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Technology and Communication in the space of public policy

In a world full of challenges and sometimes confusion, the use of technology and communication plays a major role, especially in public policies. To elaborate, “technology is the application of conceptual knowledge for achieving practical goals, especially in a reproducible way” In other words it means the “application of scientific knowledge to practical aims in human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment”.

Conversely, communication plays an important role in all spheres of life; effective communication has its assets and bad communication has repercussions. In the space of public policy having effective communication becomes even more important. This is so since one is interacting with known and unknown audience policymakers, communities, academicians and corporate members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to name a few.


In today’s scenario, the use of technology has gained a lot of importance and usefulness. Even though public policy may be a complex relationship technology plays a critical role in shaping development. It influences society and affects governance, democracy and public services. Policymakers direct complex relationships between technology and society and ensure that they identify the pros and cons of using technology. So how does this happen? Some of the key aspects include:

  • Ensure laws are used to determine content made available online is clean
  • Increase the use of data and technology helps in informing, testing and responsiveness to policy-making
  • Provides opportunities to address challenges efficiently and introduce probable policy solutions

Effective communication, on the other hand, plays an important role in public policy. Specifically, it is useful to formulate, implement and evaluate policy decisions. Some of the key aspects include:

  • Engaging with public/communities: using various communication channels to interact/get feedback from people is crucial to measuring the effectiveness of a policy
  • Creating awareness: helps in informing policies to the public on the issues, benefits, challenges and potential impact
  • Having accountability and transparency helps citizens understand policy decisions — the what, why, when and how factors. This helps maintain public trust
  • Resolving conflicts: providing a platform to debate, discuss and negotiate issues with all stakeholders to build consensus
  • Implementing policies effectively and convey expectations, responsibilities and timelines to various stakeholders
  • Introducing a feedback mechanism to enable policymakers to make required changes and improvements based on public needs

Managing crises like natural disasters, emergencies etc where effective communication plays an important role in handling difficult situations.

Nexus Between Technology and Communication

To effectively use technology in public policy and the way it should be communicated has become an important aspect in recent times. Some of the important elements include:


Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This helps provide unbiased information without the intervention of human processes and is quicker and can be replicated to a wider audience. There are cases where the human interface has fed in/coded biased opinions. However, this can be arrested by putting public policies into place correctly to ensure that AI has a positive impact.

Robotics and Automation

Popular opinions reveal that robots will replace human efforts. However, some people argue that more jobs will be created by using robotics. To address this public policy models should be put in place, especially in the fields of healthcare, education and housing to name a few.

If an attempt is made by policymakers to iron out these issues, then a well-defined work structure can be introduced where human beings can be discouraged from taking up dangerous jobs and in turn reduce cases of mishaps and accidents.

In short good public policies will help in the use of robotics and automation effectively.


Governments should attempt to clearly draw and share rules and regulations on the use of AI and most importantly lay strict guidelines on how and when to use AI.

Need to redefine Public Communication

Public communication needs to play a vital role in delivering improved policies and services by contributing to the objectives of a government, improving governance and strengthening democracy. To do this it is imperative that the following needs to be understood and adapted:

Understanding the needs of an audience-what do they want? Why is a policy important to them? Is it useful? Is the timing correct? Delve deeply into problems, identify probable solutions by engaging with the audience, know their priorities and understand if there are sufficient resources (human and finance). Based on this data, analyse the facts and develop robust policies.

Once the above is done, follow basic principles to ensure that the needs and solutions are communicated effectively:

  1. Be clear and concise- convey information in a manner that can be understood. Depending on the audience various communication materials can be used-animation, documents, videos, and pictorial representation to hold the interest of the audience.
  2. Be direct and put forth the most important information upfront. Avoid building a slow theory, since it is not an academic paper. Holding the interests of an audience is often one of the biggest challenges when information is long-winded and structured in a complex manner.
  3. Make specific recommendations for easy implementation and action. Provide an actual action plan and try and segregate them into the 3 Fs-Functions. Functionaries and Finance.
  4. Be free of jargon and not instil academic writing.
  5. Use data in a manner that no confusion is encountered and can be easily understood.
  6. Eliminate acronyms and short forms and be precise in the use of language and terminologies.

Ideally, one gets only a short window to communicate to policymakers and even less time to hold their interests. Hence communication plays a critical role in public policy. It acts as both the subject and object of a policy. To elaborate, on the one hand, the subject of public policy conveys laws, policies, and regulations in different forms and through various channels. This includes speech, telecommunication, and mass media, to name a few. Information is disseminated by government and non-government agencies to educate the public on important topics, challenges and usefulness.

On the other hand, the object of policy includes informing and educating the audience on matters of policy. This includes government programmes, initiatives and laws. Ideally, this is accomplished by actively engaging with the public to be partners in shaping and forming policies through surveys, consultation meetings and feedback mechanisms to name a few.

Both the use of technology and effective communication become imperative if one wants to see the results or success of a programme.

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