THE PROGRAM FOR THE 8th OF OCTOBER
The future of work, economics, and society depends not only on science, research, and companies but mainly on the government’s ability to lead us. The government can take lead towards the creation of the right conditions and assist with digital disruption, primarily in the automation of manufacturing and other services. Additionally, fundamental changes not only in the local labour market but also on a regional and global level. The new European Commission has a difficult task – to utilize AI as an opportunity to converge between the individual economies of the EU within the next five years and to keep up with the USA and China. At the same time, it needs to conserve the EU ideals, security, and respect for fundamental rights as a crucial concurrent advantage, but also to assist the new and upcoming unicorns to grow and prosper on the EU continent. Nearly a hundred years ago, in 1920, the Čapek brothers invented the word “robot” as a term for intelligent machines. Today, the term is much further from science fiction and closer to reality. The way we face these challenges will decide our future for the remaining 21st century – setting the agenda for the New Europe.
PANEL 1: FUTURE OF JOBS, COMPANIES AND SOCIAL CONTRACT
The European Union is a place that is historically bound to be associated with the development of modern technologies. For innovative startups, we usually have to look at the USA or Asian countries such as China or South Korea. The Czech Republic is preparing for automatization and robotization of work with a strategy called “The Country for The Future”, which should place this country among the most innovative countries of Europe by 2030.
Have we really “missed the boat” or is it just that the attractive and sharp little companies are not visible enough? Is Europe currently missing out on modern and purposeful industrial politics that could start up research and development? How global could Czech startup ambitions be? And how is it going to influence the Czech economy, currently dependent mainly on the industrial politics, in the future? Do we need a state fund for startups? Are the state innovative strategies being fulfilled? Foreign incoming payments and data must be adequately protected. What can be done for it?
PANEL 2: AI FOR CITIZENS SAFETY
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is advancing rapidly around the world. With key developments emerging constantly, from the onset of deep fake videos online, autonomous driving vehicles, to advanced algorithms capable of machine learning and predictive analysis. According to the AI Global Surveillance (AIGS) Index. At least seventy-five out of 176 countries globally are actively using AI technologies for surveillance purposes. This includes: smart city/safe city platforms (fifty-six countries), facial recognition systems (sixty-four countries), and smart policing (fifty-two countries).
Additional key findings include that Liberal democracies are major users of AI surveillance. The index shows that 51 percent of advanced democracies deploy AI surveillance systems. In contrast, 37 percent of closed autocratic states, 41 percent of electoral autocratic/competitive autocratic states, and 41 percent of electoral democracies/illiberal democracies deploy AI surveillance technology.
PANEL 3: DIGITALIZED TRANSPORT SYSTEM AS THE KEY TO THE COMPETITIVENESS
The automotive industry utterly represents a key segment in the Czech export-oriented economy. Automotive constitutes nearly one quarter of the exports – which is almost ten percent of the Czech GDP – and it employs 150 thousand people. Nevertheless, its influence is much greater than these numbers indicate. Therefore, the new technologies arriving alongside with major changes are essential for our future prosperity, competitiveness and sustainable development. It is necessary to maintain and strengthen the position of the Czech automotive industry, not only on the European scene but also on the international level. Modern technologies such as digitalization, alternative propulsion systems (electromobility) and autonomous driving can be a threat and a big advantage for the Czech Republic at the same time. If the state creates convenient conditions, supports the private sector and establishes clear and effective rules, we can become one of the world leaders in the area of the development of the new means of mobility.
Are we fulfilling the memorandum made by the government with the Car Industry Association in 2017, in which the government promised to support digitalization, autonomous driving and electromobility? Why is it often said that we cannot build a large infrastructure, such as high-speed rails?
THE PROGRAM FOR THE 9th OF OCTOBER
One of the many present-day challenges to democracy is that it is threatened from within and from the outside. Accordingly, the new European Commission has placed into the portfolio of the Czech European Commissioner, Věra Jourová, the responsibility for the defense of democracy, and for Margaritis Schinas to “protect the European way of life.” Leaving the question exactly what that will mean and how it will affect the European Commission suggestions in the next five years remains open. Given the importance of social media and the transfer of public debate to such a platform, there are great challenges regarding how European member states will react and address these matters. It is also necessary to continue the European education progression. It is more evident that the new labor force lacks much needed and coveted skills which are being requested by prospective employers. The education system must be given much more attention as well as additional funding from EU member states at this pivotal point to ensure a successful prospective future.
PANEL 1: FUTURE OF EDUCATION IN THE EU
Dynamic development of modern technologies, automatization and progressive digitalization represent instant challenges for the educational systems of all member states of the European Union. It is the transformations of the goals and the content of education alongside with the teaching methods themselves directly in schools that are the key instruments on how to be able to react to this phenomenon.
How will the education of our kids change regarding the development of digital literacy and digital competences in the Czech Republic, as well as in the other European countries?
PANEL 2: FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT AND DEMOCRACY
Democratic institutions around the world face the same problem. These are digital threats. The Czech Republic, which has often faced cyber attacks against central state administration bodies, is no exception. There are also activities aimed at influencing public opinion. For example, the Security Information Service highlights Russian information activities in the Czech Republic. The National Central Office against Organized Crime assessed the activity of the so-called alternative media as a threat to the future. According to the police officers, they share the same themes and attitudes with populist entities and can thus support the clarity and radical views of their addressees.
The European Commission is also responding to new threats. In December 2018, it presented an action plan against disinformation, which includes components such as the establishment of an early warning system, enhanced cooperation with private sector actors, increased resilience and enhanced strategic communication. The new commission also aims to prepare legislation to ensure, among other things, greater transparency in the field of paid political advertising.
How do society and democratic processes change with the growth of the Internet and social networks? In particular, what should we be vigilant about? How should we proceed against the agents of misinformation, whether they are state or non-state actors? What will the future relationship between public institutions and internet giants look like if they often pursue different interests?