The mid-term election is just four days away. And as each of us considers who will get our vote, I want to put one additional item on the agenda.
If you look at the current conversations, debates, and advertisements, there are many issues, personalities, and policies in play. But there is one thing that seems to be absent—Tech Policy. Facebook, Twitter and Google have all been called to testify before Congress, but Congress has yet to act. Consequently, whoever wins this round of the electoral “hunger games” will eventually be asked to make important decisions concerning all kinds of things related to technology: the future of the internet and the debate over net neutrality, the proliferation of fake news and the potential regulation of social media platforms, policies for self-driving vehicles and civilian use of aerial drones, and the social benefits of big data and what it costs in terms of our individual privacy.
Unfortunately, many of our congressional representatives know little or nothing about the technologies they will be called upon to legislate and regulate. This cannot and should not persist. So my last minute request is simply this: When you go to vote on Tuesday — and you should go to vote on Tuesday — consider tech policy. Irrespective of party affiliation, we need lawmakers who understand the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology and can develop, introduce, and pass legislation that makes the technology work for us rather than the other way around.
I’m David Gunkel, and that’s my perspective.