Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:

  • The changing global political landscape may lead to policy changes tech leaders should be prepared for in 2018. — PwC, 2018
  • Common themes for policy changes in 2018 include a shift in regulations, new judicial precedents, and new ways to solve the tech skills shortage. — PwC, 2018

Shifting political landscapes, heightened regulation, and an expanding global economy call for new policy playbooks for business executives, a new PwC report says.

Changes in the economy and policies may force businesses to adjust how they operate, especially as new rules will need to be created to govern increased innovation in emerging fields like artificial intelligence (AI).

Here are the eight policy trends that business leaders should be watching this year, according to PwC.

SEE: Security awareness and training policy (Tech Pro Research)

1. New regulatory pacemaker

The US has been seen as the world’s policy pacemaker since the end of World War II, PwC said, but the Trump administration ended that. US state governments, especially those in California and New York, along with Beijing and Europe may see more power in setting standards.

2. Deregulation – good or bad

The past year has seen several acts of deregulation coming from the US government, including the December repeal of net neutrality. How companies respond could help or hurt them. Fewer regulations may mean some industries could see more investment or wiggle room to experiment, PwC said. Opting to ignore the relaxed regulations could mean a better public image, depending on how the public perceives the action.

3. Appeals courts and tech cases

As cases involving data breaches enter US courtrooms, the resulting judicial decisions may reset legal standards in the age of the internet and connected devices. The precedent set could have a lasting impact on tech companies and how they protect consumer data.

4. China vs. the world

The US, along with other countries, may begin to examine the trade-offs from working with China as the country’s ambition grows. The US will look to challenge and correct the trade imbalance, PwC said.

5. Safety vs. innovation

As emerging tech like AI and connected consumer devices grow in 2018, policymakers will need to find rules to protect security while not stifling innovation. Traditional methods may not work well with emerging technologies, PwC said, so the policies may need to be innovative themselves.

6. Tech giants’ self-regulation

As big names like Facebook and Twitter come under fire for how they deal with harassment or fake news, more tech giants will self-enforce new policies in hopes of regaining the trust of their users, PwC said.

7. How to manage Bitcoin

The end of 2017 saw a rise in the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and 2018 may see governments try to decide the proper regulatory path for them. Along with the digital currencies comes cryptocurrency-related crime and how to prevent, catch, and charge cybercriminals.

8. The tech talent shortage

The skills gap is not over, PwC said, and AI will not solve it. To find people for jobs, tech executives will need to look for candidates with soft skills and the ability to learn the tech skills, the report said. Tech giants’ training programs, like Google’s IT certificate program, may cause other firms to set up similar programs to train a diverse pool of tech workers.