Recoding America: A Conversation with Jennifer Pahlka

Audio of this conversation is available via your favorite podcast service. In the United States, it’s fair to say that federal, state and local governments have struggled in the era of digitalization. Decades in to that era, there is still a gap between the policy outcomes we seek and what citizens often get when they engage with government agencies and services online. At its worst this gap means people aren’t receiving critical services that sustain their lives; and at the very least it reduces faith in government to be able to solve problems right at the moment when it’s clear the collective challenges we face are going to  Jennifer Pahlka, who served in President Barack Obama’s administration as deputy chief technology officer and founded the nonprofit Code for America, has written a book that asks us to reexamine how government works, and how it should work, in the digital age. It’s called Recoding America:Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better, and it’s the subject of the podcast today. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion. Justin Hendrix: Just to establish your bona fides in this space, can you just kind of give the listener a little bit of a background about your experience working at the intersection of tech and government? Jennifer Pahlka: Yes. I’m not really a technologist. My first job out of college was at a child welfare agency, but I ended up working in tech media and helped…Recoding America: A Conversation with Jennifer Pahlka