Facebook, Alibaba, Google, Tencent. The USA and China appear to be dividing the digital world up between themselves. Digital competition is a battle not only for financial profits, but also for political power, social influence and ethical standards. Caught between big tech from Silicon Valley and China’s rise as a digital power, Europe is searching for its own path to greater European sovereignty. This is vitally important, as decisions about algorithms, platforms and technical standards will otherwise be taken beyond Europe’s borders – and thus issues of equal opportunities, access and the shaping of public discourse will likewise be decided elsewhere.
The risks entailed by dependence on foreign tech companies are already clearly evident today. From social networks to smart cities, IT firms from China and the USA are implementing their own solutions rather than addressing people’s actual needs and concrete problems. Furthermore, it is often unclear to users which data are being used and what impact algorithms have. However, this also presents an opportunity for Europe to do things differently and to create technical alternatives that are more transparent, more inclusive and more oriented towards the common good.
This is the vision that drives Dr. Francesa Bria. She is an expert in digital ethics and president of the Italian National Innovation Fund. In her capacity as advisor and ambassador on digital cities and digital rights for the UN-Habitat, she focuses on questions of Europe’s digital sovereignty and citizen involvement in digitization.
We warmly invite you to discover during a discussion with Francesca Bria how European digital sovereignty can be achieved and what needs to be done so that advantage can be taken of the potential offered by digitization with a view to improving the lives of all of us. The event will be hosted and chaired by Louis Klamroth.
The event will be livestreamed via the Mercator Event App and simultaneously interpreted into English.