Interview with Megan Smith: Chief Technology Officer of the U.S.A.

Dear Commons Commnity,

The New York Times Magazine features an interview with Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and former Google executive. Her responses include several kernels of wisdom regarding technology. For example (the questions are in bold typeface):

“Your office is working to make large sets of government data public. What’s the hope there? Scientists and universities and the general public can do extraordinary things with it. It could be weather or climate data; it might be data from the Department of the Interior or NASA or water data. Whole industries are being built from things that taxpayers have helped the government know.”

“How did you get onboard early with science and engineering? I went to an inner-city school in Buffalo. We had no money. But our teachers believed in hands-on active learning — there was a mandatory science fair, which was critical. We just had to do this stuff.”

“As a grad student in the ’80s, you helped build a solar car, and today all we have are iPhones that we use mostly for playing Candy Crush. Do you feel as if tech has lost its way? It’s going both ways — look at Tesla and look at where the mainstream car companies are going.

But it’s taking a long time. Technology always takes longer than you think, but it comes.”

I agree with several of Ms. Smith’s comments namely that in education active learning and doing things are critically important more so than test-prep curricula that permeate in too many of our public schools. And lasting technologies always take longer.   They evolve and don’t have to “disrupt”.


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