“GovTech” is simply the use of technology for government services and operations

“GovTech” is simply the use of technology for government services and operations, including digital platforms, software, and data analytics - all designed to improve performance and engagement. But it also represents a dramatic shift towards broader public-sector modernization, in ways that can promote more efficient and transparent government that puts citizens at the center of decision-making.
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“GovTech” is simply the use of technology for government services and operations, including digital platforms, software, and data analytics – all designed to improve performance and engagement. But it also represents a dramatic shift towards broader public-sector modernization, in ways that can promote more efficient and transparent government that puts citizens at the center of decision-making. Most governments are still at the beginning stages of establishing an institutional and organizational framework for strategic digital transformation, and while questions remain as to the exact framing of the concept, the overarching objective should always be the effective and responsible use of technology to improve delivery – and create public value.

1. Investment in GovTech

The market’s dramatic growth is tracking a broader digitalization of economies.

GovTech is expected to become one of the biggest software markets in the world, as the public sector increasingly invests in advanced technologies and pursues related research efforts. Globally, the GovTech market was already valued at slightly more than €411 billion by 2021, and was expected to grow significantly as governments focus on online safety, rely more heavily on data to make procurement decisions, strive for better oversight of last-mile urban delivery services necessitated by the growth of e-commerce, and expand digital access to healthcare (including mental healthcare) options, according to a report published by the government-focused tech company PUBLIC. The growth of this specific market is projected to generally fall in line with the broader shift to a more digital economy; about a third of the global population, or some 2.6 billion people, continued to lack internet access in 2023, according to the World Bank, and efforts are being made to close that digital divide (the World Bank has also estimated that the digital economy already accounts for some 15% of global GDP, and has been growing 2.5 times faster than non-digital elements of GDP).

Governments should no longer feel resigned to being stifled by bureaucracy and inaction – they can increasingly view themselves as technology innovators, investors, and partners. Innovators, because they will increasingly prove critical for testing and piloting new technologies, for refining these technologies through widespread use, and for identifying attractive new applications; investors, because as significant buyers it will be in their best interest to identify and facilitate funding for genuinely breakthrough GovTech tools; and partners, because GovTech sits at a unique intersection between the public and private sectors. Effective collaboration will be key. Government procurement of technology takes an average of 22 months, which is about three times longer than it takes the private sector – so a streamlining of procurement policies, and a wider sharing of public-service knowledge, experiences, and best practices should be deployed to help reduce this timing lag and ensure that governments can also benefit from the most up-to-date technologies available on the market. This would meanwhile reduce the risks to startups keen to tap into the government market and incentivize more related venture capital funding.

1.1. Civic Participation

Bottom-up civic participation is flourishing in many parts of the world, as technology helps bring people together in significant numbers to take direct action and exercise civil disobedience. At the same time, top-down forms are also gaining traction – as processes like public assemblies, participatory budgeting, and referendums have significant impacts. This is occurring amid a general dilution of hierarchies, and growing tension between the local and the global – as digitalization reshuffles the traditional logic of power.

1.2. Economic Progress

Global economic progress is faltering. The uncertainty caused by COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, dramatic shifts in international trade, and political upheaval have left many disillusioned – and triggered social tension, worsened inequality, and a more urgent need to foster cooperation. Stakeholder capitalism, designed to benefit all stakeholders and the environment rather than just shareholders, could be a means to achieve better global health, greater sustainability, more inclusive development, and revived productivity growth.

1.3. Leadership

Many aspects of the ways that governments and businesses operate are in flux, due in large part to the sweeping technology changes propelling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Leadership is no exception. As a new generation of leaders take on challenges such as striking a healthy balance of views expressed on their social media platforms, developing private efforts to fill gaps in public social protections, and crafting public policies that govern technology access, an ability to apply responsibility and purpose will be key.

1.4. Taxes

Taxation provides the foundation of any well-functioning society. However, globalization has pressured tax systems and moved the tax burden from the rich to the poor. Some 40% of the profits earned by multinational corporations are shifted to tax havens every year, at a cost of about $200 billion to public coffers. One quarter of the taxes owed by the wealthiest 0.01% of people are never paid, as assets are stashed offshore. To deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, more sufficient and stable tax revenue will be necessary. Taxing carbon emissions could help curb global warming, and tax hikes may bolster inclusive growth. To that end, it may be helpful to view taxation as readily compatible with individual property rights, and to acknowledge that sound government finances mean revenue does not necessarily need to be as high as spending.

