Seven qualities of the future-focused city, blockchain could kill the traditional utility, and the rise of an IoT security crisis — This Week’s Top 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:

🔮 Seven Qualities of the Future Focused City: Disruptive Technologies Invite a New Not-Normal — Smart Cities Connect http://bit.ly/2EH1qrE (H/T Chelsea Collier)

❤️ Smart Cities Need H.E.A.R.T. http://bit.ly/2EPjuzN

🚙 This new lidar sensor could equip every autonomous car in the world by the end of 2018 http://bit.ly/2HlLSz3

😲 FDA approves AI-powered diagnostic that doesn’t need a doctor’s help http://bit.ly/2IOi4YM

💡 Transformative Technology’s Challenges for Government http://bit.ly/2GMBXD9

🌉 How Will Automation Affect Different U.S. Cities? http://bit.ly/2JDG428

🔐 Privacy, Ethics and Regulation in Our New World of Artificial Intelligence http://bit.ly/2vr3FA7

⚠️ A Long-Awaited IoT Crisis Is Here, and Many Devices Aren’t Ready http://bit.ly/2EATybe

🚰 How Blockchain Is Threatening to Kill the Traditional Utility https://bloom.bg/2EyNHTr

👉 Build a case, build a following: Laying the groundwork to transform customer experience in government http://bit.ly/2H2alsZ

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:

🔮 Seven Qualities of the Future Focused City: Disruptive Technologies Invite a New Not-Normal — Smart Cities Connect http://bit.ly/2EH1qrE (H/T Chelsea Collier)

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This read from Chelsea Collier was right on target with how government agencies should be approaching the smart cities dialog. It’s undeniable that cities are entering a new tech-enabled era of opportunity, but not all cities are approaching this inevitable future optimistically. Chelsea also makes the point that cities are either future-focused or inertia cities — based on their actions — which are demonstrated through the seven qualities she outlines in her article. For government agencies, this article and whether or not these technologies are on your planning radar provide a good litmus test to evaluate (and reevaluate) if your efforts are holistically leaning in the forward direction.

❤️ Smart Cities Need H.E.A.R.T. http://bit.ly/2EPjuzN

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Another great ‘smart cities’ read this week came from Padmanand Warrier — whom I also had the pleasure of meeting in Austin a few weeks— regarding how cities should take a people-centric approach to becoming smart, something Pad calls H.E.A.R.T.

“Recently Austin, my hometown, played host to global thought leaders at the Cities Summit during the SXSW conference. It was both informative and inspiring to listen to a cross section of civic leaders, creative urbanists and concerned citizen advocates. Yet, I came away with a sense of want — something fundamental seemed missing from the discussions around autonomous vehicles, digital identities, smart sensors and so on. Although there were a few voices calling for the need to include the human aspect, they seemed to be crowded out by exuberance over technology.”

The last line resonated deeply with me because shiny objects seem to increasingly be the focus over people. The conversation is changing, but I think it’s time for government agencies to begin standardizing how they approach (design, fund, implement, and validate) their smart city initiatives. Pad’s list of what cities should be focused on involves Human-centric design, Entrepreneurial spirit, Asset development for the greater good, Renewable-repeatable-replicable and Technology-enabled connections.

🚙 This new lidar sensor could equip every autonomous car in the world by the end of 2018 http://bit.ly/2HlLSz3

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Self-driving cars use a variety of sensors that enable navigation through rapidly changing environments; however, the cost of the required sensors can prevent or slow mass adoption. But the cost of sensors have continued to exponential decrease (while the processing capabilities has exponentially increased). The lidar sensors described in this article can be applied to a vehicle for a few thousand dollars, putting it within the cost of a new vehicle luxury package upgrade for purchasers in the future. I expect to see these capabilities and sensors built into new cars but not fully activated upon initial rollouts, similar to how Telsa deployed the Models. New lidar sensors, such as the one described in the article, will also emerge as a way to retrofit older model vehicles that don’t have the capabilities built-in. For government agencies, get ready because the mass-availability of these new sensors will begin to impact a city near you in the next few years.

