What do robots, VR and AI have to do with government?

The private sector might be driving innovation but many government bodies are commissioning and sponsoring a lot of that innovation, to advance the prosperity of their nations, secure a place on the world stage, and do things in new, cool ways.

We can see this in the proliferation of municipal bodies with ambitions to become smart cities. Governments are harnessing cutting-edge technology to bring the public sector into the 21st century. For instance, the government of Dubai is using technology innovation to bring government services and resource information straight to citizens via  their mobile phones (such as their water and electricity usage), set-up a command center where city officials can get a unified view of all Smart City operations and install CCTV and mobile cameras to monitor crowds and traffic.

Governments are also encouraging a wider culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism with seed funding initiatives, prizes and accelerator programs. The European Commission’s Innovation Radar and the African Innovation Foundation’s Innovation Prize are just two examples from many.

Of course, the public sector will always be constrained by budget and competing demands on the public purse. But in the digital age, those governments that best deploy emerging technologies will leap ahead of their peers – and save money in the long-run by transitioning to a more agile, digital way of working.

Future-gazing

To do this, governments will need to work with the technology sector and civil society to ready themselves and their nation for the sort of disruption that will unfold 10 years from now (as opposed to what’s trending today). This is a big ask as it involves being able to look into the future.

To assist companies in this pursuit, last year Dell Technologies worked with Institute for the Future (IFTF) to project 10-15 years forward and ask, how will emerging technologies change our lives and work?

According to the study, family robots, caregiving robots and civic robots will become commonplace as deep learning improves robots’ abilities to empathize and reason.

Mixed reality technologies will enable people to experience media through embodied cognition, which will create new, immersive opportunities to improve education, healthcare, travel and transportation, construction and manufacturing.

While artificial intelligence and machine learning will help us to work more efficiently, with greater speed and accuracy, to rapidly provision resources wherever and whenever they are needed.

Together, these emerging technologies will reshape our economy and remodel our government. In fact, IFTF experts estimate that 85% of the jobs in 2030 don’t even exist yet.

Vertical farming is a good example of how a traditional industry might morph into something completely unexpected – and more sustainable.

AeroFarms is combining powerful IoT architecture with horticulture to grow crops indoors. The warehouse is 130 to 390 times more productive than a conventional farm, it uses 95 percent less water and every farmer at AeroFarms is a data scientist. In the process, it’s become a cogent signal of change.

Governments’ guide to 2030

Through public and private sector sponsorships, governments have an opportunity to help solve humanity’s intractable problems, catalyze new economic opportunities and update struggling industries with a new infrastructure, fit for a modern age.

This is thanks to the convergence of emerging technologies – combined with a bold vision of the future that will carry us into the next era of human-machine partnerships.

To help governments realize 2030 with forward-thinking policies, we’ve formulated our insights into a whitepaper covering the issues of trust, innovation, workforce readiness and sustainable development.

Stay tuned for Part Two on the necessity to restore trust.