1.5. Institutional and Private Investors

Institutional investors like pension funds, insurers, and sovereign wealth funds find themselves operating in a changed world. There are heightened expectations to actively monitor standards and behavior at the firms they invest in, to invest more frequently based on specific themes, and to either zero in on environmental, social and governance benchmarks, or even de-emphasize those benchmarks (depending on the context). Meanwhile private investors such as private equity firms, venture capitalists, and hedge funds are also subject to shifts in regulation and public perception, as they deploy capital on behalf of the vital institutions providing for retirement and administering public coffers. The investing world promises to continue to dramatically evolve – in tandem with broader social, technological, and environmental change.

1.6. Agile Governance

“Agile” governance means more than just coordinating effective, efficient, and reliable public and private institutions to effectively manage problems – the term implies a forward-looking approach that seeks to anticipate problems before they materialize. Demands for agile governance have never been greater, amid worsened conflict, an ongoing crisis of multilateralism, and the persistent weakness of many national governance systems. Its application is perhaps needed most in fast-changing, impactful areas like technology, health, sustainability, and economic development.

1.7. Innovation

Innovation is the process of turning new ideas into value, in the form of products, services, business models, and other new ways of doing things. It is complex and goes beyond mere creativity and invention to include the practical steps necessary for facilitating adoption. New developments tend to build on earlier versions, in a way that fuels productivity and economic growth. It is now clear that truly innovative firms can have significant impacts on business and society while outperforming their peers in a few ways.

1.8. Social Protection

Public welfare policies and social protection systems serve functions at every level of economic development. Their basic elements can include systems for education and healthcare, benefits for the elderly, retired and disabled, and assistance for the needy and vulnerable. COVID-19 has vividly demonstrated the vital significance of social protection in all these forms. Yet, societies everywhere continue to face serious challenges as they seek to adapt their approaches to welfare and social protection considering ageing populations, changing labor markets, and the relentless pressures of international economic competition.

2. Improving Public Service Delivery

Whether by facilitating public transportation or monitoring water quality, digital tools can bolster services.
In addition to providing a means for people to engage more directly with elected officials and decision-makers, GovTech can significantly improve the delivery of everyday public goods and services. Some examples of this include the application of data analysis technologies in ways that help agencies not only make more informed decisions, but also help them to identify trends and patterns in traffic in ways that free up channels of communication with the citizenry – even during periods of high traffic – through social media platforms, email newsletters, and mobile apps. GovTech can also aid infrastructure management via technologies like the Internet of Things, by optimizing energy use through smart grids or more effectively monitoring water quality. One example of this can be found in South Korea, where GovTech has been deployed for advanced transportation systems via smart traffic management, electric vehicle infrastructure, and bike-sharing programmers. Public safety can also benefit from GovTech – though there are serious ethical considerations to be made regarding public surveillance systems, emergency-alert systems, and predictive policing tools.

GovTech can be especially helpful in levelling the playing field for different socioeconomic groups of people when it comes to accessing education. By proactively boosting the availability of online learning platforms, digital textbooks, and virtual classrooms, local governments can dramatically scale up opportunity for constituents in terms of not just accessing a basic education but also acquiring the skills necessary for lifelong learning and adapting to a constantly shifting technology environment. In the same way, when it comes to healthcare governments can make better use of technology to improve delivery, thereby potentially providing earlier and more helpful diagnoses and preventive care through telemedicine, providing more effective and efficient treatment in some cases, more effectively logging health records electronically, and boosting the overall quality of life. Consideration should be paid to ensuring that these GovTech services include lower-cost options for accessibility – for example, by making them widely (and potentially freely) available via mobile devices, by leveraging free, open-source software, and by tailoring offerings to varying levels of digital literacy.

2.1. Social Protection

Public welfare policies and social protection systems serve functions at every level of economic development. Their basic elements can include systems for education and healthcare, benefits for the elderly, retired and disabled, and assistance for the needy and vulnerable. COVID-19 has vividly demonstrated the vital significance of social protection in all these forms. Yet, societies everywhere continue to face serious challenges as they seek to adapt their approaches to welfare and social protection considering ageing populations, changing labor markets, and the relentless pressures of international economic competition.

