Authority is shifting from us humans to algorithms – how can we protect ourselves against that and which paths need to be pursued in education?
Harald Reisinger: Algorithms alone are not saviors. We need to know how and in what areas they are used. This requires transparency and clarification of what happens with data. Nobody in Europe wants total surveillance.
Digital transformation must reach school classes as well. But there also has to be room for critical discussions when it comes to technological developments, especially with regard to democracy and humanity. Everything machines and data cannot do. Digital aids can optimally support pupils in their learning. In addition to didactics and methodology, content such as data literacy and what happens to personal data must also be dealt with in classrooms. These topics have to be addressed in schools. Digital literacy should have top priority.
Anders Indset: An algorithm-controlled knowledge society may sound good at first in the fight against fake news and so on. But what we need is a society of understanding. We need to develop a greater comprehension of implications and changes. That takes genuine enlightenment and a revolution in consciousness. When it comes to education, we need models based on practical philosophy that can be applied in real life. We also need time to think – everyone should regularly assign 1-2 hours a week in their busy schedules to thinking. For Europe, I see a specific problem regarding communication. Every EU country should have a common language as the first language in schools. Of course, English would be an obvious choice. But what is important is that we can communicate with one another on important subjects on a European level, at any time and covering all aspects. That doesn’t happen today. If we look at the English language skills of countries like France and Italy, it’s not surprising that we don’t come closer together. Language is a factor that binds people together and it should be the basis for business and politics, and that can only be achieved if specific measures are taken in education.
Cyber security plays an important role especially in critical infrastructure and the industrial sector. We see a rise in the number of attacks. How secure are those areas?
Harald Reisinger: The convergence of operational technology and IT increases the risk of attacks. Operational Technology used to be a closed system, its industrial and production facilities were opened and are now connected to IT systems. OT systems often have different, mostly physical security standards, it was most important that machines and equipment run smoothly. IT and OT security must now be set up holistically, including continuous IT and OT security monitoring, because there are numerous entry gates for attackers.
How much regulation is associated with the question of ethics, or do we need a global ethos on digitization, like the Dalai Lama is calling for in relation to the world’s religions?
Anders Indset: Of course we need to have a common base. When it comes to exponential technologies where the scenario is quite clearly “winner takes all”, for example in AI, biotech and nanotech, solutions can only be found at a global level. If the technologies are now merging together and the “upside” is so great, we need new institutions and frameworks that are the same for everyone.
It also needs to be possible to take a (global) societal view on ethics separately from regional or nation-state initiatives. Here again it’s a question of developing greater understanding, driving forward the revolution of consciousness and calling on people’s common sense. Philosophers write books, but practical philosophy changes the world.
In your bestseller “Q Economy”, you ask what comes after digitization. Expect the unexpected? What is your vision for Europe in 2030?
Anders Indset: My vision for Europe would be that we become the designers of change, by setting up a new operating system – the “quantum economy”. And that we succeed here in Europe in communicating in a common language across sectors and disciplines, and in building a bridge between East and West. That we rescue the treasures of the past from those wonderful visionaries and project them on to the 21st century. That we combine philosophy with the science and technology of the future and have the confidence to look in the gaps between the disciplines for “wild knowledge” – the unknown unknowns. I would like to see Europe giving a definite impetus as an exporter of trust and “climate take back” technologies and as an initiator of new technologies and models for a genuine circular economy.
Harald Reisinger: The global digital innovation race will continue – with or without Europe. That is why we have to do our homework. This means driving digitization forward and, above all, ensuring that it is done the way we want it to be done. Europe must now find the answers to current challenges before we focus on future issues.
We need a new vision of the European idea, a digital strategy and a commitment to European technologies to set the rules for the future in a self-determined way. I especially care about innovation at the heart of Europe’s future.