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Anastassia Lauterbach - What Are The Measures And Actions Needed To Enable Sustainable Data Economies?
Photo of wall with "Data has a better idea" neon light. Photo by Franki Chamaki from Unsplash.Photo by Franki Chamaki from Unsplash
Anastassia Lauterbach - What Are The Measures And Actions Needed To Enable Sustainable Data Economies?
By: Anastassia Lauterbach 

In the third of three posts for the Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology series, Anastassia Lauterbach reflects on how the European Union can empower people to utilize data and technology well

This article is part of the Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology series by the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum

The Internet disrupted many traditional businesses and continued to grow in size and stature with our data. In the Renaissance, we learned the value of human work went beyond efforts just undertaken in fields and workshops. We saw value from people at writing desks, people taking part in musical concerts, and artists bringing their visions to life in studios. Today we must understand value creation can happen through our being and interacting with our digital environment. To do this, we need a legal system that finally extends the concept of ownership to data.

Countries might rethink their digital policy while recognizing the value of data. They can introduce data IDs for consumers and businesses, support innovation in decentralized data technologies, invest in data trusts and compulsory education around data starting from the early school age.

Digital IDs

We live in a world that can duplicate many times over. Every person has a digital shadow. As early as 1991, the US American computer scientist David Gelernter spoke of “mirror worlds,” a new dimension of human life based on and driven by data. The expectation that every person individually spends the necessary time and effort to control her or his mirror world is simply unrealistic. We need to have proof of our digital identity.

Traditional methods of identity authentication are obsolete in the digital world. We urgently need a decentralized identity model that addresses security problems and gives users flexible control over the use of their data. Today many people in Europe carry an organ donation card with them. Organ donations save lives. There may be a digital equivalent that could be helpful in times of crisis like COVID-19, antibiotic resistance, or climate change. It might make good medical sense for people, organizations, and companies to donate their data for scientific purposes. Blockchain capabilities and new protocols might enable new ways to organize digital identities.

Data Trusts

Decentralization technologies alone will not suffice to create a more sustainable world or bring new problem-solving approaches with the help of data at scale. We need institutions like data trusts, a kind of data cooperative, to provide a governance structure that organizes access to data in a way that takes into account the interests of those who create and use a particular set of data. Such data cooperatives already exist. MIDATA is a Swiss cooperative that collects and manages the health data of its members.

Environmental-Friendly Data Technologies

When footballer Cristiano Ronaldo posts a photo for his 277 million Instagram followers, the post roughly consumes 36 megawatt hours. His usage corresponds to the energy consumption of six German large family households for one year. Some predictions assume that data and communication technologies will consume up to 20 percent of global energy by 2030. A third of this consumption is in data centers.

We need to be transparent over energy consumption in data tech, and we require investments into technologies that don't require massive energy bills. We can be further transparent by bringing data tech into the equation of environmental, social, and governance disclosure.

Universities, research facilities, and Big Tech need to focus on ecological approaches to harvest and process data. Rethinking our current ways to do machine learning, fusing traditional symbolistic AI with modern methods of deep learning, and increasing efficiency with the help of renewable energies are critical.

Data Literacy

The obsession with data has permeated every part of our lives. Political and economic efforts regarding Internet technologies will be of little use if our children know nothing about data and the structures in place. Therefore, it is difficult to understand why the digital offerings of German education policy are limited to equipping schools with digital terminals, laptops, tablets, or smartboards.

So far, Germany – and most other European countries – have failed to develop approaches to teaching data and AI technologies to school children. Only a few European initiatives on data literacy exist today. Finland is rolling out a free online course covering the basics of AI to all European Union citizens. The country hopes the nearly two million USD project will reach one percent of EU citizens by the end of 2021. The University of Helsinki and Reaktor developed the course[S2] , which is available in all EU official languages.

In contrast, digital literacy is a must in school education in China. Even the youngest children in Kindergarten learn about data and simple programming. Children love to ask "why" questions. When adults highlight data as part of the answers and find illustrative material to visualize data, they subtly teach critical skills for data literacy. Here, local initiatives are as important as big policy debates.

Participatory Platforms

Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Society can fully benefit from data only if local organizations open up to explore new technologies to adapt them to their needs. The question of data is not just a venture in the world of technology. It is about the leadership at every level of our society.

Amsterdam and Helsinki launched in September 2020 AI registries to explain how each city government uses algorithms to deliver services. The City of San Diego and an organization called SCALE jointly organize hackathons, enabling businesses to use city data to improve traffic regulation, reduce homelessness, and adopt smarter energy consumption. A project named DECODE in Barcelona and Amsterdam enabled citizens to record noise levels and air quality in their homes. Creating local data markets around municipalities might be a good step to facilitate local ecosystems and bring together schools, universities, research facilities, for-profit and non-profit businesses, and citizens.

Looking Ahead

We are at a crossroads when it comes to data. It is not too late. The Internet is still a very new technology. Data in the background – like electricity in the past - will power businesses of all sizes and industries. We can make sure that everyone gets access to the economic benefits of data, thus making our businesses and societies more sustainable. Punitive legislation won't prevent Big Tech from utilizing data for even better profits and growth. Lack of visionary insights into where to invest, what to support, and how to empower education in data and tech remains the most significant issue in Europe, not a new set of rules.


Have an opinion? 

