Technology journalist, designer of online news systems

Dear Mr. President,

The most pressing science-related issue for the nation and the world concerns how best to make the existential choices that bring science, a value-free process, into a social arena where values are central.

This is not, strictly speaking, a scientific issue. Your science advisor is really a social advisor, providing an expert's view on how the state can best assist in and benefit from the advancement of science.

Therefore I urge you to appoint a social scientist, preferably a sociologist who has studied the impact of science on society, as your science advisor. More specifically, since a global networked economy and global political issues (such as terrorism) are affecting the entire planet, I suggest that you choose someone who has investigated the new social forms that are developing to cope with the global communications network.

This will not guarantee wise choices but it will at least meet scientists half way in dealing with scientific issues.

Cliff Barney
Technology journalist, designer of online news systems
Publisher of Tales of the Network Frontier (