What is the Industrial Internet's biggest impact on your area of expertise?
The United States Government is a truly huge enterprise and effort. When President Obama appointed me as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer, it was with the understanding that we could harness the full power of technology and innovation to solve problems, and to do so in a smarter, more efficient manner.
As a nation, we face big challenges in healthcare, education, and energy. All of these industries are on the cusp of a productivity revolution thanks to the power of networked machines and vastly improved (and more accessible) data analytics.
We also know that the answers will not come exclusively from Washington, but from the talented people residing in communities all across the country. The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is a great example of how the public is stepping up to partner with our best and brightest civil servants to deliver a more innovative and effective government.
On July 8, President Obama doubled down on his vision for a smarter government and tasked cabinet officials to look at technology solutions to “bring a government built largely in the 20th century into the 21st century.” We’ve seen the economic dividends that productivity gains can deliver in the private sector, and they hold a similar promise for state and federal governments.
What inefficiencies exist in government that the Industrial Internet can address?
I would suggest two concrete areas – where we have an operating capacity similar to the private sector as in the medical system within the VA or the manufacturing supply chain of the DoD; and where we regulate key sectors of the economy where there is a clear and compelling policy objective in harnessing the full power of the Internet to modernize the grid, or protect the nation’s digital critical infrastructure.
An important tool in this effort is the convening role of government in standards activities, one that builds on America’s vibrant private sector-led approach to advance better solutions in areas of national importance.
Another tool is the application of the President’s Open Government Directive in streamlining the collection and distribution of information that can help deliver greater value through the Industrial Internet. Open source code has been developed and distributed for use by governments around the world interested in operating open government data sites which will add treasure troves of data for innovative private sector applications.
The broader Data.gov initiative as introduced by President Obama in the U.S. national action plan for Open Government makes it easy for the public to use government data in new and innovative ways. Mixing the vast data repositories maintained by government agencies with data analytics tools and ingenuity in the private sector is already paying dividends, as exemplified in this recap of the movement underway in the health field.
What is the public’s role in the government’s initiatives?
First and foremost, the public’s role is to participate in the development and use of new open government-powered products and services that improve our quality of life and expand economic opportunity.
Our government is making good progress at streamlining the organization and distribution of information, but we’re still in the early days of making it work for us, especially at the intersection of “big iron” and “big data.” We should expect to see benefits from these innovations in the years ahead as there really isn’t much holding us back. Maximizing efficiencies via technology is widely supported by leaders across the political spectrum and the task at hand – benefitting from talent inside and outside of the government, is underway.
But there is even greater potential in the unknown projects and applications that the public will build on the foundation of data newly unlocked by programs like Data.gov. American’s are already weighing in with powerful ideas that use data and analytics to tackle our biggest challenges.
Aneesh Chopra was the nation's first chief technology officer, appointed by President Barack Obama. As an assistant to the president, he designed the National Wireless Initiative, which opened data to transform health, energy and education markets, convened tech leaders to develop consensus standards, and sponsored prizes, challenges and competitions to tap into entrepreneurial problem solvers.