Data, New Technologies, and Global Imbalances: Beyond the Obvious
We are familiar with the idea that technology is neutral, and that its impact depends only on how it is used. This traditional view has, however, become untenable. Because of its nature and its complex interplay with industry, the economy, and society, technology is no longer neutral. This change is being driven by the pervasiveness of data, which today are generated everywhere at an unpreceded pace because several technologies are currently reaching maturity. Data shape the world around us, in a trend that is commonly referred to as “digitalization”. This trend is apparent in every aspect of our lives, ranging from our personal environment and health to transportation, energy generation and management, and industry. Digitalization itself generates value, enabling the creation of new products and services. It also fosters technological and business innovation in other fields, including the manufacturing industry, and acts as a lever with which to promote growth. Digitalization, however, also creates imbalances, and this happens due to its very nature. Such imbalances appear between different parts of the globe and within individual geographical spaces.
This book explores the multiplicity of mechanisms associated with the growing role that technology and data are playing in the creation of imbalances, and goes on to identify certain paths that lead toward mitigation. Should we make data publicly accessible, and in a transparent way? How can policymakers empower governments to address global and local imbalances, particularly those generated by technology and data? Do we need a global data-governance structure that—like the World Trade Organization for commerce—regulates data use and access?
Georges Kotrotsios has dedicated his professional life to the creation of economic and societal value through the application of high-end technology. For the last 10 years, he has served as a member of the Executive Board of CSEM, a major Swiss research and innovation center working on microtechnologies and smart digital systems. He serves on the boards of various national and international bodies closely linked to the exploitation of technologies and to related policies. He holds a PhD in Optoelectronics and an MBA in Management of Technology, and is a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.
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