ASAE ForesightWorks Drivers of Change: Data and Technology


The data economy and its accompanying technology are changing the world. The drivers of change below identify technological and data collection developments that are shaping how people work and live and how what they do is captured and perceived by others.

Algorithms and Rights
Added in 2020
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
Updated in 2020
Big data, data analytics, and artificial intelligence are enabling predictive analytics that can 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 and transform information into actionable insight. 

Blockchain Platforms
Updated in 2020
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
Added in 2018
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
Updated in 2019
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 comes from quickly processing and acting on the data—and this value can diminish quickly as the data get stale. 

Fraying Cybersecurity
Updated in 2018
Risks to digital infrastructures are growing, even as dependence on them rises. Employees are 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 internal risks as other organizations but also have opportunities to support their members in new ways. 

Marketing and Advertising Transformation
Updated in 2020
Digitization continues to reshape advertising and marketing as advertisers embrace content innovations and more precise consumer targeting. As digital advertising grows, concern is rising about the potential for abuse, as well as whether the model is even effective. Innovations in modes and models for content delivery are opening new routes for advertisers and blurring the lines between marketing and content. 

Personalized Artificial Intelligence
Updated in 2018
Rapidly advancing machine learning is combining with data analysis to enable software 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 software that seems to know and understand them, sometimes better than their friends. 

Taming Big Tech
Updated in 2021
A handful of global consumer-technology platforms—Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and their subsidiaries—increasingly shape entertainment, news, commerce, and even personal interaction. The unprecedented (and still growing) power and influence of these companies create a variety of challenges for both governments and civil society, prompting governments to step up their oversight.