We encourage readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn

Anastassia Lauterbach is an international board member, technology founder and entrepreneur. She serves as a non-executive director for Dun & Bradstreet, easyJet PLC, and Wirecard AG. Anastassia is member of the Advisory Council Next Generation Directors for NASDAQ and of the Diligent Institute of Corporate Governance. Anastassia serves on the advisory boards of the Ocean Protocol, a private global blockchain infrastructure and intellectual property company; Cogitanda AG, a private European cybersecurity insurance broker; and TM Forum, a non-profit global association of telecommunication companies and their vendors. Previously, Anastassia served as senior vice president and executive vice president at Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom, and Daimler Chrysler. She started her professional path at the Munich Reinsurance Group and McKinsey & Company. She is CEO and founder of 1AU-Ventures and currently advises several U.S. and European based artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity companies and investment funds, including Evolution Partners and Analytics Ventures. She trains boards in cybersecurity and cognitive AI and robotics-related technologies and their links to corporate governance. She advises the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations organization, on AI policy and governance. Her book The Artificial Intelligence Imperative: A Practical Roadmap for Business has sold 35,000 copies. Anastassia has a Ph.D. in linguistics and psychology from the Rheinisch Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn and a diploma in linguistics from the State Lomonosov University, Moscow. She is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org

 

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10 Reasons for Peace Between India and Pakistan
Map showing India and Pakistan on globe.Photo by SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock
10 Reasons for Peace Between India and Pakistan
By: Anwar Akhtar 

As the 75th anniversary of the India-Pakistan partition approaches in August 2022, and signs emerge of a reduction in tensions between both countries, Salzburg Global Fellow Anwar Akhtar argues it is time for the two countries to make peace and end their conflict

There are those huge moments in history that resonate, that we remember. Those moments that give us a moment to pause and reflect on our part of the human story and what went before us. This is often most pronounced with recent history, that generations still with us lived through.
 
We remember many dates and events: the end of the First and Second World War, the Battle of the Somme, the Normandy landings, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the Mỹ Lai massacre in Vietnam. The traumatic, violent events of August 1947, when India was partitioned and Pakistan was born is another one of those moments that still reverberates today.
 
This event led to one of the largest migrations in human history.

My mother was one of those who fled the violence, leaving her childhood home in Jalandhar, India, for Bahawalpur, now part of Pakistan. Much of the violence could have been avoided if British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten acted with more wisdom than pulling away civil, political, and military infrastructure to get out quickly and leave India to it. It was an India financially and physically exhausted, having contributed and had taken from it so many resources as part of the Allied efforts in the Second World War.
 
How would Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah have acted had they realized their actions and decisions in 1947, combined with Lord Mountbatten’s leadership failure, would have such devastating regional consequences? These consequences play out today with the awful zero-sum cold war that has haunted India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh since 1947.
 
As we approach the 75th anniversary of the partition in August 2022, I am calling for India and Pakistan’s leaders to put aside all the anger, distrust, and sectarian and religious divides. I call for them to seek peace instead of condemning both countries – especially the next generations – with another 75 years of conflicts and cold war tensions. There are more than a billion reasons why we need peace between India and Pakistan, but let me begin with ten.

1. Tackling the Climate Crisis

In 2021, just over a third of the world’s 60 most polluted cities were reported to be in India (19) and Pakistan (3). The Indus and Ganges’ basins are under strain, and the Kolahoi glacier in the western Himalaya is shrinking. The climate crisis does not recognize borders, race, religion, caste, or sect. It does not separate common people from the elites. Now it is Narendra Modi and Imran Khan’s time to work together, challenge their sectarian party bases, and reach out to the other communities they share the land with. Modi and Khan have the chance to become great statesmen. Working together on the climate crisis, they can bring peace and transform both countries’ social, cultural, and economic infrastructure.

2. Reducing Military Expenditure

The annual Social Progress Index (SPI) is a comprehensive measure of a county’s quality of life. It measures “the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish building blocks, to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives and to reach their full potential.” Out of 163 countries in the 2020 SPI, India ranks 117th, Bangladesh is 123rd and Pakistan 141st.
 
No amount of tub-thumping nationalism, flag-waving, and arguments about which religion is supreme can cover up just how awful the social, welfare, health, and education situation is in South Asia today. This is the opportunity cost of the money India and Pakistan spend on their military. In 2019, India’s military spending was $71.1bn, while in Pakistan, the declared military expenditure was $10.3bn. This money could improve social progress in both India and Pakistan instead.

3. Fighting COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

It took Europe centuries of horrific battles and the industrial-scale slaughter of the First and Second World Wars to conclude working together is better than being in conflict. The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed this fundamental human truth. When will the leaders of India and Pakistan realize this?

Pakistan’s economy was weak before COVID-19, surviving on an IMF loan package of $6bn and burdened by an external debt of about $112bn. Today it is facing the additional challenge of feeding some 25 million families that have lost their incomes because of COVID-19. Yet Pakistan maintains one of the highest military infrastructure budgets in the world. This budget could be reduced if there was less risk of conflict with India leading to more investment by both countries on health and development.

The Brookings Institution indicated India would add 85 million people to its poverty rolls in 2020, as they assessed the impact of COVID-19 on global extreme poverty. In the same analysis, Brookings highlighted the effectiveness of deploying cash transfers to households in Pakistan through the Ehsaas Emergency Relief program. It suggested India could have a similar system in place. There is also much Pakistan can learn from India, especially the constitutional separation of political power, the state and the military.

