We present here below the commentaries of Associazione Culturale Dialexis to the consultations of the European Movement on the EU technology policy, within the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
1. Which fundamental values, rights and principles should guide the EU’s policies shaping Europe’s digital transition?
The expression “values” is often utilised in an improper way (Rémi Brague). Introduced into the cultural discourse by Nietzsche, by the expression “Umwandlung aller Werte”, it has, first of all, a commercial backtaste (values which are traded on a marketplace), and, from another point of view, “values”are conceived as continuously changing (“Umwandlung”), as they factually are. This conception is paradoxically in stark contradiction with the idea, dear to UE politicians and Churches, that “values” are “not negotiable”(Benedict XVI), and “valid in any time and in any place”(George Bush Jr.).
For avoiding any misunderstanding, we will use, for the present purposes, the wording “Concrete political ideals”, introduced by Martin Buber and accepted also by Benedict XVI.
Now, we think that the Concrete Political Project which should lead the legislative activities of the European Union as concerns Digital Transition in front of the challenge of Artificial Intelligence (Including first of all the Conference for the Future of Europe) should be:
(i) the Survival of Mankind, jeopardized by the unlimited autonomisation of the technological and digital complex from the control of culture and politics, in first instance via the control over on the outperformance of Mankind by Artificial Intelligence (Čapek, Asimov, von Neumann, Kurzweil, Joy, Hawking, Rees), and, first of all, the automatization of warfare (de Landa)
(ii)The rejuvenation of “natural” humanity, as shaped by Axial Civilisations, with its objective of an equitable balance of right and duties, and a corresponding relationship with nature (“suum cuique tribuere”).
Also the term “Rights” is often utilised in an improper way, since “rights” are just one of the faces of a relationship, the other being “duties”. So, there are no rights without a corresponding duty imposed on anther legal subject (be it other citizens, enterprises, the State or foreign powers). Relationships which are in urgent danger and which Europe should protect are the ones deriving from its pluralistic traditions, and, in particular:
(i)The traditional freedoms – of conscience, of expression and of association-, jeopardised by hidden persuasion, opinion crimes, political correctness, mass surveillance, fake news, web censorship, and prosecution of whistleblowers;
(ii)Privacy, put at jeopardy by the ineffectiveness of consent policies, the omnipresence intelligence agencies, international treaties breaching the citizens’ rights, non compliance with GDPR and with the Court of Justice’s judgements;
(iii)Non discrimination of European enterprises and citizens with regards to the GAFAM, for tax treatment as well as to freedom of speech, presently completely ignored by ourt comntinent’s legislators;
(iv)reverse discriminations brought about by all forms of “affirmative action”.
The policy guidelines which, according to us, shyould enable the European Union to achieve its Concrete Political Objective of item A) while protecting the relationships of item B) should be:
(i)Recognizance that the emergence of Artificial Intelligence has put in jeopardy the bases of post-war world arrangements (Western hegemony; Cold War political systems, European welfare, industrial society).with the risk, for both the European Union and the European Movement, to have become obsolete, unless they affirm their specific point of view and their leadership on the ongoing change of paradigm.
(ii)Putting Artificial Intelligence at the centre of the Conference on the Future of Europe, of the ten-year European Economic Plan proposed by France and of the programs of the European Movement. In fact, all activities of Mankind (from religion to handworking, from culture to economy, from art to warfare, from politics to administration, are presently carried out (and still more will be carried out within ten years) by Artificial Intelligence. So, it is impossible to think of a future of Europe outside Artificial Inytelligence, so as it is impossioble to think of the USA without the NSCAI Commission and of China without China Standards 2030.
(iii)Education of Europeans to man-machine interface, at all level of schooling and in lifelong learning. The attention of Europe for education, and, specifically, for technological education, is not even comparable with the one of other areas of the world, and, in particular, with the ones of Asia. Already this trend condemns Europe to underdevelopment.
