E-Commerce Government

Governments and Sharing: Lessons from the UK’s Beyond Jobs Project

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What can governments do to boost the sharing economy? What would be their incentive to do so? Where are the commercial opportunities if public policy were to fully embrace sharing transactions? I have spent 20 years writing, consulting, and overseeing publicly funded projects based on these questions. The answers in brief: governments are potentially the biggest buyers of fragmented labor, its regulators, setters of tax/welfare codes, administrators of databases of record, and ideally will serve as marketing machines for economic initiatives.   More

Global Tech Government

Paranoia Muddies Media’s View of Bitcoin’s Potential

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European financial regulators just took a positive step to engage directly with the disruptive effects of the growing cryptocurrency ecosystem, but you might not have realized that. The European Banking Authority (EBA) watchdog agency issued a report on Friday, July 11, titled “Opinion on ‘virtual currencies’.” It then received a great deal of media attention – most of it negative.   More

E-Commerce Government

Can a Sharing Platform for Artists Point to a More Equitable Society?

What do you do if you’re an artist in need of supplies, but you happen to be broke? Creative people have been pooling and exchanging resources for generations. Now, the emerging Internet-enabled sharing economy makes it easier than ever to swap, say, legal advice for lumber. That’s the kind of transaction that OurGoods, a new resource-sharing platform for artists, actually facilitates. OurGoods also serves “designers, technologists, makers, farmers, and activists,” said co-founder and activist Caroline Woolard when we talked to her at the recent Sharing Economy Summit at NYU’s Stern School of Business. “Artists have a lot of skills and also education, but don’t necessarily have money to pay each other to get their work done,” said Woolard. But OurGoods doesn’t just aim for one-off online bartering. Its greater goal is to build what Woolard calls “cross-class trust networks” that “enable a kind of trust-building that leads to social justice.”   More

Government

Salesforce.com’s Michael Lazerow on the Transparency Revolution

We are in the midst of "a trust revolution," says Michael Lazerow, "where everything is transparent." This revolution in transparency is redefining the rules of business, government, and beyond, as all of us are being forced to act more responsibly and with greater authenticity. Lazerow, CMO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and founder of Buddy Media (purchased by Salesforce in 2012), talked with Techonomy at the recent DLDnyc conference. He explained how tech fuels transparency in an age where everything is interconnected.   More

Global Tech Government

Beijing Hits Microsoft with Windows 8 Ban

Microsoft's Beijing headquarters. (Image via Shutterstock)

When it comes to the risks and rewards of doing business in China, software giant Microsoft can write a lengthy book on the subject after years of ups and downs in the market. Just months after the company marked a modest advance with Beijing’s lifting of a decade-old ban on gaming consoles, the central government has now formally banned the installation of Microsoft’s flagship Windows 8 operating system (OS) on all government computers. It’s clear from the media reports that this ban was unexpected, though Microsoft has certainly learned to expect this kind of sudden and unexplained move after two decades in the market.   More

Government Healthcare

How Technology Can Transform Our Healthcare Labyrinth

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Why has our rat-maze approach to coordinating care continued largely unchanged for more than 60 years? For all but the simplest of healthcare needs, we all find ourselves at some point trying to navigate a maze of health care facilities, doctors, pharmacies, insurance companies, and government programs, with all the associated conversations, paperwork, forms, bills, and files they all require. According to the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. healthcare system wastes more than $765 billion each year—about 30 percent of our healthcare spending. If we eliminated this waste, over 10 years we could reduce nearly 50 percent of our national debt.   More

Government

Pentagon to Destroy $1 Billion Worth of Ammunition Because Data Doesn’t Talk

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While the Defense Department prepares to rid itself of roughly $1.2 billion worth of bullets and missiles, it has come to the attention of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and members of Congress that some of those munitions might actually still be usable by troops. The problem? According to a GAO report first discussed by USA Today, “the Defense Department’s inventory systems can’t share data effectively.” Not only is data not shared effectively, but simple communication between branches of the military is sometimes so discombobulated that near-Rube-Goldberg measures must sometimes be enacted: email requests from one branch that are emailed to another must sometimes be printed out and then re-entered manually before those requests can even be considered, let alone be implemented.   More

Government

U.S. Intelligence Community Supports Sharper Satellite Images

DigitalGlobe offers a range of high-resolution satellite images.

In the increasingly competitive business of satellite imaging, Colorado-based DigitalGlobe is getting a welcome boost from some powerful friends. U.S. government agencies, particularly those in the intelligence sector, have traditionally worried that allowing private companies such as DigitalGlobe to sell increasingly high-resolution images could undermine one of the government’s key strategic advantages on the geopolitical scene. However, in light of advances made by non-U.S. satellite imaging companies, the intelligence community is now supporting DigitalGlobe’s push to make those higher resolution images publicly available on the open market. Why? Market share and global competitiveness.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Jobs

Techonomic Top 5: Federal Inefficiency, Chromosome Breakthrough, Virtual Employers, and More

Andrew Hessel (l) with Stewart Brand and Eri Gentry at Techonomy 2013 in Tucson, Ariz.

Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention.   More

Global Tech Government

Can We Hold Back Data-Secessionism?

