Building on the theory of puzzles and mysteries by Gregory Treverton, one of America’s top authorities on national intelligence, globally acclaimed author Malcolm Gladwell explained the paradigm shift in the way governments approach data, on day three of the World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai.
During his session entitled ‘The Future of Humanity’, he pointed out that puzzles, or gathering data after an incident, followed by acting on an already formulated and standardized plan, are the methods of the past, like was the case in accessing the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Moreover, the author of five bestselling books, including The Tipping Point and Outliers, stressed that today’s world is different, and it has been changing for some time. He said: “Governments as well as doctors and security personnel have a bigger responsibility, they have to solve mysteries. They must analyze, find trends, assess situations and predict the best course of action, sometimes even before the fact. There no longer are one-stop shops or defined courses of action. More often than not, the data is already there, as was the case with 9/11.
Speaking on the characteristics of future societies, he added: “The expectations we have from governments have remained in place for 200 years, such as safety, security and protection from natural disasters. The challenges facing governments are changing in the modern world. Shifts in today’s expectations need governments to develop progressive policies that can accommodate the global shift towards a knowledge-based economy.”
In closing, he clarified that it is now time for governments to focus on individualized solutions instead of mass scaled ones. He mentioned that societies are evolving because of technology, and in this context, governments need to prepare for future uncertainties, pointing out the importance of humans’ judgment in shaping a more humane future.