(iv)Superiority of culture on politics, of politics on economy, to be achieved by enhancing the independence of teaching, the representation of academy at political level, a European Economic planning as requested by France and Germany, but never done,a, strict application of the rule of law towards economic powers (lobbies, finance, multinationals, trusts), workers’ participation according to the Betriebsverfassungsgesetz and the Directives on European Workers Councils;
(v)A Strategical sovereignty of Europe, as requested by Macron, Altmeier and Borrell, but never really pursued, to be achieved by a cultural transformation of the ruling classes, by new curricula, more respectful of both science and classical cultures, the study of the policies of great powers, the creation of an appropriate economic and defence governance,the technological fall out of cyberwar on the whole European digital sector, transparency in the relationships with multinationals;
(vi)A political decision for a transition from “followers” to “leaders”, like it is happening in China under our eyes in the cultural, political, economic, social, technological and military fields (see Pieranni, Lo Specchio Rosso; David P.Goldman, You will be assimilated);
(viii)A market-enhancing policy, able to remedy, by strategical interventions of the public sector, to the gigantic market failure of Europe vis-à-vis USA and China , to be achieved by fostering the birth of a plurality of European enterprises in all sectors and by an adequate antitrust reform;
(ix)A really progressive taxation of digital enterprises, avoiding to tax Web giants less than European SME and citizens, so reversing half a century of shameless privileges, which not even the recent decision of the G7 is able to challenge (Alain Denault,Le Monde Diplomatuique, July 2021);;
2. How can the EU strike a balance between regulating the tech industry and promoting fair competition and digital innovation in Europe?
A)CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN THEORY AND REALITY
There should be no conflict among regulation, fair competition and digital innovation in Europe, if European academy, public opinion, politics and media would nurture an objective vision of the following facts:
(i)presently, all high tech companies operating in Europe are US worldwide monopolies, with tight connections with the military-bureacratic complex;
(ii)de facto, there is a subordination of the policies of member States an d of European Institutions towards the GAFAM;
(iii)After years of threats, to the GAFAM, by European Institutions, only Biden has succeded in taking a limited step against them (the 15% minimum tax), what shows all powerlessness of the EU vis-à vis the US Digital-military complex;
(iii) already in 1960 ,the Olivetti Case (see Meryle Secrest. The mysterious Affair at Olivetti) that European Digital enterprises had been severely boycotted in Italy for engaging in competition with the US;
(iv)European Institutions have subcontracted since more than 10 years all of their digital activities to Microsoft notwithstanding the warnings of the EDPB;
(v)as stated still recently by Max Schrems,after the “Schrems II Decision” of the Court of Justice:
-only a fraction of European businesses have moved towards hosting personal data in Europe, or other safe regions, as required by the “Schrems Decisions”;:
-a hoard of industry lawyers and US cloud providers, instead of investing in secure IT systems, invest in PR efforts that fake compliance with the Shrems Decisions;
-of the 101 model complaints noyb (Schrems’ organisation) filed following “Schreems II”, none have yet been decided, despite the creation of a task force by DPAs;
-the original complaint on Facebook, filed in 2013, was delayed by an unnecessary second investigation by the Irish Data Protection Commission;
-the European Commission is muddying the waters by issuing new transfer tools, like “Standard Contractual Clauses“, that carefully by-pass a clear say on EU-US transfers and allow industry lawyers to avoid long-term solutions;
-there seems to be little to no appetite to change the root of the problem: overreaching US surveillance laws.
-unless the US industry heavily lobbies Washington to improve protections for foreign customers, it is unlikely that US surveillance laws will change;
-a long-term solution can only be some form of “no spy” agreement, requested by Merkel more than 10 years ago, among democratic nations that protects users’ human right to privacy independent of location and citizenship.
B)REGULATORY PRECONDITIONS FOR THE BIRTH OF A EUROPEAN DIGITAL INDUSTRY:
Digital innovation in Europe can be started only by:
– preventing in our Continent undue influences of the US bureaucratic-military complex, what President Eisenhower had invited Americans to do already 70 years ago;
– creating IMMEDIATELY continental champions in Europe alongside the Arianespace, Airbus, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Huawei, ZTE, models;
-allowing tax holidays and low cost financing for European infant industries while taxing monopolies at least at full amount (the 60% real tax impact of the average European enterprise, NOT THE 15% of the Biden proposal);
-dismantling digital monopolies alongside the Standard Oil, AT&T, SKF and GE-Honeywell models;
-allowing a European Preference to European high tech; enterprises in public procurement, alongside the patterns of European defence procurement;
– creating a sole European Technology Agency programming, coordinating, implementing and controlling legislation, financing, research, development, creation and transformation of of companies, curricula, schools, lifelong learning, cooperation between Civil and Military, according to the German, US and Chinese examples, as well as of the US DARPA and the Vatican RenAIsssance Foundation;
-setting precise targets and deadlines, in the European Ten-year Plan proposed by France, to the specific achievements of European legislation and economy in the high tech field, as done by the Chinese by the “Made in China 2025” Plan.
