The Twitter loving President-elect is set to inherit over 11 million followers on the 20th of January, 2017 once President Obama leaves office. But that aside, here’s what you could expect to happen in the tech sector under a President Trump.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is not really a part of the military but has close ties to the American military from where it has recruited some of its engineers and astronauts. The president elect has promised to increase military spending which is something past presidents of his party have always made a focal point in their presidency. There’s no indication that current Moon and Mars programs would be eventually affected but what is not clear is if NASA will continue to closely collaborate with private organisations as it has done under the current administration. Expect either current levels of funding or even an increase in spending in this area.
Net neutrality is the concept that big internet service providers give priority to certain services on the internet. This means that they cannot just slow down your access to an email just because a bigger company has paid them to grant them priority on their network. Some argue that it should be left to market forces to decide but others like President Obama think this shouldn’t be so because it would ultimately deny some people access to fast internet always. Mr Trump is a billionaire who has said that regulations under the current administration has been killing jobs. He is likely to eventually constitute a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) board that aligns with this kind of thinking. This means that you may expect that this may not really get any attention at all or it may be rolled back. That said, the president-elect is against big telecom and media mergers like the AT&T and Time Warner $85b merger. His administration is likely to challenge such mergers which he says puts too much power in the hands of a company.
Research is something many believe has given America an edge over the years. Research represents about 2.7 percent of the nation’s GDP and is closely followed by China. Over $450b is spent annually on different kinds of research from health to security. Maybe there will be more funding for military research like cyber security which is a unit the current administration has spent about $19b to set up. We expect public sector research funding especially in the military sense to continue or probably increase. Other sectors like health, maybe not so much.
This is a tricky one. Candidate Trump was never a fan of spending so much to fight the effects of climate change. In fact, he once denounced the effects climate change and has encouraged big oil companies to drill. As for coal country, they should expect funding from the federal government because Mr. Trump has decried the “neglect” of the coal sector by the current administration and has promised to change their fortune if elected president. We expect that to be largely fulfilled even if we don’t have specifics. The outgoing Obama administration has invested a lot of money into renewables which has made the United States a major leader in this sector. In addition to this, there has been a high collaboration between the private and public sectors in this regard and we may see the monetary value of that corporation diminish in some ways over the next four years at least. The political effect of this would be slower implementation of the Paris accord to fight the effects of climate change probably because of low political will.
The outgoing administration is one that jumps on new technology. We don’t get to see many sitting presidents post an Op-Ed in a daily about a technology of this nature. The US government is currently developing a regulatory framework for this burgeoning industry which they have described as milestone. They were able to achieve this as a result of the close relationship between The White House and Silicon Valley. Before the election, many in Silicon Valley didn’t hide their feeling about the President-elect’s politics especially with respect to immigration. Silicon Valley likes to attract talents from different parts of the world which means many of them disagree with the incoming administration a lot. This may In turn hamper friendly relationships that will eventually lead to unfriendly regulations that are needed to back new inventions. With respect to self-driving cars, there’s no evidence that this would receive a hit. The president-elect has promised to make more investment in transportation and other critical infrastructure. We expect more investment in this area eventually as Silicon Valley and the White House try to work together over the next four years.
Return of the surveillance era
The incoming administration will likely explore other ways of combating terrorism including some form of torture and mass surveillance. Remember the Edward Snowden leaks? It was all about government surveillance and we may see a return of this in some ways even as Mr. Trump has taken nothing off the table. I expect a gradual return to the mass surveillance policies of the past in order to take on terrorist networks.