Innovation and our Use of Technology

Since my arrival in Estonia nearly a year ago, I have made support for innovation in collaboration between my country and Estonia a signature theme.  I have visited long-established, as well as new, entrepreneurs to learn of their ideas and projects, their successes and their challenges.  From mobile law enforcement drug testing devices to new e-governance tools; from business management software to high-tech fabrics sewn into safety clothing articles; Estonia is an obvious partner for equally inventive Americans seeking to build better “mouse traps.”   Technology, by itself, tends to be neutral.  New things will be invented as long as humans walk the earth.  But what use we put technology to is anything but neutral.  We can use it well, or we can use it to devastating effect. 

In Estonia and in the United States information and communications technology and the use of cyber space are among the hottest fields of research and development.   A few weeks ago I spoke to an audience at Tallinn’s IT College about cyber security, including the cyber attack Estonia has had to suffer several years ago.  Today I wrote an op-ed about the recent highly dangerous and irresponsible breach of communications security of purported U.S. diplomatic reporting.  Unfortunately, modern technology has aided in this dispicable act.  Those responsible claim they seek to inform, but instead are causing serious harm to individuals and to a good nation, whose representatives are working hard around the world to keep its citizens and its friends — sometimes even its adversaries — safe.  Bottom line:  technology puts amazing new tools into our hands that can make our lives better, longer, more exciting, and to protect us from harm.  But in those same hands, technology can also be misused to hurt.  Harnessing innovations and technology only for doing good and defending ourselves effectively from their misuse still often illudes us.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under American Values, Peace and Security, U.S. Foreign Relations

5 responses to “Innovation and our Use of Technology

  1. William Cline

    One hugh technology item, besides broadband IT, that the US could learn from is power generation using shale bearing oil rock. Estonia has been a leader in this technology for many years while we in the united States lack practical applications. In the US the most likely to respond quickly to applying the shale bearing oil rock power generation technology would be the RECs (Rural Electric Co-Ops).
    A visit to a shale bearing rock oil power plant by the US Ambassador would move the recogination of a possible technology sharing that would benefit both countries.
    William R Cline, Jr.

  2. John Allen

    I would be interested to learn move about the shale bearing rock oil power plant in Estonia. Perhaps you could recommend websites that address this subject.

    Thank you,

    John Allen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s