Year in Review: A Look at the People and Events That Shaped 2009

Budget challenges, Web 2.0 figured prominently in 2009.

by / December 21, 2009

In 1982, when Arthur C. Clarke wrote his novel 2010, he imagined a world of technological progress wildly different from what resulted: Clarke envisioned that by 2010 we, with the Chinese and Soviets, would gallivant around the solar system in spaceships run by artificially intelligent -- and occasionally murderous -- computers.

In reality, our next-generation spaceships look suspiciously like those we built in the 1960s. But despite our unfulfilled interstellar ambitions, the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close heralding a forthcoming age even the most prescient science fiction authors could have scarcely predicted.

Technology, it was assumed, would be used to explore outward into the heavens. Although we've built an expensive outpost orbiting the Earth, the roads most of our technological advancements travel draw us inward toward digital communities, transparent government and a global battle for information security.

Like much of the decade, 2009 has seen much uncertainty. Our technology has brought us closer together and driven us further apart. Plentiful times spurred largely by technology have given way to economic despair. And escaping may largely depend on our technological prowess.

Still, the year dawned with renewed hope and optimism. Now, in its waning days, reality has tempered expectations, but we remain at the precipice of a new era -- born of digital interconnectedness, of economic opportunity and expansion, of finally freeing ourselves from the shackles of foreign oil. But such possibilities will require steadfast leaders who expand the scope of their duties and embrace innovation like never before.

Though rife with difficulty, there was much to savor in 2009. So as you steel yourselves for the challenges ahead, take a moment to reflect on the year that was.

Click on the links below to read each featured story.

Web 2.0 Helps Governments Connect to Citizens

Cloud Computing Gains Government Foothold

H1N1 Pandemic Set to Hit Campuses

Recovery Act Spending Prompts Call for Government Transparency

Local Governments Offset Budget Cutbacks with Crowdsourcing, Cloud Computing

Cyber-Security, Health IT Remain Important Issues for 2010


Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.

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