I am spending the next two weeks in Brazil visiting colleagues and developing research partnerships. I will deliver two research seminars:
Shaping the Future of Autonomous Systems in Society: Research with Impact
Emerging technologies are fundamentally impacting and transforming all aspects of our society. I am particularly concerned with how technological innovations impact 1) the design of our public institutions, 2) the apparatuses through which we shape, implement, and evaluate public policies, and 3) our governance frameworks for public goods. All indications suggest that we are moving toward a world where autonomous systems will dictate how we interface and interact with other agents and objects in our society. We can take advantage of emerging technologies to make our societies more livable, just, resilient, and sustainable. To realize this future, we need active and sustained engagement by scholars across a myriad of disciplines, especially public policy and management.
Public policy and governance scholars have largely been absent when it comes to engineering efforts related to the design and deployment of autonomous systems and policy debates that will shape their impact on our society. In this talk, I will outline why we need active engagement by public policy and management scholars during phases of autonomous systems development and implementation. Examples will be drawn from over a dozen research engagements that have studied emerging technologies in the public sector, from predictive analytic systems to blockchain, social media platforms, and machine learning algorithms. I will outline key governance dilemmas and policy challenges confronting public agencies as they try to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovations.
Studying complex phenomena requires us to undertake research that 1) draws on multiple disciplines, 2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, 3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and 4) generates actionable solutions. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset; beginning with the inception of ideas, continuing to the crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and then communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrowly focused research exercises. Opportunities for use-inspired research will be discussed. In addition, I will present a working model for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. I will openly share some of the trials and tribulations that I have encountered along the way.
Heading to the University of Pennsylvania next week to attend the Democracy in the Crosshairs: Cyber Interference, Dark Money and Foreign Influence conference. The two-day event is a closed session. The conference is organized by the Center for Ethics & Rule of Law and the UPenn Law School. I co-authored a paper with Atif Ahmad (University of Melbourne) for the conference.
Weaponizing Information Systems for Political Disruption: The Actor, Lever,Effects, and Response Taxonomy (ALERT)
Information systems continue to be used by actors who want to undermine public institutions and disrupt political systems. In recent times, actors have engaged in acts of cyber warfare ranging from attempts to compromise voting systems, spread false propaganda, use dark networks to illicitly fund campaigns, and even attack public infrastructure via technologies. Initial analysis points to the fact that most of these attempts have been successful in achieving their intended objectives. Given this reality, we expect them to intensify and be more creative in the future. In this paper, we take a critical look at the concept of weaponizing information systems for political disruption. Our analysis focuses on two specific forms of information systems enabled disruption. The first is direct attacks on information systems infrastructures employed in various facets of political campaigns and the election processes. The second is attacks that target public infrastructure and services, which impact trust in government and public institutions of the nation and indirectly impact political stability and governance regimes. We outline an Actor, Lever, Effects, and Response Taxonomy (ALERT) to understand the nuances associated with various types of options individuals, organizations, and nations have when it comes to weaponizing information systems for political gain and to cause public unrest.
Conference schedule is available here.
The IBM Center for the Business of Government released my new report today.
Delivering Artificial Intelligence in Government: Challenges and Opportunities
This report reviews recent progress made in applying artificial intelligence to public sector service provision, drawing on lessons learned from commercial experience as well as burgeoning cognitive computing activity by Federal, State, local, and international governments.
To access the report, please click here.
Good news: We no longer have to talk about megascale IT projects. Large-scale ventures that typically cost $1 billion or more, megaprojects used to be all the rage, but they are quickly being superseded by petascale IT initiatives. Those projects can cost even more, involve complexity on a truly massive scale and require petaflops of computer processing. Despite the horrendous track record of delivering on even moderately complex IT projects, public-sector CIOs continue to embrace the design, planning and execution of petascale IT projects. To read more, please click here.
To view the article in the digital edition of the magazine, please click here.
The Korean Edition of Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas Within Your Organization (University of Toronto Press, 2011) was just published by Institute of Global Management.
