Chair of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Body (STOA), Eva Kaili, explains how Europe can be strong if we use these new technologies in the right way.
Eva Kaili is the head of the Greek Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, as well as being the Chair of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Body (STOA). Kaili speaks to us about the importance of STOA and blockchain technology.
To begin, can you give us a short introduction into your role as chair of STOA? What does this involve?
STOA is the future of the technology community. We are trying to make studies on emerging technologies and inform MPs about the challenges and the possibilities of a new technology so they can legislate and regulate properly. We give them the options to decide how the new legislation should proceed. We have very high level of scientists that are participating in these studies. Recently, I also managed to be involved in some of the important technologies; such as blockchain and AI.
When it comes to blockchain technology, what is the importance of this?
Blockchain is a technology that is a platform to exchange value through tokens. You can have your own currency; the cryptography involved gives you a lot of trust to this network, you cannot have a bank shut down and eliminate all of your deposits because it is based on trust and it is an agreed value. Every action is copied and timestamped in the cryptographic way that you only have the key to the community that participates. Therefore, it is very difficult to hack. It creates faster transactions, with less friction and less cost for Europe.
Continuing on from this then, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges Europe faces in this area and how can these be overcome?
The challenge we have is how to balance privacy and the human European values. We have to protect ourselves from the emerging technologies, and make sure that we are going to use the emerging technologies in away that does not stop innovation. We need to find more ways to move quicker, to be globally competitive without breaking the bank. We need to create stronger and new creation value business models without having to compete by not respecting privacy, or using biases or discrimination of technology to create more of a policy. We have to make sure that you’re going to use a technology which is going to have an ethical principle based framework.
Can you explain how innovation can be a driving force for the establishment of the European digital single market, and why is this important?
In Europe, we are struggling to have a European digital single market. It is not easy; we have 24 different languages, acts and legal systems. Therefore, it is easier to export to a country such as China, than in Europe. We tried to eliminate these barriers, especially with geo-blocking and in services. I think it can help give us a tool as long as we know how to use these tools to benefit citizens and protect them in refuting and removing these barriers that we have on and offline.
Can you outline some of the key points of setting the frame for a strong digital Europe
For me is to have some common tools that are globally sold. Here we have quality and trust that we respect citizens and their privacy. At the same time, we manage to protect this by the view of self-data. We have to find this balance to reassure citizens that we use your data but we do what we are telling you we are going to do; we have their consent and they are in the control of it and to make sure that it is going to be transparent and be the right tool. It is also important that they understand the algorithm, and who/why their data is being used. I want to make sure that we understand the difference we have in Europe compared to China. In china, you can be discriminated from the government, whereas in Europe this should not happen. We have to make sure that the new business models develop fast, but at the same time, have insurance for the workers. We will not stop innovation; I think we can be really strong if we use these technologies. We are using quantum and blockchain technologies, we are investing a lot, but at the same time we are protecting the quality of life of citizens.
European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Body