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Tech at the SOTU

So there were minor mentioned of technology in the State of the Union address last night. There were some minor mentions -- a brief mention about health IT and about using technology (government sponsored? probably not) to increase fuel efficiency.

The big one, of course, was the move to increase R&D funding. This is an idea that has been floated around. In fact, here is my favorite exchange from PBS's NewsHour before the speech about the R&D proposal:

TOM OLIPHANT: ...There is one initiative that I'm paying a lot of attention to tonight that he -- you know, one thing a president can do is steal other people ideas. That the victim of the theft is always grateful -- but this initiative to put America back in to the science and mathematics business.

JIM LEHRER: That's really a big deal, a lot of money too.

TOM OLIPHANT: A lot of it came from discussions between the Hill and the National Academy of Sciences, one of the preeminent citizens in our public square. It is very bold, what the Academy has published by way of study. There are bills in Congress supported by Democrats and Republicans with over half the members as sponsors.

The president is joining a very serious effort to try to do something about a very serious national problem. But the question that will arise next week when the budget comes out is whether his actions, even in this one case, can match his rhetoric.

(What can I say -- I just love the concept of people loving their ideas being stolen! And here is the National Academy's report on the subject.)

Pretty much all the IT industry groups have come out in support and the SJMN reports that the Silicon Valley was pretty much thrilled.

In fact, FCW editorially has been big proponents of R&D. We have been big supporters of the President's IT Advisory Council, which has been absorbed into the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The task now is that this has to be more than just words in a very visible speech. For example, at last check, PCAST had met, but it had no new members.

We certainly hope the administration's actions will match the President's words.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Feb 01, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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