Governments have been incorporating technology into their everyday operations for decades. The recent economic crisis led to trillions of dollars in stimulus packages. The government used technology to track where money was being wasted and cut costs where necessary. In addition to tracking ineffective spending, Cisco Systems Inc. also analyzed costs to see where more money could be cut. By integrating technology into the government’s processes, governments will be better able to handle economic emergencies such as natural disasters and financial crises.
The response phase for COVID-19 will require “two-gear” thinking, where some functions physically shut down and some surge. For example, during an earthquake, government agencies must shift their operations from traditional, on-site to remote locations, while other functions remain active. In such a situation, governments need to coordinate across layers of government and agencies to ensure that businesses and communities can return to normal and critical infrastructure is maintained.
Governments can use this technology to address economic emergencies and other concerns. It can help them manage resource and crop shortages, and handle automation. The government can use COVID-19 technology to provide a seamless experience for citizens, while at the same time decreasing unemployment rates and fostering local economic development. And the technology can even be used to deliver crop protection methods directly to cultivators. And what happens when there is a lack of labor?
The COVID-19 virus has spread to over 213 countries, and the World Health Organization has declared the virus a pandemic by 11 March 2020. Despite the widespread nature of COVID-19, governments have had to implement unprecedented public health actions to stem its spread. Some of these measures include social distancing, travel restrictions, and quarantine. In social distancing, people are prohibited from engaging in human activity, while quarantine locks down economic activities and places millions of people in homes.
Recovering from a natural disaster
While the U.S. government isn’t perfect when it comes to disaster management, it has learned from past experience. Disaster response requires subtlety and nuance, and technology has made that task easier. Social media, for instance, has radically changed the way disaster responses are carried out, making it easier than ever for survivor-activists to broadcast the situation around the world. But relying on private technology to deal with natural disasters without proper government oversight may be a wrong direction.
In addition to disaster response, technology can be used to prioritize resources and restore communication and electricity. These tech solutions can help provide emergency medical services and track individuals. They can also help distribute food, water, and sanitation. Missing Maps, a nonprofit organization, uses this data to develop a base map of vulnerable areas in developing countries. These maps are vital to local governments, NGOs, and individuals who are helping affected communities recover from a disaster.
The IFRC’s annual World Disasters report notes that while overall numbers of disasters declined in 2012, the number of people affected by these events increased, with over 31 million affected in the poorest nations – typically those with the least access to technology. IFRC Secretary General Bekele Geleta expressed his hope that disaster-prone governments can benefit from these innovations to build their resilience and recovery capacity.
China’s innovation mercantilism
The key to solving this dilemma is to focus on the strengths of China’s mercantilism, as well as its massive market size, complete state control of its economy, and massive bankroll. These are all assets that help make dealing with China a good strategy for avoiding retribution. It will take political courage, leadership, and a focus on China to solve the “prisoners’ dilemma.”
The first challenge is identifying which parts of China’s innovation mercantilism are genuinely innovative. If they are not, the U.S. should not be too eager to welcome them. The innovation mercantilism of China should be welcomed, as it can provide a major contribution to future technological advances. However, China often does not play fair, and this undermines the global economic order.
A stronger trilateral framework is an effective way to push back against China’s innovation mercantilism. It will also reduce China’s ability to coerce technology transfers and seek punitive retribution. But even if there is a strong bilateral agreement between the United States and China, the fundamental structural issues will remain untouched. Moreover, neither China nor the European Union can exert sufficient pressure on China alone.
If these policies are properly implemented, innovation mercantilism can benefit both foreign and domestic economies. The Chinese government poured hundreds of billions of yuan into solar energy firms after the Great Recession of 2008. The policies are aimed at increasing the amount of innovation and reducing the competition in a global marketplace. Moreover, China’s innovation mercantilism has many other advantages. For example, it enables Chinese firms to enter and stay in a market with lower prices than would otherwise occur if market forces were fully functioning.
Reducing fraud by design
E-commerce is one area where fraud management is crucial, and if done poorly, it can negatively affect a customer’s experience and decrease a seller’s net promoter score. Furthermore, fraud prevention and management is a costly process for companies. On average, between 10 to 15 percent of call center calls are triggered by authentication or password reset issues. However, fraud prevention and management strategies are increasingly important, and the best way to reduce the costs of fraud is to integrate all aspects of your business.
An example of a successful approach to fraud prevention is a major US bank’s implementation of a comprehensive enterprise-wide strategy. This bank developed a unified fraud-prevention team and established shared services based on skill sets. Moreover, the team developed a dashboard for tracking effectiveness metrics, and regular summits were held to discuss the results. Ultimately, this approach reduced fraud by 25%. But is it a viable strategy for companies?
Advanced analytics and automation technologies are an effective way to reduce fraud risk. Traditionally, fraud detection has been done manually by risk functions flagging suspect transactions. Today, firms can utilize supervised and unsupervised artificial intelligence (AI) models and neural networks to monitor suspicious transactions. This process helps reduce fraud by ensuring that all transactions are made with the utmost trust. Further, AI can improve fraud detection and management. The use of AI and machine learning to detect fraud is a great example.