Thank you Tom.
Well thank you and stay tuned,
there’s much more coming
from the LG Digital Studios
at Georgetown SCS.
Thank you so much for watching.

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