How the US needs to prepare for AI, exploring the future of privacy, and a new government cryptocurrency in the works — 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:

👍 Here’s how the US needs to prepare for the age of artificial intelligence http://bit.ly/2uMwJS9

🤖 Walmart’s Future Workforce: Robots and Freelancers https://theatln.tc/2JnfDO5

🛠 If Your Data Is Bad, Your Machine Learning Tools Are Useless http://bit.ly/2Imppyy

⚠️ How Local Governments Can Prevent Cyberattacks https://nyti.ms/2GD2BgN

🔒 Revisiting the Future of Privacy — The Rise of the Identity Data Provider (IDP) http://bit.ly/2JkGvxV

🌇 The city of Seoul dreams of its own government-backed cryptocurrency http://bit.ly/2q8Ze7R

🔮 From AI to Russia, Here’s How Estonia’s President Is Planning for the Future http://bit.ly/2GYrvYp

🤯 Why Businesses and Governments Need to Stop Trying to Secure Their Networks bit.ly/2GndX8k

🧠 Smart Cities are Complicated and Costly: Here’s How to Build Them https://hbs.me/2uVek5x

👉 Human-Centered, Systems-Minded Design (SSIR) http://bit.ly/2p9BTBx

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:

👍 Here’s how the US needs to prepare for the age of artificial intelligence http://bit.ly/2uMwJS9

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a good read that unpacked what the government should do as we prepare for the age of artificial intelligence. It’s important to remember that artificial intelligence regulation is not a federal government issue, but a societal issue, that will create the most disruption at the local levels. The author recommends steps involving investing, preparing for job losses, nurturing talent, adjusting education, and guiding regulation. The most important takeaway for government agencies here was the last bullet — Understand the technology.

Above all, the government needs to understand what AI is and what it will do. Since artificial intelligence is such a complex and fast-moving field, it is especially important for experts to be brought in to brief policymakers and the administration. Without technical acumen, it will be a challenge to act effectively in any area relevant to AI.

For those agencies interested in diving deeper, you can read more about the different types of AI and explore what state and local government agencies are using it today.

🤖 Walmart’s Future Workforce: Robots and Freelancers https://theatln.tc/2JnfDO5

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great breakdown of the exponential changes impacting the future of work with one of the largest traditional retailers, Walmart. The is currently a convergence of forces that are impacting the traditional retail model, which is leading to disparate viewpoints on whether this will be good or bad for the individual employees. The convergence of technology innovations (Amazon’s cashier-less stores) with the rise of new forms of work (Uber) are challenging all previous assumptions about the future of work — and leading the questions about what happens with the retail workforce of today. The jury is still out on what the true impact will be, however, one thing is clear — traditional economic incentive models that government agencies offer retailers will need to change. For those agencies interested in diving deeper, Brookings just released a great report that analyzes the local value of economic development that is well worth a read to start.

🛠 If Your Data Is Bad, Your Machine Learning Tools Are Useless http://bit.ly/2Imppyy

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Today, there is an abundance of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that have been democratized within reach of anyone who wants to use them. Whether you’re a large company, small business or city government — you can now leverage the massive computing and artificial intelligence resources of GoogleAmazonIBM, and Microsoft to solve any complex problem you can imagine — but challenges still remain. The biggest problem today isn’t having available tools, it’s having useful data to train these new tools on. The disparate data silos and lack of standards that are rampant in government do not provide a good foundation for machine learning or other artificial intelligent use-cases. For government agencies interested in leveraging these new tools, the author of this piece outlines some good data evaluation questions to ask as a starting point — but we also need to find opportunities to build collective standards around government data and knowledge, spanning outside of just one organization.

⚠️ How Local Governments Can Prevent Cyberattacks https://nyti.ms/2GD2BgN

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: In the wake of the Atlanta ransomware attack, many mainstream publications like the New York Times are now picking up on how much of a target government agencies are for cyber attacks. This opinion piece provided some good starting points for local government agencies looking to evaluate and improve their security posture, but it also helps outline how widespread this issue is in a recent survey that was conducted by ICMA:

Forty-four percent of local governments report that they regularly face cyberattacks, on either an hourly or daily basis. More troubling is the high percentage of governments that do not know how often they are attacked (28 percent) or breached (41 percent). Further, a majority of local governments do not catalog or count attacks (54 percent).

