American Innovation at the Crossroads

By Aris Melissaratos

Chairman and Founder, The Aris Institute

crossroadsAmerica has come to a fork in the road. On one of its possible paths it will likely lead the world technologically for much and perhaps most of the 21st century, as it did in the 20th. The other path points to a future in which the US slows down more and more, falling ever farther behind other nations in the race of technological evolution.

America is built on optimism, and our faith in what we can achieve must never waver. But there is a time for self-satisfaction and a time for warnings. As a nation we are now in warning mode. Elsewhere in this edition you can find disturbing information about America’s receding technological edge across a wide front. It will profit all leaders of business and public service to pay keen attention to this wake-up call.

For over three decades at the Westinghouse corporation, including as chief scientific officer and vice president of science and technology, and in my separate careers as a technology investor, as Maryland’s economic development secretary, and as director of Johns Hopkins University’s intellectual capital commercialization, all my professional experience has been about anticipating our technological future. All I have learned tells me that this is a moment for national self-examination and urgent remedial action. For example, consider our transit situation.

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