The Future in Context  By  cover art

The Future in Context

By: e.Republic Editorial
  • Summary

  • TFIC takes you deeper into the stories that are shaping our future. Seeing around corners or making sense of the collision of technology and society is hard. Context can help. Our writers and editors probe important questions about where we are going by first asking about where we have been and why. The show is produced through the joint editorial resources of Governing and Government Technology.
    e.Republic, dba Governing. All rights reserved.
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  • What Could Entrepreneurs and Government Do Together?
    Feb 23 2024

    The co-author of a new book suggests that when technology, data and collective effort converge, government, the tech industry and higher education can tackle major challenges while bringing a new generation into the workforce.

    Arun Gupta — a venture capitalist, academic and author — champions a union of government, academia and entrepreneurship to solve societal problems, stressing tech and data’s key roles in innovation and restoring trust. In an interview with Governing’s Carl Smith, Gupta sees government data as vital for improving services and tackling climate change and geopolitical strife, urging a move to fact-based debates for a sustainable future.


    Here are the top takeaways from this episode:

    • Gupta wrote the book to address the growing desire among students for mission-oriented work and the need to harness optimism and innovation to solve societal issues through government collaboration.
    • The book emphasizes the importance of technology in all organizations, including government, citing statistics about the age distribution of tech workers and the role of data in driving innovation and rebuilding trust between citizens and government.
    • Gupta advocates for modernizing infrastructure to attract top talent to government, highlighting the need for interdisciplinary opportunities in academia and partnerships between the public and private sectors at the state level.
    • He discusses the significance of utilizing government data to enhance services and user experiences, stressing the potential for data-driven approaches to address major societal challenges such as climate change and geopolitical conflicts.
    • Gupta encourages a shift in the culture of debate toward facts and data, emphasizing the role of collective effort in creating a better, safer and more sustainable society in the face of existential threats.

    Related link to the book referenced in the episode:

    • Arun Gupta, Gerard George and Thomas J. Fewer, Venture Meets Mission: Aligning People, Purpose, and Profit to Innovate and Transform Society, Stanford Business Books, 2024.

    Our editors used GPT-4 to summarize the episode in bullet form to help create the show notes.

    Listen to this episode on the player below or subscribe for free on YouTube or the podcast app of your choice — Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audacy and Audible.

