By Kim Hart - 03/31/10 04:17 PM EDT
“Having just spent some time in government, I'm less optimistic about the possibilities for change than I used to be. It takes a very long time for entrenched interests to be open to paradigm shifts, and I'm afraid to say that our era is one of great entrenchment--at least in government," she said.
"No matter how much information is online and available, there will still in 2020 be some small circle of men who will be hanging on to all the
levers. For years to come, they'll give lip service to openness (and they will commit to better customer service), but they won't actually change their ways. Ask me again in 2020."
That is particularly telling from a former official of the Obama administration, which has been lauded as the most technologically advanced administration in decades.
Others found more reason for hope, though.
"Governments and corporations will find it more difficult to hide behind the legacy chasm separating them from the public," said Robert Cannon, senior counsel for Internet law at Federal Communications Commission.
Business executives seem to think political movements started online will play a huge role in elections.
"I predict third‐party political movements to start on the internet and gain share rapidly in perhaps even the next election. Institutions who don't pay attention will find themselves obsolete," said Sandra Kelly, marketing specialist for 3M Worldwide. "I look at our present congress and wonder how much more out of touch any group of individuals could be. Bye‐bye present politicos.”
A professor of journalism at the University of Florida, Mindy McAdams, sees a wide divide between how governments and businesses will react to new technologies over the next 10 years.
"Government web sites often serve as window dressing, a way to show that an agency or department is online without that agency or department actually serving the citizens any better," she said. "Commercial entities, on the other hand, are continually changing and updating, adapting to customer feedback, becoming more and more useful and easy to use... I don't see much evidence that many governments or NGOs will change drastically in the coming 10 years.”