The challenges of digitalisation and economic competitiveness
Uncertain Times: The Future of Trans-Atlantic Relations from the Perspective of NGOs and Think Tanks in Central Europe and Hungary
- online webinar series organised by the Hungarian Europe Society -
The challenges of digitalisation and economic competitiveness
Date: 14 June 2021, Monday 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. (CET)
Welcome address by István Hegedűs, Chairman, Hungarian Europe Society (Budapest)
Kálmán Dezséri, Policy Officer, European Commission (Brussels)
Šárka Prat, Executive Director, Institute for Politics and Society (Prague)
Ivar Tallo, Independent Director, NC JSC State Corporation "Government for Citizens" (Kyiv)
Moderator: István Hegedűs, Chairman, Hungarian Europe Society
Short briefings are followed by an open debate.
For the corresponding papers please scroll down. Sign in or register on our website and share your comments on the papers after scrolling down to the comment section (below).
This event is part of the "Uncertain Times: The Future of Trans-Atlantic Relations from the Perspective of NGOs and Think Tanks in Central Europe and Hungary" project which is supported by the Embassy of the United States of America in Budapest.
Please note that the language of the event is English and no translation will be provided.
This event is being video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to the video recording.
There are 2 Comments
two introductory comments
1. Digitalisation has changed our everyday lives for fifteen years, at least. Starting with the use of computers, our human and political relations went through a complex transformation. Today's social problems often seem to be very different to the conflicts and challenges of previous eras. But do we really suffer under the negative consequences of the digital world, or, perhaps, we will come out stronger from this evolution/revolution? Many argue that politics have also changed following increasing atomisation, tribalisation, polarisation and new identity-formations - which processes are deeply connected to technological development. Still, this new epoch has brought us opportunities we have not even dreamed about and our lives have become not only much faster, more efficient, but also easier from many respects.
Digitalisation has begun in the spheres of the economy and communication. Current trends make us believe that we will live in a brave new world where automation and artificial intelligence will be the driving forces not only in our close environment, but perhaps even regarding our private living conditions that would determine our happiness and the fate of the mankind. This impression has grown significantly recently: the pandemic has extremely accelerated the shift towards a society where people not only work, but talk and act – perhaps even exist - mostly in an online virtual reality.
2. Still, we have to face big changes not only at theoretical, political and cultural levels, but from the aspects of the basic starting point, the economy. How will ongoing digitalisation influence economic performance and competitiveness especially in the case of the European Union and the United States of America? Most importantly, will the values and liberties ensured and shared by liberal democracies survive emerging rival concepts and practices spread by regimes like China - based exactly on strong economic progress using new technologies? Moreover, will economic change with potential growing inequalities, divergent level of necessary knowledge for well-being, offering different opportunities to access to information for citizens, who might feel resentment and nostalgia, lead us to societies with growing internal tensions?
Or, is our fate inevitable because of the primacy of technology over politics? We should not believe in a dystopia. Our guest will hopefully make it clear that smart governance at global, regional and national levels do have a chance to make our digital future bright enough.
By Kálmán Dezséri
Dear Sarka and dear Ivar,
I'd like to say many thanks for your contribution and apologize for my technical mismanagement which put you in an unexpected situation that you handled excellently. It was the very first time after a one-year involuntary travel ban that I could return from Brussels to Budapest about a week before our panel discussion. Accidentally, my bag fell down in the plane and the technical damage paralised my laptop and I didn't have access to any information stored on it. I took it to a repair service but unfortunately my laptop was not ready by the day of our discussion. As I didn't have access to my laptop calendar either I had to rely on my memory but I mixed up the day and the time of the planned programme. At the last minute before our planned discussion I could dig out a very old PC which doesn't have a built-in camera and mic/loudspeaker. I could rapidly set up only a partly functioning system. As it had an external loudspeaker but not a mic I could only listen to you but could not join the discussion. I'm very sorry for this mismanagement which is an example of how much we depend often one-sidedly on this new technology and how much a series of failures can spoil our life.
I appreciated your written comments and your discussion very much. It was very clear from the first moment when I accepted the request to write a concept paper for this discussion that a 9-pager cannot cover the enormous area of digitalisation which penetrates into all economic and social areas of our lives. I selected areas which I know better and which I consider particularly important. I know that this selection is arbitrary. I read articles and reports written by colleagues in the Commission on the digitalisation in the agriculture, health system, public administration, transport, etc. etc. which have also important economic impacts and competition effects but as I do not know these issues and areas well enough I only vaguely mentioned them. One of the participants of the debate raised e.g. the issues of AI and augmented reality. They were also missing from my paper. Both issues can be discussed for days even if one picks them separately. I'm deeply convinced that discussions like yours have important roles in societies to keep up the attention regarding crucial issues which will fundamentally determine and affect our current and future life. In my 9-pager, I wanted to emphasise very much that digitalisation means not only the implementation of new technologies, devices, machines, etc. (that is physical instruments and infrastructures) but a kind of transformation or adjustment of our knowledge, ethical norms and regulations. We not only have to learn how to use and utilise digitalised technical objects but we have to learn how to live with them in a way which serves the well-being of mankind. More and more reports in the world show that children from poorer backgrounds (let it poorer countries or poorer social strata of wealthier countries) left behind in education during the pandemic. Online education has not been fully available or available at all for each child in the world. The numbers of school drop outs have substantially grown everywhere. The increasing split between digital literal and illiteral groups of people in the world represents one of the main social and economic challenges we are facing. It is a danger that has not only economic consequences but very serious human risks as well. The global community should react soon.
Once more I would like to say thanks for your valuable contribution.