Bill Clinton crashes CES to talk politics and the Internet
- 09 January, 2013 19:42
Bill Clinton addresses CES 2013
Former US President Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance at the International CES on Wednesday, where he talked a little about technology and a lot about hot-button political issues like the environment and gun control.
Clinton was greeted by rousing applause when he appeared toward the end of Samsung's CES keynote, and at the end of his speech a portion of the audience gave him a standing ovation.
He began with some light-hearted talk, remembering that when he entered the Oval Office, cellphones weighed 5 pounds and there were only 50 sites on the Internet. "There have been more than that created since I started talking," he said, in an understatement.
He talked about the importance of the Internet and mobile phones in raising living standards in poor countries like Haiti and he spoke of the importance of bringing broadband to all Americans. South Korea is number one in the world for download speeds, while the US is 15th, Clinton said.
"Our speeds are one-fourth of theirs," he said of South Korea.
He also urged the gadget-happy CES crowd not to take their comforts for granted. "You'd be shocked if the video failed and the screen went dark," he said, while others in the world don't even take drinking water for granted.
He soon turned to other, non-tech topics that took up a good part of his 30-minute address. In the wake of the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Clinton called for tougher action on gun control. The U.S. is about to have a "raging debate" over "our unjustifiable neglect of gun safety," he said.
"Why would anybody need a 30-round clip for a gun? Why does anyone need one of these things that carries 100 bullets?" he asked.
The world faces three main challenges, he said: chasms of inequality, instability created by the financial markets and terrorism threats, and climate change. The US just had its hottest year on record by 1 degree, Clinton said. "Perhaps the deniers will finally be quieted," he said.
Technology can help solve the world's problems, but technology alone is not enough, he said. "If you look what the Arab Spring did to use social networks to topple an oligarchy, you realise it's not a total solution," he said.
The "messy real world" requires more than digital connections to ensure a fair political process, he said.
Some of Clinton's comments were sure to divide the audience and lead to questions about whether CES is the right place for a largely political speech. That's ironic, since Clinton also said the biggest issue the U.S. faces today is division.
The country has come a long way in addressing racism and homophobia, he said. "The only remaining bigotry we have is we just don't want to be around people who disagree with us," Clinton said.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
Five trends affecting legal CIOs
CIO Roundtable: The changing face of security
Bitcoin malware count soars as cryptocurrency value climbs
Bouncing Back From CIO Unemployment
Union slams latest fibre-to-premise trial in Tasmania
Pathways Advanced ICT Leadership Development Program Course Outline and Big 6 2013
Developed by the CIO executive Council in conjunction with Rob Livingstone Advisory, Pathways Advanced is a 12-month CIO delivered, small group, mentor based professional leadership development program. Pathways Advanced brings together best practice, thought leadership and business insights for today’s most promising ICT professionals
Performance in Supply Chain
Delivering more products, heightened quality and shortened customers with flawless execution and minimal business interruption defines your supply chain success. This report discusses a newly developed end-to-end solution with the right tools to efficiently procure, assemble, ship and deliver the goods your customers want, when they want them.
Implementing an Effective Vulnerability Management Program
Your company's information is often not secured in a large safe which can be easily protected. Instead, information is spread across many systems, networks and devices exposing it to a higher possibility of it being compromised in some way. This paper discusses the challenges of vulnerability management - human, implementation, changes, and software and how to overcome these by implementing an effective vulnerability management program.