4. Putting Food on the Table

Both countries could co-operate better on food security in the region. More recently, however, we have seen machinations and maneuvering from both countries to seek gains in various regional and international forums: including the United Nations (UN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

This includes the strange Alice in Wonderland arguments over who owns the name basmati rice, much to the delight of Western law firms, lobbyists, and PR agencies, given the lucrative fees on offer. It is about as sensible as Italy and Greece arguing over who owns olive oil or balsamic vinegar. It is the wrong priority. Food shortages will make the conflict between India and Pakistan even worse. Working together on soil erosion, agriculture, trade routes, and food security would have huge dividends for both countries. Arguing over the origins of basmati rice will not.

5. Increasing Trade

The potential pay-off for India and Pakistan if they normalized relations is mind-boggling. According to a 2018 World Bank report, India-Pakistan trade could increase from $2bn to $37bn if both countries took steps towards removing tariff barriers, strict visa policies, complex procedures, and waiting periods at the border. That would bring so many other trade benefits, lift communities out of poverty, and boost investment in education, health, development, and green technologies.

The economic success of Dubai is also the failure of India and Pakistan. Dubai has profited from multiple restrictions, tariffs, closed borders, excessive customs, and security checks on trade between India and Pakistan. According to The Interpreter, 1.3 million Pakistanis found jobs in the UAE in the past five years and in 2019, Pakistani expatriates sent more than US$5 billion back home. However, this source of financial support for Pakistan is now under threat. Karachi, Pakistan’s dynamic but unstable economic and commerce hub, could gain so much if it could trade directly with Mumbai.

6. Protecting Water Supplies

The Indus Valley Water Treaty, signed by India and Pakistan in 1960, was a rare diplomatic achievement for both countries. As Salzburg Global Fellow Sadaf Taimur writes, though, this treaty is now under pressure. This is alarming, particularly when you read the latest figures by Water Aid for both countries. In Pakistan, 17.7 million people don’t have access to clean water. People are moving to towns faster and straining services. Meanwhile, in India, the number of people who do not have access to clean water is even higher: 98 million. Further water resource co-operation and regional planning are vital to maximize and share this precious resource. Both countries’ establishments must prioritize the reaffirmation of the Indus Valley Water Treaty’s ethos and principles.

7. Improving Education

Too many children are out of school in both countries due to a lack of investment, poverty, and inequality. In Pakistan, the situation has been made worse by decades of state-backed misogyny and extremist organizations preventing millions of young girls from accessing education. This is a catastrophe for Pakistan, the world, and, in particular, young girls deprived of their human rights and failed by their own country. However, Malala Yousafzai shows the spirit of young people not just in Pakistan but across Asia.

In both Pakistan and India, NGOs such as The Citizens Foundation do incredible work to develop education in the region. But education investment needs to increase massively in both countries. Pakistan has an estimated 22.8 million school-age children not attending school. In India, meanwhile, an estimated six million children are out of school. Another opportunity lost due to the vast sums both countries spend on conflict investment and management, military budgets, intellectual capital, and state resources.

8. Protecting Minorities

Since the violence of 1947, minority communities in both countries have been treated poorly. In Pakistan, we have seen the marginalization of its Shia community, the bonded labor systems that exploit rural workers – many of them Hindu, the prejudice against Christian and Ahmadi communities, and the many atrocities carried out by sectarian organizations in Pakistan against minority communities.

India’s actions in Kashmir also raise huge concerns about state violence against minority communities. As of October 2020, Amnesty International was no longer allowed to work inside India. Its bank accounts were frozen following the publication of two reports: one on the Delhi riots in 2020, and another on internet restrictions and arbitrary detentions in Kashmir. While individuals and organizations are responsible for their actions, I believe much of this hostility, hatred, and poison stems from the failure to enact a peace and reconciliation process between India and Pakistan after the partition. Peace can set us on a journey to heal sectarian tensions and quash hatred.

9. Establishing Gender Equality

Pakistan’s inability to protect its citizens has condemned large parts of the country to a state of gender apartheid, with women marginalized and unsafe in many public spaces. Pakistan’s awful levels of health provision also have terrible consequences for women. An estimated 30,000 women die each year due to pregnancy-related causes. An estimated 500 maternal deaths occur per 100,000 live births each year in Pakistan. India has seen an outpouring of activism, as the “Me Too” movement has created space for women to speak out about harassment and violence.

Both countries face profound challenges around gender equality, given tribal, cultural, and patriarchal traditions that are complex and challenging. The regional conflict also created a militarization of society, of tub-thumping macho nationalism, which creates a hostile culture to women’s welfare, rights and equality. Peace brings stability and calm to an environment that would be far more positive for gender equality and child welfare. Conflict feeds hate, internally and externally.

10. Creating a Legacy

We must focus on the dividends peace brings. The value of peace is beyond measure. Let’s make the 75th anniversary of the partition in 2022 an occasion where leaders in India and Pakistan tackle poverty, sectarian hatred, the crisis and aftermath of COVID-19 and the long-term climate change crisis in South Asia. There are existing campaigns seeking peace between India and Pakistan, including the Exchange for Change program by Citizens Archives of Pakistan, Routes 2 Roots in India, Friends Beyond Borders by Aghaz-e-Dosti and Ajoka Theatre Lahore.  I urge you to support these campaigns and share their messages.

