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Spotlight Report 2021: Manage Technological Changes

November 03, 2021

November 03, 2021

By an Academy Staff Working Group: Dr. Joseph P. Mitchell III, Jillian McGuffey, and James Higgins

Manage Technological Changes: Ensure Data Security and Privacy and Make Government AI-Ready

Technology in the Digital Age offers a great opportunity for the government to better serve its citizens and solve some of the government’s “wicked problems” more quickly and effectively, but first, public administrators must ensure that they address the multitude of risks to citizens’ economic, security, and privacy interests. Throughout the twenty-first century and especially in the past few years, the threats to the data security of American public and private firms have increased. State and non-state actors have targeted oil pipelines, water treatment plants, and even data platforms of federal agencies in attempts to gain material resources and information.

At the same time, these competitors, which include China and Russia, are developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to facilitate both these cyberattacks and a larger technology agenda. While authoritarian regimes can research and wield these AI tools without regard for their citizens’ privacy, the U.S. must simultaneously produce equal or better technology while ensuring the safety, trustworthiness, and transparency of this technology are within the boundaries of the constitution and legislation. These technology Grand Challenges are intertwined, and the U.S. must solve them in order to produce a strong, safe, and reliable foundation for its citizens in this new era.

This spotlight report focuses on the Grand Challenges, Ensure Data Security and Make Government AI Ready. This working paper is a follow-up to the Election 2020 reports produced by Academy Fellows and also documents some illustrative actions underway at the state and local levels. This paper is a work-in-progress that will be expanded upon in 2022, especially through a greater focus on non-federal actions.

Read The Action Plan

Please visit the Election 2020 Homepage for the original action plans