Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 1, Number 1 / May 1, 1994 / Page 3

US National Information Infrastructure Linked to National Wealth

by John December

WASHINGTON, DC (April 7) United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Barram stated there is now an "inextricable link" between US economic and national security. As opening speaker of the National Net '94 conference held recently in Washington, Barram traced changes that have transformed national priorities and outlined how the National Information Infrastructure (NII) is vital to US long-term interests.

Barram described how the economy has been transformed into a global, service-oriented one following the breakup of the Soviet Union. He said we must "be quick but don't hurry" to seize the opportunities these changes offer. Barram related how his own children seem to be comfortable in a stimulus overload, watching television, doing homework, and playing video games all at once. He mused that they've developed "highly parallel processors" to use information. He cited his childrens' use of media as one example of how people can intensively use mediated communication.

To seize the opportunities presented by these political and economic changes, the NII, according to Barram, will gain the "fruits of the information age" and to make the US "freer and more productive." Barram outlined the goals of the NII: to continue to develop, articulate, and promote the use of networks in the private sector; and to examine the issues universal service, technical innovation, reliability, and intellectual property rights. An advisory committee of 30 people will help the administration "to be very serious about the most important issues."

Barram stressed that the NII is a public/private partnership, and recalled Vice President Gore's statement that the information industry is going into the "bit business." Barram said the NII is part of a revolution changing how we "work, live, play" and will proceed in "starts and fits" like the early American "new frontiers."

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