Thinking

I've been thinking a lot today. The past year has been a whirlwind and I can only see a future that gets increasingly busy as we add networks, tools, websites, interfaces, meetings, etc. to our lives. Over the years I've posted to a couple dozen different blogs, multiple Twitter feeds, Facebook sites, magazines, state websites, etc. Some activities, I keep doing every day, while others have become sporadic. Amidst all this activity, I'm still unsatisfied with what we have been able to obtain (we being the global community). I generally view myself as part of a global community and collaborate with people in the field around the world, not just in the U.S.

There are some things that I would really like us to conquer in the next ten years that go well behind information systems and social networks, but which I would hope the knowledge sharing engendered by our networks would help to facilitate. Here are a few thoughts:
  • We need to achieve a new transportation paradigm. Our current system (the automobile) is over 100 years old. Yes, we've added air travel and high speed trains, but those are still not as convenient as what the next transportation paradigm needs to be.
  • Let's build a new U.S. city from the ground, up... something that incorporates every future concept we can imagine.
  • We need to do much more than just automate government. I think we need a national initiative that looks at the entire structure of government and how to rebuild it in a way that leverages the technologies of the 21st century.
  • Let's pay attention to what's happening globally. I think we're also not far from real-time voice translation which will be pretty cool. And if Europe can do what they're doing to collaborate and work together across boundaries, why can't we do the same thing in the Americas?
  • Yes, healthcare needs to take a smaller portion of the GNP and it needs to deliver more. Why isn't our average life span over 100 yet? with a higher quality of life of course.
We can accomplish all of these things and more. I'm sure we can.

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Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

David - I really appreciate your futuristic thinking...you've sparked a few thoughts:

- Transportation: What do you envision beyond high-speed rail? I'd really like the US to have a high speed rail system that rivals Europe...a new Interstate system that connects the most populous cities.

- New cities: we're seeing a revival of sorts in places like Durham, NC, where there is significant investment in the downtown area. People who moved out to the suburbs are being lured back into the city center...so maybe it's a matter of remaking our smaller cities vs. building a new one from scratch?

- Government 2.0: Totally agree. What groups/think tanks are tackling this issue beyond the folks who created the "Us Now" film?

- Language Translation: I use Google Translate 2-3 times a week now to read articles from around the world. We need to make it easier to translate every web page (probably including GovLoop!)

- Healthcare: Don't even get me started... 🙂

Profile Photo Scott Primeau

David, I really like the vision of your post.

And, when comparing us to Europe and other countries, we have a long way to go in some areas. Our broadband standard, for example, is barely in the same ballpark as many other countries.

Profile Photo subroto mukerji

David,
Fantastic vision. I am wondering though if government can do more by doing less. If regulations and taxes were cut wouldn't it free up people to be more visionary and achieve some of the things you mention?

In my brief lifetime, there has been one major discovery that has radically changed life here in the USA and abroad. I speak of the Internet and its many roots (email, web, search engines, social networking and probably much more to come). All of these things were created because no one taxed the Internet or regulated it out of existence.

I don't know what the next transportation paradigm is but I am willing to bet that someone has thought about it and probably wants to commercialize it if it weren't for the onerous regulations and burdens placed on the inventor or the venture capitalists or the locality.

I keep harking back to the example of the Internet. In the beginning was Microsoft which focussed on personal computing, while Novell focussed on the network. Finally Microsoft became the dominant player and Novell was pretty much marginalized. Out of the ashes of Novell came Google and all its contributions. That's a scenario that government could not even plan or envision or even think about. Yet it happened because companies prospered and failed and prospered. It happened because government by and large left the Internet alone.

I think something similar will happen if government simply stands out of the market and frees people to invent or discover something completely mind boggling.