It is time for India and Pakistan to end their cold war and look to the future for the next generation’s welfare. If not now, then when?

Anwar Akhtar is a Salzburg Global Fellow. He is also the founder and director of The Samosa, a UK arts and journalism charity that works to embed diversity in the arts and humanities curriculum in schools, colleges and universities, and produces arts and media that explores cultural and social issues.

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Anastassia Lauterbach - How Can We Provide Data Technologies For All?
Gulf of Mexico, United States, as seen from space at night.Photo by NASA on Unsplash
Anastassia Lauterbach - How Can We Provide Data Technologies For All?
By: Anastassia Lauterbach 

In the second of three posts for the Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology series, Anastassia Lauterbach asks about enabling technologies that can be understood and invested into, ensuring any business, non-profit, and municipality can create its own data market

This article is part of the Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology series by the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum

Big Tech has already proven the significant value of data. We need to talk about enabling technologies that can be understood and invested into, ensuring any business, non-profit, and municipality can create its own data market.
 
Data markets on a decentralized ledger could be a practical response to invite more businesses into the data economy. They connect buyers and sellers of datasets. They enable traditional companies to benefit from the expertise of artificial intelligence (AI) practitioners and software developers without employing them in their organizations. They open up innovation, bringing up startups, research labs, and amateur developers into the equation without setting up a captive venture capital company.
 
Decentralized data markets are realizable once we understand data as a token. The term "token" is simply a metaphor. Contrary to what the metaphor might suggest, a token does not represent a digital file sent from one device to another. Instead, it manifests as an entry in the ledger that belongs to a blockchain address. Only the person who has the private key for that address can access the respective tokens using a wallet software, which acts as a blockchain client.
 
Unlike distributed databases, where data is distributed but managed and controlled by one single entity, blockchain networks allow for distributed control. Different people and institutions that do not trust each other share information without requiring a central administration.
 
What do I mean when I mention ledgers? A ledger could be a spreadsheet in the cloud. Think of cloud applications like Google Docs, where everyone can access and edit a file simultaneously. But, as opposed to Google Docs, where that file is stored centrally on the Google servers, the ledger of a blockchain network is a document that is not held centrally. Instead, each node of the network keeps an identical copy of the same file at all times, with temporary exceptions every time a new block is created.
 
A new set of protocols is required to define how the network participants interact with each other. It includes under which conditions sending tokens from A to B is valid, the economic rewards for validating transactions with a cryptographic token, how to reference identities and sign transactions, and who decides over network upgrades.
 
Today, businesses can already benefit from the data-sharing Ocean Protocol, developed by a non-profit – the Ocean Foundation. This foundation created an Ocean Market, which provides opportunities to bring together those in need of specific data and data owners.
 
Once again, Ocean embraces the data-as-a-token concept. I will spare you the technical details on Ocean architecture. I am just driving your attention to the fact that your company, non-profit, or municipality can build its own data market using Ocean Protocol without being afraid that your data ownership might be questioned or taken from you. At the same time, Ocean utilizes market forces of developers not employed by Big Tech. It enables these developers and machine learning engineers to work from whatever place they prefer.
 
There are a couple of shortcuts, which will speed up the development of your own data market. First and foremost, your business requires an inventory of your data assets. You have to understand what kind of data matters most and why. Peter Norvig at Google found that very different algorithms perform virtually the same for a given problem with large enough data.
 
Second, you need to invest in the quality of this data. In AI startups, most efforts are going into cleaning and - for use cases - labeling data. There is an industry out there to help your business to clean data. However, it is worthwhile to employ at least one data engineer (if you are a very small business) capable of structuring processes and partnerships around data and future data products.
 
The utilization of outside developers through your own data market does not mean you shouldn't invest in data technologies. You might want to look into how to work with small data. Small businesses don't have the luxury of accessing an insane amount of data. Besides, the noise in the large data sets can often overwhelm the critical signals that relate to the problem at hand. Just imagine trying to hear a vital conversation on a noisy train!
 
In some cases, such as detecting rare diseases, there isn't enough data in the first place, so the missing data in these large corpora presents a sort of confirmation bias that can only mislead. Unfortunately, only skilled data scientists can apply techniques to work with small data. In this context, small businesses should cooperate with universities and research labs in their area, investing in creating an ecosystem of data-minded people and institutions around them.


Have an opinion? 

We encourage readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn

Anastassia Lauterbach is an international board member, technology founder and entrepreneur. She serves as a non-executive director for Dun & Bradstreet, easyJet PLC, and Wirecard AG. Anastassia is member of the Advisory Council Next Generation Directors for NASDAQ and of the Diligent Institute of Corporate Governance. Anastassia serves on the advisory boards of the Ocean Protocol, a private global blockchain infrastructure and intellectual property company; Cogitanda AG, a private European cybersecurity insurance broker; and TM Forum, a non-profit global association of telecommunication companies and their vendors. Previously, Anastassia served as senior vice president and executive vice president at Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom, and Daimler Chrysler. She started her professional path at the Munich Reinsurance Group and McKinsey & Company. She is CEO and founder of 1AU-Ventures and currently advises several U.S. and European based artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity companies and investment funds, including Evolution Partners and Analytics Ventures. She trains boards in cybersecurity and cognitive AI and robotics-related technologies and their links to corporate governance. She advises the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations organization, on AI policy and governance. Her book The Artificial Intelligence Imperative: A Practical Roadmap for Business has sold 35,000 copies. Anastassia has a Ph.D. in linguistics and psychology from the Rheinisch Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn and a diploma in linguistics from the State Lomonosov University, Moscow. She is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org

