The rise of AI-enabled body cams, Amazon gets into blockchain, and the coming consumer data wars — This Week’s Top 10 Reads from a Chief Innovation Officer

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Each week, I read over 100 articles so you don’t have to — Here are the top 10 you should read over the weekend and why they matter for government. Let’s dive in —

The Articles —

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

⚠️ The Coming Consumer Data Wars http://bit.ly/2KkiQOC

🚗 Why the Rise of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Actually Increase Car Ownership https://t.co/tWWfm7wZnt

🛠 Amazon’s new blockchain service competes with similar products from Oracle and IBM https://tcrn.ch/2HSYsU5

👉 Keys to unlocking great decision-making https://mck.co/2Khj1u9

🚀 AR and VR have hurdles to clear in the enterprise — open standards will help http://bit.ly/2HXq0u9

🔎 Facial recognition may be coming to a police body camera near you https://wapo.st/2KiGZFs

💡 Waze signs data-sharing deal with AI-based traffic management startup Waycare https://tcrn.ch/2r2z7zL

💼 Want to work for Ikea? Your next job interview could be conducted by a Russian robot https://wapo.st/2I35dTl

👤 What Is Human-Centric Design? http://bit.ly/2qYscYf

🤯 Artificial Intelligence — The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet http://bit.ly/2K24an6

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:

⚠️ The Coming Consumer Data Wars http://bit.ly/2KkiQOC

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: As we’ve discussed a few weeks now, scandals like Cambridge Analytica and the rise of GDPR have led to new debates around the commercial use of personal data. As the author notes:

With the GDPR, companies will be able to access data from both rivals and players outside their industry by enticing consumers to transfer their information. One way this could be accomplished is by offering better prices and services to customers who park their personal data with them. Traditional barriers to entry based on data collected over decades will be demolished, enabling small and nimble tech-based competitors that gain consumers’ trust to become potentially widespread.

With legislation enabling users to have more access of their own data, this will result in the rapid rise of new platforms — and ultimately additional competition to gain consumer trust (and data) in new ways. This sounds like an Identity Data Provider (IDP) to me? For government agencies — as the de facto repository of vast amounts of constituent data — it will be more important than ever to also revisit how and when to use this constituent data could be put to use.

🚗 Why the Rise of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Actually Increase Car Ownership https://t.co/tWWfm7wZnt

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Most self-driving car articles and research have always discussed its potential impact leading to a decrease of car ownership, which is why this article that argued for the opposite caught my attention. The author makes the point that this may not be the case.

When people predict the demise of car ownership, they are overlooking the reality that the new autonomous automotive industry is not going to be just a re-hash of today’s car industry with driverless vehicles. Instead, the automotive industry of the future will be selling what could be considered an entirely new product: a wide variety of intelligent, self-guiding transportation robots. When cars become a widely used type of transportation robot, they will be cheap, ubiquitous, and versatile.

In my opinion, we have to look beyond the traditional behavior dynamics of self-driving cars and also look at how their rise may lead to new business models altogether. Perhaps, owning a self-driving car in the future could be the future equivalent of renting out your house on Airbnb today, because self-driving technology can enable passive streams of income for owners while not in use. For government agencies, here are a few things to note:

  1. Regardless of the number of vehicles on the road, the rise of self-driving cars will create a gray area of liability for violations, accidents, etc. when no one is behind the wheel.
  2. Mass transportation systems should be looking at testing new models of ownership and operation to prepare for the future. It’s encouraging to see organizations like Capital Metro starting to do this — but we need to do a lot more of this experimentation and collaboration, and quickly!
🛠 Amazon’s new blockchain service competes with similar products from Oracle and IBM https://tcrn.ch/2HSYsU5

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Amazon has officially entered the blockchain platform space through the launch of AWS Blockchain Templates, and they describe this as a quicker way to test and deploy applications:

AWS Blockchain Templates provide a fast and easy way to create and deploy secure blockchain networks using popular open source frameworks. These templates enable you to focus on building your blockchain applications instead of spending time and energy on manual setup of your blockchain network.

For government agencies, the important thing to remember here is that the most effective and impactful blockchain use-cases will be ushered in by platform companies like Amazon. This is because it takes a network of users to gain benefits of decentralized technology — meaning that rolling out blockchain in one agency would require significant duplicate entry and effort from interfacing entities without access. For more reading and resources on blockchain in government, visit my Blockchain Research Page.

