Obama speaks at SXSW, urges tech industry to partner with government
President Barack Obama spoke at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas on Friday. Obama said at the festival that his administration is trying to make services easier to access online, has overhauled student loan forms and is trying to use technology to improve research into diseases, according to NBC10.com.
Obama added that activists and industry leaders need to keep looking for new ways to partner with government to bring in new ideas.
"With all the talent that’s out there, our government’s not working and our politics isn't working the way that it should," Obama said at the festival. "The only way we’re going to solve that is to make sure that we’re getting citizens involved."
Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to attend the 30-year-old tech festival, reported NBC10. He added that the government needs to better portray the work that it does, affecting people's daily lives in many ways.
"I could find the fiercest libertarian in this room who despises every level of government, thinks it's all corrupt, but they're checking the weather on their phone," Obama said. "Lo and behold, it turns out there's a government satellite out there that is facilitating that."
Obama offered an example of how technologists can help government in an effort that saw online retailers, manufactures and nonprofits come together to help less fortunate families get important baby necessities.
One in three U.S. families don’t have access to the supply of diapers they need, the White House says. The reasons vary from an inability to make large purchases online at lower cost or not having enough money to purchase them in store.
As a result, member organizations in a nationwide diaper bank are expected to order more than 15 million diapers through the program this year, according to White House estimates.
"When you have a baby, diapers are a necessity. They are not optional," Cecilia Munoz, the president's domestic policy adviser, wrote in an online post. "Addressing the high cost of diapers for low-income families can help to take one more burden off those families as they strive to reach the middle class, and give the next generation the great start in life that all kids deserve."
Just this past Wednesdau, the Obama administration announced its repeated interest in bringing broadband Internet access to more Americans.
The initiative, entitled ConnectALL, is a government filing that backs the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plans to expand Internet access to low-income households.