Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Saving Globalization: Unemployed Need Tech to Match Skills With Opportunity, Chopra Says

Technology has been the uniter and divider on globalization

Globalization is under fire in some developed economies. But in parts of the Americas voters are embracing leaders looking to deepen integration and trade. Bloomberg Benchmark is publishing a series of conversations with regional thought-leaders on the topic of globalization. Aneesh Chopra was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States. He is currently co-founder at NavHealth, a health-care data company. Craig Torres conducted the interview, focusing on how technology has aided globalization while possibly undermining support for it. The interview was condensed.

Is technology the divider or the uniter, or both?

Clearly both. To unite, it can be a massive distribution engine for training and learning. Information technology also has the potential to give outsized rewards to the most talented. Skills in an information-based global economy are trumping other attributes for economic advancement.

Policy people say training and education is the answer. That takes time. Is there a near-term fix for the technological divide that's driving some of the populist trends in our country?

How do our ​public and private ​talent matching services match the skills you have with ​skills that are in ​demand? The labor​ information​ market is kind of broken. There are a lot of people ​pursuing degrees that are not in demand​​ with high amounts of student debt. There is an opportunity to ​improve ​the demand signal. For example, what is the most efficient way to aggregate all the open jobs in Virginia​, enrich it with public and private services to understand the skills demand signal, and to foster the growth of many talent matching services that can help people find jobs or training programs​? We have to make it a national priority to have labor market data as ubiquitous as weather data. Today, we have all these disparate job boards​ and too few innovative services focused on matching talent with opportunity.​

Hasn't technology in job search also been a divider, with programs like Taleo filtering out people who may be appropriate for jobs?

The negative effects ​of poor matching technologies are with us now. A better future is still aspirational​ as labor market information is largely closed. If we open it up, we should see the democratization of ​tech-enabled services that can ​connect talent with opportunity.

 

How would you use the technological devices — an iPad or an iPhone — of your children to teach them something about globalization?

I would show them the world. I would take them to the Taj Mahal, to the Great Wall of China. These immersive digital experiences would be a way to witness and visit these places.

Read earlier conversation in the series, here.

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