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Anastassia Lauterbach - How Can The European Union Legislate for Artificial Intelligence?
EU flags at the European Commission Berlaymont building.Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash
Anastassia Lauterbach - How Can The European Union Legislate for Artificial Intelligence?
By: Anastassia Lauterbach 

In the first of three posts for Salzburg Global's series of Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology, Anastassia Lauterbach looks into the background of the EU's new draft proposal to restrict uses of artificial intelligence

This article is part of the Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology series by the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum

The European Union (EU) is weighing up total bans on artificial intelligence (AI) systems that manipulate human behavior, score individuals socially, or surveil people indiscriminately. The draft of upcoming rules – which might be published in the third week of April – was obtained by Politico. Europe's "GDPR for artificial intelligence" would also require firms to get special approval for facial recognition and other biometric ID systems used in public.

According to the draft, the European Commission, the EU's executive body, is considering outright bans on social credit scores and the "high-risk" AI systems mentioned above, plus those that exploit information about individuals or groups. Other AI systems that aren't banned outright — like self-driving cars or remote surgery — would need inspections to make sure they were trained "on unbiased data sets, in a traceable way, and with human oversight." There seems to be no clarity on what unbiased data sets imply, how the "unbiases" would be determined, and what technologies will help in this endeavor.

Organizations would be required to tell people when they're interacting with an AI system. The proposed legislation would create a European Artificial Intelligence Board. Representatives from every nation-state would help the Commission decide which AI systems are high-risk and suggest changes to the rules.

Some companies could assess themselves, while others would require a third party. Those that don't comply could face fines up to €20M ($24M) or four percent of their global revenue. There would be some exceptions due to national security considerations, however. For example, the rules wouldn't apply to AI systems used solely for military purposes.

Such strong regulations would set the EU apart from China and the US, which currently lack overarching enforceable rules about AI systems. But some digital rights groups and policy experts believe this set of potential regulations by the EU remains vague and doesn't go far enough.

While supporting investing in privacy, AI ethics, debiased data, and processes to build sustainable and beneficial technologies, I wonder whether the suggested regulations would further weaken the European AI ecosystem. From what we can see today, the legislative focus is entirely on banning, punishing, and avoiding instead of enabling innovation, defining what areas are competitive, and bringing sustainability in the economies moving more and more into digitization.

At the beginning of the millennium, the ten largest German DAX companies – including Telekom, Allianz, Siemens, and Daimler – were significantly more valuable than the most prominent global digital brands: Amazon, Google, or Tencent. Twenty years later, this relationship has turned upside down. Alphabet alone is now worth more than the largest DAX companies put together.
 
Technology companies outperform DAX 30 or Dow Jones. These companies progressed or were even enriched by the COVID-19 downturn, while the DAX is barely back to its – already more or less stagnant – 2017 level. Data is the fuel for the tech economy, and as this resource – unlike oil – is never-ending, we can still count on Big Tech flying high.

In this article and two others, I will address three areas explaining the status quo around today's AI and the way to turn data into a competitive advantage at a company of any size. Let's start at the very beginning.

The History

The Internet we have today is broken. We do not control our data, nor do we have a data value settlement layer. Every time we interact over the Internet, copies of our data get sent to the server of a service provider. Every time that happens, we lose control over our data. This raises issues of trust.

The Internet we have today is stateless. It doesn't have a native mechanism to transfer what computer science refers to as a state. State refers to information or the status of "Who is who? Who owns what?" and "Who has the right to do what?" The lack of state is based on the simplicity of protocols regulating data transmission, not how data is stored. Data can be, of course, stored centrally and de-centrally. For many reasons, centralized data storage became the mainstream form of data storage and management.

Big Tech contributed to a centralization of economic decision-making over data. Since the early Internet's creation around the idea of free information, customers were often not willing to pay for online content with a recurring subscription fee. Micropayment technology was mainly not available. So early platform companies found an alternative way to profit from the so-called free service they provided. This way was about monetization of attention, or eyeballs. Consumers became users, and advertisers became customers. What followed was targeted advertising based on user behavior and the commodification of private data.

Over time, first platform companies discovered ways to speed up product development, which implied discovering and packing data in the best suitable bundles for whoever was willing to pay for this information. They invested in enabling technologies like cloud computing, semiconductors, and machine learning (ML).

In my book, "The Artificial intelligence Imperative," I talk about AI-centric businesses. Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba spoke about AI and ML in their annual reports, starting as early as 2015. These companies primarily invested in ML approaches, which required massive historical data. Data sets are biased depending on what segments of the population or group of parameters they are based. ML scales biases with the brute force of math.

In time, users and customers learned about the downsides of the platform economy. Scandals around elections in the US and Brexit, and disclosures of Big Tech sharing data without or with little user consent brought a wave of regulatory response. As always the case, the legislative movement was too little too late. It lacked innovative thinking on what kind of technologies could enable fairness, ethical use of data, and a better balance of power.

In my next article, I will set out a blueprint for providing data technologies for all. In the meantime, what do you think of the EU’s proposed regulations on AI?


