In his weekly radio address, President Obama announced that he has appointed Aneesh Chopra as the country’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Chopra will be working closely with the nation’s first CIO, Vivek Kundra, to continue to enhance information security and privacy across the federal government, direct policy, oversee federal technology spending, and oversee government enterprise architecture. Some in Silicon Valley were expecting a CTO with deep technology roots in the Valley, but Chopra was plucked from the Virginia Department of Technology. This is exciting news for those of us who are looking at improving government technology systems to truly help, not hinder, Americans.
Chopra seems to think differently from other CTOs, and he seems to have the vision that technology should help us, instead of enslave us.
Some of his visionary projects for the State of Virginia include;
- During his three year tenure as Secretary for Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, , the National Association of State Chief Information Officers ranked Virginia #1 in technology management.
- A lightweight approval and testing process that allows the government to try out new technologies before making a full, expensive commitment
- The first officially-approved open source textbook in the country, the Physics Flexbook.
- A Ning-based social network to connect clinicians working in small health care offices in remote locations;
- Integrating iTunes U with Virginia’s state education assessment framework;
- The Learning Apps Development Challenge, a competition for the best iPhone and iPod Touch applications for middle-school math teaching;
- A state-funded “venture capital fund” to allow government agencies to try out risky but promising new approaches to delivering their services or improving their productivity;
One person who is especially curious about Chopra’s initiative is Tim O’Reilly. He has written a compelling article featuring eight key reasons why Chopra is positive and promising choice for the new CTO. O’Reilly had this to say:
“I’ve been working for much of the past year to understand what many have been calling Government 2.0, and in that process, Chopra has been one of those who have taught me the most about how we can build a better government with the help of technology. He is an excellent choice as Federal CTO, for many reasons.”
To read O’Reilly’s article in full, and learn what each of the eight areas that Chopra that draws from, check it out: