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.
Why change management doesn’t work
Larry Page wants to see your medical records
Dual-Persona Smartphones Not a BYOD Panacea
After two-year hiatus, EFF accepts bitcoin donations again
CIOs struggle to deliver timely mobile business apps: survey
Endpoint Protection Overview
With the exponential growth and sophistication of malware today, the security industry can no longer afford to ‘bury its head in the sand’. The bottom line is that traditional endpoint security protection is now ineffective due to the sheer volume, quality, and complexity of malware. This paper looks at this problem and how Webroot, by going back to the drawing board on countering malware threats, is revolutionising endpoint protection and solving the issues that hinder existing endpoint security solutions. Download now.
Mobile Load - Performance Testing for Mobile Applications
Key mobile trends and analysis on how performance testers must change their testing methodologies to ensure they are accounting for the changes caused by mobile usage. Download today.
Building a Better Mousetrap in Anti-Malware
This story is becoming frustratingly old. Cyber threats are continuously advancing in their adaptability speed, sophistication, and degree of stealthiness. At the same time, the exposed footprint is expanding. More business operations are moving online and end-user devices—corporate-issued and user-owned—are expanding in number and variety. A reasonable question asked by executives responsible for making decisions on their organisations’ security budgets is whether their money and resources are being spent wisely. Are their businesses buying and using the best mix of security technologies to meet their needs and obligations? Read on.