Q: What’s the biggest concern you hear in Taiwan from a business and technology perspective?
A: The broader objective of the Taiwanese business and tech community is to gain greater access to STEM talent, resolve economic barriers such as double taxation, and garner greater support for Taiwan’s overall international standing. That’s exactly what the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy’s newly-launched Taiwan Center for Innovation and Prosperity is focused on.
Q: What are the unintended consequences of technological isolation from China?
A: It is not about separating from China. It’s about taking off our rose-tinted glasses and seeing the Chinese Communist Party for what it is, not what we hoped it would be.
Q: You worked both in the tech sector and for the US government. How do you view the White House executive order on Chinese investment?
A: This is the right thing to do. We cannot give our top foreign competitor access to our most sophisticated technology. At the same time, tech companies have a vital role to play in strengthening US national security and advancing the freedoms that enable them to thrive. Implementation of EO will be important while keeping exemptions to minimum. We may not win on paper but lose in real life.
Q: Are you concerned that the US will lose the war for AI talent when it comes to Chinese experts?
A: no way. America’s leadership in technological innovation is a testament to what a free society can achieve. The great thing is that AI, like other high tech, is not about technology. It’s about faith. AI can empower human progress or be weaponized against us.
There are voices urging us to slow down. I don’t think we should tie our hands by limiting the development of AI and hi-tech. China is not slowing down, so if we don’t develop AI responsibly, China will do it irresponsibly. This is the real danger.
Q: Is there still a big difference between Silicon Valley and DC?
A: What I discovered during my public service as Under Secretary of State was that Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and Washington politicians do not speak the same language. They may even be from different planets.
Words like 5G, AI, EV, quantum are meaningless for law makers. Until we brought the TSMC fab to America and created the Chips and Science Act, “chips” were something you ate.
For the startup crowd, techies and engineers, foreign policy is foreign indeed. What is not much appreciated is the impact their work has on national security. If you’ve ever seen the congressional hearings about hi-tech, they are entertaining and terrifying at the same time.