Our societies and our economies have reached a new threshold, the developments leading to this are a logical continuation of our evolutionary process, but interestingly the current rapid societal changes are coinciding with the availability of new ICT tools. These tools can assist us in:
- Political transformation – creating a more democratic environment at grass root levels.
- Transform our economy to create exponential opportunities.
- Transform society through e-health and e-education.
On the negative side these tools can also be used to undermine democracy, enhance (cyber) crime and increase commercial and political surveillance. There is also a clear warning to the United Nations from 116 global leaders on the threat of weaponised AI and robotics.
Digital transformation can equally be used to destabilise markets and in the rush to face off competition risks could be taken that would undermine internal processes, further concentration could lead to a new group of too-big-to-fail companies (for example in the financial and ICT sectors). We also need to listen to the 116 global leaders – including the late Stephan Hawkins and Bill Gates who urged the United Nations, governments and society against the threat of weaponizing AI and robotics, before the tech world opens this box of Pandora.
In order to benefit from the positive developments and to manage the negatives, significant transformations are needed at horizonal levels and this means cutting through the many silos that are hampering this process. This require leadership from the top at the level of prime ministers, state premiers, mayors and CEOs
These transformations are important if we want to reach the SDGs as agreed by the UN and shows the critical importance of government policies needed to facilitate smooth transformations.
On the one side good governance policies and regulations are needed at national and even preferable at international levels in relation to telecommunications infrastructure, cyber security, data management and data analytics coordination/regulation, managed open systems and privacy.
Governments need be accountable, so clear measures need to be part of e-government to get outcomes that are delivering a positive contribution to society.
But it is equally important to create local environments that empower people and facilitates community and crowd engagement; smart cities are good platforms for such developments.
Changes will be needed at enterprise levels as transformations are typically long-term developments while the current economic and financial business model favours short-termism. Change will be needed from an emphasis on short-term shareholders value to one on a much broader long-term stakeholder value. As the value put on the exponential new digital giants shows, truly transformed enterprises are also more valuable enterprises.
I will present my views at the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance in Melbourne in April.