Your current car is smarter than you think, blockchains that can talk to one another, and why AI isn’t the death of jobs— 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 AI in your non-autonomous car https://tcrn.ch/2Lxe8hf

👋 How to get blockchains to talk to each other http://bit.ly/2xd4pJN

📱Starbucks’s mobile payments system is so popular in the U.S., it has more users than Apple’s or Google’s http://bit.ly/2GER38R

🏙 Startup in Residence Aims to Expand to 100 Cities, Announces Newest Local Government Projects http://bit.ly/2s6zwC3

⚡️ Companies are using California homes as batteries to power the grid http://bit.ly/2Jd44vH

🔮 It’s Never Too Early To Think About 6G http://bit.ly/2ITWfaQ

🚕 MIT’s Super-Efficient Dispatching Algorithm Minimizes a City’s Taxi Fleet http://bit.ly/2s9Rm6O

💼 Do Entrepreneurs Need a Strategy? http://bit.ly/2FFXt74

🔎 Anderson County, Texas, gets its first cyberdetective, thanks to a federal training program http://bit.ly/2kvcJvv

📈 Why AI Isn’t the Death of Jobs http://bit.ly/2L26Gd1

📹 BONUS — This past week I also had the opportunity to keynote the Los Angles Quality & Productivity Commission Annual Leadership meeting — thanks to their amazing A/V team, you can watch my remarks on the future of work and what it means for government.

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 AI in your non-autonomous car https://tcrn.ch/2Lxe8hf

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a good read that provided a look at how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a place in the car beyond self-driving capabilities. In fact, many vehicles today use some form of intelligent decision-making seen through automated braking, collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control and more. These intelligent decisions are based on a series of algorithmic triggers (i.e., a car in front of you slams on their brakes). The key takeaway from this piece for government agencies is that the connected cars of today are also intelligent cars — even though they don’t have fully autonomous capabilities. These AI systems will also challenge existing regulatory systems and open up a new set of court cases on legal liabilities — soon to begin with Uber’s first pedestrian death (now being blamed on software).

👋 How to get blockchains to talk to each other http://bit.ly/2xd4pJN

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This article provided a good look at a rising challenge with hundreds of different blockchains co-existing — interoperability. The original, and most notable blockchain, the bitcoin blockchain, has evolved and been forked into multiple different versions — Ethereum, Dogecoin, Hyperledger, and hundreds more. These alternative blockchains have allowed developers to create their own customized decentralized infrastructure, but also has created many different standards that don’t talk to one another. Recognizing this challenge, the startup Aion is attempting to enable cross-chaining applications — essentially the ability to have a decentralized application work across multiple blockchains. For government agencies, the work in this area is important and can be used as inspiration for how we can bring more logic and interoperability to open data. Perhaps a side-chaining applications can help bring logic to thousands of government open data portals once they become decentralized. For agencies interested in learning more about how sidechains function, check out this contributed Forbes piece at https://www.forbes.com/sites/shermanlee/2018/02/07/explaining-side-chains-the-next-breakthrough-in-blockchain/

📱Starbucks’s mobile payments system is so popular in the U.S., it has more users than Apple’s or Google’s http://bit.ly/2GER38R

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: You may be wondering why this article snuck into my top 10 reads of the week — well, it’s because there is so much that the public sector can learn about how Starbucks approached not just mobile payments — but optimizing mobile experience. In 2017, there were 27,339 Starbucks stores around the world — compare that to the over 19,000 cities in the United States alone and you’ll see the point that makes how Starbuck’s approaches mobile so important. Most of the 19,000+ cities have their own website, maybe even a series of mobile apps, but with Starbucks — there is one app (well, two if you count Android) to connect all the stores under a single user-interface. I can order my Americano with a splash Skim Milk and 2 Sugar-in-the-Raws to pick up at the closest Starbucks to where I’m at without having to worry about finding the relevant app for the store nearest me. Of course, this is much easier to implement in a company that owns all of the front-end locations, but in government we must remember that our constituents expect the same experience even though every city has a different governance structure. The real lesson here is that government agencies need to start building and optimizing the plumbing, in this case Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), to a Starbucks-like experience. And the time to start is now. 

🏙 Startup in Residence Aims to Expand to 100 Cities, Announces Newest Local Government Projects http://bit.ly/2s6zwC3

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Startups in Residence (STiR) is one of my favorite examples of how governments can innovate and hack their own processes, without having to change everything from a regulatory sense. STiR is a program designed to help government agencies incubate fixes to their toughest challenges using a network of startups ready to incubate, pilot and optimize their solutions for government. I’ve been a startup advisor for STiR for the past couple years and always enjoy seeing the latest startups that emerge from the program with new government customers and market-validation. For government agencies, STiR is looking to expand to 100 cities for 2018–2019 and I encourage any interested government agencies or gov tech startups to seriously look at joining their network. You can learn more on their website at https://startupinresidence.org/.

⚡️ Companies are using California homes as batteries to power the grid http://bit.ly/2Jd44vH

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Each week I’m seeing an increasing number of new articles discussing how battery-technology can and is redefining our electrical grid. 