😲 FDA approves AI-powered diagnostic that doesn’t need a doctor’s help http://bit.ly/2IOi4YM

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: There has been a significant debate in the medical community about AI’s impact on work, especially around more specialized functions like diagnostics. Until now, there have been many bright spots of AI’s potential, but very few examples beyond what’s being piloted. How it works — This new tool analyzes pictures of your retina and can diagnose diabetic retinopathy, which is a common cause of vision loss in adults, without the need for human involvement. For government agencies, this is an early example of the rise of diagnostic AI that can analyze camera and sensors data for new construction, existing infrastructure and a variety of other public sector use cases — to make recommend decisions on.

💡 Transformative Technology’s Challenges for Government http://bit.ly/2GMBXD9

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great opinion piece built around the perspective that keeping up with future isn’t just about the technology — it’s about being able to exercise new forms of governance and leadership. The author also stresses that we’ve outgrown traditional models of both — and I completely agree. For government agencies, the important thing to remember here as that there is not a textbook in existence that will help you prepare for the challenges you will face tomorrow, rather we are collectively writing one together. This new era requires thinking exponentiallyand experimenting with new, more adaptive models of implementation. Here’s to the future we create together.

🌉 How Will Automation Affect Different U.S. Cities? http://bit.ly/2JDG428

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was interesting data that was compiled to visualize how automation with affect jobs in different cities across the country. The main takeaway was that smaller communities would be hit the hardest, but larger cities where not completely immune. For government agencies, especially smaller cities, this doesn’t mean that you throw in the towel — rather, it’s an opportunity to find new models to create economic value in your communities. Automation may impact traditional 8-to-5 jobs, but there are already new models of remote work, freelancing, and crowd-tasking that are being used to create economic value in some of the most rural areas. This is the next generation of economic development, and the time to start is now.

🔐 Privacy, Ethics and Regulation in Our New World of Artificial Intelligence http://bit.ly/2vr3FA7

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a good read about the emerging issues of privacy, ethics and how agencies will regulate in a new world enabled artificial intelligence. The existing structures and safeguards government agencies have in place must be adapted for technology that has the ability to inform or make decisions. Unfortunately, there is not a silver bullet that all agencies can adopt to deal with the issue — as it’s also something that the private-sector is struggling with — but now more than ever we need to begin a collective conversation on where government fits in the equation. We can also take a lesson from the United Kingdom that recently put out their own AI recommendations, including the desire to “develop a common framework for the ethical development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems. Such a framework should be aligned with existing international governance structures” by convening all agencies together in 2019.

⚠️ A Long-Awaited IoT Crisis Is Here, and Many Devices Aren’t Ready http://bit.ly/2EATybe

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: There are more Internet-connected devices on Earth that people — and as the article points out — this is leading us to an IoT crisis. Most government agencies only look at enterprise IoT — large-scale infrastructure systems like SCADA — from an operational standpoint but fail to understand the role consumer IoT plays in the broader picture. Consumer IoT — driven by low-cost home automation technologies — also has the ability to impact enterprise infrastructure when compromised (and scaled to millions of devices). The underlying problem with consumer IoT is weak, competing standards and poor security practices. For government agencies, it will become more important to be a catalyst and facilitator of a standards conversation with industry. Deloitte also framed some great points about government’s role in the larger IoT regulatory conversation here.

🚰 How Blockchain Is Threatening to Kill the Traditional Utility https://bloom.bg/2EyNHTr

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: We’ve read a lot over the past few months regarding blockchain use-cases in government — from property deedsto cities issuing cryptocurrency shares to the public — blockchain has some wild use-cases in the public sector. This article discussed the ability for the blockchain to enable peer-to-peer energy sharing, letting users with renewable energy actually sell their excess energy back to the system or a neighbor. Companies are already piloting the concept today, but the larger question here is what does this mean for the government utility of the future? My thought is that electric utilities will begin to leverage the same technologies to evolve their operating and business models. I don’t see government building these capabilities alone, but through partnering with platform companies — many of which are already building low barrier ways to use the blockchain — to help leverage the benefits of the technology.

👉 Build a case, build a following: Laying the groundwork to transform customer experience in government http://bit.ly/2H2alsZ

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of experience as an agency focus area— essentially, designing services around people. It’s become such a prominent trend, we’ve even launched a program to benchmark the experience of government, called the Government Experience Awards. For government agencies, this read was a great validation of focusing on people — not problems — and a good reminder that we have to be able to make the business case in order to move the needle. Not everyone in the public sector understands user-centered design, so it’s up to those who do (even if you’re on the outside) to help disseminate the intelligence and methodology throughout their organizations. You can read more about our views on how to design and implement for experience here.