What A Concept: The President Should Appoint People Who Understand Technology

from the well,-duh dept

We’ve complained plenty about elected officials who don’t understand technology but have no problem regulating it — but the problem extends way beyond elected officials. Tim Wu has a bunch of recommendations on how the next President can fix tech policy in the US and it pretty much all boils down to one thing: appoint people who actually understand technology. That means not appointing lobbyists and lawyers to the FCC and getting a real infrastructure expert to be a “broadband czar.” These aren’t bad ideas, but it’s positively frightening that it even needs to be brought up at all. Have we really reached the point that almost everyone in charge of crafting tech-related policy doesn’t have even the slightest tech background?

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Comments on “What A Concept: The President Should Appoint People Who Understand Technology”

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Monarch says:

Re: by Anonymous Coward on Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 1:30pm

“Should someone from pharma run the FDA? Should someone from Wall Street run the SEC?”

Well, I would hope someone with a doctorate in chemistry or someone with a Medical Doctorate runs the FDA. I’d also hope someone with a degree in economics or finance runs the SEC, with hopes they have taken and passed the exams necessary to be a trader.
So I’d really hope someone with a degree in CompSci preferably in Networking and Preferably with at least a CCIE cert would be the advisor on Network Backbone or tech advisor for the pres.

Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I wouldn’t go so far to say that each campaign has someone who understands the internet and they should get the job in discussion. I think they know how to market or utilize the internet. That is much different then policy making in regard to how best to stear advancement/regulation on the net, or for companies who provide net type services.

PRMan (profile) says:

Techies are too smart to hold political positions

Why would any savvy technician give up a fun job where we get to solve computer problems all day for one where we go to Washington and are forced to deal with the worst sort of underhanded political games?

Many techies already get enough of that at work. Why would they want to take a pay cut and move their family to the craphole that is Washington DC to make political nonsense a full-time job?

Asher says:

Actually, I disagree. The top person needs to be a good manager. HE then needs to hire people who know what they are talking about. He then needs to LISTEN to what they have to say. The top person in charge usually has too much buerocracy to deal with, and no time for the issues.
It is Warren Buffets philosophy and it works for him. Surround yourself by people who know what they are doing and let them do it,and keep your hands and lobbyists off!!!

Greg says:

Appointing Experts to Govermnent Technology Positi

I have been working in technical fields for the past 40 years. Nothing has changed. Politicians maintain themselves at a comfortable level of ignorance so they can vote for what they or their constituents believe to be true whether it is or not. They staff regulatory agencies with lawyers and bureaucrats. There are a few technically competent people, but not in policy making positions. The lawyers are the most harmful since in this country they are trained to be advocates for a certain position which leads them to latch onto a policy and defend it by collecting all of the data in favor of that position and systematically ignoring, denigrating, or suppressing opposing points of view. If the agencies weren’t so slow moving there would be absolutely no progress. Luckily, they usually can’t keep up with us so the barriers they create are harmful but not insurmountable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Do you think politicians and staffers laugh at you when you think you have politics figured out as much as you laugh at their attempts to understand technology? [Hint: yes, they do.] The idea that a techie would have the political savvy to even understand the territory is laughable, and such a person would lack any sort of independent political capital to expend in getting the job done — no favors owed to them means that their power is roughly equivalent to the extent of which the president or senior staff has an ongoing interest in the problem at hand.

Yes, you all sound just as stupid to political insiders as they probably sound to you when you hear “the google” escape their lips…

Thom. Paine X says:

@some other guy & others.

The point is there should be no one at the Federal level who should be in charge of technology! Let’s read the constitution. The Internet was developed by the Defense Department, but it was not until it got into the hands of the private sector that the “dirt road” became the internet superhighway. The Internet is commmunication not commerce.

Let’s keep the feds out of everything, but the military and let’s leep the military for defense puposes only.

bshock (profile) says:

nice idea

First, people need to elect a president who is capable of understanding he or she needs people who understand technology. Not someone, say, who is clearly suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, or who is delusional enough to put up a truly laughable YouTube video as a promotion.

Although at this point, I’d be satisfied with a president who wasn’t a puppet of Big Business.

I know, I’m a dreamer.

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