Automation in Community Engagement?

The future of community engagement is a fun little thought experiment, and the answers we can come up with are probably just as accurate as Star Trek was in predicting our near(ish) future. Let’s give it a shot… I think the future is full of automation.

Did you know there’s a good chance in the past year you’ve talked, typed, or emailed with a computer and didn’t realize it was a computer. 

Insert spooky music here.

The fact is faux-artificial intelligence, predictive computing, and automation are quickly becoming a part of every day life (for the sake of this blog I won’t even broach the potential impact of real AI). So what does that mean for community engagement?

Perhaps I’m totally wrong and we’ll all be embracing computer interaction in the next decade, but I have a sneaking suspicion for the time-being citizens would be wildly uncomfortable if their engagement with local government turned out to be a talking computer. Are there some interactions between communities and populations we hold too dear for automation? If you called your congressional representative and thought you were talking to a staffer that turned out to be a computer, would you be offended? What if that computer actually did a better job at serving your needs? And let’s be honest, it probably would do a better job than that unpaid intern looking for some resume fodder. Imagine if Data from Star Trek handled all your complaints.


It’s an interesting idea. Automation in community engagement. Perhaps in 10, 20, or 30 years it’ll be like the youtuber CGP Grey coined, “Human’s need not apply.”

If you got a spare 15 minutes check out CGP Grey’s thoughts on automation and give this little video a whirl: CGP Grey – Humans Need Not Apply


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