Opinion RvK: What is it we want Europeans to understand?

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My scenario is breakdown of national states and EU under ten years if datalakes and the capabilities derived from that (predictive maintenance not just of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) but of all processes in society, AI running in and off Big Data creating new entities) are not under control of the actors collecting taxes. The choice is thus not about “privacy” or “security of devices”, but about continuing to function as a society able to offer generic infrastructures to its citizens. The focus on identity is related. Why would there be so many contenders for providing identity (WIN, Sovrin, ID2020, Uport/IoTA, eIDAS…) if the system itself of the nation state was “stable”? After Over The Top players (OTT) on services, the next logical step we will witness is OTT on systemic identity itself. Against this scenario I prefer a further European integration after the euro, which was the first step towards peace in Europe, on the full stack of infrastructure as a commons of 500 million people. With this in mind I offer a positive narrative of emergent technologies that can build a supporting infrastructure offering tailored solutions to individuals and groups.

Picture the current situation: a table full of delicacies, linen as white as snow, beautiful cutlery; you’ve invited your friends to dinner. Everyone is happy and deep in conversation. All realise, however, that nothing on that table is yours. You only (still) own the house in which you throw the party. GAFA: Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, and BAT: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, play on that table and they get richer every minute from our very own feedback. They build new services on top of that. You realise that at some point soon they will take over your house. They already offer to pay the rent of the patio, and do you really need the attic? You are in an uphill battle. You have no tools to fight off the invaders as you are only now, when it is too late, beginning to realise these friends you have invited are taking reality itself, what is “normal” to another level. And as the peasants learned how to tumble the knights from their horses, the world was never the same again.



The choice is thus not about “privacy” or “security of devices”, but about continuing to function as a society able to offer generic infrastructures to its citizens.

Governments have bought technology from the private sector for as long as anyone remembers. So what is the difference now, given the insightful but rather scary sentence I quote from above: data. It seems we - at least where I am in the USA - trust these corporations to gather and hold data about ourselves we would never have given to the government and probably wouldn’t still. I doubt most people have any idea that using these nifty phone services leads, or can lead, to a government being unable to perform its basic functions.