Eggers’ great observation, articulated in his new book Delivering on Digital, is that digital technology offers a unique opportunity for American government to reinvent itself. Yes, he acknowledges, the US government often doesn’t work. But that’s no excuse, he says, to get rid of it.
Instead, we need to digitalize government – especially its bureaucracy – to enable new efficiencies in government. It’s the biggest challenge of our age, Eggers insists, and should be a much more compelling challenge to smart young innovators that launching the next dating site.
Digital technology, he says, can solve many of America’s deepest political problems. Our real challenge, he argues, is imagining what’s possible. Take, for example, our bulging prisons.
Mobile technology, Eggers says, can reinvent prisons by enabling the authorities to establish much more flexible relationships with inmates, thereby radically reducing the prison population.
Sure, it’s a radical – perhaps even crazy – idea. But he insists that’s exactly what government should be doing – hatching crazy ideas, launching moonshots, reinventing the world.
As always many thanks to the folks at CALinnovates for their help in producing this interview.