President Barack Obama recently appointed Aneesh Chopra as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Chopra will be among the first circle of senior advisors to President Obama. On June 15, 2009, Chopra addressed the annual meeting of the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association (RAFOM). Chopra once lived in this Arlington neighborhood and was a member of this civic association.
Chopra will primarily focus on challenges in health, education, and the environment. He will seek to build platforms for game-changing innovations. These platforms will consist of open data standards and technologies that local communities can leverage. He discussed Virginia’s successful experiment in quickly mobilizing local expertise to create a new, digital physics textbook. This new textbook both saved money and provided more up-to-date knowledge to students. He noted that data visualization contributes significantly in the Toyota Prius’ fuel efficiency. He expressed his interest in assuring that a networked power grid provides open data standards to enable decentralized innovation in energy conservation visualization. He also pointed to the importance of open data for spurring local analysis of educational problems and local solutions to them.
While his position is associated with technological leadership, Chopra seems to me to have keen insight into social networking, volunteer organizations, and community activism. The Internet has created an amazingly powerful tool for connecting persons and sharing data, ideas, innovations, and implementations. Chopra offers great promise for bringing network technologies, in their broadest sense, to promote the common good.
Video excerpts of his talk below.