Monique Verdin, "Headwaters : Tamaracks + Time : Lake Itasca" (2019), digital assemblage. Photograph taken in 2019; United States War Department map of the route passed over by an expedition into the Indian country in 1832 to the source of the Mississippi River.

Kickstarting the Digital Heartland

How can the benefits and opportunities of the digital revolution be distributed more equitably?

Policy-makers have long struggled to close a digital divide that leaves millions without access to broadband internet service. In recent years, another digital divide has opened that involves the unevenness of cyber capacity-building and retention between regions. For the United States to remain a tech powerhouse, it is imperative for all the country’s regions, and not merely a few rarefied clusters such as Silicon Valley, to foster and sustain research and development of cyber technologies for a twenty-first century knowledge economy.

The challenge of redressing geographic disparities will require creativity and determination on the part of policy-makers and businesses, perhaps even—as Mark Hagerott writes in the Winter Issues—a digital analogue to the Morrill Land Grant Act of the nineteenth century that did so much to consolidate the role of universities as engines of economic development across America.

Join New America’s Education Policy Program, Cybersecurity Initiative, Issues in Science and Technology, and Future Tense to consider what we can do as a nation to ensure that all Americans, regardless of geography, can participate in the ongoing digital revolution.

Space is limited, so register soon! Follow the conversation online using #DigitalHeartland and by following @NewAmericaEd@NewAmCyber@ISSUESinST, and @FutureTenseNow.

Presented in collaboration with New America’s Education Policy Program, Cybersecurity Initiative, and Future Tense.