Barack Obama, if elected president, will be looking for a cabinet-level chief technology officer (CTO) – a first in the White House. Job responsibilities will include ensuring the U.S. is caught up with technologies, infrastructure and services for the 21st century. A White House CTO would potentially help create broadband expansion with incentive programs (tax credits for smaller carriers, etc.) and oversee the proposed venture capital fund to develop more environmentally friendly technology.
Throughout his campaign, Obama has effectively used the Internet to raise funds and engage voters – utilizing everything from blogs to social networks. But the United States is ranked 15th among industrial nations in broadband penetration, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The report showed only 23 out of 100 Americans have broadband access – with rural areas being the most affected.
According to barackobama.com’s technology page, if the U.S. is going to succeed in the global economy we need to get on the ball and online. Without renewed technology efforts, it stated, the U.S. will continue to lose leadership in science, technology and innovation – particularly information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology. It continued to cite recent international study statistics: U.S. students perform lower on scientific assessments than students in “16 other economically developed nations and lower than 20 economically developed nations in math performance.”
The overall aim of broadband penetration and associated technological advancements is increased communication and awareness. Who are some likely candidates for the job? BusinessWeek’s short list from Washington insiders of potential U.S. CTO candidates includes Google’s Vint Cerf, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos and Ed Felten, a prominent professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University.
Obama’s proposed CTO may help turn the economy around and keep things on the up and up — developments of new technologies will lead to more jobs. Obama’s plan to invest in climate-friendly energy development and deployment would theoretically create 5 million new jobs alone.
And if that doesn’t work out? At least one new job would be created – a White House CTO.