Obama on iPad: Weapon of Mass Distraction?

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HAMPTON, Va. (TheStreet) -- President Obama has warned that the latest gadgets are placing new pressures on American democracy, singling out Apple's(ADBE) iPad as a particular challenge, according to the New York Post.

Obama's comments at Hampton University this weekend are a stark contrast to the image of a tech-savvy president whose run to the White House made expert use of social media and the latest gadgets. An avid Blackberry-user, Obama struck a less positive tone on technology during Sunday's commencement speech.

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," he said, according to the Post.

Devices such as Apple's iPad, however, will only proliferate during the coming years. Apple has already sold more than a million iPads in the U.S. and the tablet has become one of the most talked-about technologies of recent times. Although aimed primarily at consumers, the iPad is already creeping into corporate America and has been touted as a useful technology for sectors such as healthcare.

The president, who makes extensive use of the Internet to communicate with the American people, also took a swipe at the blogosphere during his speech, warning that "some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction."

"All of this is not only putting new pressures on you," he said. "It is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."

Obama, however, acknowledged that America must adjust to meet the challenges of new technologies.

"We can't stop these changes," he told students. "But we can adapt to them -- and education is what can allow us to do so."

Obama gave technology a high profile during his election campaign. This included a promise to invest $10 billion a year over five years in electronic health information systems, a $150 billion, 10-year investment in climate-friendly energy, and an ambitious plan to boost the U.S. Internet infrastructure.

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