The digital revolution in view of citizens' needs and rights (own-initiative opinion)

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EESK:s yttrande: The digital revolution in view of citizens' needs and rights (own-initiative opinion)

Key points:

  • Digitalisation offers a wealth of new possibilities allowing people to make choices for a better life in an unprecedented way. On the other hand, the more digitalisation dominates our life, the more we can also be manipulated.  The EESC calls for transparent rules to be developed, adapted and applied to these rapidly evolving technologies. Good persuasive technology should involve training, not manipulation, and comply with the principle of people's free choice, to guarantee human autonomy.
  • The EESC calls on the EU to revisit existing security regulations and to develop and adapt strict security rules for new evolving technologies for the protection of citizens in their homes. The EESC welcomes the approach of improving road safety by introducing more digital technology in cars, but also expresses worries about the slow pace of these improvements. The Committee calls for the development of EU-incentives to address the demanding costs (need to buy new cars) and the insufficient acceptance of assistance systems (complexity, lack of training). A European strategy must be developed to adapt and modify our road system so that fully autonomous vehicles with 100% safety can become a success.
  • The individual consumer, who does not have professional digital skills, needs strong support in using complex digital systems. Transparency is not sufficient: simplification and standardised procedures across the EU are therefore needed to help the consumer.
  • The EESC recommends, whenever new automation systems are planned in industry, commerce and service sector, using objective scientific methods to optimise and evaluate human-machine interaction. The scientific methods of cognitive ergonomics make it possible to objectively assess mental demands while dealing with new technical assistance systems. The EESC is convinced that only with human centred design will digitalisation be successful in the long term.