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German Chancellor Merkel has called for a "European data network" that would prevent Europe-to-Europe information from passing through the U.S., and the EU has joined with Brazil to build a new undersea fiber optic cable that would be out of the control of U.S. telecoms companies. Up until now, however, Net infrastructure outside of countries like China has sent data packets on routes based on efficiency, not on national origins. Now a former German Defense Minister in Merkel's own government has come out against the mindset that leads to these parochial policies that would "balkanize" the Internet. In an article for Techonomy, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg argues against what he calls "data secessionism."   More

Global Tech Government Opinion

European Legislators Face “Data Secessionism”

The key players in the public and private sector are now working to protect their interests in a world that is shifting from government to “Googlement”—driven by the unprecedented ability of companies to gather, store, and evaluate vast amounts of personal data. Adding to the challenge will be unabated progress on more invasive technologies such as biometrics, household robotics, smart homes, and connected cars, coupled with widespread adoption of cloud computing. Even overconfident U.S. tech titans must concede that Europe is in the pole position to shape this process and that the Old Continent’s success or failure will reverberate around the world.   More

Government

The Inefficiency Bunker

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It's housed 230 feet underground in an old mine in rural Pennsylvania. The official government paperwork it processes follows a long and winding procedure that takes more than three months to complete. And despite all of today's advanced computing technology, its operations rely on physical paper records and manual data entry. This is the Office of Personnel Management, which The Washington Post calls "one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government." It is the department that processes the retirement papers of government employees. From the time the office receives a retiree's papers to the time it issues a retirement check, the process takes about 61 days. That's not a day less than it took back in 1977.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Energy & Green Tech Government

Techonomic Top 5: Reanimating the Woolly Mammoth, Facebook Drones, and more

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The passenger pigeon became extinct in 1914, though not long before it flew in flocks that could number in the billions (yes, with a "b"). But a group of scientists has teamed up with tech visionary Stewart Brand in spearheading an effort to bring the species back to life. The so-called de-extinction project could reanimate long-lost species like the woolly mammoth and even mitigate environmental threats like melting permafrost, according to some.   More

Government

Obama: From Bottom-Up Candidate to Top-Down President

Like so many of us, California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom was inspired by Barack Obama's Internet-driven 2008 Presidential campaign. Indeed, Newsom was so inspired by a campaign run by "35,000 self-organizing communities" that he wrote a book called "Citizenville," which sees all change as beginning from the bottom up. But Newsom has fallen out of love with Barack Obama. As he told me at our latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, the "bottom-up candidate" has turned into the "top-down President." Obama isn't the Internet President, Newsom insists. By transitioning from change.gov to whitehouse.gov, he's let his Internet base down.   More

Government

Can the Internet Make Politics More Collaborative?

So what is politics? Is it something we do once every couple of years—electing politicians who then are supposed to do stuff for us? Or is it a collaborative space, what the ancient Greeks called a "polis," where citizens go to improve their community? According to California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, we need to change our politics from what he calls a "referendum process" to something more collaborative. More polis, less petition, Newsom says. And that's where the Internet comes in.   More

Government Security & Privacy

Investigate NSA to Avert Police State, Privacy Consultant Warns

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Cyber-security expert Jody Westby calls “for the facts to be found out and the truth to be determined” about the NSA surveillance program in order for the nation’s leaders to make “informed decisions about how this country should be operating and the values it should be upholding in the digital age—before it turns into a full police state.” Under the headline, "It Is a Scandal That No One is Investigating the NSA," Westby, who is CEO of Global Cyber Risk, a fellow at the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, and adjunct professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a frequent Techonomy participant, proclaims in a Forbes essay this week that she is stunned that no one but she has called for a full investigation.   More

Government

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Vital for American Innovation

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Open borders brought Andrew Carnegie and Andy Grove to the U.S. They also brought Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, a slew of German theoretical physicists to work on the Manhattan Project, and countless investors and entrepreneurs, including me. Immigrants to the U.S. have been transforming the industrial geography and the technology landscape since the 1860s when Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie launched Keystone Bridge Company, which became the cornerstone of his mammoth steel empire.   More

Government Startup Culture

Should Politicians Be More Like Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs?

Should all politicians have to launch a startup before entering politics? That’s the question I asked California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, at the latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event held at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto. Newsom, the author of "Citizenville," a kind of digital manifesto for 21st century networked politics, didn’t beat around the bush. “Yes," Newsom replied, sounding more like a startup guy than a career politician.   More

Government Learning Partner Insights

Will All Schools Have Nanotechnology Labs?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gets a lesson in nanotechnology from Wheeling High School student Drakkari Lott. (Photo: Ed.gov)

Setting up high school students with atomic-force microscopes and optical profilers so they can study nanotechnology may seem like a science teacher’s dream, but it’s already happening in at least one school in the United States. And the amount of outside financial support received by Wheeling High School in Illinois to make the lab a reality, coupled with efforts to encourage teachers to emphasize the field, suggests that more labs may soon be cropping up. The focus on nanotech in Wheeling and elsewhere speaks to its potential.   More

Government Healthcare Techonomy Events

A Health Insurance CEO Who’s Bringing Apps to Affordable Care

David Kirkpatrick (l) and Mark Bertolini. (Photo by Asa Mathat)

If you’ve lost faith in the government’s effort, Aetna’s Mark Bertolini could be the guy who gives you hope that the health insurance industry will indeed improve. A top exec with the healthcare giant since 2003, and at the helm since 2010, Bertolini exemplifies this week’s Tucson Techonomy conference theme: “Leaders must think more like technologists.”   More