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Mr Alexandru Petrescu (Minister of Communications and Information Society, Romania [EU Presidency]) stated that opportunities brought forth by the digital revolution must be shaped according to a vision for societies and economies. This vision is based on principles and values of the EU, such as unity, uniformity, and coherence. Peterescu spoke about the EU’s Digital Single Market, which brought together 28 EU member states’ digital economies; and the Digital Europe programme, which aims to reduce the investment gap. He stated that EU member states easily reached an agreement on a framework for Centres of Competence on Cybersecurity. He also highlighted the issue of interconnectivity of EU countries, which are at different stages of digitisation. Peterescu stated that ethics in artificial intelligence (AI) are also discussed in the EU, as the enhancement of AI could cause 14% of jobs in the EU to disappear and 13% to change significantly. Keeping this in mind, a framework for AI that increases competition must be created.
Ms Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria (Executive Director, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC]) briefly described APEC’s work on on developing a digital agenda. APEC’s work in this regard stated 1990s, discussing telecommunications infrastructure and e-commerce, and it is presently in the stage of consolidation. Under the present chairmanship of Chile, various working groups are brought together to discuss infrastructure, access, regulatory coherence, policy coherence, and skills required for the digitalisation of the economy. Sta Maria also spoke about managing cross-border data flows and the distrust some APEC states had towards this system. She stressed it is important to dig deeper into national policies and regulations that impede data sharing and data flows. Sta Maria also spoke about the establishment of APEC’s cross-border privacy rules.
Mr Katsuya Watanabe (Vice Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan [G20 Presidency]) stated the concept of ‘Society 5.0’ will be presented at the G20 Osaka Conference. Society 5.0 presents a vision for a future digital society and policies needed to achieve it. Watanabe stated that G20 member states have different cultural backgrounds and are in different stages of economic development. However, they strive towards a common understanding for the future, especially in terms of using technology to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) and help developing countries. He also spoke about the intensive work of G20 on AI. He stated that it is important to create rules for AI governance by regarding AI as human-centric, as something that benefits our daily lives in a digital society. Watanabe stated that digital transformation must be inclusive and that trust in the free flow of data must be simultaneous with digital transformation.
Mr Laurent Bili (Director General, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, French G7 and G20 Sous-Sherpa, France [G7 Presidency]) presented the four priorities in the development of rules for AI, established by the G7: a common, human-centered vision of AI; avoiding misinformation and manipulation (by establishing a system that quickly reacts to threats); combating cyberbullying and cyberterrorism (through work with civil society partners and tech companies to detect such content as quickly as possible); and cybersecurity (working multilaterally to ensure accountability of those involved in providing cybersecurity). Bili underlined that legal systems must keep up with the times. He addressed the issue of digital divide by stating that a global approach is needed to enable people access to new technologies, which includes training, education, favorable legal conditions, investment for digital economy, etc.
Mr Antoine Kasel (EU G20 Sherpa, European Commission) stated new technologies can help tackle global issues. For example, the EU is working on a policy mix that encompasses taxation in digital economy, strong social protection, telecommunications infrastructure, competition policy, investments in skills and education, which can help G20 tackle global issues like health, climate, economy. Technology must be adapted to citizens’ needs, and citizens need to understand that while many opportunities exist, distributional consequences might also occur. This digital inequality between citizens, but also between countries, must be bridged, and governments have an important role to play in this. Kasel underlined that the concept of free flow of data must create a secured and trusted system for people. He also stated that common rules and standards on AI must be inclusive and human-centric, as technology is not an aim, but rather a means of reaching aims.
By Andrijana Gavrilovic