The Economist | Vivek Kundra, the White House’s CIO, discusses technological progress and the Singularity

May 11, 2011

The Economist | Vivek Kundra, President Obama’s Chief Information Officer, speaks about updating Washington D.C.’s tech for the 21st century. This video was recorded live at The Economist‘s “The Ideas Economy” event: Intelligent Infrastructure — The Architecture of Progess, which was held in New York City on February 16–17, 2011.


Transcript excerpt:

Host | In the spirit of fun, in which we’ve been together the last day and a half, I’ll ask the same question that I asked Nick Negroponte last night, who was in that chair: Do you believe in the Singularity?

Vivek Kundra | In the Singularity of —

Host | As in Ray Kurzweil and the arguments about us moving to a post-biological future, the pace of innovation, this being a Golden Age of advances, that within our lifetimes we’ll be able to see extraordinary changes in literally how humans and technology converge.”

Vivek Kundra | Absolutely. I actually think we already are seeing a lot of that, right? So if you think about a lot of what’s even happening around the world and how we’re connected in ways that were structurally impossible before — I mean, when I just reflect at the huge changes in the last like 15 years or so, and you look at where the billion dollar companies are being born — what have they accomplished, right? At the end of the day what they’ve done is they’ve created platforms.

If you think about YouTube, it’s not that YouTube’s creating all this content, it’s actually people like you and I who are creating that content and putting it online. Facebook, same thing — they’ve created this platform that allows innovation to happen. Same thing with Twitter.

And I think what you’re beginning to see in terms of sort of this convergence that’s happening between technology and infrastructure and how we lead our lives, it’s a fundamental shift — and I think when we look back on history we’ll realize that we are living in a Golden Age.


About The Economist’s “The Ideas Economy” — “The Ideas Economy” is an online forum that convenes experts from around the world on the subjects of innovation, intelligent infrastructure, information, and human potential. Based on a series of live events from The Economist, “The Ideas Economy” attracts a community of active participants from business, government, non-profits and the academy who are interested in collaborating to solve global challenges, develop new ideas, and contribute to human progress.

About “The Ideas Economy”: Intelligent Infrastructure — Over the next 30 years the global population will rapidly expand. Every country in the world has massive infrastructure challenges ahead of it. Together, we can find smart solutions. Intelligent Infrastructure convened the world’s top minds for captivating discussions on energy, architecture, information, transportation, finance, and cities of the future.

About Vivek Kundra, U.S. Chief Information Officer — Vivek Kundra was appointed as the United States Chief Information Officer by President Obama in March 2009. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Kundra served in Mayor Fenty’s cabinet as the CTO for the District of Columbia and Governor Kaine’s cabinet as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has also served in leadership roles in the private sector. Kundra has been recognized as the 2009 Chief of the Year by InformationWeek for driving unprecedented change in Federal IT and as the 2008 IT Executive of the Year for his pioneering work to drive transparency, engage citizens and lower the cost of government operations. He has also been recognized by InfoWorld among the top 25 CTO’s in the country.

Video Source: The Economist | “The Ideas Economy”

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U.S. CIO | Vivek Kundra
The Economist | "The Ideas Economy" events