Thursday, July 31, 2008

Would You Vote for a Computer Illiterate President?

Anna Quindlen has an interesting column in next week's Newsweek magazine, entitled The Techie in Chief. She draws some historical references to President Abraham Lincoln's understanding and use of cutting-edge technology (specifically, the telegraph) during the Civil War. She throws in a comment form the National Security Agency following 9/11, that the US is "behind the curve in keeping up with the global telecommunications revolution"and then poses a fascinating question:
The terrorists have laptops in their hideouts. Can America afford to have a leader who is just learning how to use one?
Senator John McCain admits that he doesn't use email, doesn't go online and is computer illiterate. I'm sure he has aides that are quite adept with their Blackberries and such, but beyond that does he have a firm grasp on the transformative nature of current tech? Does he understand the cultural, economic, and yes, security, issues inherent in such a broad-based communications mediums as the Internet?

Experience, at least in part, shapes our understanding. Our world is changing. Would McCain be at a disadvantage in some future situation because he doesn't have that personal experience and depth of knowledge of tech? Perhaps.... It's something I'll have to cogitate on. What do you think?

Filed Under: Geeky Yak; Political Yak
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