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Jennifer Pahlka with Tarah Wheeler

Outdated Policymaking in the Digital Age

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Tue Sep 5, 2023
7:30 pm PDT


The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Recoding America by Jennifer Pahlka
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Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better

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These days, it feels like customer service has been nearly all digitized. While confusion over ticket orders and lost packages can be frustrating, one space where it feels necessary for technology to hit the mark is health and wellness care.

While online services and rapidly evolving technology should be making this process more fluid, moments like the crash of Healthcare.gov in 2013, as well as the shaky and muddled attempt for online services to provide benefits during COVID, call the effectiveness of this technology into question.

But what is the reason for such outdated and inefficient systems when it comes to providing vital aid for people? Former deputy chief technology officer, Jennifer Pahlka, responds to this query in her new book Re-coding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better. Pahlka argues that the government is stuck in an industrial-era culture, in which lofty goals set by the elite will often take years to be fully set in place.

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As time passes, the technology that these policies plan to implement is shockingly out of date. Pahlka makes the case that we must stop trying to move government onto new technology, but instead offer alternative methods to relying on outdated infrastructures.

Join Jennifer Pahlka at Town Hall as she considers what it would mean to truly “recode” American government.

Jennifer Pahlka is the former deputy chief technology officer of the United States and the founder of Code for America, a nonprofit that believes government can work for people in the digital age. Pahlka is the winner of a Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, among others, and has been selected by Wired magazine as one of the people who have most shaped technology and society in the past twenty-five years.

Tarah Wheeler is senior fellow for global cyber policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She is also an information security executive, social scientist in the area of international conflict, and author of the best-selling book Women In Tech: Take Your Career to The Next Level With Practical Advice And Inspiring Stories.

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