Companies like Tesla and SunRun are starting to bid on utility contracts that would allow them to string together dozens or hundreds of systems that act as an enormous reserve to balance the flow of electricity on the grid. Doing so would accelerate the grid’s transformation from 20th century hub-and-spoke architecture to a transmission network moving electricity among thousands or millions of customers who generate and store their own power. (QZ)

The author’s perspective indicates this will be attractive to utilities because of a decrease operating and infrastructure costs — but I also see this new decentralized model as a way to enable renewable energy from homes to enter an open marketplace (I have many other thoughts about how the blockchain fits into this but I’ll save that for another time). For government agencies, the key takeaway here is that we should begin explore public-private-partnerships (P3s) around energy transformation — it won’t be easy with the existing regulatory structures in place in some states — but it will ultimately happen. 

🔮 It’s Never Too Early To Think About 6G http://bit.ly/2ITWfaQ

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: Network carriers are currently testing, and in some areas, rolling out 5G networks around the country. In an early simulation in Frankfurt at Mobile World Congress, we saw an indication of some of the bandwidth impacts that 5G would have on mobile experiences: 

The Frankfurt simulation is the more basic network, based on 100 MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum with an underlying gigabit-LTE network on 5 LTE spectrum bands, but the results are still staggering. Browsing jumped from 56 Mbps for the median 4G user to more than 490 Mbps for the median 5G user, with roughly seven times faster response rates for browsing. Download speeds also improved dramatically, with over 90 percent of users seeing at least 100 Mbps download speeds on 5G, versus 8 Mbps on LTE. (The Verge

Even though 5G is still an emerging technology (with years to go before full-scale rollout), it’s interesting to begin tracking industry research for 6G wireless technology. The key takeaway here for government agencies is that advances in connectivity are not just in the ground through fiber, but with the rise of new wireless technologies like 5G and 6G, we will see new and stronger wireless-supported use-cases— even in the most rural areas of our country. 

🚕 MIT’s Super-Efficient Dispatching Algorithm Minimizes a City’s Taxi Fleet http://bit.ly/2s9Rm6O

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: In some new research from MIT, researchers created an algorithm that could cut the City of New York’s traditional yellow-cab taxi fleet by up to 30%. That’s roughly 4,200 taxis that could be removed from dispatching without impacting the ability to meet city demand!

…the researchers asked how a better dispatching model could make better use of the taxi fleet as it’s run today, that is, without assuming much ride sharing. They call it the minimum fleet problem, and they handle it as a master pool player does, by making each shot set up the next one. By giving due weight to minimizing the distance between a taxi’s destination and the origin of its next potential trip, the model moves more passengers per vehicle over a given period of time. (IEEE)

The takeaway here for government agencies is that there are always lessons and potential fixes that can be gleaned and tested from academic institutions. Some of my strongest projects were in partnership with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. With stronger bridges to academia and private-sector companies, research can be directed for far more applicable (and complex) public challenges. Perhaps this is the rise of a new P3 model?

💼 Do Entrepreneurs Need a Strategy? http://bit.ly/2FFXt74

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great read about entrepreneurship and overall business strategy that’s applicable to companies in the government technology (gov tech) space. In fact, one of the examples used to discuss strategy was the GovTech 100 company, RapidSOS. The authors created a compass used by companies to navigate their market approach — intellectual property, architectural, value chain, or disruption. For government agencies interested in working with startups, this article provided a good reference that can help you co-create with startups you partner with. In addition, we’ve created free go-to-market resources that you can share with startups you work with to help them better understand how to interface with government agencies. 

🔎 Anderson County, Texas, gets its first cyberdetective, thanks to a federal training program http://bit.ly/2kvcJvv

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great read about how a small county was building their cybersecurity skills by sending a detective through a cybersecurity training programming put on by the federal government. Training and re-skilling opportunities will become more critical for public safety organizations as crime continues to evolve into vectors that agencies are not prepared, or staffed, to handle. The bigger takeaway here is that I believe government agencies need to focus on not just re-skilling employees but finding better ways to enable employees to be shared between different agencies. Something I consider to be the shared services model of our era — this time, it’s just about sharing skills, not technology. One smaller county may not be able to afford a cybersecurity detective’s salary longterm, but a county and 10 surround cities could. 

📈 Why AI Isn’t the Death of Jobs http://bit.ly/2L26Gd1

🏛 Why it Matters for Government: This was a great read from MIT’s Sloan Management Review that was more optimistic regarding AI’s long-term impact on jobs. By surveying over 3,000 companies and looking backward in time, the researchers found some fascinating things:

This research and analysis suggest that although AI will probably lead to less overall full-time-equivalent employment by 2030, it won’t inevitably lead to massive unemployment. One major reason for this prediction is because early, innovation-focused adopters are positioning themselves for growth, which tends to stimulate employment. (MIT Sloan).

For government agencies, AI will undeniably have a major impact on the workforce and workplace — but it doesn’t all have to be bad news. 

So, it’s not an inevitable conclusion that AI will ratchet up unemployment, as many have suggested — at least between now and 2030. The outlook is more nuanced than that. Job losses will arise as the result of automation, as the labor-output ratio evolution suggests. But what often gets overlooked is that job losses are also a risk of companies’ inability or unwillingness to use AI for innovative purposes, which leads to lower revenue and profit — and a lower absolute need for labor. (MIT Sloan).

For government agencies, we need to find ways to use AI to augment and enhance our employees, rather than waiting for the private-sector to figure it out for us. 

Read the full article on Medium