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Mike Allen discusses the government's role in innovtion with Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Axios' Mike Allen hosted a trio of conversations in D.C. on how 5G, the next phase in super-fast networks, will affect self-driving cars. He discussed the roles of government and tech in facilitating the adaption of these vehicles with:

  • T.H. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • T.H. Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator, Michigan
  • Dr. Chris Urmson, CEO, Aurora
We subbed our signature oatmeal bowl for a 5Grain bowl to celebrate the occasion. (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)
Fueled by 5Grains, Mike takes the stage. (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)
Rep. Walden on 5G advances: "Washington’s role is to get out of the way of the innovators.” (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)

Why it matters: Rep. Walden leads the House committee tasked with overseeing technology issues.

Rep. Walden "I’m not looking for a lot of regulation, I’m looking for responsibility. [...] If responsibility doesn’t flow, then regulation will." (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)

Why it matters: An Axios-SurveyMonkey poll out yesterday morning shows Americans are increasingly concerned government won't do enough to regulate tech.

David McCabe's thought bubble: While Walden was cautious in announcing any specific action, this is striking talk coming from a pro-industry Republican with close ties to House leadership.

Sen. Peters on military application of self-driving tech: “We lost more soldiers in logistics operations driving through dangerous terrain than in combat.” (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)
Sen. Peters: "The F35 fighter that we're building now will probably be the last aircraft fighter ever built that will have a human pilot"--implying autonomous airplanes are next. (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)
Dr. Urmson, who's the CEO of autonomous car tech startup Aurora, tells Mike: "[Tech companies] at their core are doing what they think is right for society” and “doing their best to generate a better world. [...] They have massive reach,” and with that, “there is a social responsibility that comes along with that.” (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)
Thank you to the 130+ Washingtonians who joined us. (Chuck Kennedy for Axios)

Thank you to Qualcomm for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

New clues emerge on long COVID

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The presence of certain autoantibodies or high amounts of coronavirus RNA in the blood could be indicators a patient has a higher chance of developing long COVID, according to a new study in the journal Cell.

  • Other factors include a person having Type 2 diabetes or the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus.

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