As technology meets traditional craftsmanship in various media, some artists question how and where the line should be drawn for appropriate uses of these new ways of doing old work. If you want to visit the traditional craftmanship here is the link Hugo And Sons.

The government must organize itself in such a way that it is structurally in line with technological developments. Technological developments follow each other at lightning speed. This applies to technologies that fall under the heading of ‘digitization’, but also to things such as DNA modification and quantum technology. Christiaan van den Berg zooms in on the ‘how’: the way in which the government can connect to those developments. “There should be a government-wide (change) program to give shape to the ambition.”

The impact of technology is broad

The impact of technology manifests itself in opportunities for implementation (with drones it is easy to inspect sites) and in threats (drones can also be used for attacks or smuggling). But the impact is broader than that: society is changing under the influence of technology. Also, for example, of the expectations of citizens with regard to communication with the government. Large technology companies are rolling out their services worldwide and are changing the current order (broadcasting system, taxi market, telecom services, banking, et cetera). New technology often brings new possibilities, even if there is no policy or legislation for this yet.

The maturity with which the government handles technology is increasing

Policymakers within the departments are increasingly feeling the need to structurally link up with technological developments. Setting up a special AI team at various ministries is an expression of this. Implementing organizations feel the need to get started quickly with new technologies, which is why we see relatively many innovative experiments there in practice. Ideally, policy development will facilitate these innovations and anticipate the actual implementation of innovative solutions for ‘tomorrow and the day after tomorrow’. In practice, there is a heavy workload on police departments to meet the information needs of society and politics that focus on the problems of ‘today and yesterday.

Political-administrative attention to technology and digitization is growing

Within the government, the attention to technology and digitization is growing. That attention is much more present than three years ago. Think of the Dutch Digitization Strategy, the Dutch Cyber ​​Security Agenda, and the Digital Government Agenda. Increasing attention is also being paid to digitization in Europe and internationally, with an emphasis on AI. The ministries of Economic Affairs and of the Interior and Kingdom Relations have become more active and more often take on an (interdepartmental) leading role, for example in themes such as blockchain and AI. The House of Representatives also recognizes the importance of a good knowledge position with regard to digitization. To this end, it is setting up a permanent Digital Affairs committee.

Towards a structural approach

Various ministries are considering the question of whether and how you can set up a ‘technology functionality’ that ensures that relevant technological developments are acted upon actively and on time. So that policy is made in time to seize opportunities in implementation, or so that legislation is adapted in time to mitigate risks.

A Technology Adaptation Process

The aim of the Technology Adaptation Process is to identify in a timely manner the most relevant technologies about which knowledge is being developed. Based on the insights gained in this way, the government itself can adapt to the new reality. On the other hand, the government can influence the appearance of new technology in society by setting frameworks and making targeted investments. And in this way seize opportunities and mitigate risks.

Towards a government-wide (change) program

The ambition to structurally link up with technological developments and to act actively and in a timely manner on the relevant technological developments requires changes in many areas. Adjustments are needed in the field of HR (including training, strategic personnel policy), policy development, and in various communities around important technologies such as quantum technology, Virtual Reality, and Privacy Enhancing Technologies. We need practical tools and approaches, and simply more capacity. We also need new structures for governance, so that we can give sufficient policy attention to technologies that have not yet been assigned as a priority to a specific department. There should be a government-wide (change) program to give shape to the ambition.

Government: focus on technology

Technologies follow each other at lightning speed. In order to maintain legitimacy and trust and to ensure that the government continues to fulfill its social tasks now and in the future, it is important for the government to continue to structurally connect: continue to learn, research, and become wiser together. Based on these insights, the government itself can adapt to the new reality. On the other hand, the government can influence the appearance of new technology in society by setting frameworks and making targeted investments.