Final remarks – Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers


Robert Madelin
Thank you very much.  Ladies and gentlemen before I draw a few conclusions there is space for those inspired by this last panel’s comments to offer questions or thoughts themselves. I just wanted to get a sense who wants to speak. Please. Say who you are because the speaker’s May not have seen you speak before.

Angelo Jarlav
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good evening citizens. My name is Angelo Jarlav. I repeat some things from the past because I know what we are expressing. We are expressing the *inaudible* the European internet because our privacy and safety will never be in hands safer than the European hands. Also, of the block chain we repeat again the research needs deep research from a scientific point of view of this technology. I don’t know if to be honest the joint research centre as they proposed or the Digi Connect also as we did in the past and finishing I have to speak, which I’m going to speak again to the trust communities of Europe about our private data, which are not in the hands of only the public authorities like the European Commission and Parliament but also the companies which they are assisting in their work, which is unacceptable for us. Thank you very much.

Robert Madelin
Thank you very much. Other comments?  Yeah, there.

Prof. Linsen
Professor Linsen from the MNRC – Jose Manuel. You mentioned STEM education, I said this in other sessions: I’m quite exasperated by this insistence on science all the time. Science alone shall not save the world and culture alone shall not save the world. Interdisciplinarity might. To my mind, STEM education should be replaced by interface education. That optimizes the state of mind for complex avant-garde integrated, interdisciplinary challenge processing. This is what we are working on. I think one preceding panellist – Vincenzo Luciano, spoke of the biosphere being related to sustainability as the info sphere is related to what? I would suggest the interface is.

Robert Madelin
Can you study the interface without studying the two things which are interfacing?


Robert Madelin
So, you can study interfacing. It could be a discipline in and of itself.

Yes. This is what we are working on.

