A European Internet of Things

Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of STOA, the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment body talks about misinformation, misperception, our right to choose and jobs as well as education and 5G networks.


In Europe we try because you know we are 28 different member states we have different law systems, different taxation, different mentalities, and different needs, different industries. So in order to harmonize environments we don't try to put more rules, we try to put more principles and to talk about values and rights. So what we try to do with innovation is to say that we have a main rule: it's quite general but it's really important we are innovation friendly. So this means you can think out of the box and the second thing we did is that we said you have to be business neutral so you have to allow space for different business models to take place and not compliment one or stop another one. And at the same time, you have to be technology neutral. There are so many technologies to achieve the same thing that we cannot favor one against the other. I give an example: we have different blockchains. If we would make specific legislation and we would just use one blockchain, we would favor it against another technology--another blockchain and we're not supposed to do that. We are there to be innovation friendly, which is the main principle. So this is basically what it means and I think at the moment Europe is working very well with these principles. If we see the need to do more and bring more rights like we use the right to be forgotten in order to facilitate innovation and the same time protect citizens. So we say in Europe you have the right to be forgotten of course as I said at the point where the right to information stops. This is something that we managed to do just in Europe and we hope that other countries would follow. The same thing we do with innovation friendly. There are countries that want innovation to adapt to the old boxes, to the old tools, to the old definitions. We are here to provide people and technologies with new definitions and try to be smart and flexible around it. And since we have disruptive technologies coming and maybe more that I cannot even think about besides AI or blockchain we have to make sure that they will come and they will find a positive regulation and friendly environment to explore in Europe. 



Europe for IOT has done really a lot. We have invested billions of euros into research. Actually a lot of new technologies have been invented in in Europe. I can say that 5G can give us access and the potential to do telemedicine without delays of the networks. It can improve the speed 10 times more than what we're used to and make things faster and safer for citizens. So if you have a vehicle that’s automatic and you go from one country to another you cannot afford interruption. You cannot have internet that’s interrupted. So we need to improve the networks in order to have this technology that can make our lives better to be able to work cross border and even in the same country. So 5G can offer that and this happened with a lot of investment. We invested heavily in these technologies. We still invest in brain research, AI, supercomputers because we see that quantum computing is coming and if you see member states of Europe and you compare it in a global ranking we're not competitive enough. We're not in the top 10. But if you add all of us together, so we have to work together, all the member states, then we can be competitive. So now we invest more money into achieving that. But I would say that we have called for more money and more investments into research and innovation and we try to have a smarter way of giving away this funding. So in order to keep also the industry close to the research and not to have this brain drain beyond Europe. And this is something we have to fix. One of the things that would help us a lot is that young people in Europe have access to learn and be educated, acquire digital skills, like coding lessons, blockchain lessons, especially for free. This would be really important if we want to in 10-15 years to lead in an environment where AI would be taking over. 



For fake news and disinformation (misinformation as we call it now) we're trying to set again some rules, to make sure that we would not have viral messages that come from fake accounts and can affect elections, or our lives, or create misperceptions. The problem is that we don't want to go to the other side where it's like to have a ministry of truth. So we try to find the gold balance where it would say that we will provide citizens with options and we will make sure that the companies themselves will try to protect citizens from misinformation. This means that they have to give you more options so if there is something that goes viral and it seems not accurate or it is disputed that you will see that it's being disputed, or you can see a different version of this article so you have the right to choose what to believe. We are also working in the European Parliament to make sure we provide you with scientific data. If we make a decision here, we are based on data that we get from scientists to make sure that these data are available to citizens so that they can believe or they can choose to believe what we are trying to do or what within the legislation can achieve. At the same time we cannot force them to choose because there are many different sides to one story, right? But I think what we have done already is helping a lot. And one of the things that we have not maybe mentioned is that it's more important to understand that a misperception can happen without fake news but if you have a huge amount of negative news this could change your mood, it could change your decision. You can subconsciously be affected. So we have also to educate people to understand that if the content they see is changed, altered, and manipulated. So this is one of the main points I would like to make and the second for the future of work at the moment we have studies that show that whenever innovation took place more jobs were created or other jobs were created and we adapted quite fast. With AI we are a bit worried that maybe we are a bit slow because as I said in a speech, if you don't have digital skills now, then in 10-15 years we're going to have a huge gap of digital skills. If jobs require digital skills, like 70 to 80 percent of the jobs, that we're going to have issues. But what we are trying to do is to make sure that people can have access to be educated, to education, and courses and lessons of coding. At the same time we try to make sure that innovation will happen at a speed that we can follow up. We have already been discussing the ideal for minimum wage, income for citizens that could lose their jobs from new technologies. I hope that we will be smart and flexible and especially Europe will protect citizens and we’ll be a haven of trust and quality.