I've just arrived in Half Moon Bay for Fortune Magazine's Technology Brainstorm conference. A couple months ago they asked us to submit the answers to three questions: 1) What is the most exciting technology innovation you've seen in the past 12 months? 2) What is your biggest hope or fear for the future, and how does tech relate to it? and 3) What should the top priority be for the next U.S. president?
Fortune Magazine's David Kirkpatrick summarized a number of the answers. Amazingly and somewhat disappointingly, about half of the participants listed the iPhone as the most exciting innovation they've ever seen... My own answer was excerpted in a way that obscured my main point. I should have known better than to answer in more than one sentence. For what it's worth, here are my full answers:
Q: Most exciting technology innovation of past 12 months?
A: To me it's not tech innovation itself but social innovation in how humans use tech. Internet and mobile technologies long boring to Silicon Valley are only getting critical mass of users in many parts of the world for the first time, and thus their use has only begun to get interesting.
Q: Biggest hope/fear for future? How does technology relate?
A: Biggest fear: instead of all societies getting more free, the freer ones and the un-free ones simply meet in the middle. Technology relates to this in terms of how people's speech and communications are censored/surveilled by governments and companies. It's a global concern.
Q: Top priority for next U.S. president?
A: Avoid hypocrisy and arrogance. Be honest that he's human, that his administration and the U.S. isn't perfect, nor is anybody else, that the people of the world need to work together to solve common problems.