Of governments and new technologies

I know I said I was going to write a proper blog entry soon, not just toss out links, but I couldn't pass up on the comparison which leapt out at me while I was reading this morning's news.

The UK government's idea of harnessing new technologies: Make public a wide array of government statistics for the Show Us A Better Way competition, where anyone can suggest new ways of using that data to make people's lives better. It hopes to attract everyone from the tech industry to "hardcore coders to adolescents in their bedroom". BBC News even calls it "data mash-up" in the article headline.

The Singapore government's idea of harnessing new technologies: Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is quoted on Channel NewsAsia as saying:
I think we will get into the 'YouTube' style of politics, which means it's multimedia. It's no longer enough to just talk, you must have moving images, you must have sound, you must have music. And if it makes an impact, you will get millions of hits. And if it's true but boring, without multimedia, then no one's going to watch it.
Also, as quoted in the Straits Times:
Because you think you are not revealing yourself, a lot of people on the Internet engage in what I call virtual shouting. They want to gain attention and the best way ... is to say something crazy, outrageous, scandalous, maybe even defamatory.
Uh. Yeah. So one is releasing information out there in the hope of getting something good back in return, while the other is still concerned with the Sisyphean task of outshouting the crazies.

As a tax-paying citizen, I certainly know which project I'd rather my government be working on.

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At 7/04/2008 7:08 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think we will get into the 'YouTube' style of politics, which means it's multimedia."

It's like reading Clinton (the first) refer to YouTube clips as 'internet movies', or McCain refer to his veep vetting process as 'a Google'. Though certainly better than Ted Stevens calling the internet 'a series of tubes'.

PAP needn't go Obama on us. I'd settle for them to just clue in on the basics like political freedom and governmental transparency.


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