These are crazy statistics, which show there are major gaps that need to be mitigated in government. Most importantly, this data also clearly indicates government agencies need to find better ways to share and learn from one another instead of going at it alone. For agencies interested in learning more, here are some good resources and organizations to plug into:

🔒 Revisiting the Future of Privacy — The Rise of the Identity Data Provider (IDP) http://bit.ly/2JkGvxV

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Four years ago, Daniel Charboneau and I described a new method of information brokerage — one where individual users have the ability to own, secure and transact their information through an entity called an Identity Data Provider (IDP). Since that time much has changed and we’ve decided to revisit our initial thoughts, share what we’ve learned, and provide some guidance for the market in this article. For government agencies, privacy and identity management will be one of the most complex issues agencies need to tackle in the years to come, but will require a completely different approach than the information silos that exist today — an IDP, as described in this article, just might be what helps agencies start.

🌇 The city of Seoul dreams of its own government-backed cryptocurrency http://bit.ly/2q8Ze7R

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was an interesting read describing how the City of Seoul, as part of their information strategy plan (ISP) for government innovation, is looking to launch a new cryptocurrency — called the S-coin. The S-coin will be used as a token that spans all government services and fuels a cryptocurrency ecosystem, and could also be used to reward environmentally conscious citizens and provide a new mechanism for instilling digital equity in government welfare programs. For government agencies, it’s important to note the blockchain is becoming a new platform that cities are looking to capture and stimulate economic development — from Dubai to companies like Digital Town — the race is heating up for finding the best blockchain use-cases in government.

🔮 From AI to Russia, Here’s How Estonia’s President Is Planning for the Future http://bit.ly/2GYrvYp

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Estonia has been a the forefront of government innovation on a national level —including their widely-recognized e-residency program. In this interview with Wired magazine, Estonia’s president outlines how they are approaching the future and one of the more interesting takeaways is how they are approaching autonomous systems.

“Now the government is discussing a proposal to grant some rights to artificially intelligent systems. The law could make it easier to regulate decision-making by autonomous systems, robots, or driverless cars.”

As I written before, we are entering a period of time where autonomous systems will not just be something you associate with a self-driving taxi or manufacturing plant — there will be autonomous job positions and even companies that will not fit existing regulatory structures. For government agencies, it is critical that you begin to explore what this new future will look like and more importantly, what governments role will be in it.

🤯 Why Businesses and Governments Need to Stop Trying to Secure Their Networks bit.ly/2GndX8k

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This will be a more controversial article this week, but it’s an important topic for agencies to consider with future technology rollouts. The main point of this article is a recommendation for governments and businesses to stop trying to store and operate technology infrastructure on-premise, and as the author states:

Instead of owning everything in your network — which you must defend with firewalls, monitoring agents, event managers, and client managers — in a zero-trust network, all the services an organization needs, including file sharing, collaboration tools, and email, are hosted in the cloud and accessed as a service.

It sounds completely logical because as consumers this is how we store and access our own data — but it goes against the way that government agencies have architected technology in the past (and continue to do so in the present). Many agencies are leveraging the cloud or hybrid-cloud to drive for certain services and individual application use-cases but still, operate many mission-critical services on-premise. Each of those mission-critical services must be secured through a variety of technologies and training — adding up the costs, resources, and time needed to secure and operate the infrastructure. Ultimately, government agencies will need to decide what technology business they want to be in — infrastructure or services — because it will be increasingly difficult to try to be a master of both.

🧠 Smart Cities are Complicated and Costly: Here’s How to Build Them https://hbs.me/2uVek5x

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Smart cities are a major focus area of government agencies across the globe, but unfortunately, many of smart cities initiatives fail to launch any sustainable change and fizzle out after a few years. Why is this? Well, there are many challenges that must be addressed to solve the limitations of current smart cities approaches — including having a pre-defined definition/purpose and losing the technology-centric approach (i.e. deployments of thousands of ‘smart’ sensors)— it’s clear that smart cities need some new direction. The author of this piece thinks that in addition to Public-Private-Partnerships (P3) there are three other lenses we should pay attention to:

I believe public-private partnerships can lead to smarter cities. But a truly smart smart city investment requires looking at three dimensions: characteristics of cities, capital requirements for various initiatives, and the decision-making process. I suggest decision makers in these initiatives follow an analytical sequence of situation, solution, and sovereignty.

I believe these new lenses are helpful, but additional conversation and collaboration between government agencies will be necessary to work through the current smart cities market challenges. In my opinion, it all starts with designing systems around people.

👉 Human-Centered, Systems-Minded Design (SSIR) http://bit.ly/2p9BTBx

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Design-thinking, systems thinking and principles of human-centered design have become a more common practice inside of government agencies across the country. Traditionally leveraged in social systems, we’re also seeing the practice expand to policy design and technology rollouts. This article provides a great overview of some of the tools and methodologies that can be leveraged for human-centered systems design. For government agencies interested in learning more, we’ve created a Government Experience Awards Program and associated methodology for agencies to deploy these approaches into government.

Read the full article on Medium