Dubai recently appointed a minister of AI – read about it here. Sweden became the first country in 2015 to appoint a Minister of the Future to their government – other countries, including New Zealand and South Korea, are seriously considering this too.

This got me thinking. What new Cabinet and Ministerial level positions will governments need in the next few years? Here are some suggestions:

  • Minister of the Future – to remain competitive tomorrow, governments will no doubt have to take unpopular steps today, but politics is often driven by immediate needs and the next election cycle. This ministry must focus on future issues, disruptive change, complexity and involve multiple stakeholders in envisioning different futures. In Sweden, the ministry is organized in three strategic groups: (1) the future of work; (2) green transition and competitiveness, and (3) global cooperation. Each strategic group brings together people with different backgrounds, including from the business community, civil society, trade unions, and academia.
  • Future governmentMinister of Digital Technology – many governments have ministries focused on industrial development; some have ministries focused on innovation and technology in general; and, a few have ministries focused on technology that enables future development (The UK has a ministry for “Business, energy and industrial strategy”). But our governments will need specific and focused resources allocated to the area of digital infrastructure and competitiveness. This ministry could also ensure that e-government services are rolled out across the board.
  • Minister of Cyber security – possibly related to the previous suggestion, cyber security is so important and so specialised, and is becoming an increasingly important issue for national government, that it deserves it’s own department, much like Homeland Security is a separate government function in the USA to Defence.
  • Minister of Food and Water Security – talking of securing national assets, I was tempted to suggest a Minister of Climate Change. That may not be a bad idea. But most countries will feel the effects of climate change first in their food and water security. A real life example playing out right now is the most devastating drought in recorded history in Cape Town, alongside major weather conditions affecting Australia (highest ever recorded temperatures), Canada (lowest ever recorded temperatures) and elsewhere. Of course, there is travel disruption, weather damage and other issues that need to be covered by existing government rapid response teams, but it’s likely that governments will need to augment their existing Agriculture ministries with something a little more focused on ensuring their citizens can eat and drink.
  • Minister of the Elderly – with more and more people living well past 80 – and even 100 – years old, governments will need a focused ministry to deal with the needs of the elderly.
  • Minister of Robotics – there will probably be enough robots in the world by 2030 that we will need a complete department to manage them. This will be much more important if these robots are becoming sentient.
  • Minister of Space – outer space, that is. This is probably not needed by 2030, although it looks like China, India and America are gearing up for another exciting space race to colonise the Moon and Mars.

What other ministries do you think government will need in the near future?

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