Universal basic assets, a new report on AI in government and utilities begin paying their customers to buy electric vehicles — This Week’s 10 Reads from a Chief Innovation Officer

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I read over 100 articles this week so you don’t have to — Here are the top 10 you should read over the weekend and why they matter for the public sector. Let’s dive into this week’s reads —

The Articles —

Out of over 100 articles, here are the top 10 that stood out this week:

🏠 To fix income inequality, we need more than UBI — we need Universal Basic Assets. Read her full perspective at — http://bit.ly/2oXgvAc

💡 10 bold ideas that could drive big changes in state government. http://bit.ly/2GfANMG (H/T William Eggers)

🤖 Artificial Intelligence for the Real World http://ow.ly/Fch030iR4Hh (H/T Bill Schrier)

🗺 The race to build a self-driving car, charted http://bit.ly/2oLgxeD

⛵️ Fleet of sailboat drones could monitor climate change’s effect on oceans http://bit.ly/2Db4KdK

💼 This AI Tool Makes Job Descriptions More Inclusive http://bit.ly/2HrSubt

🤔 Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government: Challenges and Opportunities http://ow.ly/ueJc30iFV13

💰 Utilities are paying their customers to buy electric vehicles http://bit.ly/2G6Nauz

🖍 Drawing Outside the District Lines- Putting algorithms in charge of redistricting could fix gerrymandering. http://bit.ly/2oWshdr

🌎 Seven Technologies Remaking The World http://bit.ly/2FtPz5z

The Bottom Line —

Just in case you don’t have time to read each article, here are the key takeaways and why each one matters for government:

🏠 To fix income inequality, we need more than UBI — we need Universal Basic Assets. Read her full perspective at — http://bit.ly/2oXgvAc

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This week I’ve been at SXSW in Austin, Texas for Civic I/O — a dedicated track of programming just for U.S. mayors attending SXSW. This year, Civic I/O brought in IFTF to help educate mayors on how to think like futurists and also to share some ideas of their own. IFTF’s Executive Director, Marina Gorbis, shared her own thoughts on something called Universal Basic Assets — a fascinating concept that entailed moving our focus from creating a universal basic income to something more inclusive and empowering — assets. This article is an expanded view of the perspective she shared at SXSW. For government agencies, there are quite a few experiments around UBI today — but this concept is one that I would seriously take into consideration for how to approach UBI going forward.

💡 10 bold ideas that could drive big changes in state government. http://bit.ly/2GfANMG (H/T William Eggers)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: I love new ideas — and William Eggersand his co-author Mark Price put together some great ideas and plays for state government agencies interested in driving change and innovation. For many agencies, identifying practical places to innovate can pose a challenge but these plays serve as a simple starting point and way to build a capacity for additional innovations going forward. For added help, you can see what other states are prioritizing in 2018 and share your digital innovations through the new ITIF Government Digital Transformation Exchange.

🤖 Artificial Intelligence for the Real World http://ow.ly/Fch030iR4Hh (H/T Bill Schrier)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This recent study of 152 cognitive projects helped provide a realistic look at where cognitive technologies are actually being used in organizations today.

 

Artificial Intelligence for the Real World

The results — The highest usage is primarily on backend processes through robotic process automation (RPA). This isn’t too surprising because these cognitive processes are simply emulating a standard worker through a standard workflow — it’s just automated.

For government agencies, these results provide a good look at the infancy of the technology and it’s applicability today, but I thought it was also helpful to point out what corporate executives saw as the primary benefits to AI and cognitive processes in the table below.

 

Deloitte 2017

🗺 The race to build a self-driving car, charted http://bit.ly/2oLgxeD

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great look the state of self-driving vehicles testing in California — the clear early winner, Waymo. Here were my main takeaways from the reporting:

  1. We measure self-driving progress by the number of miles per disengagement (meaning when a human has to take over) —This was a new reporting metric for me, but it does provides a lens on self-driving technology effectiveness that you cannot get through other data points. The chart below shows Waymo achieved significantly more distance on average without human intervention. This may also explain why Waymo is getting into transporting cargo now.

