AI realtors, car subscriptions and exploring what comes after mobile apps — This Week’s 10 Reads from a Chief Innovation Officer


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:

📙 AI will write a best-seller by 2049, experts predict

🏡 Why Your Next Real-Estate Deal Might Involve a Robot

📉 Why Best Practices Often Fall Short

🚗 Your Next Car Might Be A Subscription

🤳 The Smarter Phone: How AI-enabled devices will reshape the Technology, Media and Telecoms Industry [PDF]

⚠️ Automobiles changed the world, but also led to unforeseen harm. The same might happen with driverless cars

🤖 A roadmap for AI: 10 ways governments will change (and what they risk getting wrong) (H/T Clay Pearson)

😲 California Scraps Safety Driver Rules for Self-Driving Cars

🗺 A New, Democratic Tool for Mapping City Streets

📱 Mobility on Demand: Three Key Components

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:

📙 AI will write a best-seller by 2049, experts predict

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was an intriguing look at some projected major milestones of artificial intelligence by AI experts throughout the world.


Stefan Hall, World Economic Forum.

My perspective is that these timelines should be collapsed significantly. Heck, the use of AI has already won a literally prize — so we’re getting closer to a bestseller. For government agencies, although you may not use AI to write a bestseller, you will leverage it to solve complex problems and better serve constituents. If you’re interested in keeping up with the development and reality of AI today, check out this report card Stanford created to benchmark progress each year.

🏡 Why Your Next Real-Estate Deal Might Involve a Robot

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: We’ve seen deputized and lawyer botsand it seems the next title impacted may be that of the realtor. This article highlighted how chatbots were being used to interface with clients, answer questions from prospective buyers and develop virtual tours of properties. These capabilities won’t eliminate the need for a realtor, but they will augment your realtor to give them better scale and availability. For government agencies, there are many lessons that can be extracted from these real-estate bots because the complexity of the environment they operate in is similar to the public sector landscape.

📉 Why Best Practices Often Fall Short

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: We often evaluate decisions based on best practices — whether they are our own or industry-specific — these best practices often serve as justification for implementing new processes or system change. This was a fascinating read that discussed why best practices often fall short and sometimes can hurt your organization. The author makes three main points, which I’ve summarized below:

  1. Evaluate the fit — Ensure the best practice you are looking at is from an agency of similar size, structure, and purpose. Comparing similarity is not a silver bullet for success but it is a good way to assess the scale of impact.
  2. Understand the hidden cost of following the best practice — are there transition costs or people costs that will happen as a result? Work with your team to map out the true cost of implementation, including reskilling employees on a new process.
  3. Don’t go overboard — It’s easy to find best practices online and in editorial but that doesn’t mean you should implement them all. Set realistic goals and expectations as you look at the implementation.
🚗 Your Next Car Might Be A Subscription

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: In our on-demand world, traditional asset ownership is constantly being challenged and a car subscription just might be the next major shift in the place of owning or leasing. Companies like Volvo, are piloting new subscription models that give you the flexibility of an on-demand car service without the hassle of a longterm lease or uncertainty of availability. This model could also enable users to pick different vehicles throughout the subscription. For example, imagine picking a truck during a month you plan to move, a sports car during the summer and all-wheel-drive vehicle during the winter. Subscription models will enable users to customize their vehicle selections based on their needs. For government agencies, we must be able to plan our infrastructure and operating models for these shifts in behavior. For example, having a people switch vehicles throughout the year may rethinking toll transponders or parking lot subscriptions.

🤳 The Smarter Phone: How AI-enabled devices will reshape the Technology, Media and Telecoms Industry [PDF]

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: PWC put out a great report highlighting ways that AI-enabled devices will reshape technology, media and telecom industries. A key takeaway for me from the report was that AI-enabled devices may lead to the eventual decline or demise of the app store model as we know it. For example, there are over 90,000 local government agencies in the United States — an AI-enabled voice service could easily take the place of 90,000 native websites and mobile apps through a single, unified experience. As AI capabilities become increasingly available on mobile devices — they will lead to new behavior shifts. And it’s coming quicker than we think.


Center for Digital Government

⚠️ Automobiles changed the world, but also led to unforeseen harm. The same might happen with driverless cars

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: The pace of self-driving car development continues to exponentially increase, and although many city leaders are deploying programs to incubate the technology in their communities — there are many other issues that should be considered —

Autonomous vehicles offer passengers freedom from accidents, pollution, congestion and the bother of trying to find a parking space. But they will require other freedoms to be given up in return — especially the ability to drive your own vehicle anywhere. Choices about who can go where, when and how are inescapably political in nature.

For government agencies, the rise of autonomous vehicle infrastructure has the potential to discriminate against low-income and disconnected individuals, so it will be important for cities leaders to ensure that this new infrastructure is accessible for everyone — regardless of income, location, etc.

🤖 A roadmap for AI: 10 ways governments will change (and what they risk getting wrong) Clay Pearson)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: There is no doubt that public and private sector organizations have a deep fascination with Artificial Intelligence (AI) today. We’ve seen countless examples of government implementing elements of AI today, but this was a great read to cut through some of the promises of AI with the reality of how government agencies can will get value in the short-term. The biggest takeaway for government agencies is that AI will fundamentally change the experience that people have with government in the near future — by creating new opportunities for citizens to interface with government (think DoNotPay available across all government domains) and for government to personalize their individual experience. Something we’ve been working to frame through our Government Experience Program at the Center for Digital Government.

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