Obama talks about math, online privacy and an open Internet in Google+ hangout
President also hit with questions patent trolls and high school programming classes during the 'Fireside Hangout'
Computerworld - During a Google+ 'Fireside Hangout' on Thursday night, President Barack Obama talked about his daughters' math and science studies, the benefits of making computer programming a required high school class and the need to keep the Internet open.
The hangout, which attracted more than 36,000 viewers at its peak, drew questions ranging from the state of the penny to gun violence to the minimum wage. Tech issues were also a popular subject of questioners during the nearly hour-long event.
Just two days after his State of the Union address, Obama fielded real-time questions in what the administration called a "Fireside Hangout" -- a 21st century version of the famous Fireside Chats that President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered over the radio airwaves in the 1930s and 1940s.
"We need to have more girls interested in math, science and engineering," Obama said during the chat. "We have half the population way under-represented in those fields. That means we have all that talent downstream that is not being encouraged."
Obama talked about high-tech education after he was asked about his daughters, Malia and Sasha, studying math and science.
"We say math and science is part of your overall educational experience," he said. "We don't want you intimidated by it. We want you to continue to pursue it so your options remain open as you get older."
The president said he would support making computer programming a required high school-level class.
"I think it makes sense," he said, adding that high school education needs to be relevant. "Given how pervasive computers and the Internet are now and how integral they are to our economy and how fascinated kids are with them, it's important that they know how to produce stuff and not just consume stuff."
Obama noted that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he taught himself programming as a youth mainly as a means to get into gaming.
If high school students were told that they could someday create their own games if they studied math, students might be more engaged, Obama said. "It prepares young people to be job-ready, but it [also] engages kids because they feel like, 'I get this.'"
Obama also took a question about patent trolls and how they affect high-tech startups.
Patent troll is a negative term for companies that buy patents and then make money from lawsuits instead of producing something.
"A couple of years ago, we advanced patent reform but it hasn't captured all the problems," the president said. "Folks who don't produce anything themselves [are] trying to hijack someone else's idea. Our efforts at patent reform only go about half the way they need to go."
He also said he's focused on protecting people's online privacy, as well as the Internet itself.
"The technology is changing so fast," he added. "We want to protect privacy. We want to protect people's civil liberties."
Also, he said, "We want to make sure the Internet stays open. I'm an ardent believer that what's powerful about the Internet is its openness and its capacity for people to get out there and introduce a new idea with low barriers to entry. We also want to make sure that people's ideas are protected."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- As Google+ nears 3rd anniversary, where does it go from here?
- Why the social networks are falling apart
- With Gundotra out, changes likely for Google+
- Google+ creator Vic Gundotra is leaving Google
- Google+ popularity jumps with 540M monthly users
- Getting around Google+: 25 tips and tricks for power users
- Getting around Google+: Expand your circles -- and your influence
- Getting around Google+: A guide to the basics
- Google+ updates mobile apps for iPhone, Android
- 500K users flee dead-RSS-walking Google Reader for Feedly
Read more about Internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.
- Social Media Education: The New Edge for Success Failure to train for social media will cost your business money. A recent report showed how digitally prepared companies can unlock up to...
- Social Media in Technology: A Unified Strategy for Success Find out how social media is sparking a new era of customer and industry-understanding in technology enterprises and how industry leaders are overcoming...
- How Network Connections Drive Web Application Performance Users around the globe, on all sorts of devices, expect Web applications to function as seamlessly as desktop applications. This paper discusses the...
- 5 Customers Deliver Virtual Desktops and Apps to Empower a Modern Workforce Learn how Citrix solutions helped 5 companies realize the full value of desktop virtualization through a project-by-project approach based on key business priorities.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!