The Advanced Practices Council of the Society for Information Management has just published my report, Mobile App Development in Highly Regulated Industries: Risks, Rewards and Recipes. I co-authored the report with my former graduate student, Paul Simons, who serves as the CEO of iHear Network.
Mobile computing has the potential to be as disruptive to the status quo as the Internet in the 1990s or the Model T in the early 20th century. A driving force behind mobile computing is the adoption of mobile apps, which increase revenues through new and refined business models, greater brand awareness and customer loyalty, and tools that increase employee productivity. However, not all organizations that launch mobile apps end up with successful products. The rewards may be lucrative, but there are risks of entering the marketplace with new products. In highly regulated industries, the risks are compounded by additional constraints for developing mobile software related to protecting and communicating information. Firms in such industries must implement comprehensive security solutions that go beyond standard industry regulatory systems. Since regulations always lag behind technological advancement, organizations must anticipate how their actions might trigger future legislative responses and the impacts on users’ expectations of privacy and trust. Another risk that stems from rapid growth of mobile software is the reduced barrier to entry for emerging companies, especially from startups that circumnavigate existing regulations on the use of mobile technology.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of mobile apps, design thinking has emerged as a methodology to help guide an organization through the process of developing mobile apps. Traditional linear modes of development are not sufficient or flexible enough to keep up with innovation in mobile hardware, software, and mobile operating systems. Design thinking has grown beyond just a methodology for developing software products and experiences to a means of developing business strategy. This non-linear mode of strategy development is better suited for mobile strategy because it provides greater insight into the needs and desires of end users, fosters innovative and creative solutions, and provides greater flexibility to adapt to the changing circumstances caused by disruptive forces of the mobile revolution. This enables the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to provide greater leadership in exploiting internal and external opportunities. This report provides a number of recommendations to CIOs in mobile app development.
I am thrilled to be invited back to address the Advanced Practices Council (APC) of the Society for Information Management. The APC commissioned a research report on mobile app development in highly regulated industries. Over the last few months, I have collaborated with Paul Simon (CEO of iHear Network and my former graduate student at the University of Washington) on this research report.The presentation will take place on Jan 22, 2014 at the Intercontinental Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mobile App Development in Highly Regulated Industries: Risks, Rewards, and Recipes
Mobile computing has the potential to be as disruptive to the status quo as the introduction of the modern Internet in the 1990s or the Model T was nearly 100 years ago. Organizations need to not only understand the risks of mobile computing, but develop strategies to incorporate it before it fatally disrupts their current business model. Some of the rewards of a well thought out mobile strategy include increasing revenues or new revenue streams, greater brand awareness and customer loyalty, and a new set of tools to increase employee productivity. Firms in highly regulated industries face an even more complex set of challenges when considering how to approach the mobile space. Highly regulated industries have additional constraints for developing mobile software because of the additional layer(s) of regulation that dictate the protection and communication of information. It is important for these businesses to implement comprehensive security solutions that go beyond standard industry regulatory systems. Since regulations always lag behind technological advancement, organizations should think more proactively about how their actions might trigger future legislative responses and how their actions impact the user’s expectations of privacy and trust. Although there are risks associated with an organization’s increased use of mobile devices, the rewards that could flow from developing, implementing, and continuously iterating upon a coherent mobile strategy are enormous. In a Pew Research Center study, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their cell phone to go online, 34% said they do most of their internet browsing on their mobile phone. It would be detrimental to the long-term viability of an organization to ignore such trends. Traditional linear modes of developing strategy will not be sufficient or flexible enough to keep up with the rate of innovation in mobile hardware, software, and mobile operating systems. Design thinking has grown beyond just a methodology for developing software products and experiences and now a growing amount of managers are using design thinking as a means of developing business strategy. This non-linear mode of strategy development is better suited for building a mobile strategy as it will provide greater insight into the needs and desires of end users, foster innovative and creative solutions, and provide greater flexibility to adapt to the changing circumstances caused by the disruptive forces of the mobile revolution. This enables the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to provide greater leadership that leads to both internal and external innovative opportunities for mobile strategy development.