Over the next 10 to 15 years, the emerging technologies of today will completely reinvent entire industries. Not since the advent of the internet some 30 years ago will technology change how we work, how we move about, and how we store and share information. If the quote “What is past is prologue” bears any truth, the government will largely miss out on these changes, many of which will be hugely beneficial for large enterprises like federal agencies.
To move past this, the government cannot assume that its security and data is too sensitive, that its processes are too unique, or simply rely on those managing the existing technology to determine what should be adopted next. The federal government has done quite a bit of work recently to demonstrate awareness and set policy for emerging technology, whether its autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence or financial technology — fintech. The limitation here is that these reports are almost always outward looking. Rarely do federal commissions, reports or frameworks on subjects of emerging tech dive into how the government should study, pilot and adopt these technologies. But they should. This is especially true considering the federal government outlays account for about 20 percent of our GDP; would you take a government report on blockchain seriously that didn’t consider its implications on the health care industry? It’s time to evolve.