3. What elements of the EU’s plans to regulate digital services and online platforms should be further strengthened or emphasised? What role should civil society play in the oversight of digital platforms?
A)ELEMENTS OF EU PLANS TO BE STRENGTHENED:
(i)Utilising Artificial Intelligence not as an object to be programmed, but as the tool number one for working out the Master Plan for the future of Europe, based upon the study of:
futurological assumptions extracted from Big Data;
-working out of models for geopolitical strategies;
(ii)Merging ESA, ETI, GAIA-X and the European Defence Fund into the European Technology Agency (see our book European Technology Agency);
(iii)Creating a European Digital Academy and a European Military Academy as proposed by the European Parliament and by the French Government, alongside what suggested in the US by the NSCAI Commission, in order to enhance a European Culture of Digital Humanism (nida-Ruemelin), with the links among digital industry, culture and territory proposed by Adriano Olivetti;
(iv )Merging the existing European police and cybersecurity agencies into a full-fledged European Intelligence Service, as the initial cell of the future European Army;
(v)Re-founding European Antitrust in order to take into account that platforms are not just enterprises, but a hybrid of Churches, parties, banks, enterprises and intelligence services, and that they monopolize worldwide culture, military, politics, economy and society. As a consequence, they should be subject to the principles of separation of State and Church, of the democratic governance of parties, of banking and stock exchange regulations, or the law on State secrets and on the freedom of culture, and of military laws…
(vi)Starting to seriously implement the two Schrems Judgements and the Resolutions of the European Data Protection Board concerning the GDPR, and in any case forbidding any transfer, by Institutions, States or enterprises, of the Europeans’ data into countries where they are made accessible to a foreign State administration;
(vii)Introducing a Web Tax wherever possible notwithstanding the requests of both the United States and the European tax heavens, including the recovery of moneys lost because of past breaches of law or help to GAFAM by European tax heavens. As explained by Alain Deneault in Le Monde Diplomatique of July 2021, the 15% minimum tax proposed at the G7 by President Biden is not sufficient for restoring equal treatment with the usual European enterprise who pay an average of 60%;
(viii)Seriously pursuing Member States which (like Ireland, but not only) boycott European policies for complacency towards GAFAM, and recovering taxes not perceived in the past;
(ix)Writing into the proposed European Ten Year Economic Plan the ideas that the Digital Ecosystem is a basic element of European Culture, European Security and EuropeanEconomy, and that, therefore, the whole technological and economic cycle of digital industries must be mastered inside Europe, and governed, as such, by special security regulation;
(x)Instead of the present lack of competition among platforms, putting European Platforms in a position to compete among themselves and with third parties on the European market and worldwide, so as China has made its own platforms competitive both at home and abroad;
(xi)To become really the “Trendsetter of the Worldwide Debate on Digital”, signing agreements on an equal footing with all worldwide players on the above principles: non-spying, non-interference, war prevention, antitrust, fair taxation.
B)ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE OVERSIGHT OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS
In the consulting procedures and in the governing bodies entrusted with control over the digital governance of the European Digital Ecosystem, the influence of GAFAM and of the European specialists colonized by GAFAM should be balanced by representatives of organisations and culture independent from the GAFAM, moved by different worldviews, with the aim to create a genuinely European digital ruling class of the Digital Ecosystem.
In particular, the European Movement International, being the forerunner of European Citizens fighting for the unification and freedom of Europe, must claim a leading role in the oversight of the Digital-Military complex, both as a challenging representative of civil society and as an institutional representative inside the governance bodies odf the European Economic Planning, and, in particular, of the European Technology Agency. For this purpose, the European Movement International shall develop internally the necessary skills.
4. What skills will be most relevant for the digital transition and how can citizens, businesses, and policymakers be better equipped?
