Technology has been a huge factor in transforming politics. From TV ads to social media, political candidates are using tech in full force to reach voters. If you’re interested in understanding how technology intersects with politics, read on. The U.S. Government has a huge number of positions for computer science majors and those in related technical fields. Positions with huge responsibilities, like those in the FBI and CIA, are responsible for homeland security and internet moderation. They look for online terrorists, sure, but the government also keeps an eye out for violators of privacy and copyright laws, also known as engaging in piracy. Many people don’t believe they can or will get caught for piracy, but there are cases all the time that get picked up because of this very issue. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Besides, piracy really hurts your favorite film and TV makers. And if you want those directors to keep producing content, it’s really best to support them monetarily.
In another aspect of politics, technology is being used to help the polling process. Digital polls are becoming more prevalent as a way to save paper and go green. However, much progress needs to be made in the software of polling machine, as they are often blamed for malfunctions or inaccurate counting. There is very much a mistrust against digital machines, when in fact they may be more accurate than humans counting hundreds of thousands of votes. Some voters complain that the user interface of these machines is also not very friendly; an interface should not interfere with one’s voting experience. Thus both of these areas could still be vastly improved, and is a definite area where software designers and engineers can consider working on. Voting in the future may also be expanded to include personal voting from machines you can access on the go, such as smartphones and tablets. Soon voters might not need to go into voting centers at all. It could all be digital.
Finally, statistical technology has been blossoming. Humans love knowing all the details about a given situations; we are information based creatures. Analytical programs that can handle big data related to politics and polls are a large area of research right now. Many people are just understanding how to handle big data and process it. If computer scientists, economists and politicians can come together to process, manipulate and understand this data, the landscape of politics could be greatly changed. Politicians may change their entire PR strategy if data reveals that different elements relating to voters and the candidate are correlated. So even if you don’t want to be the one writing the code for programs that do the processing of big data, plenty of researchers and scientists will be needed to interpret the information and translate it into a strategy for politicians to utilize.
This piece has focused mostly on the technical aspects (software) of politics and technology, but really society will need people who can translate the results from any given machine into something usable for other people. Additionally, the general public can help give feedback about certain aspects of their political engagements, such as polling machines. There are many more opportunities to explore within politics, and when looked at through a technological lens, the insights derived may be quite powerful.