IE Centre for the Governance of Change
The New Digital Domain
Oscar Jonsson, Ulrico E.Campanella and Taylor Owen

Challenges and opportunities in the digital era

The “New Digital Domain” report released by the IE Centre for the Governance of Change analyses the implications of digital transformation, which has been accelerated during the Covid-19 crisis, and proposes a series of recommendations for global and economic governance, identifying opportunities to improve the social contract in the digital era.

The report reviews the main technological trends that were well in the making before pandemic, with implications in many different fields: from the new economic and geopolitics order to the redefinition of privacy or the need of a new social contract, policies and regulations.

According to the authors (Oscar Jonsson, Ulrico E.Campanella and Taylor Owen), questions about digital governance will be central to how we rebuild our post-pandemic world, especially if we consider that so far “for too long, about too many issues, governance of technology have been left solely to those who design it”.

Among the main proposals and conclusions of the report, the following stand out:

  • European Union: The region needs to assert its strength as a geopolitical actor and its digital sovereignty, as geopolitical competition is increasingly playing out in a technological arms race involving private companies (for instance US-China tensions seen in the 5G-case)
  • New digital governance: The report proposes a new forum for global coordination to overcome current geographic balkanization of data governance, a universal declaration on AI, a global protection against fake news and a new Digital Stability Board to shape global standards, regulations, and policies across the platform economy. 
  • Competition and digital disruption: It is necessary to create a level playing field for innovators and laggards through fair taxation of large tech and smart/agile regulations to tame the negative aspects of technological disruptions in more traditional sectors.

If we fail to address these challenges, according to the authors tensions within and between societies could be exacerbated, even more so considering that governments will emerge from the pandemic with historic levels of debt while the digital firms that have captured the majority of recent growth remain largely untaxed.

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