What should the Biden administration learn from the Voyager mission.

The Biden administration move to cut China off from certain semiconductor chips made anywhere in the world with U.S. equipment is nothing more than a declaration of war not just on China, but on technological progress in general.

According to U.S. the rule is the latest in a series of moves aimed at slowing China’s technological advances, which the U.S. sees as a national security threat. I will not argue with Biden administration concerns for U.S. national security, as I wrote in the past, the interpretation of any topic is always subjective. Yet, the requirement by firms to obtain a license before using U.S. chip-making equipment to produce semiconductors for Chinese needs, will introduce a bureaucratic layer that will stop innovation and invention. While this move is mainly aimed at China’s military and intelligence services, its impact will echo all around the world.

Let’s look at the immediate implications. It’s easy to imagine how China would react—invade Taiwan and take over its chip infrastructure. That will immediately would be a major blow to the U.S. economy. What would U.S. do? Try to drive China back into the technological landscape of the 90th the same way it’s trying to do to Russia? How will China react? 

While the official story keep evolving around the narratives of the semiconductor industry, this battle between U.S. and China goes deeper than that and threaten society on a much deeper level.

The advancement of technology and science is already defining the geopolitical landscape, and its applications are poised to bring forward game-changing solutions in agriculture, health, energy and more. At the end of the day, it’s technological progress that will enable us to achieve leap-ahead breakthroughs, creating new industries, driving societal prosperity and eventually, expanding humanity to the stars.

I seam to me that the Biden administration forgot the story of one of humanity’s greatest achievement—the story of the Voyager. I know that NASA is proud of “owning” the Voyager mission. Yet if you take a closer look, you will find out that it was the international collaboration, the collective minds of scientist, engineers, and thinkers from all over the world, that made this project possible. This message in a bottle object, was deigned for a five-year mission to explore the outer solar system and were not expected to last more than a few decades. But here they are, still going strong after 40 years. The Voyagers have transformed our understanding of the solar system. They have made discoveries that have rewritten the textbooks. And they have shown us that there is so much more to explore. None of it would have happened without cooperation and collaboration.

Now that humanity is facing its greatest challenges yet, the Voyager collaborative narrative is more important than ever before.

U.S. focus on an outdated economic and innovation model is counterproductive. It will drive its economy and society to the days before World War I when the U.S. was able to look only inward (in a sense, it’s already there). The Biden administration need to remember that we are born into culture, we are not born with culture. It is something we learn through the interaction set by our environment. To instill a culture of creativity and risk-taking, you must have an assertive leadership team’s commitment to set the example. There must be a willingness to embrace new approaches and challenge the existing state of affairs.

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