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Aneesh Chopra  (Source: AFP)
CEA President Gary Shapiro says the government is silencing innovation

The Obama administration has already had a profound impact on technology.  From charging Intel with antitrust violations to taking majority ownership of GM and Chrysler, the administration's actions have profoundly affected the tech landscape.  And as new decisions, such as the proposed ACTA treaty and Copenhagen climate promises loom, the Obama administration is a hot topic at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show.

Obama's Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra was in Las Vegas yesterday, but received a rather icy welcome from Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro, who admonished the Obama administration's approach on many topics.

He offered mild criticism of the bailout of the financial and auto sectors, which he called "panic spending".  And he stated, "When it comes to innovation, there's a lot the government can do, and there's a lot they should not do.  The government doesn't spur innovation or entrepreneurship. The government often gets in the way."

Mr. Shapiro complains that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to make sure that the U.S.'s trade policy allows our goods to compete with cheaper goods elsewhere.  He also complains that they are dragging their feet about implementing measures to allow the faster transfer of tech savvy workers from nations like China and India.

An apologetic Chopra commented, "We have to eat our own dogfood.  Gary is right about the federal deficit. We are in an economic crisis but we are going to tackle it. We have to get it right."

Mr. Chopra is a graduate of John Hopkins and worked in government and as the managing director at a health think tank before taking on the role of government CTO.  The tech industry's leadership has thus far been rather mixed in their opinions on his leadership and that of the Obama administration.

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Chopra is a Kenyan
By 2bits on 1/8/2010 3:40:26 PM , Rating: 2
Why won't Chopra show us his birth certificate, and what is he hiding?

Seriously, Shapiro has some valid criticisms, but it's really a stretch to say Obama is stifling innovation. At best it's just and abstract indirect connection. Also, maybe he shouldn't be using CES as a soapbox for his obvious political views.

The right has good points based on their libertarian component of thinking, and some really far-fetched shrill criticisms from their I-hate-liberals component. We're seeing both here.

RE: Chopra is a Kenyan
By rdawise on 1/8/2010 9:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
OMG... a forum post that makes logical sense. Probably the last we will see of 2010.

The guy actually chided the government for NOT IMPORTING MORE FOREIGN WORKERS? Pure soapbox moment and nothing more.

RE: Chopra is a Kenyan
By Laereom on 1/9/2010 1:48:07 PM , Rating: 2

Are you joking? The amount of high tech foreign workers we admit per year is ridiculously small -- measured in the 10s of thousands. And y'know what? Highly educated people are great. There is always a chronic shortage of people with either high tech or medical skills, so they're not likely to significantly dampen the job market for long even if we declare open season.

The upshot? They're generating lots of tax revenue, producing well-cared for intelligent children, consuming very little from our social safety nets, and doing tons of useful, awesome high tech stuff. Furthermore, they will dilute the criminal population and contribute to the creation of prosperous, healthy neighborhoods. I mean...the cost:benefit ratio for skilled foreign workers is ridiculously in favor of importing them whenever we can.

RE: Chopra is a Kenyan
By Jalek on 1/10/2010 4:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
H1B issue levels haven't declined, though the demand for those slots has a bit.

What are they needed for anyway? Haven't most R&D labs already brought them in, taught them the corporate processes, and signed them to outsource everything once they returned?

If you haven't already, you're behind all of your competitors.
HP is looking at Africa next. You could get ahead of the curve there if you can find a stable place to invest in infrastructure.

RE: Chopra is a Kenyan
By sinful on 1/10/2010 10:31:35 PM , Rating: 1
There is always a chronic shortage of people with either high tech or medical skills, so they're not likely to significantly dampen the job market for long even if we declare open season.

The reason there's always a chronic shortage of highly skilled people is because of the classic "We won't train our employees, and neither does anyone else, why can't we find trained employees to hire?!" problem.

If you have any faith at all in the free market, you realize that high demand for a profession=high pay=people flocking to that field.

The "problem" is that business don't want to pay higher wages, so they attempt to interfere with the labor market by trying to get the government to intervene. All it does in the end is make our labor market less and less competitive.

RE: Chopra is a Kenyan
By vol7ron on 1/11/2010 12:52:00 AM , Rating: 3
I agree, with the criticism paragraph.

It is distasteful to do it at this venue. It's okay to have opinions, but you should be careful and aware of where you express them.

I also have a similar problem when bands do it. I'll go to a show to hear their music, not listen to their political rants between songs.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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