/ BACKGROUND BRIEF
Future of Government
The Future of Government 2030+: A Citizen Centric Perspective on New Governance Models is a project carried out by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with the Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT). The overall aim of the project is to better understand the changing relationships among citizens, businesses and governments. With support from six different countries and design higher education institutions JRC intends to stimulate debate around future models of government.
Camden 2025 is our shared vision for the Borough with our communities. We invited everyone who lives, works and studies in the Borough to tell us what is important to them, to anticipate future challenges and to consider new and innovative ways to tackle some of our most difficult problems.
Camden 2025 as a strategy is different from the Council’s previous corporate or strategic plans in that it seeks to act as a “call to action” to inspire a new way of working where Camden people, the Council and others come together to address challenges.
Our calls to action– in 2025:
'Growth in Camden should be strong and inclusive, everyone should be able to access the work that is right for them'
/ SCENARIO: Citizen centric Hyper E-government
It’s 2030, the world is shaped by the interaction between three main actors: the government, the citizens and the technology. The advancements in technologies, digitalisation and AI enabled to analyse the overall situation in real-time, the information is decentralised and the transparency of data permit full scrutiny of government decision makers. The super Artificial Intelligence (sAI) brought opportunities for direct democracy that works efficiently with nearly zero marginal cost. Citizen voices are heard and included in policy making through co-design activities between civil society and government.
sAI has the role to analyse all the data to provide insights, which will be subsequently discussed among government and citizens so that biases or misperceptions of the algorithm can be avoided. The entire public service is designed to serve citizen needs and improve the societal wellbeing. Privacy is a central value, hence data sharing is strongly regulated, each citizen is the owner of his/her data. People who are more willing to share get benefits in return.
/ WHAT IF
“What if the government uses an ‘Immersive Serious Gamification’ to involve citizens in decision making?”
What if policymakers and civil society immerse themselves into a virtual reality to simulate important decisions in order to understand preventively which could be their effect on citizen and the whole ecosystem?
What if, doing so, we could understand previously and more accurately which actions could bring the world to the desired future scenario? ”
This could involve the citizens in doing the decision making, letting them understand its complexity and see them participating illustrating the issues that have to be solved and proposing possible solutions as well giving feedbacks to decisions while they are made.
/ SUMMARY OF CONCEPT
The combination among super Artificial Intelligence (sAI)1, Virtual Reality (VR)2 and a detailed Immersive Interactive Experience (IIE)3 and Serious Gaming (SG)4 could help the government to develop and check with citizens the best policy making, which makes it possible to go towards their preferable future scenario.
- sAI: Computers that are able to see, understand and synthesise, process a language, represent their knowledge, can think and make plans better than a human being.
- VR: An entirely unreal environment that you can “enter”.
- IE: The feeling of being totally immersed in the virtual environment and thus disconnected from “real” reality, but with the capability to touch and affect the same virtual environment through actions.
- SG: The serious game is a simulation that has added elements of the game for a primary purpose, such as a story, tasks/goals, feedback and play.
/ INSIGHTS: Citizen needs, practices or behaviours
Virtual reality will enable policymakers to understand how and where to place infrastructures to grow businesses in Camden. Citizens and business will have the opportunity to point out their perspectives and at the same time empathise with the ones of the others. People will be able to discuss and be active in the decision making process. Participants will also be able to learn knowledge and train different skills in a virtual community so that they will have opportunities to access to other jobs in real life.
/ HOW WOULD STAKEHOLDERS PARTICIPATE IN OUR CONCEPT?
sAI and technicians will be an analytical tool that enables to support a virtual reality and shape it with city data-sets.
The government will collaborate with citizens developing and testing policies in the virtual world. Hence can provide good services to people and improve or locate infrastructure for businesses and people.
Youth and people that want to change job can learn new skills being mentored by people with experience. Hence they will have job opportunities outside of the system as well.
- Businesses will provide mentors and experiences of work to youth and people who want to change their jobs. Through this platform, they can also learn how to deal with new policies or test internal situations.
