Presidential candidate Barack Obama has warned his supporters not to get over-confident about his chances in the election, but that hasn't quieted the discussions about the figures who could play prominent roles in an Obama cabinet. Most notably, there has been recent speculation related to Obama's long-ago stated wish to create a cabinet position that essentially would be chief technology officer of the U.S. Who might fill such a role? Google executive and Internet forefather Vinton Cerf? Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos? What about a career academic who isn't associated with one of those high-tech brand names? Given how much attention has been paid to the Obama campaign's use of social networking, maybe it should be Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg? (I'm joking about that last one, I think).
The major mission for the CTO would be to advise Obama on how to spur the creation of better broadband policies and a better national broadband infrastructure, which in turn could help the economy's recovery. Still, it is unclear how such a position would interact with the Federal Communications Commission, or if it would rank over the FCC chief in advising and driving the government's position on various technology matters. Would the job be like a managing director at a high-tech venture capital fund, just telling the government where it should spend its money, or would the position drive policies, or both?
Obama, of course, needs to win for any of these questions to be answered.
BusinessWeek reports on the shortlist for U.S. CTO
Some in Congress have chided John McCain on broadband issues
Obama supported telco immunity as part of the new FISA