On so many issues, however, from investment in science education to media diversity, Obama simply seems to be more of a forward thinker, with a technology plan the Web site arstechnica.com called a “Christmas list for the geekerati.”
Toward all these ends, Obama has signaled his desire to create a potentially cabinet-level position: chief technology officer. Meanwhile, McCain has expressed only vague notions that (in Powell’s words) “all branches of government need to help create a better understanding” of technology.
It doesn’t matter that McCain is old. It matters that he’s old-fashioned. It’s nice, as Powell palliates, that McCain, like many other Americans, has been learning and adapting since the “wizardry of tech gadgetry [has] come into his life.” But we need a president who’s been comfortable and conversant with technology and Web culture for years.
It seems, says Rasiej, that McCain’s “general policy perspective tends to support more of a 20th-century view of technology: open markets, copyright protection, and the fact that technology is viewed as a slice of the pie, rather than the pan.” A president these days should be seeking a “technology quotient” in every bit of legislation, he says — gauging “whether it’s enhanced or made obsolete by technology’s advancing speed.”
Because, with computing power growing exponentially, the next president’s decisions won’t necessarily be able to be based on a preset policy apparatus. Instead, says Rasiej, they’ll be “driven by technology itself, which is going to demand change.”
Mike Miliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris Faraone contributed to this article.