Other parts of this series:
In my last post, I discussed how businesses today have the opportunity to help shape the yet unwritten rules for their new digital industries. In this post, I will continue my review of The Uncharted, as we call them in our Technology Vision 2017, with a look at how businesses can help define public policy and opinion in the digital era through alliances and technology solutions.
Defining rules and responsibilities in the digital era
Governments have historically struggled to keep pace with innovation. As a result, their policies often lag behind the industries they’re required to regulate. For instance, while the pace of change in artificial intelligence (AI) has already been accelerating exponentially for the past few years, the US government introduced a bill to set up a special advisory committee to prepare for the coming wave of AI technology just this past December.1
65% of surveyed executives believe that government regulations in their industry have not kept up with the pace of technology advancement.2
But rather than waiting for government agencies to catch up, businesses should:
- Define the standards by which they believe they should operate to circumvent the need for policy intervention.
- Work with government agencies to make sure that any new regulations are inclusive of subject matter specialists within the industry.
- Work with the relevant stakeholders to update or develop new rules in cases where new digital industry efforts conflict with existing public policy from incumbent industries.
As businesses create these new relationships with governments and other stakeholders, they can help redefine what governments, enterprises, and individuals are responsible for in the digital era.
By taking the lead to drive global policy in this new era, businesses can help prevent further fragmentation and isolation of governments and societies. This essential duty was also the focus of the world’s top business and political leaders, economists and representatives from academia at the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, under the theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”
On the consumer side, companies should consider digital trust (security, privacy, and digital ethics) as core to any digital industry strategy.3 Doing so can drive adoption not only by consumers, but also other industry members and government regulators.
Using a new arsenal of tools
Importantly, companies can implement governance strategies not only through offline activities like boards and committees, but also by embedding rules and standards within technologies themselves.
Some examples of these emerging technologies include:
- Blockchain. This distributed database technology delivers built-in solutions to many historical challenges of governance, such as transparency, a guarantee that records have not been changed, and the ability to operate in a distributed fashion.
- Differential privacy. This statistical technique adds predictable amounts of noise to data, and protects individual data subjects while preserving the accuracy of the insights derived from a large group of data subjects, and thus integrates digital ethics and privacy standards.4
- Smart contracts. These contracts design-in the rules for an exchange of value, offering an automated way to enforce contracts whether the counter-party is trusted or not.
- Homomorphic encryption. This technology innovation implements data sharing and data transformations that are performed exclusively with encrypted data, allowing businesses to conform to stricter standards than their own when collaborating with partners with rigorous privacy and security demands.
Using technology to build public trust in financial services
Perhaps more than in any other industry, building public trust is particularly important in financial services. Rather than limiting the interactions between financial services institutions and their customers to isolated transactions, such as a mortgage transaction, industry leaders should strive to become true “partners” that accompany, guide and assist customers throughout their entire life journey, building trust and strengthening their relationship along the way.
For instance, today’s digital technologies offer the opportunity to transform the entire home-buying experience. Banks can help their customers through every single stage of the process:5
- Planning—with virtual advisors recommending products and services, creating a budget, and even providing personalized recommendations on the most suitable neighborhoods.
- Browsing—with virtual reality (VR) assisting in the house search, and virtual advisors researching mortgage offerings.
- Buying—with computer vision and the Internet of Things (IoT) assisting the bank in evaluating the state and potential value of the property, smart contracts for carrying out the mortgage transaction, and blockchain for transferring mortgage deposits and advances.
- Living—with virtual advisors assisting in re-mortgaging and renovation planning, and blockchain records registering all future home improvements.
Technological solutions like these that address the historically cumbersome challenges of governance, accountability, and digital trust should continue to emerge. And businesses can use these same technologies to digitally transform business processes.
In my next post, I will offer some conclusions and recommendations.
- “Sen. Cantwell and other policy makers want to create a federal committee to grapple with the coming AI revolution.” Geewkwire.com, 2017. Access at: https://www.geekwire.com/2017/sen-cantwell-policymakers-want-create-federal-committee-grapple-coming-ai-revolution/.
- “Technology Vision 2017: Technology for People – The Era of the Intelligent Enterprise,” Accenture, 2017. Access at: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-disruptive-technology-trends-2017
- “Building Digital Trust: The Role of Data Ethics in the Digital Age,” Accenture, June 13, 2016. Access at https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-data-ethics.
- “Differential privacy,” Wikipedia. Access at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_privacy.
- “Mortgage Customer Vision 2020. How technology is changing the home-buying experience.” Accenture, 2017.