These days marks the 30th anniversary of the invention of the internet. In March of 1989 Tim Berners-Lee wrote the memorandum "Information Management: A Proposal"That illuminated the world Wide Web. This event coincides with the introduction of 5G technology, whose latency and download speed propose an evolution of mobility that will facilitate the explosion of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the augmented.
The 30 years of travel and the great momentum that is about to arrive invite us to analyze the role played by Europe in the development of digitalisation. Undoubtedly the greatest transformation that the human being has experienced in decades.
The website was incubated from CERN based in Geneva. The global presentation of the 5G was made at the MWC in Barcelona. Europe has been at the genesis of the great advances in information technology and mobility. We need to ask ourselves some questions:
Have we known how to take advantage of this condition?of pioneers in Europe?
The US has the largest technological giants and the best innovation ecosystem on its west coast. China has the largest market in the world and an almost unlimited investment capacity. Europe today does not have technological giants, it does not have innovation ecosystems of global scale and it does not have unlimited investment capacity. If we stick to the current position, we have not taken advantage of our temporary advantage, nor are we placed in the first (or second) position on the grid.
Does Europe have any chance of competing with the US and China?
Microsoft decided in 2016 to bet on the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) proposed by the EU that came into effect in May 2018. At the end of that same year 2018, Microsoft overtook Apple as a world leader in market capitalization and is perceived today as a responsible and respectful company with the citizen and collaborative with the companies. Europe has done it again. It has returned to innovate, it has returned to be a pioneer, this time in creating a legal framework for action, but it has been a global company based in the USA that has known how to make the most of this European "invention".
Europe's potential lies in the strength of its values; in data protection, but also in other intrinsic European values such as "ethics". For this reason, the EC has proposed that Europe compete in Artificial Intelligence with ethical guidelines and the values of European coexistence that allow citizens and companies to trust in the technologies they use. As a natural consequence of the above, the EC has also proposed that Europe lead the evolution of the internet towards a more human web. A website that allows people to take control of their data. Regulation, ethics and values are the basic pillars of the European proposal to compete globally in the face of deficiencies in innovation and investment capacity ecosystems.
Can Europe win the next battle?
Europe lost the battle of the business models that developed around the smartphone having Nokia as a global leader at the time. You can not afford to lose the next battle: the one that is going to be waged in the smart sustainable factories. The battle of the cyberphysical systems and the internet of things that will connect consumers and manufacturers through 5G with products and services in a new economy. A new economy that will be circular and where European values, ethics and regulation are key for a more responsible consumer. A consumer that demands responsible and sustainable products and services such as those proposed by the circular economy. In this challenge of the circular economy and in the next battle of the smart factories, Europe has additional advantages to regulation and ethics. Europe remains the leader in advanced manufacturing and robotics.
The combination of the advantages of regulation, ethics, leadership in advanced manufacturing and robotics can help build a more human web. This combination of factors will help build a more circular economy. The next global battle can be won by Europe reinventing itself in a community where the web is more human and the economy is more circular.
Sanyu Karani is co-founder of FundingBox, a project leader of the EC in circular economy, blockchain, industry 4.0 and robotics and partner of the platform on demand of artificial intelligence of the EU