The election's over and while plenty was said about tax, tech didn't get much of a look in.

That's partly because unlike the last elections, the tangible tech stuff has been sorted out.

The long missing infrastructure is now mostly in place: fast mobile LTE networks that we can afford to use, the no-data cap ultrafast broadband fibre optic connections, and the Rural Broadband Initiatives have seen to that.

We're more resilient and unlikely to be cut off from the world too. If Kim Jong-un tests a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific and fries the Southern Cross Cable, we'll still be able to stream Netflix via another circuit.


Closer to home, you can now buy a house almost everywhere and get both capital gains and broadband. Thank you National for both, even though many of us can only shell out for UFB and have to rent the house it goes into.

Bar climate change, it's hard to think of anything having such a wide-ranging and lasting effect on society than technology.

From President Trump causing World War III by tweeting insults in 140 characters over the internet, to people losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence systems; technology is everywhere and it's changing our lives completely whether we want it or not.

What's the vision here? Are we happy that technology companies alter the foundations of society without our input?

Amidst increasing numbers of homeless, the likes of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft proto-geek Bill Gates have made so much money that they're embarrassed about it.

So much so that they're trying to give some of it back through philanthropy.

Philanthropy is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff for societies that don't have the money to look after its own properly. Money that would normally be collected via taxes.

Tech companies won't however pay taxes on their colossal earnings that underpin their creators' enormous wealth if they can help it. Is that acceptable?


Maybe funding local entrepreneurs with taxpayer grants so that they can become rich when they sell their loss-making startups to overseas corporations is an idea, as they can get on the philanthropy swing too.

What about the people who aren't the startup type though? We don't even have an Amazon fulfillment centre in the country where the disrupted masses could go and pack the goods the tech-rich order online, to be delivered via drones rather than human couriers.

Even the money's gone tech. We can pay with our watches, mobile phones and hand over ransom money via cryptocurrencies to decrypt the computer files our businesses and hospitals need to function.

Those are just some of the issues tech has brought in just a few years, and they're substantial. There are many positive things too, of course, but if at times you get the feeling that tech is out of control, you're not alone.

Part of the problem is that unlike other societal issues, IT is treated by the government as an operational item.

That means you get official messages and announcements with digital, smart, cyber and e- tacked onto business process names, and we have a government chief information officer in charge of all that. None of those take into account what happens to the people trammelled by technology though.

Now, Labour actually thought about the above did some good work with its Future of Work investigation that looked ahead and tried to tackle some important issues facing us.

Future of Work is a good start, and it should grow into something bigger and with a wider remit.

How about creating a Ministry of Technology, tasked with understanding and steering in the right direction the inevitable and increasingly rapid societal sea change that we face?

Otherwise I fear the next election we'll be clicking on 'Like' buttons to choose between different flavour AI chatbot politicians to govern us from a data centre overseas. Well maybe with the 'I' coded out of them, but you know what I mean.