Predictions

by Mike Masnick




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.

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  • identicon
    bob, 19 Apr 2005 @ 9:55am

    keep the jobs here for starters.

    What Can The US Do To Keep Its Tech Edge?

    How about starting with keeping the tech jobs in the US ... eh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 19 Apr 2005 @ 10:01am

      Re: keep the jobs here for starters.

      Yeah, that sounds great, but... um... how do you plan to do that?

      If you put in place protectionist policies, that's guaranteed to make the US LOSE more jobs, by making those companies uncompetitive and forcing them to shut down.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous of Course, 19 Apr 2005 @ 10:50am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 19 Apr 2005 @ 11:30am

          Re: keep the jobs here for starters.

          I'd second that motion. I'd say a big part of the problem is the focus on quarterly performance rather than long term performance. Yes, there are reasons to disclose performance on a regular basis, but the short-term is killing our long term vision.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike Coles, 19 Apr 2005 @ 11:55am

      Re: keep the jobs here for starters.

      ...and stop funding the 'students' that come over here from other lands.

      "Helping nurture cultural diversity" my rearend.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous, 19 Apr 2005 @ 8:43pm

        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?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2005 @ 11:31pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2005 @ 6:10am

    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
    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,9512648
    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Randy-M, 25 Jun 2007 @ 10:42am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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