Remarks by AIT Acting Director Raymond Greene at Presidential Hackathon

AIT Deputy Director - Raymond Greene

July 27, 2019

Remarks by AIT Acting Director Raymond Greene
at Presidential Hackathon
July 27, 2019

President Tsai, Vice Premier Chen, Minister Tang, Senior Advisor Lee, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, wu an!

It is my great pleasure to be here today.  First, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all the teams who competed, and especially those who made it to the final round.  Really, amazing solutions.  I would be remiss if I did not specifically congratulate the international team put together by the State Department’s very own Grayson Shor, who has been in Taiwan for the last year as a visiting scholar researching the Circular Economy.

In many ways, the Presidential Hackathon embodies the very best of Taiwan.  Hackathons originally started in the United States, but Taiwan has definitely taken them to a new level.

Taiwan has truly made a name for itself in international hacking competitions.  Globally, they got first place at the 2016 Fishhackathon, first place at the 2017 NASA Hackathon, 2nd place at the 2017 DEFCON Capture the Flag competition in Las Vegas, and 3rd place last year at the same event.  It is no exaggeration to say that Taiwan’s successes in these international hackathons have been a great advertisement for attracting U.S. technology companies to come to Taiwan to set up research and development labs and artificial intelligence back offices.

Taiwan’s Presidential Hackathon is unique in the world for receiving such high-level commitment from elected officials and a willingness of policy makers to put into practice the solutions all of you have developed.  Taiwan is showing the way for how to bridge social entrepreneurs, the hacking community, and the government for the sake of innovative public policy.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang in particular has been a pioneer globally in harnessing technology for creating more digital and open governance.  Indeed, as part of our year-long celebration of 40 years of AIT and the Taiwan Relations Act, we are partnering with her office to hold a series of on-line digital dialogues with the Taiwan and American publics to get their ideas for how to deepen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.  We invite the broader Taiwan public to participate in these dialogues on how to move our relations forward.

What most distinguishes Taiwan from so many other parts of the world is how it does everything with a good heart.  Despite being unfairly excluded from international bodies dedicated to global problem solving, Taiwan has nonetheless committed itself to doing its part to fulfill the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  Through this Hackathon, with its emphasis on devising creative ways of realizing the SDGs, Taiwan is once again reminding the world that technological advancement is about more than business and making money.  The real bottom line is how we can use technology to solve social problems and promote the social good.  Through events such as these, Taiwan is not only confirming its status as a technological powerhouse, but also integral as a force for good in the world.

In closing, I would like to congratulate the winners, and also congratulate Taiwan for fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit through this exciting Presidential Hackathon.  We look forward to celebrating the success of many more such events in the future.

Once again, congratulations to all the finalists.  Thank you.