If I asked you to predict how technology would be changing 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 with 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. While we often focus on how emerging tech could positively transform industries, we need to also ask where threats will emerge and co-exist -- and consider the negative implications. 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

Department of Energy 

"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 resources 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, and 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 one another. 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 A.I.'s cognitive development will fuel a much larger population of autonomous machines. A.I. 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 pocketsize 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 their implications and ensure appropriate preparation, planning, and action required. 

Published on: Feb 25, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.