Remarks at the Electronic Industries Association's Annual Government-Industry Dinner
I thank you for that welcome, and a special thank you to your chairman, John Mitchell, and your president, Peter McCloskey, the reverend clergy. And let me also give my congratulations to your Medal of Honor winner for this year, educator, scientist, executive, and leader, Joseph Boyd. And I know that I am not an after-dinner speaker tonight. [Laughter] And I assure you that I will keep that in mind. [Laughter]
will, as Henry VIII said to each of his six wives, ``I won't keep you long.''
[Laughter] But it's a pleasure to appear before this, the oldest and largest
organization representing the cutting edge of
Ninety-one years ago, for example, one of the most distinguished scientists not only of his time but of all time, Lord Kelvin, offered this assessment of what was then only a theoretical possibility: radio. He said, and these are his words, ``Radio has no future.'' [Laughter] Well, less than 30 years later the father of radio, Lee DeForest, showed that he wasn't infallible either when he said that, ``While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility.'' [Laughter] And then there was the president of a major computer company who said only 11 years ago, and I'll quote again: ``There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.'' [Laughter]
when I look at the history of your industries, it reminds me of a story about a
producer I once knew in
tonight I'd like to talk with you about our nation's commitment to leadership
and imagination, and your role in
space station is vital to our leadership in space and contributes to our
preeminence in manned space flight. Some say we can't afford the space station.
I ask you: Can
And exploration is not all we want. Recently, we announced that it would be the policy of the Government to encourage private sector investment and involvement in outer space. We are now committed to being the anchor tenant in a privately financed, constructed, and operated commercial research and manufacturing facility. We'll help develop a highway to space by using private launch services to the greatest extent feasible, and we're working to win legislation to limit liability for commercial launch providers. We'll make equipment, like the external fuel tanks of the shuttle fleet, available to private commercial and nonprofit ventures in space. And we're looking at ways to avoid precluding or deterring American private enterprise in taking commercial advantage of the unique aspects of the space environment.
To do our part in building on the base of technology and talent we'll need, we're instituting policies to turn federally funded discoveries into commercial products and technologies. We're encouraging Federal scientists, engineers, and technicians to take sabbatical years to teach at any level of American education. We're opening the way for even greater contacts between NASA and schools and universities. And we're emphasizing the importance of the superconducting supercollider to the advancement of science.
It's a future beyond the most distant star in our dreams that beckons us. And to those who say it can't be reached, that it's impossible, I'd just point toward your industries and ask if a few years ago they thought what you are doing today would also be impossible. Carver Mead, professor of computer sciences at the California Institute of Technology, recently noted that ``the entire Industrial Revolution enhanced productivity by a factor of about 100. The Microelectronic Revolution has already increased productivity in information-based technology by a factor of more than a million, and the end isn't in sight yet.'' Is that the accomplishment of people who listened when others used the word impossible?
than any other group, you embody
I ask each of you today to carry out your dreams and to continue to make this nation the greatest innovator in the world. I ask you today to help us all with our feet on the ground to look to the stars and, in doing that, to remain number one in technology here on Earth. And if even some of you still think that maybe I'm being too optimistic, you're hearing all this from a fellow who was a second lieutenant in the horse cavalry. [Laughter] With that, I think it's high time that you enjoy dinner. I thank you all. God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at in the Grand Ballroom at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.