For 2017, Concerns on Immigration, Net Neutrality, & Cyber Warfare


I have many concerns about how the upcoming Trump administration will impact the overall tech economy. Some of my biggest worries are as follows:

1) More restrictive immigration laws will make it even harder for startups (as well as more established companies) to attract and retain the highly skilled workers that they need to be competitive.

2) Repeal of current net neutrality laws will give bigger companies an unfair advantage over smaller companies — thereby fundamentally changing the level playing field that has helped startups thrive and prosper.

3) The re-emphasizing of traditional fossil fuels will be accompanied by new policies that hinder and destabilize the burgeoning electric vehicle market and other industries that focus on alternative power technologies.

4) A more hostile relationship with China will significantly impair hardware-focused startups as well as the young Internet of Things market, given that so many of these materials are manufactured in the Far East.

5) The casual dismissal of election-related hacking scandals initiated by foreign aggressors will likely spur a new era of intense cyber warfare between various nation-states big and small.

[Editor’s note: To tap the wisdom of our network of Xconomists, we asked a few of them to answer questions heading into 2017 about the most pressing issues facing the innovation community, such as: “What possible actions by the new administration could significantly affect your company, your industry, and/or the health of the business environment, for better or worse?” You can see other questions and answers here.]

Hugh Forrest serves as the director of the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Follow @Hugh_W_Forrest

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