Future Tense

Kickstarting the Digital Heartland

A Future Tense event in Washington on Feb. 5.

A brown barn with an American flag sits on rolling hills.

Policymakers have long struggled to close a digital divide that leaves millions without access to broadband internet service. In recent years, another digital divide has emerged, one that involves the unevenness of cyber capacity-building and retention between regions. For the United States to remain the most dynamic and innovative tech powerhouse in the world, it is imperative for all its regions, and not merely a few rarefied clusters such as Silicon Valley, to foster and sustain research and development of cyber technologies for a 21st-century knowledge economy.


The challenge of redressing geographic disparities will require creativity and determination on the part of policymakers and business, perhaps even a 21st-century analogue to the 19th century’s Morrill Land Grant Act, which that did so much to consolidate the role of universities as engines of economic development across America. (For more on that, read Mark R. Hagerott’s article “Time for a Digital-Cyber Land Grant System,” from the Winter 2020 edition of Issues in Science and Technology.)


On Feb. 5, join New America’s Education Policy Program and Cybersecurity Initiative, Issues in Science and Technology, and Future Tense to consider what we can do as a nation to ensure that all Americans, regardless of geography, can participate in the ongoing digital revolution. The event will take place from noon-2 p.m. at the New America office in Washington. Lunch will be served.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website, where the event will also be streamed live.

Anne-Marie Slaughter
CEO, New America

Mark R. Hagerott
Chancellor, North Dakota University System

Tracy Van Grack
Senior vice president of communications and public policy, Revolution LLC

Rodney Petersen
Director, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education

Carrie Billy
President and CEO, American Indian Higher Education Consortium

Kevin Carey
Vice president, education policy and knowledge management, New America

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.