martes, 17 de julio de 2018

Our responsibility on the digital revolution

I am currently reading "The Folly of Technological Solutionism" by Evgeny Morozov. The book is a must read essay on the many dangers to a democratic society that Internet and technoloy are seeding. One of them is the destruction of any possibility of dissent. In Mozorov´s words, we are close "to build a technological environment where lawbreaking is impossible" and, therefore,  the outcome will be " to close the important social valves through which social change happens."

We are witnessing the dawn of a "Black Mirror" alike society. The TV distopia looks as closer to be real each day. At least it´s what it is pointing byt the pieces of news of a system for rating people in China to detect dissidents, the ever expanding usage of algorithms for detecting situations  and areas where crimes could arise or the build of robots for policing missions. Soon, lawbreaking will be impossible and therefore any form of social dissent would be in danger.

Few times we reflect about the origins of the inventions described above. We see those digital applications as coming from thin air, the press usually described them as an outcome from the evolution with few human intervention. But the reality is that companies and persons has produced them. A couple of months ago an article in The Guardian recalled this and the benefits that companies obtain from this activity. The same article started with a remembrance on how IBM´s puching-machines paves the way to the Holocaust.

Perhaps it is the right time to open the debate of the ethical limits of the technology workers activity. Furthermre, also our responsibility as consumers of digital products and services who are fueling the perfectioning of them for its usage in different spheres. Digitalisation is not happening in the vacuum, all of us have some responsibility on it.

martes, 10 de julio de 2018

Connected mobility: One of the cross-roads for 5G development in EU

The completion of the Digital Single Market will change once for all the European economy. On top of the shared digital economy space many applications will be more easy adopted. One of these applications are connected mobility. In order to to make Europe a world leader in the deployment of connected and automated mobility, the European Commission adopted in May a communication which sets the strategy for the mobility of the future.

One of the elements of the strategy is the adoption by the end of 2018 of a delegated regulation under the Intelligent Transport Systems Directive to ensure secured and trustful communications between vehicles and infrastructure. This legislation may be the cornerstone for a sophisticated market of entertainment and business services and products which revenues could exceed EUR 620 billion by 2025 for the EU automotive industry and EUR 180 billion for the EU electronic sector. As a consequence, the fight wthin the EU Council  and the EU parliament spurred by lobbys has already started.

The core of the fight is related with the role 5G will play in the legislation. Currently, cars are equipped with V2V technology based on wifi and there is a fear among many that the EU Commission will not impose any interoperability obligation between this systems with the forthcoming 5G infrastructure. While others are against given any prominence to 5G and judges that "imposing interoperability on the market warrants the same response as imposing one single technology: it stifles competition".

But will it be possible to fully develop  the V2V market without 5G interoperability? Many think-tanks and researchers do not see it possible and see 5G as the key for the develop V2V market. However, others thing that linked V2V to 5G will delay V2V development due to the lavk of maturity (and availability) of the new cellular technology. At the same time, telecom operators willnot be interested in the deployment of 5G networks along roads without a ceratinty that this infrastructure will be used and provide a reasonable ROI.

So we have arrive a new chicken and the egg problem. 5G is the key for the development and digitalisation of many industries, but at the same time needs a demand from this industries in the medium short-term. The adoption of 5G as a standard in connected mobility is one of the many cross-roads that 5G development in EU will face in the next years.

martes, 3 de julio de 2018

Digital Single Market: Where are we?

After two years of regulatory frenzy, the Digital single Market Stratefy is close to its completion. Although all the initial proposals put forward by the European Commission has been sustancially changed, the number of EU digital regulations have been multiplied by four (from less than two decens to nearly half hundred). It would be difficult to say from now on that the digital dimension of the single market is an space without law. 

The importance of the work already done was forseseen in its inception. The main global think-tanks that published analysis on the future of Europe a couple of years ago included a chapter about the digital outlook. Perhaps it is time to reviews if the former goals are now a reality: Elimination of cross-border barriers, establishing the pillars of a data economy and the creation of a level playing field.

Firstly, certainly the cross-border barriers for digital trade has decreased. The end of roaming charges, the ban on geoblocking, portability for digital content suscriptions  and other regulations has armonised the digital regulatory approach. P2B relationship regulation now under debate will be the final milestone to be reach. The fragmentation of the digital European market has been certainly avoid in a high degree. 

Secondly, the flow of data across Europe will be easier from now on. Beyond the GDPR, a regulation on the free flow of non personal data has been also approved. Location restrictions on data will need to be justified and the mere legacy of the Gutenberg era will not be a reason anymore.

However, it is not so clear that the third objective regarding establishing a level playing has been achieved. There are suspicions that the innovative regulations as the GDPR, the forthcoming copyright directive or the P2B regulation will benefit the bigger platforms more than limiting their power. Comply with the GDPR or  developing the automatic copyright filters will be easy to develop for the Google of Facebook but perhaps more difficult for small european start-ups.

Lights and shadows. For the next five years, the task of the next European Commission should be to monitorise and observe the outcomes and try to assess if things has been develop the right way or some excess should be corrected.
palyginti kainas