Ronda Hauben on 18 Aug 2000 18:49:21 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> L.A. Times column, 8/14/00 -- Tech Policy

Gary Chapman <> wrote:

>Gore essentially believes the federal government's role is to support
>research and development in so-called critical technologies related to
>energy, transportation, the environment and the Internet, among other

Clinton-Gore have led the attack on the Internet by promoting 
privatization of the Internet and promoting research to benefit
industry rather than supporting basic research and a determination
of the needed government role in the development and scaling of 
the Internet.

An early speech Gore gave about the Internet promoted the 
principle of "as much private as possible."

There has been no effort by Gore in determining the public interest 
with regard to the important new development that the Internet 
represents and making sure that the public interest is supported 
and protected from corporate attacks. 

There were means of getting Internet access to all in the US 
like the Free-Net movement. Gore and Clinton, however, were intent
on giving all they could of this important public sector development
to the private sector.

Today I hear that people don't read their email because their
mailboxes are clogged with junk.

Basic science research in computer science and technology now
means doing research that industry doesn't plan to do for 5 years.

That is not the kind of research that has made it possible to 
create the Internet. That is the kind of research that is concerned
with how to transform the Internet in to a commercenet.

>Walker, however, believes that the government should invest only in basic
>scientific research and leave technological development to the private
>sector. Bush's platform on technology calls only for larger investments in
>military R&D, a $20-billion-per-year increase. 

It isn't that the Republican Party is interested in supporting 
basic research. 

But basic research is needed, research that looks ahead 10 and 20 years and 
that looks at what science is interested in, not what industry
wants as its next product.

At one time ARPA made it possible for computer scientists to do
basic research in the US. 

The US Congress, in the name of attacking military research, actually
attacked basic research, and ARPA was forced to become DARPA.

The basic research being supported by ARPA had to either become
a second cousin to product oriented research, or could no longer
be done.

Neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party in the US
are the friend of basic research or of support for the needed
science and technical development that will make it possible
for the Internet to get the kind of research support it needs
to scale and to have its vital functions protected by appropriate
public institutional forms.

>Gore's model is sometimes called "technology pull," meaning that the goal
>of accomplishing something grand, in scientific or technological terms,
>pulls the technology toward the goal. Examples include the Apollo space
>program in the 1960s and the goal of halting global warming. 

This means that products are pushed and the basic science research
which doesn't show its achievements in a year or two is not supported.

>Walker's approach is more like the Cold War decades of military R&D
>spinoffs, combined with a faith in the "black box" model of science, which
>means that the government simply dumps money into the mysterious black box
>of science and out comes something good for society. 

I don't know what Walker's view is of basic research, but what 
Gary Chapman has written above is an attack on both basic research
and on public understanding of basic research.

Government support for scientific work is not "government simply
dumps money" into "black box science".

The development of interactive computing and the Internet grew out
of research into the nature of the human and computer relationship
and how to understand each partner in this relationship.

The different centers of excellence created at universities
in the US by J.C.R. Licklider in the early 1960s was the basis
of beginning important computer science research that spread 
interactive computing, time sharing, and the computer networking
around the US and around the world.

This reporter's attack on "mysterious black box of science" is an 
attack on the support of basic research.  Scientists look at the 
nature of the phenomena they are investigating. That doesn't have
an immediate product or application that is produced but
sets the basis for all kinds of future developments. However,
if the basic research is not done, then the pipeline is empty
for the future.

>If Gore is elected president and if the House reverts to a Democratic
>majority, Gore is likely to revive many of his technology investment plans
>that were nixed by Republicans six years ago. He may even restart the
>Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the nation's only
>technology forecasting agency that was killed by budget cuts in 1995. 

mmmm - 1994 - that was the year that the privatization of the US
backbone to the Internet was to happen (it actually happened in

That was the plan of the Clinton-Gore presidency-vice presidency.

The technology investment was to enrich corporations at the expense
of access for all in the U.S. A number of corporations got handouts
worth millions. And the Internet became filled with ads and 
speculation and the precious scientific development that was
done by public support for scientific activity in the US has
been polluted and abused.

Neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties in the US have
any vision for the future or for how to provide for the public
benefit. Support for basic science and technology research 
can set a basis for new developments. But there also needs to 
be ways found for support for public interest objectives rather than
for commercial objectives for the results of research.
Instead there are DARPA supported studies supporting people
who are promoting the corporate view of the world of the future
rather than studying what networking development has happened 
and how and what it needs to grow and flourish.


Nettime-bold mailing list