Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

A journey into 2050's futures and policy challenges

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Robert Madelin, Director General of DG Connect opened the session mentioning that the objective is not to predict the exact future but to make sense of eleven visions that emerge from the Futurium journey.
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The whole process is to predict the future and concretise it in our daily life. He invited the audience to vote in the survey on the themes to provide the EC with insights into the relevance and timing, when the vision could become a reality. He then introduced the human dimension of the eleven themes (trans humanism, from cradle to grave work and play, the hyper connected human, etc.),  the system dimension, (cities, villages, communities, new actors and polarities, new economic models, etc.), as well as the on life initiatives.

Beth Coleman, Professor and researcher at the University of Waterloo & Harvard, spoke about the transformational role of big data and open data for smart cities.
Maarja Kruusmaa, Professor of Biorobotics at Tallinn University of Technology stressed the need to debate and review the traditional concepts of growth, the need to find new shared values that go beyond the concept of growth at all costs and the need to learn new growth models.

Daniel Kofman, Professor at Telecom ParisTech, reflected on the long lasting evolution of today’s trends, the vanishing of borders between traditionally different sectors and the inter-sectorial frictions that this may entail but also about new opportunities. He mentioned a few examples such as the cloud and network services. He also mentioned the need to remove silos in regulation, to move from layered and vertical approaches to horizontal and federated ones.
William Joncker, CEO of EIT ICT Labs, invoked the success of ambient intelligence as a vision driving European research, but the challenges are now at another level, for instance machines taking over human decision, hyper- connectivity will homogenize our life and the need of permanent of education.

Then a first a round of reactions from the audience highlighted:
1)   The right not to be connected to networks.
2)   How to cope with the possible nudism in a connected world.
3)   The need to protect ourselves in all levels.

James Elles, Member of the European Parliament stressed the importance of universal access to networks and services and expressed disappointment because of the cuts to the broadband programme originally proposed by Commission. He appreciates the messages from the themes “cradle to grave work and play and the needed to revise our learning-working- retirement patterns. And then he explained the outcome of the inter-institutional foresight initiatives – ESPAS and the need to make foresight as a regular practice within governments to make policies more future proof and accurate.

Stefan Jahnke, President of Erasmus Student Network voiced the concerns of young people particularly in terms of first employment. He contrasted the growing unemployment in Spain with the growing demand of ICT jobs. He favors students mobility to fill ICT vacancies and he also emphasized the importance of ICT to enable new learning possibilities for instance by through virtual classes, enabling future European students to learn by playing.
 
Kumardev Chatterjee, Founder and President of European Young Innovators Forum said that nobody would have predicted this acceleration of technological development but this is only the beginning. In the next two- three decades data will govern the world. Data privacy and education are becoming key issues.
Anna Nietyksza from European Economic and Social Committee spoke about trends in job new career development paths with many jobs experienced and the need to acquire the necessary skills during people life.
 
The second round with the audience highlighted the following messages:
1)   The emergence of a share economy where people fund projects through ground founding and other financial models.
2)   The need for new trust models between and across citizens, communities and states and the need for human empowerment. 
3)   The prospects of more flexible private and working life, where robots will do most of the jobs.
4)   The issue of limited cognitive attention and the need to re-think democracy in the hyper-connected world.
5)   The need to accelerate technological development with the regulation
6)   The need to learn from history to build the future
7)   A new re-industrialization for the 21st century without claiming to create Jobs that we will lost in the past decades. A new industrial dimension is needed.
8)   Need to regulate congregations, creative commons could be the starting points but we need new systems.
 
All panellists welcome the Commission initiative to acquire collective intelligence through the Futurium and called upon the commission to translate the eleven themes into compelling ideas to shape the future of Europe.

Session Reporters: Athanasia Konstantinou,Tautvydas Pranckevicius.