Monday, December 10, 2007

If you don't vote, the Martians win

So what do you want the next President and his/her (first time I get to say that, pretty cool) administration to achieve?

For me, I'm seeing this next election as the opportunity to inject some new blood and their fresh ideas into the highest office of an elected official.

I want someone ,who, when they say 'The American people want...', is actually talking about things that I consider to be relevant for me and for the global community. We can't shirk the 'community' tagline anymore. We are a global economy. Economic markets are becoming further and further dependent on efforts taken by a companies in separate hemispheres, acts that impact the environment aren't confined to one country's shoreline or horizon, and with an ever increasely 'connected' technological infrastructure governmental power cannot reside solely in the hands of those who graduated college when the television was the next biggest thing.

There is undoubtedly incontestable value and wisdom in our older generations, and in order to make such wisdom actionable, extensible, and flexible in an ever-changing world is to incorporate it within newer power structures and people familiar which such structures. For example, you wouldn't put Ted Stevens in charge of a government body charged with defining the nation's goals associated with Net Neutrality.

Oh wait...maybe you would.

Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens (R) is a prime example of such this disparity between those in political office and their understanding of the ever-expanding haze of the Internets, or in his words, a 'series of tubes'.

I'm not saying that the next President needs be a sys admin, but he or she must have a basic grasp of email, networks, blogs, instant messaging, wireless security concerns (if they set up their own wireless network at home did they change the username and password from the manufacturer's default), consumer privacy (nicely brought to the forefront by Facebook's Beacon scandal - thank you CA researchers), and issues of broadband accessibility.

Unfortunately, I'm not too clear on how we're going to get the model changed. It's not like there is an army of lobbyists charging up Capitol Hill trying to get issues (for example) like consumer privacy dealt with on the scale of, say, legions of T2000s that descend from pharm or medical industry dropships.

For one, I'm not sure the government is the best tool in place in order to contend with something like consumer privacy. I'm thinking that Beacon and its PR nightmare have helped to awaken some people to the issue that we've been like lobsters sitting in a pot that's slowly been getting warmer, and only when it's too late do we realize that we're cooked. Plus, given the broad reaching impacts of the Homeland Security Act, and Mitt Romney's desire to get biometric devices installed in people, I'm even more loathe to have someone who gets puzzled when the computer tells them to push the 'any' key run anything related to my privacy.

Second, I think candidates are recognizing the fact that they need to be more tech savvy. That's why they flock in droves to the Google campus to talk about their ides on innovation. The nice thing about technology is that for the most part it's usually a binary issue: it's on or off, it's either this or it isn't - meaning, a candidate will know what SQL does or a candidate will not. There's not much wiggle room there, and typically wiggling in this area is an indication that you don't know, and don't want others to know about it.

Third, the sooner we get on board with the integrated village model the better, since we're going to have to start talking about the Martian invasion at some point, and it'd be better if we're all on the same page as a species. Those Martians just love to see us tearing at our throats...makes conquest easier.

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