More on the Rationale for This Course
Many of the most important policy issues facing the U.S. and the world have strong technical components. For example, a representative list might be,
- What to do about climate change?
- How to prepare for global pandemics (e.g., Flu, Ebola)?
- Will the future world be one of constant cyber-warfare? What should we do about this?
- Does high-tech industry create structural unemployment, because needs fewer workers?
- Do we still want everyone to go to college, or should we instead train more for middle-skills jobs (e.g., coding, high-tech manufacturing)?
- Are copyright and patent laws outdated in the Internet Age?
- What about anti-trust laws and enforcement (e.g., Google in Europe)?
- What is government’s right to collect information on the individual? Is it different from the rights of private sector companies in commercial transactions?
- Who owns the Internet? Who can regulate it? What happens if all nations try simultaneously to regulate it?
Contrast this list with the professional background of members of Congress, in which the number of technical professionals (other than medical practice) is less than a handful (click on image at right).
These public officials, as also their counterparts in the Executive and Judicial branches, and in state and local government, need sound (often non-partisan) technical advice. The purpose of the course is to learn how to give such advice in a useful and effective way.