“Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral. Technology’s interaction with the social ecology is such that technical developments frequently have environmental, social, and human consequences that go far beyond the immediate purposes of the technical devices and practices themselves.”
Digitalization is one of the four priorities of Estonian Presidency. It is stated that Europe must exploit the benefits of technological progress that is bringing continuous change to citizens, businesses and governments. Secure communications, e-commerce, e-services and digital public services are paid attention to for facilitating everyday life of people, for the benefit of consumers, producers and businesses. From here, it is important to take the step forward and put the inevitable digitalization into the global context, link innovation, connectivity and e-solutions with global development. Estonia is the frontrunner of developing digital solutions in Europe. Why not use the knowledge, skills and attitudes that have been so beneficial for advancing the digital state of mind, for furthering the thoughts and perspectives on global sustainable development.
World Bank’s World Development Report 2016 “Digital Dividends” underlines the promises and challenges of development and digitalization. Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world. Digital dividends – the broader development beneﬁts from using these technologies – have lagged behind. In many instances, digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to beneﬁt everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”—by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable. (Digital Dividends 2016)
It seems clear that at the time of unprecedented technological advancements, the sky should be the only limit. However, this is not what is happening. Why? At the Digitalizing Development conference, we’ll be looking at a range of topics at the heart of digitalization used for global development. The format of the conference is participative, the talks, panels and working groups are aimed at inspiring all the participants and figuring out concrete solutions or next steps. At Tallinn, we’re creating a space for all stakeholders to dream together and to forge foundations for partnerships for bringing these dreams into life.
Status quo of digitalization in development. Where do we stand and where do we want to go? The future of development cooperation in “new times” that are already here.
Digital development vs digital colonialism. Net neutrality and access to information.
Cultural and social change – mitigation. What about mitigating the cultural and social change the digital future will bring about?
Entrepreneurship, sustainable economic growth. New technologies create opportunities. How to harvest these digital dividends?
Challenges of digitalization. Human rights, protection of data. Privacy and security to AI. When information is the power, could digitalization do more harm than good?
Innovation – Apps for change. How can private sector contribute?
Effectiveness and sustainability. Change in system, in organizations. Aid effectiveness in digital time – how to measure. What is the policy change needed?
Digital divide. What’s keeping us back? What steps we need to take to leap over the digital inequality? Can Africa leapfrog Europe over the course of digital age? World Bank report warns that when the analogue is missing, digitalization will not be much help – can digitalization help at all?