Kultur & Gesellschaft

(l-r): Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Thomas Lohninger, Krzysztof Izdebsk, Marietje Schaake, Lucy Bernholz, Verena Ringler, Boris Marte und Joanna Goodey © APA (OTS/ERSTE Stiftung/Tanzer)
(l-r): Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Thomas Lohninger, Krzysztof Izdebsk, Marietje Schaake, Lucy Bernholz, Verena Ringler, Boris Marte und Joanna Goodey © APA (OTS/ERSTE Stiftung/Tanzer)

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How the EU Can Take the Lead in Governing Technology Globally: "Tipping Point Talk 03: Possibility" by ERSTE Foundation

24.09.2019

Diese Meldung ist Teil einer Medienkooperation mit der Erste Stiftung

Around 200 guests gathered at the Museum of Applied Arts Vienna (MAK) on Thursday, 19 September, for a first-rate debate on the global challenges of dealing with digitalisation, artificial intelligence and Europe's possibilities to compete internationally. "Tipping Point Talk 03: POSSIBILITY" forms part of ERSTE Foundation's "Tipping Point Talks 2019" series curated by Verena Ringler. The first two speakers in the series were Francis Fukuyama and Timothy Snyder.

"The MAK engages in an intense discourse including all aspects of a humane, ecologically sustainable digital future from an artistic perspective. As such, I hope it is a place that inspires thoughts revolving around the European governance of technology", General Director of the MAK Christoph Thun-Hohenstein said during his welcome address. Boris Marte, Deputy Chairman of the Board at ERSTE Foundation, emphasised, "As a laboratory for new thoughts, we need to grapple with these exact future issues and participate in developing new ideas on the way - for the future of finance and our society at large. It is wonderful to have this event, on this particular topic, here at the MAK."

Schaake: turn Europe into a role model and apply regulation principles

Former Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake, who will be the international policy director of the Cyber Policy Center in Stanford and an international policy fellow at the university's Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence starting in autumn, used her stage in Vienna for a fundamental speech: "Apart from the state-controlled Chinese system, which curtails civil liberties, we have the market-oriented model from the US that focuses on disrupting industries. By now, democracy itself has become threatened to get ruined in a process of disruption. Instead of governments, authoritarian regimes and tech corporations are in charge of regulation. Currently there is no national regulation according to which we can check whether the algorithms used by companies are discriminatory in effect." For Schaake, it is the rule of law - and not a moral compass - that makes the difference. "In regulating tech corporations and artificial intelligence, we should focus on the same important rules and principles that are applied to regulation elsewhere. The EU has the chance to become the global leader in regulation based on values, even if the institutions are highly pressured by lobbies." As some successful examples of EU regulations she cited net neutrality, rules of competition or the General Data Protection Regulation, which is widely regarded as an international benchmark.

Experts: leading role and special responsibility of the EU

Thomas Lohninger, Executive Director of epicenter.works in Vienna, explained, "We in the EU have the necessary regulatory power; we are just not sufficiently aware of it. Europe has only just woken up. It is the young generation that is currently building the foundations of the information society. The question is whether this happens democratically and with our fundamental rights in mind or according to the law of the jungle. Net politics does not only take place wherever politics changes the net but also where the net changes politics, giving us citizens a stronger voice in democracy." Joanna Goodey, Head of the Research and Data Unit of the Vienna-based EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, underlined, "Many discussions on voluntary corporate codes of conduct serve to deflect the attention, which strikes us as cynical. The fundamental rights are enforced through uniform rules that are the same for everyone. For this, however, we need adequately endowed authorities."

Policy Director of the ePaństwo Foundation in Warsaw Krzysztof Izdebski made an appeal for a committed, Europe-wide debate: "Technology is everywhere - we are already influenced by algorithms designed to reinforce certain biases. We lack know-how and awareness, for one part throughout society, for the other among authorities and political decision makers." Lucy Bernholz of the Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society added, "Though we cannot expect any political initiative from the US when it comes to regulation issues, it seems we can at least expect something from both large US companies and the Chinese state. We have become dependent on digital technologies in a matter of only 30 years. It should stand to reason that we have to apply well-known principles from other areas also to new regulation - but for this we have to call on civil society."

The exhibition "UNCANNY VALUES. Artificial Intelligence & You" is embedded in the Vienna Biennale for Change and addresses some of the questions debated. It will run at the MAK through 6 October 2019.

The clip on the event is permanently available at http://www.erstestiftung.org/de/200/. The Tipping Point Talks are ERSTE Foundation's contribution to the 200th anniversary of Erste Bank and Sparkassen. "Tipping Point Talk 04: AUDACITY" will take place in Vienna in November.

About ERSTE Foundation:

The main shareholder of Erste Group, ERSTE Foundation safeguards the independent future of one of the largest financial services provider in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. The foundation, which was the first savings bank foundation in Austria, labours to promote the common good, investing a part of its dividend in the region Erste Group does business in. We foster civil society, invest in social innovation and promote contemporary culture in Europe. www.erstestiftung.org

Find more pictures in the photo gallery of the Austrian Press Agency.

Questions & contact:
Tipping Point Talks Communication
Thomas Goiser
+43 664 2410268
thomas@goiser.at
ERSTE Foundation Communication
Maribel Königer
+43 664 8385341
maribel.koeniger@erstestiftung.org
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