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Forum From the Archives: Doing Democracy: Jennifer Pahlka on How to 'Recode America'

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Jennifer Pahlka (Andrea Dunlap)

During the height of the pandemic, the agency that handles California’s unemployment benefits had an epic meltdown. Not only could its computers not handle the thousands of additional claims, officials couldn’t even say for sure how big the backlog was. Jennifer Pahlka was one of the technology experts brought in to help, an experience she writes about in her new book Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing In the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better. The former United States chief deputy technology officer and founder of Code for America, Pahlka reveals why systems are too often developed to meet the needs of bureaucrats instead of the public. She joins Forum as part of our “Doing Democracy” series.

Guests:

Jennifer Pahlka, author, "Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing In the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better." Pahlka is the founder of Code America and has served as the chief deputy technology officer for the United States Government. She lives in Oakland.

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