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Cyber-Stimulus

As I read over some fascinating papers for the Wharton CMCL tomorrow, I’m happy to see that many leading thinkers are addressing the challenge of a New Deal for tech policy. Via TPM, Yochai Benkler pushes for new infrastructure–both physical and cultural:

We hear a lot about infrastructure investment today: roads and bridges, mostly. But we live in an information society and an information economy. We need investment in information infrastructure, and that, in the near term that is relevant for a recovery package, means massive public investment in Fiber To The Home (FTTH).

[Then we need to] create a nationwide program where college kids, schoolteachers, knowledge workers, and knowledgeable others are hired by the federal government, on a full contract if they are not currently working or studying, or as a supplemental job, to offer courses in these subjects to other adults. Computer and Internet literacy courses should have a heavy emphasis on how to use the Internet, from the simple, like how to do more sophisticated searches or change defaults, to the more complex. They could focus on how to be a better consumer, from good price comparison practices to security awareness, and how to be better producers — such as how to find ways of adding to household income by finding work online.

[We need to pay] people to teach, learn, and share what they learned. They will be building our knowledge infrastructure. Coupled with fiber to the home, by the end of the recovery we will have more of our population connected to much faster networks that will allow them to work from home, and they will be much better prepared to use that connectivity in a networked information economy.

I also highly recommend Tim Wu and Derek Slater’s Homes With Tails, which borrows some great policy ideas from other nations to recommend innovation in our own internet infrastructure.