President Obama upped his tech game in a big way last week, previewing a slew of State of the Union proposals having to do with online privacy, data security and broadband. That got us thinking: How has Obama's tech record shifted over the course of his administration?
The chart below reflects an unscientific selection of some of the most common tech terms in the speeches. You'll see that it's generally heavy on "innovation" but rather light on specific policy terms overall — but that's begun to change in recent years.
Obama has grown more specific in his SOTU speeches over time about tech policy, introducing "cyber" and "patents" into his lexicon as high-profile online attacks and patent trolls gain an increasing grip over U.S. businesses.
Obama also has an interesting preoccupation with the word "solar" — as in solar energy, solar panels, solar start-ups. Part of this surely has to do with his need to defend renewables at a time when Republicans were hammering him over the Solyndra bankruptcy. But this is the nerd-in-chief we're talking about here, and part of us thinks Obama holds a personal soft spot for solar technology which is — let's face it — pretty cool.
One thing no president has never mentioned in a State of the Union speech? Net neutrality, or the huge political battle taking place over the future of the Internet. Obama took the unusual step in November of calling for stronger rules on Internet providers. Republicans unveiled their version of legislation on the issue late last week. Could 2015 be the year that net neutrality makes its SOTU debut?