The Impact on Government

“Good enough” as a measure for government work is no longer good enough. The changing nature of the citizenry (Millennials and subsequent generations) will massively raise the bar for government.

Citizens want to engage with their governments. They want to voice opinions, coordinate their activities, and in some cases, circumnavigate their officials. Citizens want full transparency and automated services. Why do we need to file a tax return? If all of our transactions are digital, we should simply be emailed a check or a bill. If the wallet disappears, will our need for a passport, ID card, or a driver’s license persist? Or will we be provided with a digital identity in the form of a digital fingerprint or retina scanner?

The revolutionary wave in 2011 known as Arab Spring highlighted the power of social media; the U.S. election of 2016 weaponized its capabilities.

Governments will have more data and massive controls over people via their information and behaviors, obtained through pervasive surveillance. Governments can also do good with their data, and set agendas for Open Data, to unlock the value of data sets to spur innovation and invention. Imagine the emergence of educational institutions using the billion dollar infrastructures of NASA and the Departments of Energy or Agriculture to drive innovation.

It will be a battle over privacy and citizens must never relent on the protection of their information. Data corrupts, absolute data corrupts absolutely.

The very nature of conflict and war will be redefined in the 4IR. Mobilizing troops, engaging in gunfire, bombing power plants, and blowing up dams will be replaced with hacking systems and shutting down power grids. These will be the new acts of war.

A new playbook will be required to counterbalance the black-hats, to protect our way of life, and to ensure the analog version of war is minimized and avoided.

Just as the rules of war will change, so too will governments. They will need to conform to the theory of global governance epitomized by transgovernmentalism (G+)—as administrators of the collective good, purveyors of the ultimate surveillance program (such as PRISM), and as power centers competing with other governments. At the end of the day, governments will need to re-think how they protect citizen workers in the 4IR as labor is displaced at scale.

As labor is displaced, the economic divide will widen. It will be our responsibility as governments, businesses, and individuals to harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to bridge this divide for the greater good.

We are in the midst of a technological revolution known as the Golden Age of Innovation. If technology is an enabler for change, then the 4IR has the potential to raise every citizen of the world out of poverty. To achieve this will be the ultimate measure of success. I will explore this more in my final blog in this series.

To read more, download The Golden Age of Innovation.

I’ll be taking this message on the road for Enterprise World. Learn more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. To provide feedback, or if you would like to see additional topics covered in future publications, please add your comment below.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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