Sunday, November 05, 2006

Solving Hard Infrastructure Problems

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . The $200 Billion Lunch

This is an excellent example where technologists knew the right solution to a problem that may now get solved because of a crisis: and solved not because of leadership by the US but by the leadership of China. There are many other examples:
  • The threat of global warming induced rising water levels
  • The ill-conceived process of funding and developing electronic voting machines
  • Security on the Internet
  • Internet and eMail protocols that allow spoofing
  • Homeland security of shipping ports
  • Bird flu and other potential global pandemics
The usual reason for not solving these problems is that it would cost too much. I believe that may not always be the most significant reason. Frequently these solutions lack a strong advocate with the leadership and power to take us in the right direction. Quite often solutions could occur on an incremental basis incurring much less cost by being part of normal replacement investments.

Of course other times, it does require massive Government investment. But many of the items above are hard problems that aren't as "easy" as building weapon systems and so the collective product of our elected officials punt and spend massive amounts on money on the easy projects.

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