Have an opinion? 

We encourage readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn

Anastassia Lauterbach is an international board member, technology founder and entrepreneur. She serves as a non-executive director for Dun & Bradstreet, easyJet PLC, and Wirecard AG. Anastassia is member of the Advisory Council Next Generation Directors for NASDAQ and of the Diligent Institute of Corporate Governance. Anastassia serves on the advisory boards of the Ocean Protocol, a private global blockchain infrastructure and intellectual property company; Cogitanda AG, a private European cybersecurity insurance broker; and TM Forum, a non-profit global association of telecommunication companies and their vendors. Previously, Anastassia served as senior vice president and executive vice president at Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom, and Daimler Chrysler. She started her professional path at the Munich Reinsurance Group and McKinsey & Company. She is CEO and founder of 1AU-Ventures and currently advises several U.S. and European based artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity companies and investment funds, including Evolution Partners and Analytics Ventures. She trains boards in cybersecurity and cognitive AI and robotics-related technologies and their links to corporate governance. She advises the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations organization, on AI policy and governance. Her book The Artificial Intelligence Imperative: A Practical Roadmap for Business has sold 35,000 copies. Anastassia has a Ph.D. in linguistics and psychology from the Rheinisch Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn and a diploma in linguistics from the State Lomonosov University, Moscow. She is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Salzburg Questions for Law and Technology is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org

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The Politics of Division And LGBT Equality
Salzburg Global Fellow Victor Ciobotaru and his life partner Florin at the Bucharest Pride in July 2019 holding a poster with the message: “Sunt gay, Sunt Crestin, Iubesc.” – “I am gay. I am a Christian. I Love.” – Photo Credit: Ioana MoldovanSalzburg Global Fellow Victor Ciobotaru and his life partner Florin at the Bucharest Pride in July 2019 holding a poster with the message: “Sunt gay, Sunt Crestin, Iubesc.” – “I am gay. I am a Christian. I Love.” – Photo Credit: Ioana Moldovan
The Politics of Division And LGBT Equality
By: Klaus Mueller 

Founder and Chair of the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum, Klaus Mueller, writes for Forum's Forum Original series

This article first appeared on Forum. The article is also available in French, German, Greek, Polish, and Spanish.

We are experiencing a growing global polarisation on human rights, sexuality, and gender. In this politics of division, homophobia and transphobia are increasingly used to discredit the prevention of gender-based violence, weaken the rule of law, and question the universality of human rights.

Turkey’s defence for its decision to leave the Istanbul Convention (which aims to protect women against violence and, in its core, all victims of discrimination) followed a well-established script: it denounced the Convention’s modest acknowledgment of LGBT equality. President Erdoğan’s spokesperson, Fahrettin Altun, said the Convention’s original intention had been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality”, and it wasn’t compatible with Turkey’s social and family values.

Already the basic protection of LGBT people was deplored as a liberal western agenda. European governments and extremist parties utilise the same repetitive buzzwords for their own political agenda of “illiberal democracy”, like Poland and Hungary, and their threat to leave the Istanbul Convention as well.

This politics of division has grown globally over the past few years, denouncing LGBT equality as a symbol for a world gone wrong. Because, more often than not, it seems to work for their anti-democratic campaigns. A globally connected movement towards more intolerance, claiming to “protect family and religion” and a strong anti-gender agenda, makes itself felt in North America, Europe, Russia, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Hate, bullying, legal discrimination, rape, or murder due to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or intersex status occur worldwide. In 72 states, governments legitimise and sponsor violence. Even where LGBT people benefit from legal protection and growing acceptance within society, history still looms large.

The Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum, formed in 2013 as a global space to reflect upon and advance LGBT equality, explores these politics of division. As a transnational network of leaders from 76 countries, we have witnessed that while there is rapid progress on LGBT equality in some nations, there is severe backlash in others. Often states and non-state actors use so-called “traditional” family values, their claim of an “attacked” national and cultural sovereignty, or a reference to religious traditions as a call to “defend” their notions of purity. Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum, explores how these campaigns affect the notions of family, faith, and equality globally.

Family values?

Being part of a family is a fundamental human condition as well as a human right. All of us long to feel at home with our birth families, our families of choice, and the families we raise. Equally, we all have the right to live safely within the cultures and countries in which we are raised. This sense of belonging, connection, and wellbeing are what we call feeling “at home”.

Yet, while much progress has been made in recent years, being truly “at home” remains out of reach for many LGBT individuals. So-called “traditional family values” are claimed to justify exclusion: of lesbian, gay, trans- and intersexual citizens from legal protection; of daughters and sons from their families, their neighbourhoods, their culture, and even their country.

As our Fellows discussed, laws and cultural practices often defended as “traditional” are relics of western colonialism and its moral and legal codes that stigmatised homosexuality and transgenderism. Neo-colonial missionaries make best friends with authoritarian rulers who use homo- and transphobia as an easy way to divide and rule.

The consequences are dire: a significantly higher rate of LGBT teenage suicides, a disproportionate percentage of LGBT youth being homeless, and an alarming increase in murders of trans and gender-diverse people between 2008 and 2020.

Our Fellows shared their personal experiences of acceptance, silence, or exclusion in their families and ways to heal and protect families in all their shapes and forms in the interview-based film, Family Is...? It is remarkable to see these struggles happen in families all around the globe. Why does this violence against LGBT children seem to find widespread open, or silent, acceptance?

