Future advancements in technology may suffer because of popular opinion driving policy, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).
How Tech Populism is Undermining Innovation investigates the connection between emotion and personal gain, and how those elements are shaping technology regulation in the U.S. Robert Atkinson, president of the ITIF, said much of the debate on tech topics the last few years — such as network neutrality and red light cameras — were “fundamentally based in self-interest and selfishness,” and marked by “fear and distrust.”
In an event promoting the report on Wednesday, April 1, Atkinson defined “tech-populism” as a doctrine where people allow their passion for a technology issue to push for change, leading to hyperbole and demonizing a differing viewpoint. The notion of populism isn’t new. Similar stances were taken generations ago, notably with the advent of the telephone, telegraph and railroad, Atkinson added.