MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 25th November, 2020) The "Digital Truce. Contract 2030", conference held in Moscow on Tuesday addressed the challenges posed by digitization and proposed solutions to curb its unfavorable side effects.
Referred to by organizers as the first of its kind, the conference brought in a number of speakers from several countries to discuss the concerns of governments and ordinary citizens amid growing digitization, from personal privacy to threats to national security.
The inevitability of humanity's immersion into the digital age and the urgent need for regulatory mechanisms in light of the rapid advancement in information technology was highlighted by Russian parliament member Oleg Morozov, who called for a dialogue between its proponents and opponents, a sentiment that was also voiced by University of Minnesota Professor Michael Wright, who suggested the creation of a "pragmatic middle ground" to address the issues brought about by the onslaught of digitization.
"I would like to recommend to the organizers of the conference to direct their main efforts to offer managers on all levels, lawmakers, a road map for the creation of priority and Primary rules for the organization of the digital world, initially at the national level," Morozov stated.
The emphasis on regulatory measures based on dialogue and mutual understanding rather than restrictions was also voiced by the director of the Institute of Digital Economics, Dr. Ruslan Makarov, who stressed the importance of the creation of ethical and moral codes that would foster a sense of understanding between the proponents of the digital age and the traditional segments of society.
"One of the main factors that could, from one side, not contain but rather direct this process is the creation of a meta-language, a language for communication between people who adhere to traditional values and people who develop and create various types of digital solutions that are used by the whole of humanity," Makarov stated.
The lack of ethical and moral codes in the digital world was also highlighted by Chairman of the US-Russia business Council Todd Lefko, who stated that digitization has been entrusted to individuals with little to no technical knowledge who are unaware of the long-term implications of their decisions. Lefko also proposed that an international governing authority be created to curb emerging digital challenges.
The subject of emerging cyber threats to national security was discussed at length by several speakers. Conference co-organizer Andrei Kormukhin, Coordinator and Founder of the "Sorok Sorokov" movement, referred to the onset of the digital age as an attempt at eroding national identities and state boundaries, labeling the global trend in digitization as incompatible with state sovereignty, while decrying its Chinese analogy as inconsistent with traditional values.
"We believe that in order to avoid the buildup and escalation of the conflict between traditionalists and progressives, we should start negotiating the existence of these two large social groups in a changing world." Kormukhin added.
Concerns for the erosion of national boundaries and identities and the threat of total digital surveillance was also voiced by Moscow city parliament member Elena Nikolaeva, who stated that this new form of globalization was imposed on countries without being subject to a social contract. Nikolaeva reiterated the necessity of a dialogue that would reflect the realities of digitization while safeguarding individual freedoms.
"This is not just a discussion between liberals and conservatives, nor a discussion between the right and the left, the question is whether tomorrow will come, and where our children will live," Nikolaeva said.
The conference was concluded with a list of seven points that focused on individual liberties in the digital age intended to streamline future discussions on regulating the digital world.