Most of America’s lawmakers still don’t use email.
As Sascha Meinrath, founder of the Open Technology Institute says, that means the people making important decisions about how Americans use technology have no idea what is going on in that world.
Meinrath was a keynote speaker at the Open Source Open Society 2015 conference in Wellington.
He says those key decision makers are ignoring the impact of technology on society.
“This is happening at a time when the rate of change of technology is accelerating. The amount of complexity continues to climb”, he says.
Gulf of ignorance
Meinrath says this is scary because the “gulf of ignorance is increasing”.
He says that tackling this ignorance head on isn’t effective: “I learned we were fighting a defensive battle. Instead, we need to look ahead and educate decision makers about what is coming”.
One of the things coming is the so-called internet of things. Meinrath says the implications of putting billions of devices on the net have not been though through.
Scary… internet of things
He says: “Is anyone scared of the internet of things? The only business model that works is one where privacy is commoditised”.
US politicians get agitated by not fully understanding technology. Meinrath says members of Congress in Washington DC have heard about 3D printing and are concerned about people printing their own guns.
He says: “What worries me is 3D printing of car parts. Trucking is the number one job in America. No-one is prepared for what 3D printing is going to do to that industry”. Meinrath wants Congress to think about what will happen if production is distributed.