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Infosys: Six technologies to build a better society

Guest blog by The Infosys Knowledge Institute as part of the Digital Transformation in the Public Sector Week #techUKDigitalPS

Policymakers cannot ignore technology: it’s no longer acceptable for MPs or civil servants to wave their hands and say “I’m not a techie.” But that’s not to say it isn’t overwhelming trying to navigate a landscape of jargon and hype.

At the Infosys Knowledge Institute, we have identified six topics that we think it’s essential for policymakers to have an understanding of metaverse, AI, security, governance, systems thinking and supply-chain planning. Each of these shapes our society, from how algorithms and automated decision-making can shape fairness (and unfairness) to how the virtual world impacts the real world, and how technology can help make crucial supply chains more robust.

The metaverse – a persistent, interconnected virtual world that offers commerce, retail, business and industry opportunities – isn’t yet with us. But more and more organisations are staking their claim on the metaverse by building their own virtual spaces, offering digital representations of real-world goods, and also offering virtual-only goods. Governments and businesses that build products and services that work in both the real world and the digital world will be well placed to look after their citizens and their customers.

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is a key technology that underpins both the forthcoming metaverse and many of our existing digital services and interactions. From federated learning – where devices get smarter thanks to connecting with and learning from other devices – to detecting cancers, spotting intruders and building hyper-personalised, bespoke offerings based on deep analytics, AI is already driving technology development and product design. 

But the widespread uptake of AI brings us to security and governance. Legislative frameworks such as GDPR, the 2018 Data Protection Act and the 2018 PECR framework set standards for data protection and privacy. However, businesses and policymakers must consider how to build in fairness, which is essential to win users’ trust. When an organisation, whether that’s a local authority, HMRC, the NHS, a retailer, a financial services company or any other kind of vendor, seeks to gather, hold and use individuals’ data, they must show that they can be trusted with that data. The public – and all stakeholders – will demand transparency: good security and governance will help build that trust.

One key foundation for building transparent technologies that stakeholders can interrogate and decide whether to trust is systems thinking. This approach looks at each part of a system to consider how they work together and works with a wide range of stakeholders to design products and processes that weave environmental, social, and governance principles into the decisions that build better outcomes for everyone.

Finally, the need for resilient supply chains has been brought into sharp focus by the shocks of the past three years: first, from the global shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, and more recently, from the impact, of the war in Ukraine is having on energy supplies and wheat shipments.

Organisations that use analytics and machine learning can spot pinch points in their supply chains before they cause problems. That means everything from predicting adverse weather that will affect crops and transportation to spotting where worker unrest or an outbreak of an illness might impact components. Effective use of this kind of intelligence can make supply chains less vulnerable to external shocks.

Having a grasp of the technologies that are shaping our workplaces, our industries, our governments, our homes and our lives is vital, as that understanding helps build more effective, fair, and efficient processes – and thus a better society for us all.

Learn more about these technologies, why they’re important and how they can be harnessed by policymakers and organisations in the Infosys Knowledge Institute’s Government Tech Insider

To read more from #techUKDigitalPS Week, check out our landing page here.

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The Infosys Knowledge Institute is made up of a global multi-disciplinary team of industry, technology, content production, and research experts. Led by Dallas-based vice president, Jeff Kavanaugh, the Institute collaborates with a wide range of Infosys subject matter experts as well as with external thought leaders to create compelling and insightful content. To learn more about Infosys, please visit their LinkedIn and Twitter.

On Tuesday 5 April, techUK was delighted to host the Cabinet Office and industry representatives for the launch event for the UK Government’s Digital, Data and Technology Sourcing Playbook which was published on 28 March 2022. The DDaT Sourcing Playbook sets out guidance – in one place – as to how digital projects and programmes are assessed, procured and delivered in central government departments, arms-length bodies and the wider public sector. Through the application of what is commercial best practice, the Playbook addresses 11 key policies and six cross-cutting priorities that will ensure government gets things right from the start when it comes to procurement.

You can watch the recording of the launch event in full here:

DDaT Playbook Launch Event

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techUK talks with… Shaheen Sayed, CEO - UK, Ireland & Africa, Accenture

techUK talks with...  Shaheen Sayed, Accenture.gif

For the fourth instalment of our popular techUK CEO Talks, we are delighted to be joined by Shaheen Sayed from Accenture to discuss her journey to CEO of one of the UK's largest businesses, and how technology can build a better future for the UK’s economy, people, society, and the planet.