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How Does Technology Affect Politics And Policy

technology and politics The world is changing at an alarming rate. Technology is constantly jumping up and up – Moore’s Law is still holding strong – and while this is a wonderful thing it also poses challenges that haven’t been experienced by any society in history.

Society moves slower than technology, and more often than not our laws move slower than society. And with the increasing impact of technology on everyday moments of our lives, society and law need to catch up – and even harder, needs to start getting ahead of the growing technological influence.

The Slow-to-Fast March of Generational Change

Generational Change – often referred to pejoratively as the generation gap – is a concept that expresses how each new generation has a different understanding and different values guided by the situation in which they grew up.

In the past, the generation gap was largely based on experience – elderly people have simply experienced a lot more of the world than younger people and there’s a good chance that they really have seen it all before.

New technologies, new advancements, and changes in regimes, were monumental events that were often separated by decades if not centuries.

For many of us, the progressiveness of new generations is a wonderful thing, but for, it’s a clear sign of instability, and that sign can’t be more clear than the fact that generational change doesn’t mean what it used to.

Going as far back as Classical Greece and the writings of Herodotus, generations were measured every 20 years or so, and were mostly a political tool because widespread change didn’t happen that much.

People could be easily divided by what they lived through vs what they grew up in. Some people lived through a depression, while others grew up in a depression.

Some people lived through a terrible war or famine, making decisions about their future, while others experienced their formative years in that environment with little to no autonomy.

These sorts of events would only happen a few times in a lifetime. But today, that sort of event can happen several times a decade. This means that while before the generation gap might have been twenty years or more, today the gap could realistically be as little as five years.

Additionally, technology allows us to see, perceive and understand what people unlike us are going through, which can be a tool for sharing grief, but can also be a tool for seeing how those with money and influence can simply ignore the troubles of those below them.

A social structure that used to only exist in the relationship between you and your direct “social superiors” now exists between every one of us and every other person on the planet. And all of this monumental social change happened in the space of roughly thirty years and happened again, and again, and again in that time.

Is it no wonder then that many of our laws – which before would often take 20 or more years for a new generation to step into place – are so far behind the needs of our modern world?

The Importance of Public Policy

Getting that change isn’t easy. A lot of change comes through the law, which before that comes from politicians, which first comes from public policy writers who respond to a public or political need.

This process is long and slow and often can’t hope to keep pace with a world that doubles in technological capacity every 2 years. Public policy writers often require a graduate diploma in public policy online (these days they are most commonly obtained online) and often require extensive backgrounds in many areas and a proven willingness to research and learn.

And that isn’t an easy thing to do. Issues such as cybersecurity and the way businesses use our personal information need updating, preferably before the infamous Telstra and Optus cyber attacks.

As medical knowledge and social concepts progress new laws need to be made or old laws changed to address these real changes in who we are and how we live our lives.

Not only do public policy writers – these people who shape what our politicians understand and argue over – need to have extensive knowledge about these fields, but they need to spend a lot of time and energy updating their knowledge and consulting experts.

A public policy writer drafting a proposal for new legislation about tax law needs to be not only up to date with the existing taxation laws but also needs to be familiar with micro and macroeconomics, who the changes are intended to impact, the loopholes already being exploited, and be able to predict what new loopholes might be created by their adjustments to the existing system, and that might just be to make minor changes to the system!

That is a lot to ask, but policy writers need to have all that information and more to work with.

Unfortunately, with the continual march of technology, new markets, new advances, new software, new cultures, new trends, new influencers and even new approaches arise all the time – and thanks to the embrace of modern technology, minor changes in the law could be picked up on, exploited or reported in any corner of the world by overseas actors with their own ideas and agendas.

Thirty years ago, most of these things could be overlooked and ignored, but today with the sheer level of integration the world has both technologically and socially, these global trends and actors simply cannot be ignored.

The only way this system will work is if it gets ahead of the curve. Policy writers and politicians both need new generations to step up, do their research, understand the needs of the world as it stands now, and develop the ability to look at global trends.

Then they will need to predict what we might need in the future and construct laws and push for policies that future-proof this country against the worst and bolster us for the best.

The more young people get involved in politics, policy, activism and expanding their education, the less reliant our world will be on older, responsive ways of thinking.

Perhaps you yourself know something that needs changing, and have an idea of how to change it.

If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to begin stepping up to the political plate, getting the education required to back it up, and changing the world for the better.

Because while change might be slow, the sooner we start the better it will be.