Election of Trump: What it means to Technology?

November 24, 2016 - 18:02

The policies of President-elect Donald Trump have been received with considerable curiosity especially those related to the Internet, cyber security and privacy, technology education, and technology company growth.

Technology enthusiasts favor progression, innovation, and exploration. However, Trump maintains that a balance of power is critical and that technology must be constrained in areas where homeland security might be compromised.

As pointed out by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Trump’s policy can have a huge impact on several aspects of technology, three of which might be worth mentioning.

Immigrant Workers, Silicon Valley, Innovation and Employment

For years, the H1-B visa has been the sole source of filling technology and scientific expertise gaps for Silicon Valley companies. Trump plans on abolishing the system, by raising the prevailing wage to encourage employment of skilled Americans.

However, finding American workers might not snap into place immediately since STEM knowledge is a basic requirement for at least 20% jobs in the US. According to research insights, the supply of American STEM experts is far less than demand.

The picture gets grimmer as economists predict slashing of funds for science education programs due to the deficits arising from the nature of the current economic agenda.

Cyber Attack, User Privacy, and Security Concerns

Trump’s attempts to curtail the alarming rate of cyber attacks might have direct implications on user privacy. This is especially clear after Apple’s refusal to lax its iPhone privacy and encryption mechanisms in response to FBI directives, inviting disagreement from Trump.

Further, his stance on restoring the Patriot Act to gain access to phone records in lieu of war on terror clearly displays his attitude in favor of security, rather than privacy.

While Trump is in favor of establishing task forces against cyber attack attempts and ensuring homeland security to the highest level possible, the measures enacted might compromise user privacy.

Security Policy and Equal Access to Internet Resources

Net neutrality as a people policy enables all users to access their preferred content without being limited by ISPs. The success of Facebook and Google can be traced to the Net neutrality policy.

However, Trump’s security policies might challenge Net neutrality in future, including closing access to certain areas, as an attempt to curtail terrorism.

Implications on Other Key Technology Areas

Further to the core technology issues, several other aspects might experience drastic changes:

  • Energy technology might be affected if renewable energy programs receive lower subsidies due to investment in coal, oil and natural gas initiatives.
  • Attempts to curtail mergers and acquisitions might impact innovation and employment opportunities. This is already evident from AT&T – Time Warner merger scenario, Amazon criticism and the implications of climate change policy for Tesla.
  • Several areas in need of technological advancement might not receive attention including IoT, Wireless Broadband, and the Digital Divide

Only time will tell if Trump’s attitude will effectively balance technology with optimal power distribution and federal budgeting. Economists choose to leave this as an open question.

References:

ITIF Report on Trump’s Position on technology
Apple’s Refusal to Lax iPhone Security
Trump’s Boycott of Apple’s Products
Report on STEM workers

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