Regulatory change in the digital sphere, key to boosting Europe as a technological superpower

Press release

We are before a great transformation worldwidederived from events such as the pandemic, Brexit, the war in Ukraine, inflation, the increase in inequality or the climate emergency. The future is surrounded by uncertainty and, at the same time, marked by a great technological revolution whose spearhead is digitization.

This has concentrated advances in a time frame much shorter than that occupied by technological leaps in the past. Consequently, the undoubted advantages that progress brings are accompanied by an increase in inequalitybetween those who adapt to change and those who do not, and the threatssuch as loss of privacy, misinformation or cybercrime.

According to data from the ‘Digital Society Report in Spain 2023’, presented on April 25 at Espacio Fundación Telefónica and available for free download from April 25, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., the digital society in the world continues to advance, although at a slower rate than that experienced at the height of the pandemic.

In 2022, almost two thirds (66.3%) of the world’s population was an internet user. This percentage is 3.7 points higher than in 2021 (62.6%). In absolute terms, there were more than 5,280 million internet users, 338 million more than in 2021.

Taking these data into account and the highly variable and uncertain environment in which we live, great keys for reflection are proposed. Next, We present some of the main conclusions collected in the ‘Report The Digital Society in Spain 2023’.


Follow the presentation of the ‘Digital Society Report in Spain 2023’ live:

Digital sovereignty, key to the transformation of Europe into a technological superpower

Europe missed the first technological wave, but must lead the next and develop its own digital capabilities. The EU must seize the opportunity to transform into a technological superpowerdefine your autonomy strategy and exercise regulatory power to configure the international environment in a digital key.

In this context, the EU has already taken its first steps at the regulatory level with the approval in 2022 of two fundamental standards for the ethical development of digital services: the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), which will begin to apply in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

While telecommunications revenues decline, internet traffic grows 35% and more than 50% in the case of mobile data. At par, only six large digital platforms lead more than half of this traffic. Thus, It is urgent to develop a new regulatory proposal that responds to the changes that the acceleration of digitization has brought, both at a European and Spanish level.

It is essential to create a adequate and adapted new legal framework to new developments and infrastructures. In these new times, new rules of the game are needed.

The strength of Spanish infrastructures

In this context, Spain continues at a good pace in its digital transformation process and is the undisputed leader in terms of connectivity. The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) prepared annually by the European Commission placed our country in 2022 at number seven in the list of Member States, two places higher than in 2021. It is only surpassed in this area by Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland and Malta.

Spain is a country that has a highly advanced infrastructureboth in relation to European countries and within the framework of the OECD, thanks to its early commitment to fiber optics in the past decade and the rapid deployment of the 5G mobile telephony standard that it has been carrying out in recent years.

The three levers of digitization

In this rapidly changing global scenario, there are three factors that can be considered drivers of digitization: education, digital talent and a safe internet.

innovation in education

It is essential that education systems evolve at the same pace as the economy and society. Schools must continue to make an effort to equip yourself with technology and modernize the pedagogical activity. In the same way, it is necessary to introduce at all educational levels a training that contributes technological skills such as computer programming, essential for future generations that will work side by side with an artificial intelligence system.

Digital talent in companies

One of the main characteristics of the digital transformation in the field of employment is the spectacular growth in demand for digital profiles. Eurostat data reveals that the number of ICT specialists grew by 50% in the European Union between 2020 and 2021, a rate eight times higher than employment growth in the area.

In Spain, in mid-2022, DigitalES calculated that there were around 124,400 vacancies for digital profiles, mainly in the fields of software development, systems and cybersecurity.

Trust and security on the internet

More than half of Spanish citizens declare that they trust the Internet a lot. Although, Spain is one of the countries most concerned about misinformation, 62% of the population, only surpassed by Portugal.

Also worrying is the growing threats to organizations ransomware-based and malware that affects personal devices. The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) noted that between July 2021 and July 2022, ransomware and malware have continued to top the list of cyberattacks.

Key technologies for the new digital economy

The leap forward that is taking place in the field of infrastructures with the confluence of the 5G and of the optical fiber It has made it possible to lay the foundations of the digital world that is already under construction.

On the other hand, the Web3 As a complement to the immersive internet and the metaverse, the new applications of the blockchain Beyond cryptocurrencies, the Industry 4.0 as complete automation of the traditional factory and the immense potential of drones These are some technologies that have had notable milestones in 2022.

The artificial intelligence It is also experiencing a peak of popularity, to the point that the Royal Academy of Language named it “word of the year 2022”. This has continued to permeate Spanish society in 2022 in the form of services and applications. Along with other digital technologies, such as big data, internet of things, cloud or roboticsfavors the transition towards more agile and versatile production models, the automation of activities and the acceleration of responsible data exchange to solve critical challenges and spur innovation.

Life in a digital society

For yet another year, entertainment-related services become the locomotive that directs the use that Spaniards make of digital technologies.

75.7% of internet users in the last three months have listened to or downloaded music from online services7.5 points more than in 2020. Also they grow very noticeably (10.5 points) Internet users who watch movies or series through streaming platforms streamingreaching 65.6%. The only leisure service that has seen its percentage reduced is that of video games. Internet users who play or download games go from 37% in 2020 to 35.4% in 2022.

Online banking users are also growingin 2022, 73.7% of internet users in the last three months have accessed online banking services, 6.2% compared to 2021.

As far as electronic commerce is concerned, purchases are maintained, but frequency and spending are reduced. The percentage of people who bought online in the last three months reached 55.3%, one tenth more than in 2021. On the other hand, e-commerce users bought 2.8 times a month in 2022, a figure similar to the one that existed before the pandemic.

The return to normality has also been reflected in the workplace, reducing the percentage of employed people who teleworked. In 2021 the figure stood at 17.6% and in 2022 it fell to 14%.

Facing disruption from anthropocentrism

In 2022, the European Commission announced a political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council, the program ‘Europe’s Digital Decade: digital goals for 2030’, which alludes to skills and infrastructure and the digitization of businesses and public services. It also highlights the importance of having a digital rights framework for Europeans.

On the other hand, Spain has, since 2021, a Digital Bill of Rightswhich does not have a normative nature, but which represents a reference framework to guarantee and reinforce the rights of people in the digital world.

telephonefor his part, has proposed a digital pact between civil society, academia, the public and private sectors to leverage a people-centered digital transition.


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