Politics and innovation: linked 2023

Innovation is significantly influenced by politics. Politicians and lawmakers are responsible for determining the scope and quality of innovation and technology adoption at the national level.

In the European Union, Estonia is one of the model countries that has been able to digitally transform the entire nation. During the past two decades, the road map toward a completely digital government and seamless electronic citizen interactions has been in continual flux.

By providing digital citizen services such as the electronic tax filing system, among many others, Estonia might significantly improve the efficiency of its government operations.

The Estonian approach differs from the conventional European paradigm, which is why it is used as a case study for other European nations in the EU that have realized the necessity for digitalizing government transactions, in part because of the most recent epidemic.

Government desire is one of the fundamental causes for embracing greater innovation in politics and state administration. A large number of local and federal governments in the EU are more ready than ever to improve how they work and connect with their constituents, and are more receptive than ever to embracing technology and creative procedures that would help them accomplish their objectives.

Citizen Lab, a Belgian civic-tech business, works with over 400 local governments that seek to better involve their citizens in the decision-making process by utilizing their white-labeled web-platforms driven by data science and analytics.

Obviously, policymakers have a significant role in defining the future and direction of political innovation. The AI Act (Artificial Intelligence) proposed by the European Commission on 21 April 2021 is one of the most controversial and contentious ideas of the present term.

The regulation of AI will have a significant influence on its implementation in any country, and this process is lengthy owing to the numerous uncertainties and complexity involved. Politics ultimately plays a key part in this process.

One of the noteworthy aspects illustrating the difficulty of negotiating the requirements of the AI Act is the fact that certain machine learning models are reiterating the problematic judgments made throughout history, as opposed to producing new and superior decisions that rectify the past’s unfairness.

AI bias or human bias?

When it comes to employment, for instance, many AI models trained to aid HR managers with recruiting choices turned out to be prejudiced since the real employment data was skewed and insufficiently varied.

Prioritizing equitable employment opportunities, such as the hiring of women and underrepresented groups in the computer industry, causes us to question the efficacy of AI in attaining the required diversity.

Hence, a number of political disputes arise around the extent to which humans may and should rely on AI to aid them in making crucial judgments or even to make such decisions on their behalf.

In the end, one of the objectives of policymakers should be to ensure that AI is utilized to repair certain previous errors and to prevent copying human bias or repeating history, even when historical data is biased.

In spite of the EU’s general inclination to absorb more innovation on the political and other levels, and in light of the complications policymakers face in assessing the optimal use of new technological developments, there is still a long way to go.

Yet, it is undeniable that Europe has positioned itself uniquely in the wake of the pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine, as it simultaneously strives for strategic autonomy and a more citizen- and planet-centric economy in which social innovation is gaining major traction.

Inspiring steps in this direction include the emergence of public funds encouraging innovation for the public benefit, such as Berlin’s Prototype Fund. Similar to the Prototype Fund, the Berlin-based Sovereign Tech Fund utilizes and strengthens the private technology industry.

These insights and real-world examples from Europe reaffirm the need of lobbying and advocacy with government leaders and ministries, no matter where we are in the globe, in order to accomplish the development and prosperity that we seek, particularly in terms of social and political innovation.

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