2.2. Data Science

The era of data is upon us. It is proliferating at an unprecedented pace, reflecting every aspect of our lives, and circulating from satellites in space through the phones in our pockets. The data revolution creates endless opportunities to confront the grand challenges of the 21st century. Yet, as the scale and scope of data grow, so must our ability to analyses and contextualize it. Drawing genuine insights from data requires training in statistics and computer science, and subject area knowledge. Putting insights into action requires a careful understanding of the potential ethical consequences – for both individuals and entire societies.

2.3. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or “IoT,” surrounds us with networks of smart, web-connected devices and services capable of sensing, interconnecting, inferring, and acting. It is enabling the development of new products and business models, while creating ways for governments to deliver more useful services and better engage with the public. Some of the most important issues related to IoT include technology architecture and standardization, safety and security risks, threats to privacy and trust, potentially missed opportunities for broad social benefits – and a need for responsible governance.

2.4. Digital Communications

The digital communications industry is sustaining record levels of global internet use, online social interaction, and financial inclusion. As the industry is transformed, effective policy and regulation that support businesses while also ensuring the rights of users can ultimately boost productivity – though an openness to new models of collaboration and governance is required, to best address challenges like data privacy and mounting infrastructure demands.

2.5. Mental Health

The cost of mental health conditions (and related consequences) is projected to rise to $6 trillion globally by 2030, from $2.5 trillion in 2010, according to a study published by the World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health. That would make the cost of poor mental health greater than that of cancer, diabetes, and respiratory ailments combined. Now, as people around the world contend with stress and social restrictions related to COVID-19, mental health has become a particular area of concern for policymakers and health professionals.

2.6. Infrastructure

Infrastructure is essential for economic development. It can boost health, wealth, access to education, and public safety – and help prepare for global crises like pandemics. But for decades now, related investment has been stifled by shortages of skilled professionals, mismatched risk expectations, corruption, a lack of genuinely bankable projects, and disagreement on the proper role of private capital. More must be done to address these issues, and better ensure that the world has the infrastructure it needs.

2.7. Health and Healthcare

COVID-19 highlighted fundamental problems with our capital-intensive, hospital-centric model of healthcare. According to the World Health Organization, half the world still lacks essential health services – and 90% of countries have reported disruptions to healthcare services during the pandemic. One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all by 2030; to achieve this, health systems will have to change how they connect with patients and communities. To ensure every person on Earth has equal access to the highest standards of preventive health and clinical care, a coordinated and data-enabled approach is necessary – as are new models of collaboration.

2.8. Justice and Law

We face considerable challenges when it comes to ensuring that the most robust science is used in the delivery of justice, and that access to legal protections is made available to the greatest number of people possible. Technological innovation is enabling greater insights and capabilities and creating opportunities to more rapidly obtain accurate intelligence and evidence. However, the science applied within justice systems operates at a complex intersection of the law, governments, and communities – creating a dynamic and interconnected environment with diverse and sometimes competing interests. Better understanding this environment will be key for positively shaping justice systems.

2.9. Mobility

Mobility is a fundamental human need, and an essential enabler of prosperity. But the current mobility paradigm is not sustainable; car travel causes millions of deaths every year, a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions are transport-related, and congestion causes heavy financial losses. There is hope on the horizon, however – the global mobility system is in the early stages of massive transformation, as new technologies enable innovative related businesses, and as policymakers seek out ways to foster mobility that is smarter, cleaner, and more inclusive.

2.10. Values

Values are essential – particularly in times of crisis. As the fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate people, organizations, and communities, they provide a basis for social justice and belief in necessary institutions. They also express personal and collective judgments about what is important – influenced by culture, religion, and laws. Values can potentially spur purposeful action aimed at increasing equality, decreasing harm to the environment, and improving global health.

3. Building Public Sector Digital Skills

Digital tools can help foster a culture of public service excellence.