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    18 mins
  • Medicate, Mitigate and Rejuvenate: An Agenda for States in 2024
    Jan 31 2024
    Mental health, climate and workforce are at the core of a complex cluster of issues confronting lawmakers in this year. Legislators are under growing public pressure to address mental health challenges, implement climate policies and stabilize public pensions, while also dealing with workforce shortages. And those are just the top of the list of issues vying for attention. Even with a relatively healthy budget situation this year, it will still be a delicate balance.On this episode of the podcast, Alan Greenblatt, Jared Brey, Zina Hutton and Carl Smith return to complete the discussion of Governing’s Issues to Watch. SHOW NOTES Here are the top takeaways from this episode:Mental Health Legislation and Funding Increased cases of mental illness, especially among youth, have prompted legislation in several states to regulate social media use and increase mental health education in schools.Efforts aim to move away from solely relying on policing for mental health crises, emphasizing instead earlier identification and support for mental health challenges before they escalate.The surge in mental health issues increases demand for more funding, but states are struggling to find novel and sustainable sources to meet the need. Public Health To counterbalance high post-pandemic attrition rates, public health agencies are employing community health workers, providing family members with incentives to provide in-home care and seeking expanded Medicare coverage. Unwinding pandemic-expanded coverage remains a priority.States are focusing on controlling health-care costs and curbing excesses in prescription drug pricing.Despite funding reductions, states continue to enhance state-level data systems and push for a potential national data system for better coordination during crises. Climate and Energy Policies States are now potential drivers for climate progress (despite federal challenges) after disappointing COP28 results that refused to phase out fossil fuels.The implementation of climate-related provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act has been slow even though they come with significant funding, especially that focused on hydrogen hubs, contingent on emissions and clean energy usage.On renewable energy, there is a growing recognition of the need for increased transmission capacity to utilize existing renewable energy resources effectively. International Affairs and State-Level China Policies There is growing hostility toward China reflected in state-level bans on Chinese-owned apps like TikTok and restrictions on Chinese land ownership.Local governments feel pressure to engage in international issues despite their limited jurisdiction, reflecting a broader trend to nationalize politics. Public-Sector Workforce and Pension Reforms Efforts to diversify the public-sector workforce continue by targeting Gen Z, adjusting job requirements for skill-based hiring and providing internships to bridge skill gaps.Some states grapple with underfunded pensions, leading to potential cuts impacting education and health care, while others explore riskier investment ventures to improve funding.States are focused on maintaining stability by stress-testing public pensions for potential financial risks and preparing for future uncertainties in pension funding. Related link to the stories referenced in the episode: Governing’s Biggest Issues to Watch in 2024Columbia Law Center & Climate School, Inflation Reduction Act Tracker Our editors used ChatGPT 4.0 to summarize the episode in bullet form to help create the show notes. Listen or subscribe for free on YouTube or the podcast app of your choice — Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audacy and Audible.  
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    33 mins
  • For Those Following Along at Home
    Jan 16 2024
    As legislatures in 37 states are back in session this month, with another 9 set to open before April, law makers face a daunting set of challenges. Budget prospects have improved modestly but tax tensions remain as law makers deal with complex demands to deal with crises in housing and drug overdoses. Their hoppers are also filled with bills to address criminal justice reforms, transportation funding, child tax credits, post-pandemic workforce dynamics and renewed calls for school choice and parental rights.Governing editor Alan Greenblatt and writers Jared Brey, Zina Hutton and Carl Smith join the podcast to discuss these issues and more.SHOW NOTESHere are the top takeaways from this episode:AI Policy Evolution and Concerns Rapid advances in artificial intelligence outstrip the ability to competently regulate. Concerns about misinformation, the embedding of implicit biases and workforce displacement are catalysts for legislation at the state and federal levels, focusing on usage boundaries and deepfake controls.Anticipated regulation aims at managing deepfake generation, especially around election content, with a focus on data literacy to combat misinformation.Challenges persist in addressing AI-generated hallucinations due to insufficient frameworks and fact-checking protocols.California leads in privacy and bias regulations, impacting AI application in healthcare and job sectors. Budgets and Taxation States see modest budget increases, drawing on pandemic surpluses for tax cuts and infrastructure investments, but with an eye to long-term fiscal sustainability.Tensions between revenue growth for programs and tax reductions pose challenges as states grapple with budget surpluses. Transportation Funding Challenges Funding public transit faces hurdles as commuting patterns change in post-pandemic workplaces, prompting some jurisdictions to consider taxing high earners to support public services. Child Tax Credits and Labor Force Impact States extend child tax credits to mitigate federal program expirations, aiming to alleviate poverty but it has raised concerns about workforce participation. Education & School Choice Dynamics Parental dissatisfaction is driving school choice initiatives, affecting public education funding and stirring parental rights discussions.Media literacy legislation addresses gaps in students' abilities to navigate and critically assess online information sources, which are seen as vital for future academic and professional success. Drug Overdose Crisis and Criminal Justice Illicit fentanyl is driving the recent increase in US drug overdose deaths, prompting debates between punitive approaches and medical treatment for substance abuse disorder.Polarized viewpoints in criminal justice reform lean towards tougher enforcement, influenced by political rhetoric and public sentiment. Governing’s editors and writers round out the discussion of the remaining issues to watch – including healthcare, mental health, climate and energy policies and the nationalization of politics during a presidential election year – on the next episode of the podcast, which drops on January 31st. Related link to the stories referenced in the episode: Governing’s Biggest Issues to Watch in 2024 Our editors used ChatGPT 4.0 to summarize the episode in bullet form to help create the show notes.
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    25 mins

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