Talking to the Congressional Tech Staff Association

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Congressional Tech Staff Association last week at an event sponsored by Engine, which advocates for startups within the federal government. And I wanted to take to the blog to share a few thoughts on the event.

First, I can’t understate how important it is for policymakers to understand the nuts and bolts of the technology issues they’re thinking about (and potentially regulating), a topic that came up during the event. We recently heard Elon Musk implore governors to start regulating AI, highlighting the gap between where the technology is going and where the law currently is (side note: this was probably not the most thoughtful argument Musk has ever made… but more on Musk and AI another day).

All of which speaks to the importance of Congressional staffers getting curious and involved in tech. And I can’t commend them enough for thinking about these issues seriously, and asking good, tough questions.

Second, it’s also worth noting that the U.S. is far, far behind when it comes to innovative regulation. Countries like Singapore and the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority are actively trying to make laws readable and executable, and contributing to a spike in regulatory innovation, or what’s frequently called “regtech,” as a result. The great fintech thinker Jo Ann Barefoot recently wrote a piece on the importance of creating laboratories for regulation within the financial environment for Banking Exchange, and the truth is we need many more ideas like hers to be built upon, both by Congress and by regulatory agencies.

So, big picture: I hope some regulatory innovation is in order, both on regulations tied to data (which we’re laser focused on at Immuta) and otherwise. Given the state of our national politics, I can’t say I’m that optimistic for big changes at the federal level in the short term. But the Engine event was a great start and a hopeful sign.