Digitalisation: "In a democracy, you do not settle for the first available solution"
Photo: Dan Poulsen, K-NEWS/Karnov Group
Mikkel Flyverbom, Professor of Communication and Digital Transformations at CBS, is the only researcher appointed as member of the Danish Digitisation Council. The other 10 members are top executives of public and private companies, trade unions and industrial associations.
The council is to provide advice to governments on digitalisation.
"I appreciate the trust placed in me by the Danish government. The Digitisation Council members are experts within their fields and have different backgrounds. This diversity and interdisciplinarity is vital for delivering nuance and high-quality advice," says Mikkel Flyverbom, who also does research into digital responsibility.
SHIFT THE FOCUS TO HUMAN NEEDS
As a member of the Council for Digitisation, he wishes to turn politicians' and society's views on digitalisation in a more responsible and human direction.
"For far too long, digitalisation has focused blindly on technological opportunities rather than human needs and the society we wish to build. This impacts the return on our investments in digitalisation, citizens' rights and welfare, and how new technology influences our lives," he says.
The problem is not only "unrestrained tech giants". Politicians and democratic institutions have let things slide for far too long, he says:
"I hope to help solve that problem."
THE OPPORTUNITIES OF DIGITALISATION
The Danish Digitisation Council has been established to follow up on the Danish Strategy for Digitalisation, which was published in May 2022 with 61 initiatives.
The aim is for digitalisation to contribute to supporting the welfare society of the future and the green transition, alleviating labour shortages and growth through more competitive companies. The strategy also focuses on ensuring good conditions for those challenged by digitalisation.
"Digitalisation is an important political focus area with the potential to solve some of the major societal challenges we face. But in a democracy and a company, you really should not settle for the first available solution. There may also be disadvantages associated with digitalisation such as waste of resources, inequality, lack of usability as well as a surveillance risk and the sharing and selling of private information," says Mikkel Flyverbom.
RESEARCH CONTRIBUTES TO SOLUTIONS
Mikkel Flyverbom is also a member of the Danish Data Ethics Council and chair of the government's expert group on tech giants. Previously, he was part of the Danish Government Digitisation Partnership, which advised the government on how to transform the technological opportunities in the future.
What motivates you to work beyond CBS?
"As a researcher, I have always focused on the relationship between digital technologies and the consequences for our society. Right now, we are facing difficult choices in relation to the role digitalisation, data-driven approaches and algorithms should play in our lives and organisations. This is where research-based insights can contribute to nuance and further develop strategic initiatives such as the Danish Digitisation Council – and insist on taking responsible and ethical approaches."