Recently a very public testimony was given in front of congress with Mark Zuckerburg and the results were nothing short of meme worthy. Fast forward to Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s testimony and a grim realization emerges. Our elected officials have never been much for inspiring confidence or displaying competence but as more and more technology based issues find their way under the microscope in D.C. the situation is deteriorating rapidly. It is painfully obvious that the people entrenched in power have no idea the scope or significance of the problems that they are inquiring about. They cannot even formulate questions of any real value to ask. When congress does not realize that Facebook generates revenue through selling Ads or that Google search engine functions on a hierarchical algorithm and not people manually aligning ads and results with search queries or targeting mobile gaming we have a serious problem.
Science and technology are in a state of advancement being referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. ” It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems” -Wiki. These technologies have completely restructured modern society in less than 15 years and will continue to do so at an accelerating pace. Entrenched lawmakers who cannot grasp the scope and significance of these changes, and are prone to attempts at leveraging anything and everything possible for personal power and gain, is a most dangerous mix indeed.
The danger we face from a political climate in conflict with science and reason can not be taken lightly. History is littered with cautionary tales began with this exact introduction. Money and influence have dictated policy for far too long and it is time that we mature as a society. People who do not understand something CANNOT be tasked with its regulation. We need to empower people in a capacity that is transparent, independent, and aligned with expertise. I can think of no bigger disconnect then the amount of power given to politicians who are blatantly unqualified to deal with modern issues. Pair this with the fact that there is little sign of their actions aligning with the best interests of the people they represent and we find ourselves in a situation where ignorance is prevailing. All of this in the face of destructive weather events, unacceptable miscarriages of justice, and a rapid degradation of the institutions that improved life for so many more quickly than at any other time in history.
The market does not reward incompetence so neither should our political system.