Apr 20, 2021
Mark Patrick, CIP, leads the Joint Staff’s Information Management Team at the United States Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. He is a recognized thought leader in digital transformation, intelligent information, cybersecurity and knowledge management. He earned his bachelor’s in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and his master’s from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He shared his insights on information management in our new book Tomorrow’s Jobs Today.
“Public sector practitioners mingling with their private sector counterparts creates mutual benefit. Like-minded end-users collaborate. Customer-client relationships are formed. Lessons learned and best practices are shared.”Mark Patrick
Mark, with deep fakes, AI inherent bias, and misinformation campaigns capable of drastically impacting the way citizens process information, what role if any does government have in combatting the disruptive social impacts they may have on the citizenry?
I believe government has a role, but the specifics are complicated. There is some amount of “it depends” here. If another state or non-state actor is attempting to impact public opinion to affect a US election, this becomes a matter of national security at the federal level. State and municipal elections could be viewed differently. “Disruptive social impact” is somewhat vague, and I’d say government involvement should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Sowing the digital seeds of general social discord with the intent to create chaos, dysfunction, or further polarizing our society becomes tricky. It will need to be further analyzed, considered in the context of privacy laws, espionage laws, first amendment rights, and others. Legal precedents will need to be established in our courts, and perhaps legislation or national policies are required.
There are a number of novel legal issues at play with which government at all levels will need to contend. The digital commons, like international waters or space, can be leveraged for good or bad. International organizations may need to get involved, and the same sovereignty issues will come into play when those organizations address other issues. Coalitions of the willing have their limits. Governments at all levels can educate and work with their communities to raise awareness of the risks and mitigation strategies that should be considered.