Governments increasingly using emerging technologies: summit report

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Feb 14, 2017 (LBO) – Governments are increasingly incorporating emerging technologies to improve public services, according to a report presented at the recent World Government Summit in Dubai.

The Best Government Emerging Technologies report says several countries are now exploring “emerging technologies to provide government services more efficiently, effectively and have proven results.”

Specifically, the report considered areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and distributed ledgers, citizen engagement & analytics, cloud and high performance computing, nanotechnology, new manufacturing, robotics & space, smart platforms, and the virtual world.

For instance, Estonia, a leader in the area of e-Government, is using blockchain for record management systems.

“The most mature initiative currently in place is the Estonian e-Health Foundation’s deployment of a blockchain-based system to secure over one million patient healthcare records.”

Similarly, the Dutch government is exploring the use of text mining and machine learning for detection of child abuse.

The Netherlands national healthcare organization uses unstructured semimedical data generated from children visits to doctors for predictive analysis to create a decision support system, the report said.

Neighboring India is carving out a niche for itself in communication satellites, and currently operates one of the biggest satellite communication networks in the world.

In June 2016, India broke a record launching 20 satellites in a single launch. In 2017, there are contracts to launch more than 80 satellites.

Other exciting initiatives are Rwanda’s use of drones to deliver blood to patients in remote areas, Singapore’s building of a prototype chatbot for selected public services, and 3D printing in the United States in the area of healthcare.

Nevertheless, new technologies are not without its risks. In 2007, hackers unleashed a wave of cyber attacks that crippled dozens of government and corporate sites in Estonia, one of Europe’s most wired countries.

A small group of Russian activists associated with the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi said they were responsible.

“Although this transformation can be beneficial and even necessary, it faces an important risk: empowering an instrument into a goal itself,” the report said.

“Technology without an ethical and moral horizon is empty just as ethical and moral values would fail without a wise application of technology.”

The report can be viewed here