Exclusion is not a family value. It is an attack on the social fabric of our lives and the core idea of family: safety, inclusion, and love. Exclusion impacts not only those driven from their homes but tears apart the incomplete families and communities they are forced to leave behind.

Faith communities and their LGBT people

Last year, the Salzburg Global LGBT* Forum, started the Global Online Forum on LGBT and Faith, bringing together members and leaders of faith communities from within Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, plus agnostics, atheists, anthropologists, and cultural believers.

Worldwide, LGBT people are increasingly insisting on their inclusion in faith communities and cultural traditions. Many religious congregations have begun to interpret their own beliefs in more inclusive ways in response to these calls and actions.

When we started, many of us still mentally held onto an imagined separation of LGBT and faith communities as two communities opposite each other. Listening to our Fellows, however, it became obvious that this juxtaposition is part of the problem. It does not do justice to the lived reality of many LGBT individuals around the world. LGBT people have been, are, and will be part of faith communities, and people of faith have been, are, and will be part of LGBT communities. We are not strangers to each other.

Faith communities unresponsive to the needs of their LGBT members counteract their core values of community, empathy, and respect. The politics of division often define communities by who belongs (we) and who does not belong (them). But LGBT people grow up within their families and often are raised within faith communities. They are not coming “from the outside”. Our Fellows urge the eradication of such long-held polarisations and not to invoke deities for a message of dehumanisation or hate.

Politics of division versus equality

Polarisation obscures a look at the reality on either side: countries claiming LGBT freedom often fall short of legal measures to ensure and protect LGBT equality. Look at the FRA survey on the discrimination of LGBT people in the European Union for further insight. Countries or regions branding themselves as "LGBT free zones" have active LGBT communities and inclusive cultural and diverse histories that they are now striving to censor.

Leaving the Istanbul Convention is divide-and-rule politics. It displays indifference towards the lasting effects of violence: violence against women; violence against LGBT children and their families; violence as endangering social cohesion. Yes, that undermines families. Yes, that relativises the safety of women and LGBT people. Yes, that helps to normalise violence.

But positive change is happening on a global scale: the monumental decision by the Indian Supreme Court to decriminalise homosexuality (which was also decriminalised over the past years in Botswana, Angola, Gabon, Mozambique, Belize, Trinidad, Bhutan, among others); Argentina’s landmark legislation in recognition of gender identity; the protection of LGBT rights in South Africa’s constitution; the EU Commission’s rebuttal of the obliviousness to history in claims of "LGBT free zones".

The politics of division will not win. But how do we reduce the affective polarisation that threatens to destabilise our families, our faith communities, and our ethics of equality?


* LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. We are using this term as it is currently widely used in human rights conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world, and we would wish it to be read as inclusive of other cultural concepts, contemporary or historical, to express sexuality and gender, intersex and gender non-conforming identities.

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Jeffrey D. Grant - What Are the Board's Key Roles and Responsibilities When Facing Existential Threats to Their Company?
Jeffrey D. Grant at Salzburg Global SeminarJeffrey D. Grant at Salzburg Global Seminar
Jeffrey D. Grant - What Are the Board's Key Roles and Responsibilities When Facing Existential Threats to Their Company?
By: Jeffrey D. Grant 

In the latest installment of the Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance, Jeffrey D. Grant provides several suggestions for how Boards should respond to existential threats and the importance of making a rapid response

This article is part of the series, the Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance by the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum

The senior management of a company and their Boards routinely face threats to their company. These threats include changes in the regulatory environment, competition - domestic and international, supply chain stability, and technology-driven obsolescence. These types of threats are part of a company's routine risk assessment.

Usually, Boards can counter threats with responses consistent with a company's planning and investment timeline, typically annually. Existential threats, such as we have experienced with government responses to COVID-19, including extended lockdowns, closing non-essential industries, are low probability. Nevertheless, they still threaten the existence of many companies.

When companies face an existential threat, significant changes are almost always required to address the threat - a company cannot just continue to do what has worked for it in the past. As Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, wrote, "The first rule of survival is clear: Nothing is more dangerous than yesterday's success."

First and foremost, the Board needs to ensure that management is putting the employees' and customers' safety and well-being first. This approach will typically require the Board to meet with and review management's proposed actions to address the threat on a timeline driven by the danger - not by previously scheduled Board meetings. These steps might require restructuring the managements' goals and incentives. The management team should not be conflicted with a previously approved strategy, compensation structure, and dated business priorities while dealing with the existential threat.

I have found aligning financial incentives to desired management behavior is an essential element of Board responsibilities. In times that require transformational change, the typical annual review and refresh of both short-term (one year) and long-term (three years) management incentives are ineffective.

The Board needs to rapidly review the necessary changes to address the existential threat and update the financial incentives to unambiguously align the management team's incentives and the desired changes.

Again, citing Toffler, "It is always easier to talk about change than to make it." It is essential the Board meet often enough to ensure the agreed-to changes are implemented on a schedule to be effective.

The Board also needs to review its own membership backgrounds, skills, demographics, and committee structure and assignments to ensure the Board can effectively deal with the transformational changes required. This action may require significant updates to the Board structure and membership. We have seen recent cases where age, being tone-deaf on emerging issues, and lack of technical expertise can limit the effectiveness of the Board's abilities in driving and understanding the necessary transformation.

