Client Event 2018
What challenges does the digital revolution bring? How secure are our data abroad? How can Europe assert itself in the digital world with ever faster innovation cycles?
This year’s pom+ client event was dedicated to these issues as well as other key questions of the information age. The event, which took place in the Kaufleuten hall in Zurich, began with a welcome drink. Dr Peter Staub, CEO of pom+ and Christian Lindner, Chairman of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), then presented a quantity of information, strong opinions and naturally a dash of humour. The event was moderated by the journalist Anna Meier. The closing aperitif provided the 220 or so guests an opportunity for further discussions and and exciting interactions.
The CEO of pom+ identifies the change from rigid to dynamic structures, the modified mobility and the trend for part-time work as major topics for the coming years and notes that the center of the world is increasingly in innovative cities like New York, London or Berlin and less in the seemingly omnipotent Silicon Valley. Sustainable construction and data science are particularly important fields of activity for pom+ nowadays. It is just as necessary to design a building for long-term efficiency as it is to secure and to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the building data.
Finally, presenter Anna Meier asked Dr. Staub for his assessment of the future of his industry. His answer to this question was clear: Some things are already in motion, but there is still a lot to do!
For Christian Lindner, digitization should be divided into three main areas (although an e-ticket on a smartphone is not one of them, according to the FDP chairman): Artificial intelligence, dematerialization and decentralization.
Artificial intelligence is the decisive lever for change and will have a decisive influence on capital markets and warfare (keyword: cyberwarfare). The leaders in this sector are China and the USA, both of which have more or less openly authoritarian structures.
Lindner argues that Europe is lagging far behind and that experts have left Europe. He advocates a government response to the threats posed by AI and pleads for digital forensics and an international UN-charter regulating artificial intelligence.
When it comes to dematerialization, car enthusiast Christian Lindner cites autonomous driving and above all the shared economy as examples. In many cases, digitization makes the possession of objects superfluous and blurs the line between product and service. In the past, for example, the aim was to own the most beautiful car possible, whereas today the focus is on comfort in the general handling of the vehicle and makes the possession of the vehicle completely superfluous in some cases.
The third aspect, decentralization, causes intermediaries such as banks to disappear. The most important aspect is the blockchain, the technology in which knowledge is not stored in one place, but in a decentralized way and protected from falsifications throughout the entire network. Here too, Europe is in danger of falling behind, but, according to Lindner, Europe still has a realistic chance.
The FDP leader calls digitization a "second industrial revolution that fundamentally changes everything" and states that the right reaction to it is not fear. The development is much more positive if the right framework is created. Jobs will not disappear, but will merely be relocated. However, lifelong learning concepts are needed to ensure this. In general, education in Europe must become more individual and digitized. The Asian region is a role model in this respect.
Christian Lindner criticizes that the economy does not understand digitization. Radical changes in the management culture are necessary. Command and obedience are to be replaced by more self-determination and personal responsibility. This also applies to the relationship between state and citizens. The state must set goals and rules and let the market try out different solutions. A different error culture is also necessary for this, which allows failures and promotes second chances.
"A clever industrial policy for disruptive technologies with pan-European fundamental research and the state as an arbitrator is necessary for Europe’s digital future," said Lindner. Players who dictate the game rules and unite too many elements of a value chain under one roof are questionable from the point of view of antitrust law and may need to be regulated in order to ensure a healthy market in which the best solutions really prevail.
Lindner asks why the world’s largest search engine should also operate the most important video platform on the Internet.
When dealing with data, the FDP leader has a clear position: to evaluate, but not just in any way. Lindner calls for the definition of a data sovereignty law and the creation of a digital European internal market, so that companies are no longer able to choose their location according to the weakest data protection laws.
In conclusion, Lindner sums up that nobody should be afraid, since many things are already in progress. But because of its humanist tradition, Europe has a duty to stand up to authoritarian states on the world stage and to stand up for the responsible use of new technologies.
After the lecture, Christian Lindner answers some questions from the audience, but not without first bringing Dr. Peter Staub on stage as supporting expert. The questions range from an interest in Lindner’s personal biography and the origin of his rhetorical talent to the workflow of his party, which - as Lindner proudly announces - is highly digitized.
The whole report as a convenient .pdf (in German)