Flaunting Tech Illiteracy?
Yes, it is a “fashion statement” in Congress seems like.
Note: The video above has been abstracted from here
Congress missed another opportunity to call out Big Tech. Due to their ineptness with tech, they allowed the executives to deflect from the real problems with ease.
Last month, on Wednesday July 29th, Congress had a historic opportunity to have an educated discussion with the CEOs of the four biggest tech companies of America, Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. As usual, an alarming number of Representatives rehashed out of touch questions, doing nothing more than reinforcing their illiteracy with technology.
When it comes to complex subject matter, members of Congress have repeatedly squandered the opportunity to address the core challenges. They rely upon aides who are equally unaware of the complexity of tech issues, and we see congressional leaders reading uncomfortably from papers that seemingly does not make sense or turns into fodder for late night laughter. The blind leading the blind? Yes, we can do better!
As a hi-tech executive, I am fully aware of how complicated even the most basic forms of technology can be. But I can’t say the same for many of our current members of Congress. Instead of asking these CEOs the right questions and requesting a corrective course, some members of Congress brought up irrelevant personal stories about their experiences which clearly demonstrates their bravado, but leaving them exposed.
Our economy clearly depends upon technology, as it establishes America in a position of global power and economic might. America deserves to be represented by those who are well-versed in the impacts of technology — it only becomes more complex every year. But only if our elected officials are technologically literate. Cybersecurity, Net Neutrality, a clean tech economy or green innovation, block chain innovation or even a new digital currency, hinges upon America’s success with tech.
Watch the above video from 2018 and see Congresswoman Anna Eshoo attempt to question Mark Zuckerberg. Rep. Eshoo, my opponent this November, has been a clear example of the outdated, technologically-illiterate Congress that we have regrettably grown accustomed to. Look no further than the Cambridge Analytica debacle, when her lack of knowledge was on full display. How could Anna miss this privacy violation happening on her watch, in her district? The everyday American doesn’t have to understand why her question did nothing to further the hearing, but Silicon Valley’s representative should. A tech savvy leader would ensure they are proactive with these issues, protecting Americans and our country.
Google’s search algorithm has come into question at this last hearing as it relates to partisan politics, but none of the members of Congress were able to articulate a legitimate argument on this point. Here’s what I would do differently. I would question Google’s CEO on the potential existence of a fact checking machine (AI/ML engines) that could evaluate search results. This way, fake news would not be able to spread and alter public perception. Conservatives could also feel assured knowing that they are not being actively restricted by a specific company.
Silicon Valley, the technological capital of the world, deserves to be represented by someone who gets tech. How much better would Silicon Valley be if their representative was just as well-versed in their technology? Don’t you think we deserve better? Do we have faith in these congressional leaders of today?
Shall we meet up at the next town hall meeting to discuss this and more? Sundays @ 2:30pm. RSVP at RishiKumar.com/meetRishi