Very little is known about what factors support or inhibit the development of emerging technologies: the creative process flows mysteriously from complex systems whose deep structure is obscure. That mystery allows fear and uncertainty to drive policy, in government, finance and industry.

This was an invitation-only round table, aimed at conquering that fear with new, rigorous, evidence-based thinking.

Fathom advises a variety of US government agencies in this area. We discussed:

  • Evaluating the innovative capacity of the US and China
  • Advising policymakers on how to drive innovation
  • Mapping the structure of technological supply chains
  • Quantifying spillovers from technological innovation

Our distinguished guests from economics, industry, and policy backgrounds participated in a discussion (under Chatham-House rules) with a view to developing a research agenda for the coming years.


  • What drives technological innovation?
  • How do emerging technologies diffuse through the global economy?
  • What steps can the US take to maintain techno-economic supremacy?
  • Where should policymakers target their interventions?


Friday, March 17 2023


Washington, DC
United States

Welcome to the machine

A comparative assessment of the USA and China to 2035, focusing on the role of technology in the economy

Fathom’s ground-breaking report comprehensively quantifies progress in the key emerging sectors that are likely to drive a fourth industrial revolution. We consider what that will mean for economic growth and for labour markets, and draw lessons for policymakers.