Building digital skills in the public sector has become increasingly important – as technology continues to play a more significant role in delivering government services, and in simply maintaining operations. The rise of GovTech makes it essential for government employees to have the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively use digital tools and platforms in ways that improve efficiency, transparency, and citizen engagement. The Indian Government, for example, set up Digital India in 2015 as a flagship programmer aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered society with a knowledge-based economy. But such initiatives can struggle to attract talent, due not least to misconceptions about their perceived importance and impact. Changing this is therefore essential to boost interest and make GovTech a more alluring career path. One way to do this is by building a strategic narrative that highlights the societal impact and value contribution of GovTech – as well as the potential to innovate.

Creating a digital community of practice, or learning platform, can facilitate GovTech – related knowledge exchange and skills development. Bringing academic partners on board and fostering skills-exchange programmers between public and private sector can also help draw in expertise and a broader pool of digital talent. Truly fostering a culture of innovation within government agencies, however, means government employees must feel they have the agency to ideate, experiment, and iterate. This requires an investment in skills training, to ensure the effective navigation and utilization of emerging technologies. Confronting these challenges can provide opportunities to boost inclusivity, accessibility, and economic prospects through digital channels, meanwhile reducing operational costs and fostering growth. An increasingly savvy digital bureaucracy can place “digital” at the heart of GovTech while ensuring that governments can understand these new technologies to improve services. That way, government services can have a chance of remaining relevant and resilient even in the face of rapid technological change.

3.1. Values

Values are essential – particularly in times of crisis. As the fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate people, organizations, and communities, they provide a basis for social justice and belief in necessary institutions. They also express personal and collective judgments about what is important – influenced by culture, religion, and laws. Values can potentially spur purposeful action aimed at increasing equality, decreasing harm to the environment, and improving global health.

3.2. Education

Technological innovation is fundamentally transforming education, and updating the skills required for modern work. Building future-ready (and pandemic-proof) education systems requires curricula fit for the 21st century, coupled with the consistent delivery of widely accessible instruction that builds a solid foundation for a lifetime of adapting and developing new abilities. Specialized education should focus on skills that are in demand in the real world and address the disconnect between employer needs and available talent pools.

3.3. Future of Work

The world of work is changing fast – and mapping out healthy new work models is necessary to channel that change into the creation of stronger, sounder livelihoods and sufficient safeguards. Job creation was already high on the global agenda before a pandemic upended labor markets, as was policy-making that can ideally help both workers and their employers. The most successful approaches will consider shifting demographics and changing job roles and will leverage disruption to design workplaces that genuinely serve everyone’s needs.

3.4. The Digital Economy

The disruption caused by the Fourth Industrial Revolution was accelerated by COVID-19, increasing the need for agility, adaptability, and positive transformation. As the global economy rapidly digitalizes, an estimated 70% of new value created over the coming decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models. However, nearly 2.7 billion people still lack access to the internet. Digital technologies have the potential to enable new value for everyone, but they risk further exacerbating exclusion, the unequal concentration of power and wealth, and social instability. Companies must use digital infrastructure and data to collaborate, develop innovative business models, navigate disruption, and transition to a new normal – post-pandemic, purpose-driven, sustainable, and inclusive.

3.5. Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we create, exchange, and distribute value. It is a technological shift merging our physical, digital, and biological worlds into one. The fast-developing technologies pushing it forward, such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing, are promising smart solutions for intractable challenges. But this revolution also calls for governing these solutions in ways that empower, foster collaboration, and help build a more sustainable foundation for social and economic development.

3.6. Innovation

Innovation is the process of turning new ideas into value, in the form of products, services, business models, and other new ways of doing things. It is complex and goes beyond mere creativity and invention to include the practical steps necessary for facilitating adoption. New developments tend to build on earlier versions, in a way that fuels productivity and economic growth. It is now clear that truly innovative firms can have significant impacts on business and society while outperforming their peers in a few ways.

3.7. Digital Communications

The digital communications industry is sustaining record levels of global internet use, online social interaction, and financial inclusion. As the industry is transformed, effective policy and regulation that support businesses while also ensuring the rights of users can ultimately boost productivity – though an openness to new models of collaboration and governance is required, to best address challenges like data privacy and mounting infrastructure demands.

