How Future Technologies Can Innovate New Way for States for Helping foreign policy [medium]
Cars won’t need drivers. Factories won’t need human workers. Human settlement will extend beyond the boundaries of earth. Institutions of our world are changing in rapid ways. Businesses and nonprofit organizations are taking advantage of exponential technologies to upgrade their operations to explore better, more cost-efficient ways of fulfilling their missions. And so, too, are government organization. When we think of the administration of diplomacy and foreign affairs, too often the image that comes to mind is of staid, suited statesmen and women going about their craft in the same ways as they have been practicing for centuries. But exponential technologies are opening up new and exciting opportunities for the world’s diplomats to fulfill their objectives in ways that take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Here are some ways that can happen:
1) Enabling instant translation of foreign languages
Foreign ministries around the world spend millions of dollars training staff in foreign languages that are critical to the work they do. The Foreign Service Institute, the US State Department’s training school for diplomats, invests hundreds of months of time and millions of dollars to teach its diplomats languages ranging from Chinese to Chi Nyanja.
Today, we already possess technologies that enable instant translations in real time, and the quality of those translations will only improve with time as machine-learning capabilities augment the outputs of those translation devices. While there may still be a need to teach human beings foreign languages to facilitate relationship building for higher-level engagement, there are also a lot of lower value-added transactions in the administration of diplomatic work where technology could intervene. For example, earbuds that instantly translate a foreign language speaker’s words into one’s own language could reduce the amount of time and money spent on teaching diplomats foreign language skills that may not be used very often throughout their careers.
2) Using big data for better decisions on the awarding of visas
It is already possible to use big data to predict with greater accuracy than human judgeing the neighborhoods where crimes are likely to occur, how likely someone is to have a child in the next six months based on credit card transactions, and where the next outbreak of diseases are likely to happen.
The same approach can be applied to making decisions about who should or shouldn’t receive visas to enter a given country. Doing so would make countries safer and help boost tourism and economic activity by keeping nefarious characters out while granting entry of harmless foreign tourists who are currently being turned away due to subjective judgments of consular officers. Using big data in the administration of visas would also reduce the need for consular officers and increase the revenues coming into embassies and consulates around the world. Cutting costs and increasing revenues can help to streamline consulate operations and reduce the budgets needed to administer diplomatic services around the world.
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