We are accustomed to the historic pattern of technological advances subsequently accompanied by the accommodation of those advances into social systems. The two stages of advances and accommodation have perhaps never occurred seamlessly and in well-timed harmony. Conditions in the past in which new forms of machinery upended societies that had very limited means of pre-assessing them can be looked upon sympathetically. The kinds of technological advances we are seeing today however often occur in tandem with, and may even contribute to, the means to analyze what they are likely to do to us. The advantages of coordinating emerging disruptive technologies with the policy framework to transition them into socially beneficial functionality are many-fold:
Those on the losing side of changes can be identified and set up for alternative situations, ahead of the impact. This applies to individuals and also to local or regional economies.
Physical changes that are the responsibilities of governments (how do you accommodate driverless cars?) can be programmed and aligned with fiscal realities (which may also be in flux), and initiated ahead of impacts.
The stakes are high in many of these technological advances, and they will occur around the world in places that have both the talent and the social/governmental framework that best allows them to thrive. When public policy cannot keep up, or actively thwarts progress due to a lack of understanding, these kinds of crippling effects can last well into the foreseeable future. (Alternatively, governments may have sound reasons for putting the brakes on certain technologies; the key is to be fully informed while doing so.)
When advances occur in sync with public policy, innovators also win by having minimal barriers to marketing new products.
New technologies can help government agencies achieve their missions more fully and efficiently, so having a system that maximizes diffusion of information about relevant innovations will pay dividends to the public sector and taxpayers.
Technological-administrative interaction can be institutionalized in a variety of ways, for example: public-private think tanks, having one or more agencies dedicated to this function, or creating a special network of technology and government advisors. A combination of approaches might be applied within one coordinating body. Competitive aspects of technological innovation will always be an issue, but coordinating systems can be designed that minimize such concerns.
However, the principal challenge of implementing this concept is tied to current levels of distrust in government, involving both agendas and personal actors. Interestingly, this relates to another area of tech disruption – the transfer of discourse to social media and the resulting default mode of viewing government-related proposals (along with many other things) emotionally first, then politically, and finally from the perspective of reason if there is any mental room left to do so. Political discourse is no longer a viable policy filter. Innovative concepts now, more than ever, need to be put forth within symbolic, metaphorically compelling stories that convey their worthiness. The adoption of an effective tech-admin interface system may require a broader framework of government-public interaction that lends itself to messaging of this type.