3.8. Infrastructure

Infrastructure is essential for economic development. It can boost health, wealth, access to education, and public safety – and help prepare for global crises like pandemics. But for decades now, related investment has been stifled by shortages of skilled professionals, mismatched risk expectations, corruption, a lack of genuinely bankable projects, and disagreement on the proper role of private capital. More must be done to address these issues, and better ensure that the world has the infrastructure it needs.

4. Facilitating Citizen Engagement

GovTech can provide new tools to strengthen active public discourse.

One way in which GovTech can decisively strengthen citizen engagement is by making it easier for people to access government services – and, critically, to retain ownership of their own personal data in the process. Tech-enabled access to services such as making tax payments, renewing drivers’ and other licenses, and reviewing public records enables the average person to better manage their civic responsibilities, saves travel time and costs, and can increase government transparency. Digital platforms can also provide people with real- or nearly real-time updates on the status of their various requests with different agencies and services in progress – which can in turn make these government agencies more open and accountable. These platforms can also potentially give citizens insights into real-time data and information on government spending both historic and in process, various public-sector performance metrics, and other information that can be used to hold elected officials accountable to their constituencies.

In addition, GovTech tools can make it easier for people themselves to proactively participate in government decision-making, by giving them more opportunities to provide direct feedback and to make suggestions. For example, many governments now use digital platforms to run surveys, polls, and other forms of public engagement to get feedback from local communities on a wide range of issues. Digital platforms can also be used to make remote access to public consultations and town hall-style meetings easier, so that people can actively take part in decision-making without having to leave home. GovTech can also be used to set up digital public squares, where at any time citizens can propose ideas, join in to discuss issues, and potentially collaborate on solutions. Governments should look to GovTech to incorporate feedback and monitoring where tech is not deployed for its own sake, but rather as something with real, measurable impact in the lives of citizens.

4.1. Civic Participation

Bottom-up civic participation is flourishing in many parts of the world, as technology helps bring people together in significant numbers to take direct action and exercise civil disobedience. At the same time, top-down forms are also gaining traction – as processes like public assemblies, participatory budgeting, and referendums have significant impacts. This is occurring amid a general dilution of hierarchies, and growing tension between the local and the global – as digitalization reshuffles the traditional logic of power.

4.2. Innovation

Innovation is the process of turning new ideas into value, in the form of products, services, business models, and other new ways of doing things. It is complex and goes beyond mere creativity and invention to include the practical steps necessary for facilitating adoption. New developments tend to build on earlier versions, in a way that fuels productivity and economic growth. It is now clear that truly innovative firms can have significant impacts on business and society while outperforming their peers in a few ways.

4.3. Cities and Urbanization

Bottom-up civic participation is flourishing in many parts of the world, as technology helps bring people together in significant numbers to take direct action and exercise civil disobedience. At the same time, top-down forms are also gaining traction – as processes like public assemblies, participatory budgeting, and referendums have significant impacts. This is occurring amid a general dilution of hierarchies, and growing tension between the local and the global – as digitalization reshuffles the traditional logic of power.

4.4. Corruption

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain which harms the public interest, typically breaching laws, regulations, and standards of integrity. There are many forms, including both transactions like bribery or embezzlement, and systemic corruption that can spread throughout political systems, companies, or even an entire industrial sector in a particular location. Although corruption may sometimes succeed in producing a short-term advantage, it is damaging in the long-term for societies, economies, and the integrity of free markets. Corruption is conceived as a Governance issue within ESG analysis, as good governance is a recognized means of preventing and addressing it.

4.5. Illicit Economy

Organized crime profits from and exacerbates health crises, climate change, and conflict (including the war in Ukraine). It functions as a spoiler to peace and development, undermines the rule of law, erodes democratic institutions, aggravates systemic inequality and political polarization, and arms violent extremists. According to the Global Organized Crime Index, more than three-quarters of the world’s population must live with high levels of organized crime. While most countries are affected, already-disadvantaged communities are disproportionately impacted. Trafficking in people, drugs, arms, money, intellectual property, and natural resources has turned criminal networks into multi-billion-dollar syndicates, undermining legitimate companies, public institutions, and security. The Global Organized Crime Index has revealed a staggering gap among countries in terms of their ability to build resilience to organized crime and the illicit economies it generates.

