The next frontier: Digital governance trends in 2024 [prediction]

Published on January 04, 2024

It’s impossible to ignore the seismic shifts shaking up how countries handle governance in 2023. The burning question on everyone’s mind is: What’s next? How will different countries embrace the digital revolution, and what does it mean for their governance?

From AI-driven decision-making to blockchain in public services, the future seems both thrilling and daunting. Will governments prioritise citizen privacy while navigating the data goldmine? How will they balance innovation with security in a world where cyber threats loom large?

What’s more, the digital divide isn’t just about access to smartphones anymore; it’s about equitable access to information and services. How will nations bridge this gap to ensure inclusivity in their digital governance strategies?

Let’s take a look at what I think there’s in store for digital governments in 2024.

More AI

No surprise there. 2023 was a huge year for generative AI, and that was only the beginning.

AI’s momentum in the government tech scene isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or other government tech leader who underplays the potential and influence of AI in shaping the future of governance.

The recent strides made in government technology simply offered a glimpse into what’s to come. The progress made over the past year indicates a trajectory for this well-funded and highly-promoted tool in 2024.

For example, the UK’s HM Treasury recently started testing GitHub Copilot (AI coding suggestions) to accelerate software development.

However, of one thing I’m very sure – it still has a way to go in terms of both capabilities and building trust among officials and citizens alike.

Change of leadership

In 2024, we can expect some changes in leadership within digital governments. There will likely be more shifts in IT leadership positions as new leaders with new viewpoints and innovative ideas step in.

These “fresh eyes” will build upon the groundwork laid by previous leaders, bringing new energy and strategies to the table.

Additionally, we might witness the introduction of new roles or titles within government tech departments.

There could be positions specifically dedicated to areas like privacy or AI advisory roles (ensuring a greater emphasis on these crucial aspects.) For instance, roles such as Director of AI Accessibility might emerge, highlighting the significance of making AI technology more accessible and user-friendly for everyone.

These new positions will probably address evolving challenges and priorities the governments had to face since 2023.


In 2024, cybersecurity is going to be a big concern for governments using advanced technology like generative AI. While generative AI has its advantages, governments need to be extra careful because it can also cause problems.

For instance, during elections or times of tension between countries, people might use it to spread fake news or misinformation.

There’s a tricky part, too: sometimes, fake videos made by AI can look so real that people might believe them. On the other hand, real videos might be dismissed as fake or AI-generated. This confusion could create serious issues for governments.

Another problem is cyberattacks. These attacks are getting more dangerous because of AI. Bad actors are using AI to make their attacks look more convincing. Ransomware attacks, which hold data for ransom, are a big concern, especially for organisations that aren’t fully prepared to defend against them.

To make things worse, there are new AI-powered tools that cyber attackers are using, like FraudGPT and WormGPT. These tools help them carry out attacks more effectively. Governments will need to focus a lot on finding ways to stop these cyber threats and protect themselves from potential attacks.

Focus on workforce

In my view government agencies in 2024 will be focusing on several key areas. Firstly, they’re paying close attention to regulations surrounding data protection, privacy, intellectual property, and misinformation. These issues are crucial for ensuring fairness, accuracy, and safeguarding information.

Another big focus is on the workforce. Many employees will need to learn new skills due to changes in job roles caused by AI. While some positions might shift or be replaced by AI-related jobs like prompt engineers, there’s also concern about fairness in these AI-driven decisions. Governments are working to prevent biases and discrimination that AI models might unintentionally create.

Moreover, as many experienced government workers retire or face burnout, agencies are exploring how generative AI can preserve valuable knowledge. However, the ongoing challenge from 2023 persists: there’s a scarcity of tech skills, and the competition to attract new AI talent will probably remain hindered by the lack of competitive compensation.

Final thoughts

In 2024, digital governments face big changes and challenges. From AI growth to cybersecurity concerns and reskilling workers, it’s a year of adapting and learning. The focus remains on fairness, inclusivity, and preparing for a tech-driven future. Despite the hurdles, I believe governments will be gearing up to use technology wisely for a better tomorrow.


About the Author

Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.

He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.

After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.

He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.

As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.

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