PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITIES for realigning the country’s interests, but all too often the opportunities are missed. The locus of attention becomes the horse race rather than critical policy differences among contenders. This cycle is certainly no exception.
That’s a shame because the next administration will face daunting choices that are bound to affect both the direction and pace of technology and its impact on the country’s future. With that in mind, here are questions we ought to pose to candidates vying for president.
First, how should a new administration handle the trade-off between privacy and security — how should policy shape the boundaries between self and state? How should the administration address the need for upgrading the nation’s digital infrastructure? How can government apply technology to streamline processes, cut bureaucratic waste and deliver better services to citizens? And finally how should we coordinate technology policies with our global partners?
Stepping back, it’s time to ask the questions that all responsible governments must answer, namely how can technology-led innovation be fostered? What role should the federal government play in building technological capacity? How can we encourage greater participation in an economy that’s increasingly shaped by technology?
From where I sit, these are issues that citizens need to press the contenders to confront. Let’s press them on the questions and demand both specificity and plausibility in their responses. But first, as citizens, let’s be better informed.