Interview with Jean-Louis Gassée: Are We Prepared for the Future?

February 12, 2008 |   | Contact: M. Daniel DeCillis

California needs to think ahead to cope with issues raised by new technologies, according to CCST Council Member Jean- Louis Gassée, general partner, Allegis Capital.

“Policy does not generally keep up with the rapid pace of progress,” said Gassée. “Advances in computer science and molecular biology are raising serious legal and philosophical questions, and there is no longterm strategy in place to deal with them.”

Gassée identifies privacy as the most significant technology related issue facing California in the short term. A venture capitalist with nearly 40 years of experience in the high-tech sector, he is well aware of the inconsistent protections often set up for data collected by government and private agencies.

“It is too easy for other people to take possession of private data, and we are living in a culture in which more and more data is being collected by various government systems,” said Gassée. “While in some cases data collection has the potential to be beneficial – for example, for healthcare information technology networks – we must make sure that we have control over what information is accessed and how. It is difficult for any state entity to plan ahead adequately in this regard.”

Gassée shares similar concerns about molecular biology, which has made rapid strides in recent years and which raises the possibility of services such as genetic manipulation to create “designer children.”

“Ultimately, proactive plans for these changes cannot come from the top because they are by their nature too entrenched,” he said. “It’s got to be smaller groups with the ability to use the media to tell stories. The movement that led to the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is a good example of this.”

Among other measures, Gassée recommends that the state revisit the creation of a standing bioethics committee in the Legislature.

“In many ways, California is fortunate to be ahead of the curve in terms of its ability to plan and respond to new technologies,” he said. “But a lot more needs to be done.”

Recent Posts

Applications Now Open: CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship in Sacramento, California
A photo of the 2022 Fellows with a blue banner below highlighting that applications are now open for the CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship with CCST's logo.
CCST Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program Places PhD Scientists into Policy Careers Apply to ...
REGISTER: Life as a CCST Fellow: What’s It Like? | Application Q&A
A graphic with blue background, white and yellow text, and circle cropped headshots of the panelists
CCST S&T Policy Fellowship Alums to Discuss the Day-to-Day Life of a Fellow Learn about ...
Director of Communications at the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST)
CCST logo with blue border around it and careers in white text on orange background
OVERVIEW We are a nonpartisan group delivering independent science and technology advice to policymakers so ...
Update: Opportunities Open at CCST
Work at CCST California’s most pressing public policy issues require solutions that engage the State’s ...