4.6. Cybersecurity

The digital world connects everything and everyone to apps, data, purchases, services, and communication. Securing this world is essential for protecting people, organizations, habitats, infrastructure, and just about everything we value and rely on for health and prosperity – from smarter choices to smart cities. Risks abound, but so do solutions, including those based on artificial intelligence and the “Zero Trust” model. As hazards morph, so must our responses; digital threats demand vigilance, determination, and resolve to react with precision to an ever-expanding cycle of risk.

4.7. Data Science

The era of data is upon us. It is proliferating at an unprecedented pace, reflecting every aspect of our lives, and circulating from satellites in space through the phones in our pockets. The data revolution creates endless opportunities to confront the grand challenges of the 21st century. Yet, as the scale and scope of data grow, so must our ability to analyses and contextualize it. Drawing genuine insights from data requires training in statistics and computer science, and subject area knowledge. Putting insights into action requires a careful understanding of the potential ethical consequences – for both individuals and entire societies.

4.8. Justice and Law

We face considerable challenges when it comes to ensuring that the most robust science is used in the delivery of justice, and that access to legal protections is made available to the greatest number of people possible. Technological innovation is enabling greater insights and capabilities and creating opportunities to more rapidly obtain accurate intelligence and evidence. However, the science applied within justice systems operates at a complex intersection of the law, governments, and communities – creating a dynamic and interconnected environment with diverse and sometimes competing interests. Better understanding this environment will be key for positively shaping justice systems.

5. Fostering Public Sector Innovation

A number of governments have found ways to effectively spur internal innovation

GovTech can provide the public sector with tools and resources to experiment with new ideas, and to develop fresh approaches to service delivery. Some of the ways in which this can manifest include the sharing of open data with other public-sector entities and with the private sector, in order to support better-informed decision-making and spot new opportunities. Estonia’s “X-road,” for example, is an open-source software environment designed to provide secure data exchange, and connect disparate information channels and services (the Estonian government estimates that it has been implemented in more than 20 countries). When supplemented with artificial intelligence and machine learning, such services can draw on and analyse larger and more diverse datasets, and by sponsoring hackathons and innovation challenges governments can encourage the development of new and innovative related solutions both internally and externally. GovTech can also be used to conduct pilot projects and experiments that test innovative ideas and approaches in a controlled environment, providing valuable insights into best practices and requirements for scaling up.

These varying types of projects and experiments can be set up as technology hubs or innovation labs within government agencies; they have already proven their utility in Kenya (the “Konza Technopolis Development Authority”), Australia (the “Digital Transformation Agency”), and Singapore (where the government’s “Smart Nation” initiatives have focused on everything from contactless payments to smart parking). In general, boosting collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors through GovTech can lead to the creation of new solutions and services that meet the needs of each. Tapping into startup communities is key for GovTech initiatives to flourish, and can be achieved by developing respectable incubator programs innovation platforms, and a generally supportive policy environment for startups that ensures they can easily gain access to necessary government gatekeepers and integrate with government systems. Partnerships with the private sector and academic institutions can meanwhile add fresh perspectives, practical expertise, and the necessary resources for leveraging innovation to address public sector challenges.

5.1. Data Science

The era of data is upon us. It is proliferating at an unprecedented pace, reflecting every aspect of our lives, and circulating from satellites in space through the phones in our pockets. The data revolution creates endless opportunities to confront the grand challenges of the 21st century. Yet, as the scale and scope of data grow, so must our ability to analyses and contextualize it. Drawing genuine insights from data requires training in statistics and computer science, and subject area knowledge. Putting insights into action requires a careful understanding of the potential ethical consequences – for both individuals and entire societies.

5.2. Digital Communications

The digital communications industry is sustaining record levels of global internet use, online social interaction, and financial inclusion. As the industry is transformed, effective policy and regulation that support businesses while also ensuring the rights of users can ultimately boost productivity – though an openness to new models of collaboration and governance is required, to best address challenges like data privacy and mounting infrastructure demands.

5.3. Drones

Drones are being deployed to improve crop yields, to help maintain critical infrastructure, and to efficiently deliver COVID-19 vaccines in some parts of the world. They may soon be relied on just about everywhere for routine package delivery, and while larger drones remain mostly restricted to the military they are poised for expansion into civilian markets once airspace integration issues can be resolved. Advances in artificial intelligence should open new doors for drone applications in the future, though challenges remain in terms of synthesis with manned aircraft, appropriate infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, and public acceptance.