The Board should assess the current management team and organizational structure to ensure the management team can bring about the desired changes. After such a review, the Board may choose to direct key personnel hires (or dismissals), promotions (or demotions), and seek organizational restructuring. In addition, when the threat has been dealt with, the Board needs to review the management's performance and evaluate how the team did in dealing with the threat. This review should include measures of speed and effectiveness.

While timely Board responses to existential threats are essential, it is also critical to maintain and update a comprehensive risk assessment that assesses the likelihood of occurrence and consequences to the company. The comprehensive risk assessment needs to be reviewed by the entire Board at least once a year, and the Board needs to ensure resources are focused on those risks that present threats to the company.

Accurately predicting which risk will present itself to a company requires soothsaying skills that we shouldn't expect anyone to have. However, the process of evaluating risks and taking prudent steps to deal with them will be of great value when any existential threat to the company is realized, and rapid responses are required.

Have an opinion?

We encourage our readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn.


Jeffrey D. Grant was sector vice president and general manager of Space Systems at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, from 2011-2018, a provider of manned and unmanned aircraft, space systems, and advanced technologies.  In this role, Grant led the division, which provided space solutions for civil, military, and restricted customers. Jeffrey joined Northrop Grumman via the acquisition of TRW in December 2002. Prior to his joining TRW in February 2002, he held a variety of government and private sector positions. Most recently, he was vice president and chief technical officer for Astrolink International, LLC. Before joining the private sector, Grant served for 21 years at the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in positions at the CIA/National Reconnaissance Office, Directorate of Science and Technology, and Directorate of Intelligence, Office of Scientific Intelligence. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the CIA’s Engineer of the Year, the Intelligence Certificate of Distinction, and the CIA Certificate of Distinction. Grant currently serves on the board of directors for the Space Foundation.  Jeffrey received a bachelor of science in ocean engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology. Jeffrey is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters, and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org. To receive a notification of when the next article is published, follow Salzburg Global Seminar on LinkedIn or sign up for email notifications here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/corpgov/newsletter

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The President, the Press and the People
President Joe Biden address the crowd and nation during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II. Courtesy of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr)President Joe Biden address the crowd and nation during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II. Courtesy of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr)
The President, the Press and the People
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

Join the 2021 American Studies Program, the next in our “What Future for American Democracy?” series

Democracy is about ideas and narratives. Stories that provide a common set of facts, influence public opinion, and create majoritarian will. The President, the press, and the people are each primary authors of the American story. Whose version of events determines how Americans see themselves and how the world sees America?

Continuing our series on the future of democracy, the Salzburg Global American Studies Program will explore the roles and relationships between the executive branch in the US, the international media, and citizens of global democracy. Given the variety of voices shaping the public’s imagination, how have citizens productively participated in democracy in the past and how do they participate now?

PROGRAM FORMAT

Participants in this year’s program will join in four integrated online activities, each exploring the intersections of the American presidency, press and people through a different lens. These include:

3 x 60-min town hall meetings (Online)

1 x multi-day program (Online)

These activities will build momentum for a major in-person program at Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria, in summer 2022 to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of Salzburg Global Seminar, which launched American Studies as an internationally recognized discipline in its own right.

KEY QUESTIONS

Through these four lenses – history, culture, business and politics – the 2021 program will seek answers to the following questions:

The President

  • Does coverage of the US president differ to other heads of state? 
  • What are the similarities and differences between coverage by the US press and the international media of the actions of the US president and other heads of state?
  • How has the media impacted presidential behavior?
  • How successful has the president been at controlling public opinion?

The Press

  • How has the style and scope of coverage and the development of new media altered the landscape of public discourse?
  • What has the global media landscape taught us about democracy, civic infrastructure, and accountability?
  • Is 24/7h media scrutiny turning “traditional” journalists from real-time historians?
  • Does traditional journalism continue to wield more legitimacy and impact than social media and new forms of reporting?

The People

  • Has public trust in politics eroded across the world or are new forms of democratic participation alive?
  • Who is a spectator and who is an active influencer of modern democracy?
  • How can the US and other nations reverse the decline in public trust in government and the media to re-energize democratic institutions and civic engagement?

PARTICIPANTS

The 2021 American Studies Program will bring together 30-50 Fellows from the US and around the world, representing a diverse mix of academic and non-academic fields. They will combine perspectives from arts and culture, social commentary, historical and geographical analysis, and politics, business, and economics. Fellows’ backgrounds may include but are not limited to journalists, diplomats, activists, entrepreneurs and program builders.

FEES, SCHOLARSHIPS, & APPLICATION

The cost for the full package of the 2021 Salzburg Global American Studies Program is $1100 and includes participation in all three 60-min town hall meetings as well as the multi-day program.

To register for this full package, please click here.

At Salzburg Global Seminar, we believe our conversations can be more valuable and our programs more impactful when participation is diverse and inclusive.

To ensure individuals from a wide variety of countries, sectors, and personal and professional experiences can participate in our American Studies Program, Salzburg Global offers a limited number of full scholarships and partial discounts to participants from universities, research institutes, think-tanks and non-governmental organizations; public officials from non-OECD countries; and to other exemplary individuals.

If you would like to apply for a scholarship or discount, please send your CV or brief bio and personal statement to registration@salzburgglobal.org 
 

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