Futurist Amy Webb joined an expert panel at the Council on February 23, 2017, to discuss working in tomorrow's world. We asked her how, with technologies advancing faster than governments can adapt, should policymakers prepare to deal with whatever comes next—watch her response.
"One of the biggest crises that we will face going forward is that technology now moves faster than our lawmakers' ability to write policy and regulation and laws to incorporate it in some way. And it's a crisis because in the absence of some kind of substantive regulation or clear guidance from the government the way that we interact with our technology becomes sort of up for grabs and open for interpretation. And we've already seen some pretty significant issues as a result of that. So over the past couple of years we've dealt with the iPhone-FBI sort of phone-hacking scandal; you know we've had SOPA and PIPA, which had to do with internet regulation. And we wind up in this horrible cycle of doom, because, you know, our lawmakers have not been thinking far enough ahead. They are reacting to what's already happened. And the cycle of technology doesn't end just because lawmakers are out of session. So we wind up in this horrible cycle where something catastrophically horrible happens, and, under duress, our lawmakers are now forced with coming up with some kind of solution. In order to overcome this crisis, we have to invite our lawmakers to think like a futurist would think and to use the tools of a futurist. Which is to say: use data, not cable news. Use evidence that's been proven out. Look for patterns, model patterns. And before that legislation or that policy gets written, map out the possible scenarios and think through the probabilities of those scenarios. And make sure that whatever gets written is extensible, can meet the demands of our ever-changing, ever-accelerating technology cycle."