SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s good to be here at Capital Factory, because it is incredibly inspiring just to get a chance to see the extraordinary innovation that comes from all parts of our country that is helping to solve problems – helping to solve problems here in the United States, but also around the world.

One of the things we’ve been working to do at the State Department is to better integrate the work of our innovators, our technologists, into the challenges that we’re facing, that we’re trying to address and trying to solve.  And I’m absolutely convinced, after some years of doing this, that the strongest comparative advantage that the United States brings to the world is in our innovation, in our technology, in our science.  It’s an incredible source of strength for us around the world.

And for the State Department, looking at some of the things that we’ve just seen today – whether it’s on cyber security, whether it’s on public safety and security, whether it’s here dealing with agriculture – you can see almost immediately the applications that this would have with partner countries around the world, as well as right here at home.  And that, for us, is something very powerful to bring to the table as we’re engaging around the world and trying to solve, in one way or another, these huge, transnational problems and challenges that are affecting Americans, as they’re affecting people around the world.

So it’s very inspiring to see this.  And it’s also, I think, important that we’re connected as a government to this ecosystem, learning about it, and looking at ways to, as I say, find practical solutions to problems that we have to face around the world.

You’re seeing a lot of the potential here for technology to be used for good, and we’re very focused on that.  We’re being very intentional about driving that idea, that vision.  But of course, we also have to guard against other kinds of applications that would create problems, challenges, threats to us.  And we’ve been leading in all of these efforts, making sure not only that we’re advancing a positive vision for how technology is used around the world, but being at the table when the norms, the rules, the standards for how technology is used are decided, trying to make sure that we have trusted infrastructure, so that in other ways the technology can’t be abused, working as well with other countries, for example, on AI, to develop the principles, the standards by which it will be used.  And we’ve been having a major focus on that now, as well as, as we say, putting a high fence around a small yard to make sure that we’re also protecting our most critical technologies.

And in all of these areas, the State Department, with other agencies in government, is playing a leading role.  So for me to be here today, to see what’s actually happening, is both inspiring, exciting, and just sparks a lot of ideas about how we can better combine with the tech and innovation community to help advance our interest around the world.  The strength that we show at home through what really is our strongest suit, our innovative capacity, translates directly into our strength and standing around the world. 

So it was great to be here to see this.  Thank you.  (Applause.)