US Senator Hillary Clinton's Remarks to the Aspen Institute
GOOD morning and thank you, Walter, and congratulations to you and to the Aspen Institute for another summer of ideas and information and policy. And I expect Walter at some point in the future to produce Benjamin Franklin to speak to this auspicious group. Im sure hed have a lot of advice that we could do well to listen to.
You know, every year, the Aspen Institute lures a wide range of people to come here in this beautiful setting with the promise of stepping back from the day-to-day routine to really delve into more depth a range of issues that have longterm implications for our country and our world.
Obviously, Thursday morning, Aspen as well as every other part of the world, was shocked back into the reality that we live with every single day, and the knowledge that the threat of terrorism is as close as our morning commute. And because of our own experience over the last four years, I know there was a great outpouring of support and prayers for the people of London and Great Britain and we also admire their famous British resilience. It is something that is important to remind us of, that, again, we have vowed to defeat those who have a nihilistic view of the future of our planet and we have also resolved not to let the terrorists define our thoughts about this world we share and inhabit. And we need to keep one eye firmly on the big picture even as we continue to work against and struggle against and fight against the extremists who attempt to trap us into a very narrow space of fear and hate.
This morning, I invite you to open those narrow spaces with me and to remind ourselves of what is happening in our world that is rapidly changing how we live, how we do business, and to think through the extraordinary opportunities that await us in the 21st century. It is easy given the daily headlines and the partisan back and forth that goes on in our country to lose sight of some of the trends and movements that will have a profound impact on who we are, what kind of country and world we will pass on to our children.
Because we are living in an exciting, even an unprecedented era for discovery. Changes in science and technology, even the form and structure of nations, are occurring at a blistering pace. So the big picture in July of 2005 is that some nation, maybe more than one nation, is going to catch the wave just right and ride it into security, prosperity, and preeminence. The big question for me is whether, America, the country where it is always tomorrow, is going to be that wave rider or not. Our nations history is a story of using flexibility and innovation to ride one wave of technological change after another.
Just in a brief synopsis, we can recall how in the 19th century, the steam engine brought faster travel by rail and ship, and faster production in massive factories. In the 20th century, the United States again and again created and exploited new ways of working from the assembly line to the computer chip to establish and consolidate our position as the worlds leading economic power. That might, along with the strength of our military and the courage of our convictions, made us the global superpower of the 20th century.
Today, innovation and technological change are coming at an ever-faster rate. It took 55 years for the passenger automobile to spread to one-quarter of Americans; 35 years for the telephone; 22 years for the radio; 16 years for the personal computing and only 7 for the Internet. So its difficult with this booming technology to predict what will happen next, what the steam engine or the computer chip of this century will be. But I think its important, even for those of us who claim no scientific or technological confidence at all, to spend some time thinking about these issues, because they will have a profound impact on what our future holds.
Let me just throw out some ideas:
Nanotechnology is allowing us to create products so small that they work within an individual cell. …