5.4. Data Policy

Data has untapped potential to help address gender disparities, track deforestation, detect plastic pollution, and boost agricultural yields. Yet too much of it remains siloed within either public or private institutions, and too many locales lack the comprehensive data protection and data security regulations necessary to protect rights and create sustainable mechanisms for usage. There has also been a surplus of systems focusing more on collecting massive datasets than on unlocking the real value in that data. A more human-centered approach could help us progress beyond identifying core principles, and into technical execution with an appropriate balance of creativity, innovation, responsible use, and functionality.

5.5. Blockchain

Blockchain can enable greater trust and transparency through decentralization, cryptography, and the creation of new incentives. Best-known as the digital underpinning of cryptocurrencies, it has evolved into a foundational technology with promise in many areas. While the financial sector is investigating it to replace expensive and inefficient payment systems, it could also reshape supply chains – particularly in combination with the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence – while boosting the practical, day-to-day use of smart contracts and digital identities. However, many questions remain about the best use of the technology, its environmental impact, and its governance.

5.6. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is rife with contradictions. It is a powerful tool that is also surprisingly limited in terms of its current capabilities. And, while it has the potential to improve human existence, at the same time it threatens to deepen social divides and put millions of people out of work. While its inner workings are highly technical, the non-technical among us can and should understand the basic principles of how it works – and the concerns that it raises. As the influence and impact of AI spread, it will be critical to involve people and experts from the most diverse backgrounds possible in guiding this technology in ways that enhance human capabilities and lead to positive outcomes.

5.7. The Metaverse

The next version of the internet may be a far more immersive virtual experience. While the concept of the “metaverse” has received renewed attention, many of its basic elements – like virtual and augmented reality, or cryptocurrency transactions – have been under construction for decades. By essentially making the internet a virtual twin of the physical world, this digital do-over could enable novel ways of working, buying things, learning, and socializing. No single company will own or dominate the metaverse, and the race is on to stake out territory within it.

5.8. The Digital Transformation of Business

COVID-19 catapulted businesses everywhere into the digital-first world. Technology had already been reshaping industries, business models, and supply chains when the pandemic hit – as people demanded more touchless and online experiences. Yet, the results have so far been mixed, and many businesses have fallen short of their digital transformation goals. Those businesses slow to change – particularly small firms – have become especially vulnerable to disruption by digital natives. The technology decisions made by the leaders of these, and other companies now will help determine not only their own future success, but also the success of their employees, customers, and partners.

5.9. Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we create, exchange, and distribute value. It is a technological shift merging our physical, digital, and biological worlds into one. The fast-developing technologies pushing it forward, such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing, are promising smart solutions for intractable challenges. But this revolution also calls for governing these solutions in ways that empower, foster collaboration, and help build a more sustainable foundation for social and economic development.

6. Future-Proofing Core Government Systems

Modernizing and digitalizing systems can create new value.

By adopting, adapting to, and evolving with changing technology, governments can be more responsive to the needs of the public. Data analytics and machine learning, for example, can help predict and respond to emerging trends, enabling agencies to proactively address looming challenges. Related services should be designed to be scalable and interoperable, so that they can be adapted and modified. In parallel, investment in cybersecurity is essential to protect sensitive data and ensure the continuity of services in the event of a breach; security and integrity can be bolstered through protocols like encryption and multi-factor authentication, and the desire to modernize legacy systems accordingly is one potential reason to explore GovTech. Many government systems are outdated, and rely on legacy technology that makes them slow, inefficient, and unnecessarily vulnerable. By thoroughly updating them, governments can improve the performance and security of services, and make it easier for citizens to access them. To that end, encouraging and supporting the use of open-source software can foster greater collaboration and innovation, and enable the development of a more sustainable and adaptable technology infrastructure.

