JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Governor Asa Hutchinson traveled to Arkansas State University on Tuesday to participate in a panel discussion on data.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation and the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce joined forces to host the panel.
Local business leaders discussed the impact of data and technology they were experiencing with experts in the field.
U.S. Representative Rick Crawford said it's about bringing elected officials and business leaders together.
"We have this big elephant in the room and really it's data," Crawford said. "And its innovations with regards to data and how it effects the economy and how technology is driving all that. Recently we had a meeting kind of like this that was agriculture related. It was on how you could leverage technology and improve productivity and lower cost. And that manifest into lower cost to the producer or to the consumer and so on. This is kind of a big picture look at what's going on in the economy right now and how data and innovations are driving that. How people will use that. How companies will avail themselves of that and how that effects the consumer."
U.S. Chamber of Commerce member Bradley Hayes said this is an opportunity for them to gather information they need.
"We're talking to local businesses and local leaders about how they're involved in the technology space," Hayes said. "We want to find out what the needs are to start developing some policy initiative to push at the broader level in Congress."
Governor Asa Hutchinson said technology is an essential part in the state's growth.
"If you're gonna have a strong economy in the state of Arkansas technology has to be a part of it," Hutchinson said. "This panel today talks about how we can expand technology and innovation in Northeast Arkansas. That's why I'm here. To encourage this. We're trying to do it statewide, but it would be incomplete if you did not have a strong technology component in Northeast Arkansas. It fits in with my computer encoding initiative that we're doing in our high schools. We're gonna be producing talent. We have to have the growth of these technology companies, which is happening in Northeast Arkansas. We just want to expand it."
"I hope we get a better understanding of data," Crawford said. "The role it plays in our everyday life. Whether or not we should be afraid of it. If so, when and why?"
Hayes said the world of technology effects every business.
"The U.S. has evolved in becoming a much more e-commerce based society," Hayes said. "I think every business now has some sort of online presence. With that brings a whole host of challenges from data protection in terms of your proprietary information to encryption policy. To be able to operate in this global economy that's just not limited by boundaries anymore."
Hayes said it is through this exchange of information that everyone will learn what they need to know to continue to improve the economy for everyone.
"We want to get the expertise of local business people," Hayes said. "We want to talk to the people who know the challenges first hand so that we can make more effective policy and be able to take some of the regulatory burden off of them in terms of letting their businesses flourish."
The data and technology panel will continue on Wednesday in Salt Lake City and in Pittsburgh after that.
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