Technology: Who Rules Who?

Technology: Who Rules Who?

I want to take this blog post to reflect on the connections I'm drawing from my experiences so far in D.C. My current state of mental clarity could be attributed to having filled the entry of my last blog post with disorganized anecdotes, but it could also be the result of a mind, body, and soul freeing vacation to New York City.  Taking a break from the daily grind of D.C. is important for those who work hard.

Anyway, my moment of clarity is occurring right now on the BestBus transportation service (which is a great way to get to NY and only costs $60 roundtrip) as I am synced up to all my technology, broadcasting waves like a summer storm. I am realizing how important technology is to the global world now. This thought connects to my summer program in the city I am currently cruising down the highway towards-Washington, D.C. I am interning with a marketing company, Organic Marketing Analytics ("OMA") that sells and consults on a unique marketing platform, and I  have subsequently chosen to direct my political studies towards the intersection of public service and private commerce in the light of the security versus privacy dilemma.


I believe I have an interesting vantage point in reporting on the area of technology and impact. Now, this is such a moment where you, the reader, might interject and say "Wait, why are you focusing so heavily on technology and other subliminal things attached to it instead of the political makeup and happenings of D.C.?" My answer to that is technology has become an inextricable force in our social, professional, and daily lives. I'll counter any assumptions with the question, has there ever been a day where you weren't aided, protected, and monitored by the day's technological inventions? The only answer is NO. From my bus seat I am on my computer, (both of these devices connected to the internet) I am listening to music on my phone, and the bus is syncing a movie from an online database for our entertainment. Are we in command of our own technological advancements or is technology in command of us?



Connections With D.C.



Government agencies like the NSA are collectors of information-what we do online and on our cell phones. Our activity is all part of Big Data that the government deals in. Although OMA's audience targeting platform that allows a company to monitor, collect data on, and pinpoint their target visitor and advertising audience isn't a surveillance tool, it still functions broadly as one. I have learned the very valuable lesson that there is no such thing as privacy. Seriously, if you use any form of technology, privacy is almost a complete myth. Luckily, if you aren't doing anything illegal and aren't an enemy of the state, you really have nothing to fear...unless you are a public figure like Congressman Anthony Weiner. There is a huge debate over whether the government is infringing on our liberties with its data collection techniques, and it is compelling to have an insider's perspective of it.


Net Neutrality

At OMA, we use the internet for almost every function of our business, and so we keep up to date on government policy surrounding it. Basically net neutrality is a concept where the internet is regulated by a government agency to insure that companies and users have an even online playing field. Those who argue against net neutrality believe it is fair for bigger companies who command a larger presence online and a large amount of bandwidth  to have to pay more-so internet prices shouldn't be the same for everyone. This is a private vs. public debate in which I believe free market principles should be allowed a seat at the table. We all use the internet and expect the provision of it to be like a public utility, but users that strain the capacity of the internet should have to pay a higher price. This issue directly affects companies like OMA and individuals in D.C. In the future, OMA may have a harder time competing and expanding in the ever-changing internet domain.


NY vs. DC



I feel like a boxing ring type of battle between two of our most iconic cities is in order. The raw, anything-goes, free of inhibition Nueva York versus the cuff-linked, pragmatic compadre, D.C., with its slew of highly trained staff including litigators to ward off any unforeseen or unwanted adversaries. And the important question is, who wins? Here are the results after a 7 round knock-around: Nightlife-NY; Food-Tie; Artsy feeling-NY, Career-DC; History-DC; City Beauty-Tie.


My point here is that for a relaxed social life, in a figurative boxing match, NY would win. I believe herein lies a significant Soft Side point. First, the carefree NY and its mindset could have some positive impact on afterhours D.C. Second, and more broadly, this vivacious way of life is a good lesson to not lose touch with who we are as humans and our potential for producing uniqueness in a world that is so focused on conformity.


Your local geek squad consultant,

Cole M. Vance

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