Another way in which GovTech can be used to strengthen core government systems is by tapping into automation and artificial intelligence. Greater automation can help reduce errors and cost, and improve efficiency, while increasingly powerful AI systems can potentially be used to analyses large datasets, identify emerging patterns and trends, and make predictions that can help with public sector decision-making. AI can also assist with addressing broad, societal challenges, such as the management of healthcare systems, the maintenance of public safety, and disaster response. However, the prospect of government AI procurement also raises important questions. Ensuring the ethical and responsible use of the technology is key; governments need to address concerns related to data privacy, algorithmic bias, transparency, and accountability. They must establish frameworks and guidelines ensuring that AI systems are used in a fair and unbiased manner, and that they comply with legal and ethical standards. Additionally, governments should consider the potential impact of AI on local workforces. While the technology can automate many tasks in ways that create redundancy, it also has the potential to create new job opportunities.

6.1. Internet Governance

Users are ripe for exploitation by the internet’s dominant business model of targeted advertising – and protection from this asymmetry must become an internet governance priority. Any governance efforts can be judged according to their ability to protect dignity; without that, the internet has the potential to devolve into an instrument of factional struggle. And if “opt-in” capability is not adequately enforced, users who have little time for decision-making will be manipulated. Because as much as it is a platform for opportunity, knowledge-sharing, and growth, the internet remains an active platform for potential abuse.

6.2. Global Risks

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024 explores some of the most severe risks we may face over the next decade, against a backdrop of rapid technological change, economic uncertainty, a warming planet, and conflict. As cooperation comes under pressure, weakened economies and societies may only require the smallest shock to edge past the tipping point of resilience.

6.3. The Digital Transformation of Business

COVID-19 catapulted businesses everywhere into the digital-first world. Technology had already been reshaping industries, business models, and supply chains when the pandemic hit – as people demanded more touchless and online experiences. Yet, the results have so far been mixed, and many businesses have fallen short of their digital transformation goals. Those businesses slow to change – particularly small firms – have become especially vulnerable to disruption by digital natives. The technology decisions made by the leaders of these, and other companies now will help determine not only their own future success, but also the success of their employees, customers, and partners.

6.4. Blockchain

Blockchain can enable greater trust and transparency through decentralization, cryptography, and the creation of new incentives. Best-known as the digital underpinning of cryptocurrencies, it has evolved into a foundational technology with promise in many areas. While the financial sector is investigating it to replace expensive and inefficient payment systems, it could also reshape supply chains – particularly in combination with the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence – while boosting the practical, day-to-day use of smart contracts and digital identities. However, many questions remain about the best use of the technology, its environmental impact, and its governance.

6.5. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is rife with contradictions. It is a powerful tool that is also surprisingly limited in terms of its current capabilities. And, while it has the potential to improve human existence, at the same time it threatens to deepen social divides and put millions of people out of work. While its inner workings are highly technical, the non-technical among us can and should understand the basic principles of how it works – and the concerns that it raises. As the influence and impact of AI spread, it will be critical to involve people and experts from the most diverse backgrounds possible in guiding this technology in ways that enhance human capabilities and lead to positive outcomes.

6.6. Cybersecurity

The digital world connects everything and everyone to apps, data, purchases, services, and communication. Securing this world is essential for protecting people, organizations, habitats, infrastructure, and just about everything we value and rely on for health and prosperity – from smarter choices to smart cities. Risks abound, but so do solutions, including those based on artificial intelligence and the “Zero Trust” model. As hazards morph, so must our responses; digital threats demand vigilance, determination, and resolve to react with precision to an ever-expanding cycle of risk.

6.7. Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we create, exchange, and distribute value. It is a technological shift merging our physical, digital, and biological worlds into one. The fast-developing technologies pushing it forward, such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing, are promising smart solutions for intractable challenges. But this revolution also calls for governing these solutions in ways that empower, foster collaboration, and help build a more sustainable foundation for social and economic development.

6.8. The Metaverse

The next version of the internet may be a far more immersive virtual experience. While the concept of the “metaverse” has received renewed attention, many of its basic elements – like virtual and augmented reality, or cryptocurrency transactions – have been under construction for decades. By essentially making the internet a virtual twin of the physical world, this digital do-over could enable novel ways of working, buying things, learning, and socializing. No single company will own or dominate the metaverse, and the race is on to stake out territory within it.

Nguồn: intelligence.weforum.org

Biên tập: World Economic Forum