The hegemony that used to enable authorities to facilitate the continuity of peace in Europe is at breaking point. Political populism, lack of digital agency (vs Google, Amazon, China gov+industry (Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT), lack of aligning techno-reality in any kind of domain and service with its full absence on the most important decision-making level: the political model of voting representatives once every four years organized in the format of ‘parties’ (paid to be an organizational form by the same state structures), lack of long term visions on jobs vs robots, lack of education on generational issues of having grown up in commercial connectivity, the erosion of trust in the current financial toolsets vs strong moves towards and adoption of central authority-less crypto-currencies, further regionalization (Brexit, Catalunia, Poland, Hungaria..) it all points to immanent breakdown of the current economic, social and political toolsets. One must not forget that the only reason for actually having an Estonian example is the Wall coming down. It was thus relatively easy to build something new, fresh, radical, on top of…nothing.
We posit a living ecosystem of the best possible balance of extreme centralization (on infrastructure, protocols and identity management) and extreme decentralization (on data, applications, services) focussing on resilience and self-healing properties as radically new concrete functionalities of a digital ambient infrastructure, and legible interfaces to those properties that matter for citizens – stability, solidarity, reciprocity, fairness - in an inclusive sustainable ecosystem.
It is in all actors’ interest to invest mental, creative, financial and scientific forces towards more integration and further incentivize legal, procurement, funding and strategic decisions aimed at a further harmonization towards the EU as a service and infrastructural platform aimed at centralizing generic infrastructure – analogue (roads, hospitals, schools) , digital (5G connectivity, circular/electric economy, EU supercomputing and EU Cloud) and hybrid (streamlined fintech/crypto ICO, VR/AR tools, self-healing bio/nano robotics – decentralizing applications and services at local, regional levels in a model in which data from wearables, homes, cars and public identities in cities remain with citizens. They ‘auction’ their data to be enriched by service providers.
In a general and popular Imaginary there is no more real alternative to real world situations; FB, Google, Amazon have won the ‘winner takes all’ paradigm and seem to be eternal. In between the commercial agency of the US data lakes and the fully integrated top down Chinese approach Europe should find a new balance with new leading actors in between centralization and decentralization, anonymity and accountability and investments in innovation and maintenance and repair.