This blog is a repost from American City & County.

Once again, it is that time of the year when we dust off our digital crystal balls and develop predictions for the year ahead. This year’s predictions are remarkably different with far-reaching implications. And as in years past, I offer my annual take on what trends will be most prevalent in cities and counties across the nation. We begin the new year with renewed fear regarding political insecurity. While in the recent past we expressed concern over the digital divide, we must now face the ever-widening cultural divide and the increased mistrust of government and its institutions. This of course has led to an alarming increase in baseless conspiracy theories and mistrust of science and technology. The coming year is also a presidential election year where election-based technologies are under attack, which only adds to the cultural divide. Everyone in the public sector both personally and professionally are affected. Nevertheless, here are my predictions, and I am happy to report that there are many areas for optimism and growth. And no surprise—artificial intelligence (AI) plays a lead role in each.

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