The president’s State of the Union address touched on several pressing tech topics.
Technological innovations and industry policy were present among the myriad topics President Joe Biden briefly discussed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.
Leading with the crisis in Ukraine, Biden touched on the sanctions his administration imposed as Russia continues its military assault. Some of these embargos cut Russia’s supply of key technologies, and are expected to undermine President Vladimir Putin’s war funds.
“We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come,” Biden said.
He also advocated the passage of the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, a bill that allocates federal funds toward strengthening technological innovation and manufacturing in the U.S., among other things.
“It's so important to pass the bipartisan Innovation Act sitting in Congress that will make record investments in emerging technologies and American manufacturing,” he said. “We still invest almost 2% of our GDP in research and development.”
Contextualizing this statement was Biden’s prior comment on leveling the playing field with China and other foreign economic competitors. One of the key products he hopes to invest in are semiconductors, an industry in which the U.S. is largely dependent on foreign producers.
Addressing the country, Biden touted computer company Intel’s recent $20 billion dollar semiconductor development site in Ohio as a major win for American infrastructure investment.
“...Make more cars and semiconductors in America or infrastructure and innovation in America,” he said. “More goods moving faster and cheaper in America.”
Biden also called for targeted advertisements to be banned for child online users to scattered applause. In the audience was Francis Haugen, a former Facebook employee who served as a whistleblower against the company’s business practices.
“Children were also struggling before the pandemic; bullying violence, trauma, and the harms of social media,” Biden said. “Ban targeted advertising to children. Demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.”