|By Jeremy Geelan||
|January 29, 2011 09:00 AM EST||
"We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living." With this one sentence, spoken Tuesday during his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama ushered in once and for all the Age of Sociotechnology, the age that recognizes the importance of the interaction between people and technology in both workplaces and society.
Obama recognizes perhaps better than anyone in America the extent to which technology nowadays is socially constructed and society is technically constructed.
"We are the nation...of Google and Facebook" - those eight words may well go on to become the most significant President Obama has ever uttered to date. For better or for worse, it would seem that the destiny of the U.S. economy is now bolted to that of the software and hardware industries.
Obama also coined a very catchy new phrase when he said:
"This is our generation's Sputnik moment."
"Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race," Obama explained. "In a few weeks," he added, "I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people."
When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into orbit on October 4, 1957, it jump-started the "Space Race" that Obama referred to in his address, and led the following year - 1958 - to the creation of NASA.
The next race to be won by America may be the global social technology race. certainly, with Google and Facebook it has a good head start.
As Obama said:
"None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn't know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do - what America does better than anyone - is spark the creativity and imagination of our people."
Amen to that.
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