Eric Schmidt made an interesting point about Washington, DC think tanks recently:
“I spend so much time in Washington now because of the work that I’ve been doing, I deal with all these people who make assertions without fact,” he said. Policy people “will hand me some report that they wrote or they’ll make some assertion, and I’ll say, ‘Well, is that true?’ — and they can’t prove it.”
Perhaps that could change some day, he suggested. Technology could help.
With Google’s vast power for capturing and remembering data, Schmidt painted a picture in which technology could help quantify and verify the assertions made in policy documents. “Government is highly measurable, most of it,” he said. “We can actually see how many people got this shot or read this report or so forth. A government — a transparent government — should be able to [measure] that.”
He’s absolutely right, of course. Policy has a number of sacred cows because it’s a political process, and the last thing Congress ever does is follow-up on the measures it enacts to see whether they produce the desired results. So I challenge my colleagues in the think tank business to support assertions with evidence, and to cite longitudinal studies when they exist. This is the road to good policy.
I’m presenting a report on the Mobile Internet at the ITIF Global Command Center in Washington bright and early Tuesday morhing:
The Internet is changing. In a few short years, Internet use will come predominately from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rather than traditional PCs using fixed broadband. A fully mobile broadband Internet offers exciting opportunities for innovation in networks, devices, and applications with enormous benefits for the economy and society.
The shift from a wire-centric Internet to a mobile one has profound implications for technology, policy, and applications. A new report by ITIF Research Fellow Richard Bennett explains how mobile networks are changing as they become part of the Internet, the implications mobile networking has for public policy, and how policymakers can facilitate the transition to mobile broadband.
Join us for the presentation of the report and a panel discussion among leading representatives of diverse viewpoints on Internet policy.
Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Time: 9:00am- 10:30am
Location: 1101 K Street Suite 610A Washington, DC 20005
Research Fellow, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Legal Director, Public Knowledge
Executive Director, Association for Competitive Technology
Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Communications and Competition Policy, PFF
Click here to RSVP.