DC Dispatch

Jason Schultz reports on his work at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Professor Jason Schultz has two words to sum up his experience as senior advisor on intellectual property and innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: “challenging and exhilarating.” Schultz has been on leave from the Law School since beginning his tenure at the White House last fall. Working with US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, Schultz has been given a full plate of policy initiatives, focusing on issues such as patent reform, digital copyright, health care and data privacy, artifcial intelligence, data discrimination, and the use of data science to improve the criminal justice system. 

One recent project resulted in the release of a report about big data and civil rights. Part of a series of White House reports on big data, it examines the ways in which algorithmic systems can help uncover patterns of discrimination in society. “I was fortunate to be able to work very closely with Megan Smith; DJ Patil, chief data scientist of the United States; and Cecilia Muñoz, head of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House, to pull the report and blog post together and try to make sure that the technical communities, the civil rights communities, and the policy community saw themselves and their concerns reflected in the report,” says Schultz. 

The pace of technology policymaking in Washington, DC, right now is extremely fast-moving and intense, says Schultz. In order to meet these challenges, he draws on an important lesson that he often teaches in his NYU Law Technology Law and Policy Clinic: “Lawyers can rarely solve problems on their own,” he says. “Especially with technology, you need to have people who work on all aspects of the issue. It often involves legal questions, but it also involves technical questions, economic questions, sociological questions, or community engagement questions. It takes a team approach.” 

Posted September 2, 2016