The Effect of Technology on Government

The government must respond better to technological change, argues the Council for the Living Environment and Infrastructure in a survey published today.

The observation that technological developments are accelerating at an ever-increasing pace, are interrelated more and have an ever greater influence on the way in which we shape our lives and that they raise more and more questions about the consequences, the Council for the Living Environment and Infrastructure agrees ( RLI) is part of the broad procession of technology observers.

More individual perspective can be found where the council explores what the technological cakewalk means for the role of the government.

The council emphasizes increasing adaptive capacity. In other words, a government that is more actively concerned with the way in which new technology acquires a place in society, that initiates debate and study about the impact of innovations on social values. The survey shows that the Council mainly asks questions, wants to provide the government with an agenda for the social debate about modern technology.

4 themes on which the council elaborates

1. Safeguarding the public interest of the data infrastructure

The data infrastructure has become a crucial part of our living environment, its dysfunction has an enormous impact. Values ​​such as open access, transparency, security, privacy and robustness are increasingly coming to the fore in data use and data traffic.

2. Safeguarding values ​​such as transparency, accessibility, privacy and trust

The Council notes that these values ​​have lost their ground, while new anchors are not yet there. Will our personal data receive a price, if companies like Google and Facebook can earn so much money with it, will companies that handle personal data reliably get an advantage?

3. Broadening social debate about technology

Ongoing debates about the impact of technological development, active research to understand what is going on, making implicit choices in technology development visible, and actively monitoring via big data and digital forums about how technology is society may or may not find its way, according to the new repertoire of strategies, instruments and interventions that the council offers the government.

4. Take into account the effects of technological innovations on spatial planning and infrastructure

The Council mainly poses questions here. The functions and purpose of buildings are changing faster and faster, what does this mean for decision-making on spatial planning?

The living environment itself is becoming increasingly intelligent with the use of interconnected sensors. What does this mean for spatial planning? What new dependencies does this create on suppliers?

Physical and virtual space are becoming increasingly intertwined, new energy technology, different use of buildings and spaces, all this means that spatial explorations are pointless if these factors are not taken into account, the council says about its own activities.

What does this mean for the role of the government?

The Council notes that traditional models of social participation, such as that of a political party or association, are always being replaced by participation in networks. It is therefore important to organize these networks in such a way that broader groups are given the opportunity to participate in them.
The instruments with which the government works also deserve adjustment. New players can have a major impact on public interests and values ​​in the shortest time, so a type of toolbox is needed that exploits the opportunities of technological innovations while limiting the risks.

Since networks are playing larger role, the government’s position is changing, as well as the government must seek assistance in ‘outsourced help desk services.’ Active exploration and experimental learning are a more suitable method for this than traditional top-down management.