WGS 2019: Digital divide a major issue for governments

DUBAI, 11th February, 2019 (WAM) — In our lifetime, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in how the world perceives technology. Technology has created an all-encompassing ecosystem that demands respect and continues to surpass expectations through its many roles across governments. This interplay of tech and government was discussed on the second day of the seventh World Government Summit (WGS 2019).

The world has witnessed many firsts in governments, one of them, which speaks directly to the generation of today, was when Casper Klynge was appointed the Tech Ambassador of Denmark in 2017. A role that may seem like a watchdog for tech giants does much more than that. In his discussion with moderator Arjun Kharpal, Senior Technology Correspondent at CNBC, Klynge spoke about the urgent need for governments to introduce cutting-edge technologies.

“Artificial intelligence, machine-learning and the Internet of Things are our industrial revolution. This is very different than what we have heard about, but the growth of technology is a revolution for us. What we know, what we want to learn and how we use it is what creates a seamless understanding of interplaying technology into our governments. The growing power of technology over governments is admirable and at the same time requires strict regulations,” said Klynge.

He also noted that public-private partnerships are the safe and secure way forward in integrating technology in governments. “The public and private sectors cannot work in isolation. They need each other to build a better state of technology. Some private organizations lack societal accountabilities, and it lands an added responsibility on the governments to keep that in check. They do have a tendency of ‘winner takes it all’, and the issue starts there. Governments and organizations need to have an open dialogue, which will open up many right avenues for both parties,” he added.

The session also witnessed pragmatic conversations on the digital divide and quantum computing.

In a subsequent session, Greg Wyler, Founder of OneWeb, an organization that is devising ways to connect even the remotest areas in the world, spoke about OneWeb’s work with UNICEF towards mapping connectivity across the world. Dubbed as Project Connect, the initiative examines how connected educational institutions are in various countries. Governments and technology companies are now engaging in building a system that addresses the issue of connectivity globally.

In the closing session, Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave Systems, discussed the capabilities of quantum computing. This technology uses quantum mechanical properties to perform calculations, as opposed to the binary calculations performed by classic computers. While making computers faster and more efficient, quantum computing also disperses less energy, creating more sustainable technological advancement. Organizations such as D-Wave are pioneering quantum computing.

The session also explored the important dialogue on the next steps in the inclusion of technology across governments.

The three-day World Government Summit 2019 runs until February 12 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event has convened more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 30 international organizations.


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