Noting that the public service paradigm has changed over the past decades in line with changes in the social economy as a whole, this study presupposed that disruptive technology advancement will lead to a paradigm shift in public services and examined the aspects of the paradigm shift and the government's response directions.
Specifically, this study analyzed what types of future changes in public services will be caused by disruptive technology advancement and what opportunities and threats citizens as public service consumers and the government as suppliers will experience. Based on this analysis, this study provided suggestions on how the government can properly respond to the changes.
The researchers reviewed the aspects of future social changes due to the 4th Industrial Revolution and disruptive technology advancement and the expected effects of each technology across domestic and foreign cases, and based on this, they analyzed phased changes in administrative work that public services will go through in the future, along with changes in the government organization and in public services by sector.
At the stage of literature review for discussion, the results of a questionnaire survey for 1,000 citizens aged 20 or older and consulting with 11 experts were also reviewed. The literature review found that a significant level of improvement in the government's capacity has been already made at the information collection and public service stages, but at the stage of information processing and utilization capacity within the government organization, a gradual increase or difficulties in keeping up with changes have been reported, compared to the capacity levels at other stages.
It is expected that the restructuring of the government organization centering on the values inherent in the services, and the increase in the flexibility in structure and operation of the workforce will take place, but the role of the government in controlling these changes will also become more important due to the rise of technology-related ethics issues. In addition, there were two opposite views on the role of the government in its relationship with the private sector and the market: some expected that the government will have a greater influence in the future while the others predicted that the role of the government will decrease in the relationship due to the democratic decision-making process to be brought about by science and technology advancement. Also, regarding the size of the government, it was forecast that the government will maintain or expand its size in terms of workforce or finance as new roles will be given to it though the existing ones will be performed by technologies. Lastly, technologies expected to be mainly used in each policy field included those related to artificial intelligence, blockchain, and data, along with virtual reality, robots, IoT, and other technologies depending on the fields.
Based on internal changes within the organization and in public service sectors, this study identified opportunities and threats that may arise in the future society due to disruptive technology advancement and divided them into three groups: opportunities and threats caused by the technology itself, those occurring within the internal organization of the government, and those stemming from the perception of community members.
In terms of opportunities, it was predicted that the agility and flexibility of government organizations will increase due to the superintelligence, hyper-connectivity, and agility of disruptive technology, and real-time and customized responses will be facilitated in terms of public service provision. It was therefore expected that public services will be provided in a way to meet needs or preemptively respond to needs.
On the other hand, the possibility of various risks was raised, such as limitations of the data used in technology and various related ethical issues, uncertainty of responsibility, risk of personal information leakage, and problems related to human adaptation to science and technology and speed of understanding.
In order to examine how the government should respond to these opportunities and threats regarding the paradigm of public services, this study identified the following five characteristics of the future public service paradigm and discussed how the government needs to respond to them.
Specifically, as technological advancement shortens the time required for responding to demand and increases efficiency, it was forecast that the government will be able to focus on the values intended to be provided by public services and that overall trust of society in the government will increase as human judgment will be used for more important tasks within the government organization and power distribution and the expansion of the openness of society will be attained.
It is however necessary to keep in mind various ethical issues, technical maladjustment within the organization, inequality between public service beneficiaries, distortion of data, and the lack of a long-term perspective that will be raised in this process, and thus it is suggested that the administration urgently establish and implement proper responses.