👉 Keys to unlocking great decision-making https://mck.co/2Khj1u9

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a quick read on making better decisions — because in the exponential era we live in, organizations will need to make the right decisions quicker than ever. For government agencies, many times in natural to latch onto new technology and management fads, but as the author indicates, we must debunk some of the common preconceived practices in order to actually get things done:

  • Myth #1. You must choose between quality and speed.
  • Myth #2. Good decisions are easier using technology, big data, AI, etc.
  • Myth #3. Applying best practices will improve decision-making.
🚀 AR and VR have hurdles to clear in the enterprise — open standards will help http://bit.ly/2HXq0u9

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are anticipated to create a paradigm shift around how we consume and interact with information. Some reports even put the estimated market size for both technologies to be around $215 billion dollars by 2021. Venture capital has been flowing into startups developing the technology and tech giants like Apple are also working on their own setup. There’s no doubt the technology has the potential to create significant market impact, but there are challenges that need to be solved for it to be leveraged in the enterprise (and to scale with consumers). The author makes some great points around eye tracking capabilities, multi-user operations in shared spaces, and walled gardens. For government agencies, take note of the author’s perspective around what’s needed to solve these challenges in enterprise settings:

Open standards provide a way to connect all of the AR and VR technologies together, so that they’re able to work together to create the best and most useful experience possible. This means that the Amazons and Microsofts of the world would develop products that were able to connect to each other and the wider ecosystem of AR and VR technologies, rather than trying to trap buyers in their singular product line.
🔎 Facial recognition may be coming to a police body camera near you https://wapo.st/2KiGZFs

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Axon, the maker of Taser, convened a new board focused on AI and ethics to explore the potential of leveraging facial recognition technology in its body cameras. This board is designed to help explore and answer the numerous ethical questions and legal gray areas associated with a rollout. Most importantly, as the author notes, rolling out AI-powered facial recognition could be as simple as a software update:

Axon’s long-established contracts with nationwide police forces could push the technology’s real-world deployment rapidly forward. Instead of signing new deals with tech firms, police departments with Axon body cameras could push facial-recognition features to its officers in potentially the same way they apply a software update.

For government agencies, it’s important to note that we are entering an era where hardware can gain new layers of capabilities through software updates, similar to what we saw when Tesla rolled out Autopilot to owners of its Model S sedan.

💡 Waze signs data-sharing deal with AI-based traffic management startup Waycare https://tcrn.ch/2r2z7zL

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: What’s notable about this announcement is that Waze is expanding their Connected Citizens Program to other gov tech companies as well. One of the biggest challenges that intelligent transportation must overcome is consolidating and normalizing disparate data sets between different entities — including the private-sector, and this approach is exactly what other gov tech companies should be constructing (along with open standards) to advance progress and innovation in other verticals of government.

💼 Want to work for Ikea? Your next job interview could be conducted by a Russian robot https://wapo.st/2I35dTl

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Chatbots are finding some interesting jobs to help augment roles in the government and job interview just might be their next big use-case. This article profiles an experiment from Ikea, who is testing using chatbots to do initial candidate screening interviews. The benefit? The chatbots can serve as the first candidate filter for human resources without needing to tie up a physical person. For government agencies, there is a lot of innovation happening around human resource systems and chatbot interviews just might be another use-case worth exploring.

👤 What Is Human-Centric Design? http://bit.ly/2qYscYf

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Human-centered design is a growing area of important for state and local government agencies. Taking cues from the UK’s Digital Services model, many agencies are have begun embedding human-centered design and design thinking into their own digital service delivery models. This was a great read that looked under the hood of human-centric design for government. What’s the benefit? When you design for the ‘human experience’ you can serve people more effectively by meeting their needs instead of what you think should be done. This is such a prominent trend that we even evolved our 20-year-old Best of Web / Digital Government Achievement Awards program to the Government Experience Awards — to recognize agencies taking the leap. For government agencies interested in learning more about designing for experience, you can check out a slide deck I presented at our first annual Government Experience Academy.

🤯 Artificial Intelligence — The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet http://bit.ly/2K24an6

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great in-depth read on the current state of Artificial Intelligence and what’s around the corner. AI has the potential to revolutionize and disrupt every industry — but it can often be overhyped and thrown on anything without properly understanding its most effective applications. For government agencies interested in exploring where AI is really at — I highly encourage you to give this one a read.