What Can The US Do To Keep Its Tech Edge?

from the perhaps-start-caring... dept

There have been a few interesting discussions lately about the US’s place in the technology world. With our supposed fall in the broadband rankings combined with US university’s recent poor showing in the ACM’s programming contest, a number of folks are worried that the US is losing its technology edge. There is the argument that things aren’t as bad as they might appear — and it’s tough to determine the state of the entire industry on these two, somewhat random, datapoints. However, there’s no reason people shouldn’t at least be thinking about ways to improve US competence in the technology field. The head of the ACM suggests that a few simple changes could make a huge difference, just by showing young people that the country cares about technology. For example, he notes that schools in other countries base some of their funding wins on how well they do in the ACM contest, and the Russian winners a few years ago got to meet with President Putin — while President Bush seems to focus on congratulating sports winners. While having the President say hi to some CS students is a nice idea, it’s hardly a real plan to push tech education forward. Last year, remember all those claims from both Presidential candidates about universal broadband? It didn’t actually do very much to stimulate broadband at all. So, politicians saying things isn’t quite the same as doing things. Meanwhile, some are noticing that the real broadband competition appears to be happening in Europe, where there isn’t duopoly control over access — though, it’s also not clear that many of those companies competing will be able to survive for very long. The real trick is (a) understanding how important technology is, and what it’s real impact is and (b) making sure nothing is impeding competition. Right now it’s not clear that the US is doing the greatest job on both of those points — but that doesn’t mean we should rush into making big changes that will cause even more trouble either.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “What Can The US Do To Keep Its Tech Edge?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re: keep the jobs here for starters.

If you want to keep tech jobs in the US, lobby for a return to business plans that focus on innovation. Business plans that extend further than the next quarterly report would stifle much of the out-sourcing occurring now.
Not that profits aren’t good or necessary but because ideally they’re a result of being good at what you do. People who only desire money- get out of the tech industry and go into banking or insurance. You’ve done enough damage already.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: About those students

Look at how much of the NASDAQ (and the NYSE for that matter) was founded by immigrants. Myself I have started several companies, all in Silicon Valley, which have collectively employ (and continue to employ) hundreds of Americans, and export millions of dollars worth of goods overseas each year (i.e. improve the trade deficit). Billions of dollars have gone into shareholders’ pockets. I would be nice if more had gone into mine but we shared with VCs and pension funds etc. And employees have become millionaires too.

If I understand you correctly, you’re sorry I came?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: About those students

He is a North American ignorant red-necked asshole. They are easy to spot; just look for the mullet, the pick-up truck, and the “W-2004” sticker, next to the sticker of a “pissing Calvin” perched above some NASCAR emblem. Also, you can listen for the tell tale racist speech, the flatulence, and belching. They are frequently seen swilling American beer and waiving, or wearing anything flag related.

Unfortunately that particular species is plentiful, reproducing rapidly, and seems to be destroying the habitat of other species at an alarming rate. While dangerous only in large groups (They tend to quite cowardly when confronted alone), they should still be avoided socially, as they almost always seek the lowest common denominator.

On the plus side, large collections of books, diplomas, and other signs of education have been found to effectively repel them. Also, the ability to properly conjugate verbs, the ability to define and properly use an adjective and a vocabulary exceeding that of an average inner city 6th grade student have both proven remarkably effective, at repelling these beasts.

Anonymous Coward says:

we are still stuck on dialup 90 miles north of NY

Broadband in the US, HA
We’re still stuck on dialup less than 90 miles north of NY City.
We still stuck on dialup less than 90 miles north of NY City.
in New York State. Cant get any broadband here despite the taxes we pay.
Time Warner Cable who has the franchise wants over $26,000 to install cable
to my house. Read all about it at
And DSL is not available neither. Verizon has told me they do not supply DSL
to this phone exchange
I put up a sign on the road near my house: Time Warner Sucks

Randy-M says:

No job security

Here’s the problem, as time goes by, the best and brightest American students won’t study something which offers no job security. Science and engineering jobs are the diametric opposite of law, medicine, or accounting. Those former tech careers get the best labor from the 20-to-39 crowd and then either the 40-somethings becomes managers or are forced out via downsizings. Here’s a scenario, A/A- BS/MS graduate in biomedical engineering from a UC looking at science track for $55-65K/yr (plus annual cost-of-living) adjustment or spend 3 more years at Berkeley/Boalt Law and start off as a patent attorney for $120K/yr with the future possibility of becoming either a senior specialist, $180-200K/yr, or partner in a decade (if one’s good at getting/retaining customers), around ~$400K+/yr? I think it’s a no brainer.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...