Opinion

An unfinished legacy: President Reagan and the Socrates Project

President Reagan saw that if the US could generate and lead the automated innovation revolution, America’s competitiveness and economic health for many generations would be ensured. The Socrates team did design, build and demonstrate a proof-of-principle version of the automated innovation system.

The Socrates automated innovation system was also designed to generate one other major benefit for the US. It would enable the public and private organizations throughout the US to work together in a self-determined, highly symbiotic fashion. As a result, technology and the full range of other resources throughout the US would be utilized in a highly coherent but flexible and independent fashion, further increasing the competitive advantage of the US and all its private and public organizations — all fully compatible with America’s democratic principles and belief in free markets.

President Reagan saw that the Socrates automated innovation system needed to be built, so he created a new government agency that would support all US industry and the government agencies. But before the executive order could be signed, President Reagan’s term came to an end, and he left it to the incoming President Bush to continue the mission. When Bush came into office he abolished the Socrates Project.

With the US now losing industry after industry and Americans’ standard of living on a rapid decline, now is the time to complete the task that President Reagan saw as the key to America’s future. We need to generate and lead the automated innovation revolution, and we need to do it before it is too late

Michael Sekora is the former director of the US government’s Socrates Project.