The Data Briefing: Help Predict the Future of Federal Government Data

Oct 26, 2016

In December, I plan to write two postings detailing a scenario analysis for the next ten years of the Federal government’s data technologies. Governments are on the cusp of amazing technological advances propelled by artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, and the Internet of Things. Also, governments will face new challenges such as the recent global cyber attack that took down Twitter and Netflix.

Blue glowing big data in space with particles.

I want to invite you, the reader, to also send in your predictions for the future of Federal government data. Please use the email link at the end of this posting to submit your ideas and predictions about the next trends and technological advances for Federal government data applications and technologies. To help inspire you, I’ve listed some topics discussed in this column for the last couple of years:

Chatbots – Where will chatbots take us in the next ten years? Will citizens have chatbots that interact with government chatbots? What will the next generation of chatbots look like?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning – Will artificial intelligence replace front-line government workers? Will the increasing use of AI and machine learning erode citizen’s privacy rights? Should there be a government agency devoted to protecting against rogue AI applications?

Blockchain Technologies – Will all government services be delivered by smart contracts backed by blockchain ledgers? What comes after blockchain to further enhance the distributed trust model? Will there be a fully autonomous Federal agency that operates solely on blockchains, smart contracts, and AI?

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality – How will virtual reality and augmented reality affect how citizens interact with government? How will the Federal government deal with virtual reality addiction issues? How will augmented reality affect the U.S. workforce?

Bigger Data and the Sensor Networks – As more sensor networks come online, how will the Federal government handle the increasing bandwidth demands? What will the Federal government do to commercialize the new applications made possible by the new datasets? How will the government protect the sensor networks?

The Internet of the Things (IoT) – What steps will the Federal government take to prevent IoT devices from being used in cyber attacks? How will the Federal government prepare for the increased communication demands of the IoT? Should limits be on which devices should be part of the IoT?

3D Printing and Smart Matter – How should the Federal government promote 3D printing while limiting the risks inherent in 3D printing? Should 3D printers and 3D template files be licensed and regulated? What should the Federal government do to regulate the uses of smart matter?

Other – What else is appearing on the horizon that the Federal government should prepare for?

Blue glowing new futuristic technologies, computer generated abstract background.

(Twitter and Netflix are used for illustrative purposes only and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. Federal government or any specific government agencies.) Each week, The Data Briefing showcases the latest federal data news and trends. Visit this blog every week to learn how data is transforming government and improving government services for the American people. If you have ideas for a topic or have questions about government data, please contact me via email. Dr. William Brantley is the Training Administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Global Intellectual Property Academy. You can find out more about his personal work in open data, analytics, and related topics at All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the USPTO or GSA. Editor’s note: This morning, we announced the launch of 2 new Communities—Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Services, and Virtual/Augmented Reality Community. Find out more about them and how you can join.