ASAE ForesightWorks Drivers of Change: Data and Technology


Algorithms and Rights 

As companies and governments deploy ever more algorithmic systems, concern is growing about algorithms’ fairness, opacity, and lack of accountability. Many see a need for legal protections and regulations to ensure rights and prevent discrimination in an increasingly automated age. 

Anticipatory Intelligence 

Big data, data analytics, and artificial intelligence are enabling predictive analytics used to anticipate needs, opportunities, and threats in an organization’s environment. The market for predictive analytics is growing rapidly, and major computing companies are key players. Organizations view predictive analytics as one of the most important ways to leverage big data. 

Blockchain Platforms 

Blockchain technology uses a distributed digital ledger to record data, contracts, and transactions, financial and otherwise, without the need for third-party validation. While bitcoin was the first proof-of- concept for the efficacy of blockchains, blockchains have applications beyond virtual currencies. By embedding trust in the algorithms of the blockchain, blockchains can enable trustless transactions and data exchanges, eliminating the need for supervision by intermediaries or government authorities. 

Ethical Edge of Innovation 

Fast-moving technological innovation is outpacing the legal and regulatory structures designed to protect public safety, promote business and trade, and foster ethical practices. While new technologies often roll out ahead of laws, in the coming decade the public pressure to curb unintended consequences will intensify. 

Fast Data 

The drive to leverage big data will lead to more data gathering and more effective use of existing data. An increasingly important form of data analytics is “fast data,” which emphasizes real-time decision making based on the idea that the greatest value from data comes from immediate application. Examples include fraud detection, recommendation engines, personalization, and real-time demand forecasting. In all of these cases, the value is dependent on quickly processing and acting on the data—and this value can diminish quickly as the data get stale. 

Fraying Cybersecurity 

Risks to digital infrastructures are growing, even as dependence on them rises and more of everyday life is conducted via a digital layer. The workforce is both worried and harried—concerned about digital privacy and security in the workplace, and tired of the difficulty and complexity of maintaining system security. Associations face the same risks as other organizations but also have opportunities to support their members in new ways. 

Marketing and Advertising Transformation 

Advertisers and marketers are exploring innovative ways to connect with the public. Online advertising is growing, but concern is rising about vulnerabilities to abuse for other purposes, including fraud, as well as whether the model is even effective. Meanwhile, innovations in marketing and advertising are reshaping practices and assumptions by blurring the lines between marketing, entertainment, advertising, and content. 

Personalized Artificial Intelligence 

Rapidly advancing machine learning is combining with data analysis to enable soware equipped with increasingly accurate pictures of consumers’ lives and likes. This technology can support personalized microtargeting and allow organizations to offload customer service work to chatbots and other interfaces. Individuals may interact more and more with soware that seems to know and understand them, sometimes better than their friends. 

Taming Big Tech 

A handful of global consumer-technology platforms—Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Alibaba, and their subsidiaries—increasingly shape entertainment, news, commerce, and personal interaction. The unprecedented (and growing) power and influence of these companies create a variety of challenges for governments and civil society, prompting governments around the world to act to rein in these companies. 

Updated 2022


Other ASAE ForesightWorks Topic Areas

Content, Learning, and Knowledge
Data and Technology
Demographics and Membership
Economic Conditions
Society and Politics
Workforce and Workplace