“Digitalization cannot be a detriment of rights”
Ensuring that technological transformation ensures an “inclusive and fair growth, not just economic growth”, this was the message of the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures, Roberto Sánchez, during The future of digitalisation dialogues held at UPF Barcelona School of Management. Sánchez has warned that digitalisation “cannot be a detriment of rights".
The Spanish government and the European institutions, as well as 70 other institutions, have impulsed this dialogues with the participation of experts and managers of large companies.
"We must face digitalization with a point of humanism typical of European culture"
The Catalan Minister of Foreign Action and the Open Government, Victòria Alsina, the first lieutenant mayor of Ajuntament de Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, and the Rector of Pompeu Fabra University, Oriol Amat, talked at the opening session.
The Rector of the UPF has referred to the good things and opportunities of digitisation in the world of teaching and university in relation to the world of enterprise. In this regard, he regretted that "there is a gap between what universities teach and what society demands. Public universities in Spain still have little connection with the business sector".
In his speech, the Secretary of State stressed that “our challenge is to ensure that modernisation ensures inclusive and fair growth, not just economic growth". Thus Sánchez has advocated "to face digitalization with a point of humanism typical of European culture".
According to the Secretary of State, this recipe for addressing the challenges posed by society following the covid-19 pandemic, marked by the technological revolution, must serve as a “do not leave anyone behind” and must contribute to the digital transformation not being detrimental to citizens' rights.
“We must be very careful to do it well," he stressed. Sánchez has also highlighted the opportunity open with the European recovery funds as they will allow, he said, “we will be investing in six years the equivalent of what we have invested in 30 years”, referring to the EUR 140 billion allocated to Spain.
In her speech, Minister Alsina has asked to experiment more with more pilot tests from the public sector and “wait a little” to regulate technology. "It is better to wait (...), to prove what works and what does not and regulate afterwards," she said.
“Experimentation is a word that is banned in the public sector, because wastage of public resources is very dangerous and tempting”
“Experimentation is a word that is banned in the public sector, because wastage of public resources is very dangerous and tempting” the Minister pointed out. Alsina has also placed public-private partnerships as a driving force for change, as learning to use collective intelligence, which she defines as taking advantage of ideas of companies as well.
For his part, Collboni has advocated that the digitalisation process should “avoid new inequalities”, and should “strengthening social cohesion”.
This is precisely why he has warned that if “the market marks the pattern, there will be a concentration effect of large oligopolies and platforms which (...) does not correspond to the European social model”, whose mission must, in his view, be “improving the life of citizens”.
During the two days, there has been dialogues about the advantages of digitalization of businesses, industry and ecological transition with representatives of Telefónica, IBM, Indra, Cellnex, Cisco, Orange or HP and startups such as Dribia or experts such as Carme Colomina, Principal Investigator and Editor of the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs or Ana Freire, Director of the UPF Barcelona School of Management Technology Area.