Source: Inc. | Tom Popomaronis | February 25, 2019

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In 10 years, technology will significantly evolve, but we also need to be mindful of the threats.

If I asked you to predict how technology would change your industry five to 10 years from now, what would you say? When it comes to predicting trends, there are a few ways to go about it — and whether you’re surveying thousands of thought-leaders or simply asking a colleague based on their domain expertise — there’s no wrong way in my opinion.

What you’re predicting, however, is a different story.

The age of 5G, quantum computing, and blockchain is upon us. Where we often focus on how emerging tech could positively transform industries, we need to also ask where threats will emerge and co-exist — and the negative implications that come that they bring with them. As such, I reached out to various federal leaders via LinkedIn and email, who responded with their insights on moonshot trends and threats we need to be aware of over the next 10 years.

Department of Defense 

“We are at a really exciting time. We stand on the precipice of accomplishing major technological advancements in areas that were only a dream just a few years back. Advancements in 5G Communications, Artificial Intelligence, and Quantum Computing are poised to fundamentally transform the cybersecurity and IT landscape. The implications of these advancements cannot be understated, and in some ways are still, yet, unimagined — creating opportunities to both improve and undermine our nation’s cybersecurity posture.  The combination of advancements across all of these fields will drive the future of Information Technology and Cybersecurity. The federal government will play a key role in ensuring that our cybersecurity posture is improved, not weakened by advances in these fields.” –Essye Miller, Principal Deputy, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer

“The most important moonshot trend won’t be IT, but rather how we measure risk and value investments. Specifically, we need to quantify the probability and magnitude of loss to make informed decisions and prioritize rigorous quantitative risk management. We can then apply this knowledge and work with our partners in both the private and public sectors to determine best practices.” –Emery Csulak​, Deputy CIO for Cybersecurity/CISO 

National Science Foundation

“If in the future one of our most valuable resource becomes our data–information about ourselves, our ideas, our digital assets–I would like to see the Federal Government create a cyber defense organization dedicated to providing information protection services to our citizens. This organization would set regulations, standards for trust and data security services, then enlist innovators, researchers, and industry leaders working together to devise products and deliver services that protect our citizens.” –Dorothy Aronson, Chief Information Officer

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency 

“The overall digital ‘attack surface’ will significantly increase as we move closer and closer to all technology being interconnected in the future. It’s imperative that we as a nation, start to examine what ‘critical infrastructure’ looks like in the year 2050, where everything is connected and interdependent on each other. Without segmentation and protections built into a future cyber landscape, this could be a vulnerability that poses an enormous risk to national security. At the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), we are constantly evaluating risk and moving others to ask the hard strategic questions for the future.” –Brian Harrell, Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security

Department of Homeland Security, Office of Health Affairs 

“Advances in AI’s Cognitive Development will fuel a much larger population of autonomous machines. AI will have significant impacts, both positive and negative, in cybersecurity. The ability to rapidly detect and sanitize will improve substantially. However, computing power normally seen in data centers will be matched by pocket sized computing devices, which I believe will be exploited by hackers to great success. Massive data exfiltration, orchestrated by very mobile hackers, will certainly increase.” –​Antonio Villafana, Chief Information Officer, Office of Health Affairs

Business leaders, both federally and commercially, should take a holistic, balanced approach in understanding emerging trends and threats — which will allow for a deeper understanding of its implications and ensure appropriate preparation, planning, and action required.