/ THE ROLE OF FUTURE GOVERNMENT & CITIZENS
Local Government - facilitator & Co-creator: The local government will need more workforce to test more possible solutions, as well should train more citizens to gain their perspective in order to improve their ability to interact as decision makers. The government itself have the duty to share city's data-sets in an immersive way, hence be more transparent, engaging people in decision making more proactively.
Citizens - Contributors & Co-creators: Citizens will be both key players in ISG as well contributors in the decision-making process. They will learn how to make policies and then will be more proactive in their new role.
- Businesses have to be more open-minded with the idea to share their experienced employees to support youth, creating the possible new workforce for their industries to hire.
/ REQUIRED TECHNOLOGIES AND POLICIES BEHAVIOURS
- Virtual Reality technology supporting e-Camden community.
- Fully Immersive Experiences technologies to accelerate time perception.
- sAI and Machine-Learning to share data with citizens and to shape open-data in an Interactive Immersive Experience.
/ RESULTS OF PEOPLE PARTICIPATING IN OUR CONCEPT
- Government - The combination between AI, VR(detailed immersive experience) and Serious Gaming could help the government to develop and check with citizens the best policy-making possible to make Camden become the best place in London to do business; They create several same virtual-Camdens to test different policies quickly and cheaply. As a result, the government could be able to manage and operate in real time bringing improved efficiency.
- Citizens - Citizens will be motivated to contribute and discuss over the decision-making. The citizens who are facing unemployment problems will better understand the complex process of decision-making, and also policy maker will understand better unemployed conditions. They will also have many chances to experience new jobs through ISG. They will realize that they can live a better life if they change a job, and will be motivated to receive the help from the government and learn to be more competitive in their career. Meanwhile, those who are not facing unemployment problems will gain an empathy for the unemployed people and help support them to improve their skills and find right jobs.
In the virtual community, sAI will observe and record all the participants’ behaviours, then using the algorithm to analyse their behaviour data, avoid biases and reduce errors. However, the behaviour data collected might be inaccurate since some players behave differently in the virtual world. People could develop the mental illness due to the duality/multiplicity of the world they will be living in. Some people could be desiring to live in the virtual reality instead of the “real” world.
/ FOR ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OUR CONCEPT OF THE FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT 2030+
ISG would enable the government to gain citizens` participation, both active and passive. There are two roles in the ISG, one of which is the decision maker and the other one is the local resident. On the one hand, the decision maker will participate actively, trying to propose the best decisions to solve the unemployment problem, test them, have a timed understanding of the possible outcomes of the proposed decisions, then choose the best decisions and recommended them to policymakers. On the other hand, the local resident will participate and act in the normal way as they do in the real world. Their behaviour data and the opinions about the decision will be collected to inform the decision making. They will also gain empathy about people who are facing the unemployment issues and understand the trade-off (solving unemployment can cause other problems, how to make balance), which will make them better understand the decision-making. It is possible to engage citizen supporting the decision.
/ SPECIALISTS COOPERATION
We had the opportunity to discuss with Adam Thorpe, the professor of Socially Responsive Design at University of the Arts London. He has listened to our initial concept and gave us feedbacks suggesting possible developments. The discussion with him inspired us. Afterwards, we shifted our focus a little bit, from the future community to decision making enabled by immersive serious game. The storytelling has also been revised and made more sense.
The only thing that government doesn’t know is how people will react to their decisions. They struggle to simplify the complex process that brings to their policies. The team has a clearer understanding of the necessity to develop further thinking, firstly, on who will benefit from decisions making and, secondly, how to visualise the complexity of the serious game. The team understood that the “Immersive Serious Gaming” proposition has generally been identified as a concept with strong potential for decision making that is capable to create empathy with the other stakeholders.
/ THE FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT WORKSHOP AT CSM
We attended a workshop that took place in CSM, a UAL university. There we had the chance to explain our proposal with some members of Camden Council, including some of their civil servants, academics, an artist and a service designer from FutureGov.
Afterward we had a proactive discussion that highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of our proposal and pointed out things that we should understand more into detail. Things such as the incentives and objectives of participants in spending their time on the platform. Those points let us think to the broader system comprehending contributions and benefits for each of the stakeholders.
by Michele Cipollone, Rui Lu, Runqiong Wang, Sujin Park