Drafting optimal perspectives in digital society and economy issues are able to enhance national recovery and resilience plans. While preparing these plans for the Commission’s adoption (drafts shall be ready this fall and final versions next April) the states have to include numerous digital transitions’ aspects. To assist the states, the Commission issued (in mid-September 2020), two initiatives to advance the member states’ digital agenda: first, a draft of a new regulation for the EU High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking; secondly, a recommendation for the states to boost investment in connectivity infrastructure. The national planning shall be aware of the following important aspects: supercomputers, connectivity, facilitating entrepreneurship and boosting investments.
= Supercomputers. Digital high-performance technologies (often called supercomputers) are vital for the states’ welfare and their future; they support both the national health and all adjacent sectors. The states can “visualize” the so-called “digital human twin”, i.e. simulating trillions of processes and molecules of the human body to advance necessary treatments, tackle diseases or viruses and improve diagnostics.
In this complicated endeavor, supercomputers and artificial intelligence’s devises can be used to investigate options and design of a much wider challenge – an efficient Earth system modeling – to inform and advance policymakers and help national governance to find solutions in combating negative climate change. Besides, supercomputers can support entrepreneurship in general and certain business sectors, in particular, by innovating, testing and scaling up much wider spheres of practical advantages.
Note: some ideas of supercomputers’ use in facilitating human brains in: Harari Y. N. “21 Lessons for the 21st century”. –Spiegel & Grau, 2018, pp. 28-33.
Already in October 2018, the Commission initiated a common with the states and private contributors’ a €1.5 billion fund to deliver on the first Joint Undertaking on High Performance Computing; in the Multiannual Financial Framework (i.e. the EU’s budget for the next seven years) about € 8 billion will be invested in these digital capacities.
= Connectivity. Connectivity is the backbone for the national digital transformation’s solutions: hence, the need to prioritise public investment in high-speed internet for businesses, public services and citizens; for example, public plans shall be oriented towards accelerating novice 5G development as during the pandemic many connectivity projects and 5G spectrum auctions were delayed. Therefore the Commission calls for the states to develop a toolbox with best practices to invest in connectivity by facilitating the advances in the digital agenda.
= Facilitating entrepreneurship. Advantages in the digital economy transformation’s are numerous: e.g. access to innovative and convenient services for citizens as well as the new ways the companies can reach customers, digital tax declarations that are simpler and faster than filling in on papers, digitally connected cashiers can directly transmit data to tax authorities to prevent tax evasion and long processing of paper accountings at the end of the year, finally, electronic medical prescriptions would allow picking up necessary medicines at every pharmacy, etc. These and other digital innovations are useful for both the citizens and the state’s economy. The Commission will soon propose a secure European e-identity which would both enable citizens identifying themselves (e.g. making online transactions) and facilitate control over personal data (the issue, which is still complicated presently).
Commission’s executive vice-president M. Vestager acknowledges that “the public sector could be a strong enabler of change: Latvia, for example, introduced a large-scale communication and training program to improve peoples’ digital skills and to facilitate the use of digital services; these changes benefit citizens and businesses”. Citation: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_20_1704
= Boosting digital investment. Most optimal solution in digital transformation is combining public-private sources and the EU’s financial facilities; as to the latter, the Commission proposed investing 20 percent of the Recovery and Resilience Facility in digital economy. While integrating digital components in the national recovery plans, the states shall see that the cross-countries’ cooperation shall be in line with the EU’s single market rules. Over 40% of Europeans do not even have basic digital skills today. If we want everybody to benefits from the advantages of digital education, if we want to use digital applications in our daily lives, we need to create these skills. If we want to lead in digital technologies, we have to step up investments in advanced digital knowledge and well-trained digital innovators.
Digital investment must be targeted: for example, as soon as over 40 percent of Europeans do not poses presently even basic digital skills, the states shall strive for a comprehensive national digital education. Adequate steps in this direction by a wider usage of various digital applications in daily lives would help both in creating new skills and in retraining. Only by stepping up investments in advanced digital knowledge and technologies, in creating well-trained digital innovators the states can achieve a feasible recovery.