American Education and Technological Innovation

David Pogue: It’s a bigger problem than I know what to say. Obviously it’s a priority issue. I don’t know how you translate that. Is it something on the parenting level? Is it something to do with funding? Is it set from the very top? Is it a Presidential thing? I don’t really know.

There’s a lot of smart people working on the problem, but all I know is that the problem exists and it distresses me personally.

I do not come across a lot of tech-savvy women. Year after year after year, it’s the same thing. The PR people are women, and if I have a question they’ll pass me along to the male engineers who can answer the question. I don’t know if there’s a built-in bias in the system, or if there might just be an inclination. I know this will generate tons of letters but, you know, it may be that fewer women are interested. I don’t know.

At one point, I wrote in a column [for the New York Times] the fact that older people generally have a harder time adapting to new technologies than younger people, which I think was as safe a generalization as one could possibly make. But of course I heard from all these old people, like, “How dare you? You know, I can use a Blackberry with the best of ‘em.” But it’s a generalization. It doesn’t mean that every single person is in that category. Yes, I know that.

But I know as a 45-year-old it’s harder for me to pick up new things than when I was 20. Again, I’ve been a computer tutor my entire life and I can see it in the ages of people that I teach. So I still believe that’s true. So politically uncorrect [sic] as it may be, it may be true that there are differences between older people and younger people, and between men and women.

Recorded on: May 15, 2008.

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