(i)Awareness of the philosophical, historical, political, technical, legal, economic and military nature of digital transition (studying the history of philosophy, science and digitalisation, geopolitics, strategic sciences);
(ii)General cultural education strengthening citizen’s stamina for the difficult struggles of digital transition and worldwide competition, as demonstrated by the Red Army producing Lieutenant-Colonel Petrov, as well the US Army producing Edward Snowden, both freedom fighters in the interests of the whole Mankind;
(iii)Coupling engineering and multipolar humanistic culture with managerial and political skills;
(iv)Strong civic engagement of all people involved in the transition;
(v)Protection worldwide of the fighters for the control by Mankind over Intelligent Machines (like Assange and Snowden), who must be sustained, if necessary intervening with the US and UK administrations, as suggested by Holger Stark in the front page of Die Zeit of July, 15th.
5. How can the EU protect social standards and workers’ rights in the digital transition?
European Labor Law, which has expressed special standards and labour rights, is the heir of long standing European traditions , starting with guilds, Christian Social Doctrine, arriving at the European Social Market Society, based on the idea of workers’ participation as a “Jus Activae Civitatis”.
Its principles are not limited to the declining Industrial Era, but, adequately modified, are apt to substantiate a brand-new Society of Intelligent Machines governed by Digital Humanism.
For this aim, cultural, ideological, political, legal and social bases must be adequated, by doctrine, politics, entrepreneurship, trade unions and workers’creativity and collective action, to the changed social needs:
(i)By planning and implementing a deep restructuring of European Industry, with the upskilling of every present role in the economy, and the objective to transform all workers into digital-self employed, integrated within large organisations, financially supported by the public sector and protected by collective rules on workers’ participation;
(ii)By coordinating the transformation of industry with the enhancement of all skills, so that organisations evolve in parallel with their members;
(iii)By enhancing productivity, so that economy may transfer always higher shares of revenue to culture and services to the public, so to have a competent ruling class, as necessary to govern a post-industrial superpower.
6. How can Europe ensure that the digital transition benefits the environment and supports the EU’s environmental and climate ambitions?
European climate ambitions are fully justified by Europe’s cultural heritage of harmony between man and nature in classical and Christian societies, as well as of the romantic revolt against the evils of industrialisation. These heritages must be re-interpreted alongside the needs of the society of Intelligent Machines and of Digital Humanism, overcoming the present contradictions between environmental choice and its practical hurdles, such as the centrality in European economy of strong energy-consuming activities, like private transportation,and mass events and the same fact that digital devices (including ecological ones, like electrical cars) are presently often more energy-consuming than old, non digital, ones.
The environmental and climate ambitions of Europe may be achieved:
-by transforming the present days “quantitative” approach into a “qualitative approach” (“Deep Ecology”), where environment becomes just an element of a Europe conceived as a bulwark of culture, as hinted in the Encyclica “Laudato sì”;
-by mastering the technical side of digital transition, whereby the technologies for the Green Deal will not be purchased abroad, but developed in Europe having in mind Deep Ecology;
-by utilising Artificial Intelligence for understanding the overall impact of the ongoing transformations, such as the warming of the Arctic Region, the desertification of the Tropics, the migration and infrastructural needs, to be negotiated with all partners worldwide:
7. How can Europe’s digital transition strengthen other policy areas and sectors (incl. health, education, culture, etc.)?
First of all, the European Union has to oversight the modalities of the digital transition utilised by States and corporations, which is carried out, presently, in an abusive way, where, by ineffective and cumbersome digital bureaucracies, the costs and inefficiencies of both public and private sectors are put on trhe shoulders of citizens, who are obliged to painful extra work for obtaining satisfaction of their rights via digital procedures which are much more time consuming than the previous paper-based ones.
It is a typical example of how digital transition will change dramatically all professions.
Via digitalisation, a single “digital physician” may manage autonomously a whole clinic, from exams, to diagnoses, to hospitalisation and bureaucratic aspects (first of all, tracing medical histories of patients and of entire populations). Huge shared databases will allow to follow-up all evolutions of sciences, and medical robots will take care of patients.
The European Union shall launch financing and organisational programs for restructuring healthcare alongside the same patterns of industry and administration, with a tight network of State Institutions, autonomous administrations healthcare corporations and self-employed professionals, holders of sophisticated medical infrastructures
The recent experience of confinement says that DAD has not achieved good results over the pandemic, but we must recognize that, during this period, DAD has been utilized in an emergency mood, not on a regular basis, nor taking profit of all techniques of remote learning, which would allow it to be much more intriguing. By the way, a large amount of University students learn today via DAD, which, under many circumstances, is even more appropriate, like for instance for technical matters or for research of international literature.
