The Club Alpbach and the Province of Styria invited Andreas Gerstenmayer, Stefanie Lindstaedt and Stefan Mangard to a high-ranking expert panel on "Digitization and Us" on 18th November as part of the "Geist & Gegenwart" dialogue series.

A book presentation by Herwig Hösele formed the premises of an engaging discussion on the topic “Digital Europe”, which poses enormous opportunities and critical threats to the development and competence of Europe.

Digitization is omnipresent. It offers us great possibilities for the future, but also harbors dangers and uncertainties. In order to ascertain the various opportunities and threats, the Province of Styria is actively trying to shape these transformation processes through extraordinary R&D work as well as having a strong and innovative, economic and industrial landscape that brings long-term positive prospects for Styria. Parallelly, it is also trying to ascertain the effects of digital transformation on coexistence of the society and individuals, through such discussions and expert opinion.

Expert Opinion

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lindstaedt, TU Graz, CEO of the Know-Center was part of an esteemed panel of experts that discussed the various opportunities, dangers and perspectives under the topic – “Digitization and us”. Her remarks as also quoted in the November issue of Kleine Zeitung, “There is a great fuss that information, search engines and research data will be removed from Europe. This scenario warns us against using old answers to new questions. Instead of finding innovative applications for new technologies, there is a risk of simply digitizing models and ideas from the past. This would take away the opportunity to fundamentally rethink processes. This scepticism is based on the impression that there are not enough software enthusiasts in many company boards who do things smart.” She therefore calls for a new kind of quota regulation for management: “one computer scientist per board member”.

Many do not understand that they are not only a data point in the whole consortium of things but also data suppliers. On the other hand, data means power! And we have to be careful what happens to this power, said Stefan Mangard, Head of the Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communications at Graz University of Technology. He also pointed out the biggest threat of Digitization, “being too slow and just watching.”

“It is dangerous when opportunities are not used properly and in good time”, stated AT&S CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer, who said this with regard to solutions at the European level.  “Otherwise we will not be able to hold our own in this competitive world.”

This discussion brought forth extremely critical points from both sides – Research and Industry. It reinstated the power of Digitization in Europe –  seemingly limitless possibilities which will contribute to the development of a new face of Europe at a high speed; and at the same time bring us face-to-face with complex challenges that would need to be resolved with fresh thinking and implementation techniques.