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The data is devastating: for the first time, for five years in a row, the number of countries moving towards authoritarian regimes is higher than countries moving towards democracy, according to the report ‘The State of Democracy in the World 2021: Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era’, published in November by International IDEA, an intergovernmental organization based in Stockholm. The diagnosis is that we are witnessing a “perfect storm.”

According to analysis’Freedom in the World 2021‘ by Freedom House, 2020 sees a sharp acceleration in the global decline of democracy. Less than a fifth of the world’s population now lives in a truly free country. The trend towards authoritarianism has been registered worldwide over the past 30 years, as many reports show, with greater or lesser argumentative solvency. The response to globalization that has come to save us and equate us on the Internet is proving to be more powerful than globalization itself, as if it were an autoimmune disease. Illustration light running out of battery.

In a conversation at Stanford University, Barack Obama’s former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes, who has just released the book ‘After the Fall: Becoming America in the World We Made‘, citing one of the main causes of this worrying authoritarian shift to technology and saying that “Platforms that originally connected people have become perfect vehicles for misinformation and surveillance”.

Both the Biden Administration and the European Commission have strengthened their initiatives this year around what can already be considered one of the great problems of our time, as all vectors of societal and economic transformation converge in democracy. As usual, Brussels and Washington act in different styles.

The White House announced during the Democracy Summit, held in early December, the launch of three ‘Great International Challenges on Technology to Affirm Democracy’. The goal is to bring together innovators, investors, researchers and entrepreneurs and promote together with them technology with deep-rooted democratic values ​​in all stages of its development and use.

Spanish You are lucky because of one of those Challenges, that is Tech4Democracy’s Global Entrepreneurship Challenge, has been assigned to IE University, together with the United States Embassy in Madrid. Bravo. Your role will be identify entrepreneurs who build and promote the technology organize a competition startup you scaleup in different countries.

Specific areas of innovation to be accommodated in Tech4Democracy From data capture for policy making to responsible artificial intelligence and machine learning, fighting misinformation, and promoting government transparency or accessibility of government data and services.

Regarding the other two technological challenges, the first is as partner to England, with His Government National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology The US will design an innovation award highlighting privacy-enhancing technologies (PET). Is about encourage data sharing without compromising privacy and protect intellectual property in the process.

And a very interesting third proposal, the Open Technology Fund which will support ssolution to help fight censorship on line around the world. These include the Big Challenge: “Fighting internet disconnections (or ‘outages’) with technology colleague to partner“, Allows the transmission of content and communications without the need for an internet or cellular connection.

These initiatives are designed to position the United States at the forefront of technology in areas that matter to society, with a long-term vision. They will undoubtedly condition the way in which the ICT sector is designed and articulated in the years to come. Because the problem is serious.

The European Union’s way of addressing the issue of the viability of democracy is to launch the Conference for the Future of Europe, based on open consultation for residents. It is surprising that, on the same day that the White House sponsored the Democracy Summit, a strange experiment was taking place in Florence, at the behest of European University Institute, which gathered 200 randomly selected people from 27 member countries who were asked to contribute ideas.

A recent report from the Conference for the Future of Europe highlights that, despite not making headlines in the media (at least in our country), the topic ‘European Democracy’ has become the topic that recorded the highest number of contributions, be it ideas, comments or events, even ahead of ‘Climate and environmental change’.

Contributions made to the topic ‘Other ideas’ took third place, followed by ‘Stronger economy, social justice and jobs’ and, in fifth place, the title related to democracy reappeared: ‘Values ​​and rights, the rule of law and security’. It is important that health does not appear in the top five in the midst of a pandemic.

Many contributions go hand in hand with federalization as one of the possible ways to strengthen the EU. But there is something more pressing to focus on: a climate of disillusionment, a loss of enthusiasm for European values. The economic growth experienced by some authoritarian societies, including their prominence in certain areas of technological innovation, and the rise of populism undermined confidence in Europe. “The citizens who participated in this question asked a firmer stance to uphold EU values ​​vis–vis countries like Russia and China‘ said the report.

When I asked Tim O’Reilly about the three most disruptive technologies, he was quick to name two that were predictable, the continued development of artificial intelligence neural networks and genetic engineering, but he gave himself more time to discuss the third: thinking about the future -he said-, I don’t think of technology as the greatest transformative force, but demographics and aging, and in relation to other aspects such as climate change. Core technology will help us overcome this. Where will hundreds of millions of people move, how will they do it, what will the cities of the future look like? It’s not Google that makes Toronto residents richer and smarter, but ten million Syrian refugees and a city where everyone can work. In the 21st century, it is the first to learn, not the last”.

Who can we trust?I asked him directly. I still remember the silence that created that moment. It seemed to me that it covered all the space separating us between California and Spain. “We have to reinvent society. We are in the middle of a major realignment, where people have to find out who to trust again. Established institutions must understand that we have to remake the world“, he punished. All call for innovation.

Matt Thompson

"Problem solver. Proud twitter specialist. Travel aficionado. Introvert. Coffee trailblazer. Professional zombie ninja. Extreme gamer."

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