A word from our MBA Captain: Democratisation of digitalisation

re:publica, a giant digital conference, some call it a festival in the heart of Berlin: station 1. Station1 is an old streetcar station in the middle of a rail track triangle exemplifying how technologies change and induce change. This year’s conference motto was tl;dr, short for: too long; didn’t read – an ironic wink to the short messaging communication in the digital society. The German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier coined it in his opening speech: “Our biggest challenge is not the digitalisation of the democracy, but the democratisation of the digitalisation”.

Clearly, the technologies are available but how to use them becomes the crucial issue. The electric volocopter (pictured) can take off and fly up to 27 km at a price slightly more than a taxi ride. Similar to autonomous driving electric vehicles, the main challenge is designing new traffic regulations and building an infrastructure of start, landing and charging points. Another widely discussed topic among others by Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner of competition, and Andreas Mundt, the president of the German Cartel Office, was how to ensure sufficient competition in a digital economy where Internet giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon enjoy very dominant market positions. What would happen if one would require them to give others access to their data? More than 20 years ago we required railway companies to open their tracks for other operators and also the electric transmission network of utility companies was opened.

 

Certainly becoming a data scientist or an expert in artificial intelligence promises a golden future. Creating that golden future for our democratic societies as a whole requires, however, next to technological experts those who can create, govern and manage the social eco systems needed to make technologies flourish.

Boris Blumberg, MaastrichtMBA captain



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