First off, a programming announcement. I’m having my wedding this Saturday so will be taking off from publishing for the next three weeks! The ChinaTalk podcast feed will be running some best-of episodes.
Second, I’m launching the second annual ChinaTalk Student Essay Contest. If you’ve graduated this semester (or this past December) from an undergrad or masters program, and have done any research incorporating Chinese-language sources, submit your paper or thesis for consideration here! Authors of the best papers will receive an honorarium and have the opportunity to appear on the ChinaTalk podcast to talk with me about your work.
Lastly, after my honeymoon, I may be spending some time in Madrid and Paris in mid-July. If you’re in town let me know, I’m hoping to arrange some ChinaTalk meetups.
Tweets of the Month
Jason Matheny, senior Biden tech official and founding director of CSET, ChinaTalk’s 2021 think tank of the year, is leaving the administration to head up RAND. One of the keys to CSET’s success was Matheny getting to start from a blank slate with a 10m+/yr budget and very few strings attached from Open Philanthropy on how to spend it. The RAND Corporation is more than an order of magnitude larger, with a 75-year institutional history, a bench of staff in the thousands and $435 million in FY2021 revenue.
I’m very curious to see in what direction he aims to take RAND and to what extent institutional FFRDC kludge may impede his realization of that vision. As I’ve argued in a recent podcast episode with Jon Bateman, there is an embarrassing amount of China and tech-adjacent analysis that just isn’t happening right now for American policymakers to be as informed as possible when squaring up against some of the most important questions of our time. I am hopeful that with Matheny at the helm, RAND will start to plug some of those gaps.
Cosign…but you also have plenty of hagiography around ‘heroic’ tech figures, though that certainly has toned down of late as the regulatory winds have shifted.
If you can understand Chinese, I highly, highly recommend you check out NYTimes tech columnist Li Yuan’s new podcast which features uncensored longform conversations in the ChinaTalk mold. The world needs more shows like this.
God knows how they’re going to lock this guy down again in two months.
Congrats on the upcoming wedding mate! Stoked for ya