The humanistic and human side of education should be furthered via associations, arts and sport, by civil service and the union of civil and military.
Europe would be a cultural superpower if it would join an increased awareness of the strength of its cultural identity with an appropriate utilisation of the most modern techniques:
(i)language pluralism: This is particularly important for Europe, where we need to enhance at the same time the knowledge:
-of our ancient cultures (Middle East, ClassicaL, abramitic,);
-of the classical cultures of the world (Asiatic, African, pre-Colombian);
-of all countries of Europe (modern, post-modern).
(ii)Art and performing arts: The whole European cultural heritage shall be transformed into digital resources, in order to make it available worldwide, as a basis for the widespread knowledge of our culture, an enhancement to tourism and education to European Identity.
8. Considering the increasing geopolitical competition and rising external security threats, how can Europe ensure digital sovereignty while protecting citizens’ rights?:
A)Creating an organic European Digital Ecosystem, including:
(i)A European Digital Governance, including:the European Technology Agency, the European Digital Champions, the European Intelligence Service, the European Army
(ii)a true European Army, focussed on defence culture (Academy), cyberwar, technological fall-down of military technologies, people’s self defence, against all kind of threats (“tous les azimouts”);
(iii)A European digital law code (see our book “Codex Iuris Technologici”), including:-international law; military law; constitutional law; administrative law; commercial law; civil law; criminal law; antitrust law; financial law; technical law; industrial property law; digital procedural law;
(iv)Platforms for the diffusion of European Identity alongside the ones of DW, al-Jazeera and CGTN.
B)By strictly implementing the existing DGPR, first of all blocking all illegal transfers and abusive intelligence activities, and secondly fully utilizing the opportunities offered bu GAIA-X and by QWANT;
C)By negotiating with all partners of the world a series of treaties on Precautionary Principle, Hair Trigger Alert; no-spying; no extraterritoriality; universal early prevention of conflicts—
ADDITIONAL REMARKS (CONCLUSIONS):
Digital Transition is the transformation of human civilisation from the Industrial Era to the Era of Spiritual Machines (Ray Kurzweil).
As a consequence, it represents a change of paradigm (von Bartholffy), such as the passage to the Stone or to the Metallic Ages. Al aspects of mind, culture, language, society, are involved (artificial intelligence, multipolar culture, post-industrial economy).
The European construction may not remain unaffected. The crisis of the European Union derives indirectly from the absence of Digitalisation from the core of European life. Presently, Europe plays just a passive role in Digital Transition. Notwithstanding the rhetoric of European politics, EU’s regulatory activities do not play any relevant role in world economy or politics, because Europe has no digital industry, and it cannot pretend that other countries apply its rules.
This implies a subordinate role of Europe in culture, research, military, economy, intelligence, society, today, vis-à-vis the US; tomorrow, possibly, also of other players.
For becoming relevant in all areas of human life, Europe must create its own digital enterprises. This must be the first priority of Europe in the next few years. For this aim, it must launch, at the beginning of next year, within the framework of the European Ten Years Economic Plan, the creation of at least a European Digital Finance Institution, of a European Search Engine, of a European e.Commerce Platform, of a European Social Network, of a European e.Payments platform.
In order to make sense in the present historical moment, also the European Movement shall make, of this battle for a Sovereign Digital Ecosystem, promised by Macron and Borrell ( but never started), its core activity, on which history will measure its effectiveness.
The publishing house Alpina, together with Associazione Culturale Diàlexis, has published, in the last 10 years, 5 books about the impacts, for Europe, of the digital transition.
Two of them, in English, are attached hereto:
-Re-starting EU Economy via Technology-Intensive Industries (2014);
-European Digital Agency (2020), which will be presented at the Salone Internazionale del Libro of Torino (14-18 October).
Both have been widely diffused throughout European Institutions and the Governments of Member States
Associazione Culturale Diàlexis would be happy to discuss this matter with the European Movement at the next “Cantieri d’ Europa” within Torino book Fair or otherwise, and cooperate to a thorough transformation of political discourse in Europe.
Moreover, public events, both inside and outside the Conference, shall be organized
For Associazione Culturale Diàlexis,
Legend: Cep = Centres for European Policy Network FREIBURG | BERLIN | PARIS | ROMA