Monday, January 14, 2008

Virtual Government

Not long from now, we will make laws, set policies, write regulations and create programs by first "playing" the likely consequences in synthetic worlds.

We will interact with all kinds of data--program results, claims processed, rates of environmental change, response times, performance, cost, schedule, etc.--physically via wall-sized multi-touch screens and computer tables, not keyboards and monitors. Displaying and manipulating on one large screen both live and historical information about the past and current conditions and the effects of agency actions will allow us to see trends and possibilities and make predictions in ways we simply cannot today, when information resides in silos and behind the walls of very different organizations and is static and lifeless. Most of what we do digitally will involve touching and moving images or actually stepping into situations via our digital doubles--avatars--in uncannily accurate models of the real world.

These changes will happen because new generations are entering government and the work world and politics. These people will not, cannot, manage information on paper, nor in spreadsheets or online dashboards. The will not endure the kludgy, slow, ineffecient process of learning new software and keeping that knowledge up to date merely to be able to manipulate data. Their interactions with computers will be visual and physical. They won't make decisions using inference, deduction, lengthy consultation, research, data-gathering and study. They will demand to see and touch and manipulate what is known about problems and to "play" possible solutions so they can view the likely outcomes before choosing how to proceed.

If you doubt it, watch this:

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