Robert Madelin
Ok. Very good. Thank you. Other comments? No. Good.  
It’s always fun to try and draw conclusions and I think that the conclusions I should draw today will encapsulate but not be under the same three headings that I tried yesterday. 
Yesterday it was purpose, foundation and process, but this time it’s a bit more complicated. 
I think, picking up with what Roberto has said I actually think that he has captured the spirit of much of what we’ve done in the last two days and something which, in particular Luciano has brought to this concluding plenary. 
Which is we need to think very deeply and explore together changes which are touching everything, they’re not creating an overnight Revolution.  We have to recognize more than perhaps public debate does. 
As the framework has changed and Luciano said we have a mangrove relationship between analogue and digital. I personally see it as a 2×2 matrix of mangrove, where you also have a question about where the frontiers now lie between the public and the private.
If you listen to the debate, we’ve had reported here one about disruption in the public sphere, one about the disruption in the private sphere – there as well we have an increasingly permeable membrane. If the framework is changing, that can also change who does what. 
We have talked at various stages about the need to involve everyone: civil society, innovators… We’ve talked about – and Mariete has said it – need not to inadvertently privatize what should remain public. 
We haven’t quite so much talked about the extent to which technologies and the public opinion that they empower can take a stronger role in creating social control, where in the past regalia regulators where needed but who does what is a question that emerges from the fact that the framework is changing.
And then finally as we were reminded yesterday, we have to think about Snowden and Robbespierre and Bayes as well as everything else, I mean I take Jose Manuel’s talking about sort of the Basian nature of society’s problems that the future is like the past, the poor rural under-represented gender sets of the population face challenges which will not be resolved by and maybe exacerbated by, but could be helped by – the online world. 
We need to continue to explore, and I have seen that the important point there is that, as I have said yesterday this is the beginning of new conversations.
Secondly, whatever we do we have to do it right. Yesterday, friends from Huawei reminded us of the number 155 billion – how many Euros we are from a properly funded, adequate broadband infrastructure for a 5G fully optically enabled internet experience in Europe. 
First things first are going to have to be remembered – and that’s important in this building which is an important part of the budget authority – but it’s not all about public money. 
Secondly, and again, Mariete has said it today, but it’s been said throughout, we need open government principles, not all member states are in the open government movement and personally I regret that the institution I used to be a part of has also chosen so far not to adhere to the open government movement. 
There’s an opportunity there. And we haven’t yet even in the internet age – and both Mariete and Michelangelo yesterday recognize this – achieved even with the wonderful technology effective engagement of the parts of society that meetings like this do not reach. 
That is the distant but also the younger and maybe as Luukas implies – because some parts of the population are just getting on with it. Maybe it’s also because some of them as Jose Manuel set are just not connected to this conversation but both voices are actually missing and they are needed. 
The Third thing I would say in terms of doing it right is, we have to have evidence not intuition. The fact that we’re dealing with very personal things, doesn’t mean that whatever we think is what is effective for our future in society and I think that as I have said in some of the breakout sessions, we really do need more anthropology and less black letter law in the way in which we frame the debate.
We need to sort of coma think about the evidence and not just what we’ve always said. And that’s the challenge. 
Because it’s about people so it’s about us so we feel we can just Intuit but actually we shouldn’t. The third thing I would say is: the regulation has to evolve and some business speakers have said that, that’s so to and I was very heartened by this, how representatives of the European executive and the legislature. 
Everybody who has spoken about this has recognized that the way we have done regulation hitherto needs to take another jump into the future. What does that mean? It has to be in favour of the innovative process and not the rent holders and incumbents. It has to preserve the public good, it has to avoid – I liked Mariete’s phrase the: “do something approach” – I call it the “problem-solution trap” – and you see it every day in the newspapers. 
So, we have to avoid that. And I think that there for doing something with regulation is important. People who have read my report from last year know that I’m obsessed with experimental regulation. 
Principles based, agile, picking up what Mr. Timmermans said yesterday, helical and open regulation. Regulation using technologies rather than simply sort of manual intervention of regalian regulators.  
There’s a lot there could be done there. There is low hanging fruit, there’s good practice out there and we could begin to experiment with experiments. But you can’t do that without safeguards so the safeguards are what I was referring to after yesterday’s plenary as the foundations that I think go back to principle-based regulation, unless you know what your purpose and direction and values are, we we don’t know what we want.
As a society, we are weak if we don’t know what we want.
I was very struck by that message in the book that professor Schwab of Davos fame published last year. Because things are changing more than ever: in the fourth industrial revolution. 
It’s actually possible for a society that knows what it wants to move in that direction more easily. But it’s equally possible for us to be swept away by everything that’s happening if we don’t know what we want. 
That’s very important, and we do know some of the things we want. The words I have heard through the whole session: inclusion, empowerment, education, maybe even in interfacing as well as STEM I would say. 
Skills and know-how and again, as Luciano have said, some sorts of meta technology that actually helps people. A sort of intellectual exoskeleton for us when we go on the internet. 
We have to find a way of favouring, we have to tune society so that we’re favouring open innovation, open labs the maximization of social value and the sharing of benefits.
There’s all these ideas that have come out, that I think are very rich and I hope that the editors of the polished version of the report will pick some of them up. So then what do you conclude from all of that? 
Personally, I conclude that in the debate here differently to the online debate, there’s been less tekkie self-selection. So, in fact the debate that we’ve had in the room it’s not about the technology it’s about ourselves.
And I think that is extremely positive, because then it means success lies within ourselves. If we have the right attitude and goals, we can set our direction and purpose – and I liked the answer that Luciano had for his questions – we need collective intelligence, we aim at – somebody said yesterday – better lives in the sustainable world and we definitely need to fix the problems that our communities have and not the ones we think they have. 
So, in terms of the next steps: now is the time, if you have bright ideas on the train or plane or metro home to share them with REIsearch – because now they polish over the summer, you can also I think subscribe and follow at a DG CONNECT event, also on the Next Generation internet at the end of June in Brussels, where this work gets a fresh lease of life and helps to frame a more research orientated discussion.
And then I think the report, as it is finalized it’s actually relevant to a lot of the debates we know we’ll be having in the Brussels bubble around the future of Europe and the next financial framework. Remember a 155 billion! 
And somebody asked the question Roberto yesterday, we have got a digital Market strategy, thank you VP Ansip, can we have now and internet strategy. 
So, who knows? But I think that the message that comes out from what we have heard in this last session and from the debate is that Europe can continue to be a leading technological innovator, but we will be more successful doing that if we are also active on these framing conditions as part of the same process, not floating somewhere else. 
So, I think Mike including words will therefore be that I would invite those who have followed this debate so far to stay with it, because hearing what you have heard is that the European institutions and REIsearch certainly will stay with it, and that makes the last two days not just an agreeable event, for which I think you should help me to thank the organizers, but also hopefully a foundation stone for some important conversations in the next months and years.
Thank you very much and journey safely home.

Day 2