Short answer: I haven’t a clue.

And if anyone tells you that they do, rest assured they are just guessing.

I just took a break to watch the pomp and circumstance of swearing in a new President of the United States. A continuous tradition of 220 years of peacefully transferring power from one man to the next. Maybe someday while I still live we can make the pronoun general instead of gender specific. But, we now have a new guy.

I have written a column for an Italian magazine, Automazione Oggi, for many years. They asked me four years ago to devote a column to what Donald Trump might mean for manufacturing. My current column there contains a few thoughts about Joe Biden. The problem with these pieces is really two-fold. First, I don’t prognosticate. I’m not a soothsayer or fortune teller. As Yogi Berra supposedly said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Second, almost no politician knows anything about manufacturing other than a few statistics they are fed. Same with technology. I think Obama tried to be tech savvy, but he wasn’t. Trump was a real estate guy and TV star.

However, the US government has promoted some good things about technology and manufacturing. Just not as focused as, say, Germany’s Industrie 4.0 initiative. That has huge backing within the country. I have on my shelf The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution that Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop. The US Defense Department DARPA unleashed most of the technologies that we still use in technology.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Energy initiated a number of manufacturing projects one of which became CESMII-The Smart Manufacturing Institute headed by my old friend John Dyck and staffed by a number of people I’ve worked with over the years.

Biden has many problems on his plate. I don’t think manufacturing came up very often in the campaigns. Some effort has been made to bring more actual manufacturing to the US. I don’t expect an emphasis, but I do expect some continuing attention to that issue. CESMII is making progress. If you are looking for a US response, I’d both pay attention to what it’s doing and also see where you can help.

Heck, I’m impressed when I find even a half-way knowledgeable discussion of manufacturing in the national media. I guess they all worked as interns on Wall Street rather than (like me) worked in manufacturing to help fund college.

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