The world is changing as fast as ever. Smart cities, AI, digital education, internet of things and cybersecurity are the key topics covered on the first day of IGF 2021, the UN Digital Summit held in Katowice.
The first day of the Digital Summit opened the debate on the concept of smart cities. Experts agreed that cities around the world, both large metropolitan areas and small centers, face similar challenges caused by the process of global urbanization. The growing number of residents in cities and suburbs is forcing local governments to redefine the existing formula for the operation of transportation, administration and law enforcement services.
As Janusz Cieszyński, State Secretary for Digitization at the Prime Minister’s Chancellery and Government Plenipotentiary for Cybersecurity noted, in this situation, local communities are increasingly turning to modern technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and digital analytics, to design and implement effective local government programs to improve services and streamline internal governance.
“For local authorities, the idea of“ smart city ”is not a theory but practical tools that provide tangible returns, such as“ smart budget ”and“ smart administration ”. all official business online, queues at institutions have been shortened, employees can devote themselves to other tasks, and this optimization, in the end, means savings for the city’s budget ”, explained the Minister Cieszynski.
In turn, during the panel devoted to the recovery of the world economy after the crisis, Janusz Cieszynski pointed out that the Katowice digital summit is also taking place with the help of technology, which is changing the world, which has been particularly evident in recent months. .
“Technology shows us how fast our world is changing. And when it comes to public policy, the shifting horizon usually means decades or years. We are proving that it is possible to change the world quickly and that these changes can affect our lives in a few weeks or a few months, ”said the Minister.
As the Secretary of State for Digitization said, more investments are needed, but once they are made we can use the technologies in many areas of life that are needed, influencing the lives of billions of people. in the world. Asked about the possibility of accelerating digitization in areas where there is currently no Internet access, Mr. Cieszynski replied that “it would take 100 billion euros to provide Internet access to three billion people in the world who currently do not have access. Enjoy it. “
“I think it is quite doable, and these are the resources that would allow it to be delivered on a market basis. Looking at the finances that have been allocated to fight the pandemic, the 100 billion euros seems something something achievable for the global economy, concluded the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs.
Besides Janusz Cieszyński, the roundtable on global economic recovery brought together: Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, as well as ministers responsible for the digitization field of Syria, Rwanda and Slovenia.
Lily Edinam Botsyoe, a young online activist from Ghana, was the guest speaker at the first IGF 2021 press briefing. Ms. Botsyoe is the executive director of the Hacklab Foundation and a computer science student at the University of Cincinnati. She coordinates the Ghana Youth Internet Governance Forum. She is involved in promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) studies among girls in her country through coloring books. Using this unconventional method, she wants to encourage them to take an interest in science and programming.
The stories of women involved in STEM depicted in the coloring book are selected in an online vote. “I asked people to fill out surveys. It could be anyone, like a teacher who encouraged us in math,” Ms. Botsyoe said during the briefing. The idea is to find out how the characters in the book managed to color it. The project is aimed at girls aged 7 and over.
At the same time, Lily Edinam Botsyoe stressed that she was very happy to participate in the Katowice summit. “I have noticed that we young people are only able to understand different concepts when we see them when we are part of or participate in them. That is why I am happy to be here and to have the opportunity. to participate in sessions with different stakeholder groups, people who present different points of view, ”said Lily.
The 2021 IGF UN Digital Summit in Katowice also provides an opportunity for bilateral discussions and negotiations between countries. As part of the meeting between Janusz Cieszyński, government plenipotentiary for cybersecurity, and Henri Verdier, French ambassador for digital, details were agreed on strengthening cooperation between Warsaw and Paris on issues such as cybersecurity and support for scientific projects carried out by specialists. from both countries.
“Developing innovative technologies and digitization defined as the development of modern infrastructure adapted to citizens is a key element of the policy of the Polish government and of President Macron” – underlined Janusz Cieszyński.
The representative of France welcomed the postulate of the Polish minister concerning the deepening of cooperation between companies and institutions in Poland and France. He underlined the crucial challenges for the two countries which are robotization and the increase of the efficiency of agricultural production, as well as the permanent financing of projects which strengthen the cybersecurity of the whole of the European Union, in particular in the context of the tense situation beyond its eastern part. limits. “The digital protection of Community citizens will be one of the priorities of the next French presidency of the EU”, assured Mr. Verdier.
In the afternoon, the IGF Youth Summit in Katowice opened with a speech by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“I belong to a generation that remembers times without cell phones and the internet, but even to me they seem unreal. The digital revolution has happened almost imperceptibly. Even at the end of the 20th century, it was difficult to imagine that the Internet would dominate our lives, ”said the Prime Minister.
According to the Prime Minister, the pace of IT development is accelerating every year. People born in the 90s are the first generation for whom the Internet has become a natural environment. Children learn to use a smartphone faster than reading or writing. New technologies are also shaping a whole new type of thinking. “This is why I know that it is the younger generations who are the most competent to lead the process of digital development. Poland is boldly entering the world of new technologies. Our ambition is that digital services are used to reduce social gaps and improve the comfort of life “, added Mateusz Morawiecki.
In his speech, Polish Plenipotentiary for the UN Digital Summit IGF 2021, Krzysztof Szubert, assessed that during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, “digital and internet technologies have proven that they can affect our lives to a degree. that we’ve never seen before. ”
“Here in Poland we have used this time very productively”, he added and mentioned the “Home Quarantine” monitoring application used during the pandemic, the “Protego Safe” application and the account. patient online, among others.
During the ceremony, Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, read a letter from UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
On the first day of IGF 2021, the decision to launch the Silesian Center for Digital Engineering, Law, Technology and Skills was also announced. Among the signatories of the agreement were: Prof. Celina Olszak, Rector of the Katowice University of Economics, Prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk, Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Prof. Ryszard Koziołek, Rector of the ‘University of Silesia, and Wojciech Pawlak, Director of NASK.
“When NASK substantially ‘connected Poland to the Internet’ a quarter of a century ago, many of today’s obvious digital threats were unimaginable. Thanks to the experience gained and the considerable efforts of Polish scientists, many of whom pursue their passions in Silesia, today we are creating a unique institution, which will enhance the safety of users of new technologies all over the world, underlined Wojciech Pawlak.
The institution, which will be created as a result of close cooperation between the main Silesian universities, will focus on the conduct of interdisciplinary projects related to digitization in the broad sense. As Professor Ryszard Koziołek has pointed out, the challenges associated with the introduction and use of new technologies go beyond any specific scientific field.
“The digital world will not be built only by computer scientists. The software they create requires the talent and effort of engineers. To get research funding we have to keep business in mind. important role in this whole chain, lawyers or sociologists who define the legal framework of the new digital reality and analyze its impact on people and the whole of society ”, explained the Rector of the University of Silesia.
The new center must also be another engine of development for the whole region. According to Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk, the profound metamorphosis of Silesia is evidenced by the fact that the signing of the agreement was accompanied not by a mining orchestra but by a Martian rover built by Silesian scientists and students.
“We are united by the desire to ensure the successful development of the whole region through the synergy of science, technology and business. Our ambition is to make Silesia the center of Polish and European innovation, and the creation of the Center is a huge step in this direction ”, underlined Professor Celina Olszak.