 

Date: California DMV, ATLAS

2. Self-driving technology is getting much better — and quickly! Quartzdid some serious data mining but showed that the self-driving technology is improving rapidly. Below is a chart that shows the average number of miles driven per disengagement in 2017, almost every company saw significant gains in performance.

 

⛵️ Fleet of sailboat drones could monitor climate change’s effect on oceans http://bit.ly/2Db4KdK

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Designed to replace buoys and legacy fixed-sensors, there is a new experiment currently underway where autonomous sailboat drones could be used to more effectively monitor weather and other environmental statistics. For government agencies, the rise of low-cost edge computing along with the availability of high-speed wireless internet connectivity has enabled new low-cost use-cases that would have been far out of reach in the past. Expect to see more state and local government agencies experiment with low-cost edge sensors, such as what the LCRA is doing with its Hydromet project in Austin, Texas.

💼 This AI Tool Makes Job Descriptions More Inclusive http://bit.ly/2HrSubt

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: We’ve seen lots of AI use-cases emerge in government, but this was one in an adjacent industry that has significant applicability in the public sector as well — using AI to make more effective and inclusive job descriptions. The startup, Textio, scores your hiring language for skill and diversity alignment and provides suggested keywords and editing guidance to optimize your hiring strategy for the ideal candidate. For government agencies, there are a number of technologies leveraged to automate or streamline the hiring process, but it is interesting to consider technology also can be leveraged to augment hiring managers and their teams to optimize diversity and inclusion.

🤔 Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government: Challenges and Opportunities http://ow.ly/ueJc30iFV13

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was an excellent guide crafted by Kevin Desouza on how government agencies should plan, build and deploy artificial intelligence solutions across three domains: technology and data, workforce, and risk management. Desouza also clearly denotes the challenges, such as legacy information technology, that need to be overcome for government agencies to realize the full potential of AI. One of my favorite aspects of Desouza’s research was the government AI maturity model that begins on page 41 of the reportMaturity models provide a great lens for government agencies to understand the bigger picture and benchmark a technology’s utilization and impact.

💰 Utilities are paying their customers to buy electric vehicles http://bit.ly/2G6Nauz

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: As the demand for electricity has plateaued, electric utilities have begun to explore new ways to reinvent their models to increase utilization. One such utility, Southern California Edison, is currently offering a $10,000 incentive along with BMW for the purchase of an electric BMW i3 or i3s to try to boost demand (and of course help meet California clean energy goals). The takeaway for government agencies is that we’ve entered a period in time where existing models of delivery, such as public transit, are going through periods of uncertainty driving by exponential changes in behavior and technology. Innovative agencies are finding ways to experiment with reinventing their business models, including by embracing some of the models that are seeking to disrupt them.

🖍 Drawing Outside the District Lines- Putting algorithms in charge of redistricting could fix gerrymandering. http://bit.ly/2oWshdr

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was an interesting idea from Daniel Castro of ITIF about how technology — specifically algorithms — could be used to fix the historical gerrymandering issues that have plagued the political landscape. Castro said rather than relying on manual human district design, “states could also try to simply eliminate human bias by using algorithms to design their maps. Algorithms can be designed to optimize features desirable for voting districts, such as compactness, and minimize undesirable characteristics, such as splitting neighborhoods.” For government agencies, algorithms have the ability to help augment roles, but we must ensure that we design systems to prevent existing human bias from defining our algorithm-enabled future.

🌎 Seven Technologies Remaking The World http://bit.ly/2FtPz5z

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: MITSloan Mgmt Review recently published an interesting list of seven technologies remaking the world. This list is designed to serve as a guide for executives to the technologies that are reshaping every industry and aspect of our lives. For government agencies, this guide provides another helpful lens — including the what, why and where — on the key technologies that we’ve seen emerge on other lists over the previous few weeks.

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