Hillary’s Speech Internet Freedom

Wow.  Great speech.

I recommend that everyone read this speech given by Hillary Clinton today.

From a video collaboration and human-computer interaction standpoint, this is a watershed moment in politics.  There are plenty of articles already discussing the humanist message or how Google’s showdown with China changed the world and I won’t bother covering that here.  Instead, I’ll dwell on the implications of what this means directly to human behavior and our marketplace.

A little backstory:  Milton Chen, our CEO, was intrigued by the history of video conferencing and the mystery it presented.  Bell Labs (now AT&T) had already worked on video calling technology back in 1927.  Think about that.  1927.  Wow.  So why did it never take off?  Answering that question became the foundation of our company.

93 years later, video conferencing has finally become useful.  Companies like ours, Skype, VidSoft, ooVoo, Cisco, etc., have managed to overcome many of the obstacles to making productive use of video.  However, just making something productive doesn’t make it sticky to the general public.  I know a lot of research occurred here at VSee, and I’m assuming at the other places, to try and encourage people to take advantage of the advantages.  Unfortunately, it takes a big lever to move human resistance to new things.  Remember, we didn’t always have cell phones in our pockets.  I assume most of you reading this are old enough to remember a time when we wouldn’t be caught dead with a phone in our pockets!  I mean, seriously, who wants to be reachable when they’re neither at work nor at home?  (25 years later, it turns out the answer is “everyone”.)

For each of us who played Pong as a kid, there are two kids that grew up in an already digital world, at least in this and many other countries.  They, and we, take it for granted that digital is here to stay.  That generation became early adopters, with many of us in our 30s and above that used to be the early adopters learning to catch up.  These kids accept that video calls may be worth trying, because so was putting Facebook on their iPhones.  And this is where Hillary’s speech on Internet Freedom enters the picture.

We already knew something was up in our little tech sector.  The parents of these kids, their older coworkers, their bosses, all these people witnessed what this new generation was doing and now these people also have tiny cellphones that text what is happening at any moment to every friend they’ve ever met…while watching a movie bought on iTunes play on that tiny screen.  Now they interact with technology as if it was a natural extension of their lives.

Which it is.

I laud Hillary’s statement of freedoms and her goals of bringing modern tech to the undeveloped world.  But I’m also hugely excited that our State Department saw fit to issue a policy stance on people’s right to tech.  Enough Americans have tech so deeply ingrained in their lives—HAVE ALTERED THEIR BEHAVIOR TO ENCOMPASS TECHNOLOGY—that our government took notice…and this indicates a potential tipping point.  Phenomenal technologies that have traditionally been difficult for the public to accept may now be on the edge of massive acceptance, due to our behavioral changes at a societal level and our outright comfort with the levels of technology we have reached.

I think this speech could be the leading indicator of another massive tech boom.  And I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, “Finally.”

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