We the Geeks: White House hosts Google+ Hangout to discuss Grand Challenges

The White House kicks off a new series of geek Hangouts by discussing the future of science, technology and innovation in the U.S.

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The first We the Geeks Hangout will focus on identifying big tech challenges, such as developing renewable energy

Image credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Obama Administration over these past 4+ years it’s that its geek factor is quite high. From its open data initiatives to its forays into social media to its hackathons, the current White House clearly loves it some geeks. Today they’ll again express that love by hosting the first of a new series of Google+ Hangouts focused on science and technology called We the Geeks.

Today’s Hangout will begin at 2:00 pm ET (which you can join on the White House’s Google+ page or watch on WhiteHouse.gov) and will kick around ideas for new STEM-related Grand Challenges to pursue. Grand Challenges, of course, are significant initiatives meant to solve a problem and spur innovations that can have benefits well beyond the initial goal. A number of different Grand Challenges sponsored by various organizations are currently underway, including:

For today’s Hangout, the White House has brought together a panel of technology innovators to discuss Grand Challenges around science, technology and engineering. Attending the Hangout will be:

  • Cristin Dorgelo - Assistant Director for Grand Challenges, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

  • Tom Kalil - Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

  • Matt Grob - Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Qualcomm Technologies

  • Rob High - IBM Fellow, Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Watson Solutions

  • Sebastian Thrun - Research professor at Stanford and a Google Fellow

  • Kathryn Latham - Recent engineering graduate from Duke University

I can think of a few Grand Challenges that I wouldn’t mind seeing our best and brightest tackle, such as:

  • Getting my kids to keep their rooms clean without having to nag

  • Developing a car that needs no maintenance or fixing, so I can avoid the mechanic

  • Preventing my cat from leaving fur all over the house

Just thinking out loud here. I suspect they’ll be discussing challenges other than these. In any case, it should be worth attending to see what they chew over.

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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