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Three statements three opinions: Joep Beukers

Responsible digital leadership comes with major ethical responsibility. The importance of being competitive should never overshadow this.

“Digitization is having a major impact in the period that has now begun; people are starting to work more and more with personal data. This brings with it major responsibilities, including ethical ones. In order to implement any business processes at all, as an organization, you have to assume responsibility. In my view, this isn’t just limited to complying with the minimum legislation and regulations. As an organization, you must constantly put yourself in someone else’s position and ask yourself if you would want certain personal data to be used and if so, how? It is important to come up with business processes and products that never overshadow this.”

Guaranteeing people’s decision-making authority seems impossible, given the advancing developments of artificial intelligence and robotics.

“Although no one can see into the future, I don’t believe that the decision-making authority of people will be at risk as a result of the developments in artificial intelligence and robotics. A computer ultimately always needs a human to add a new action command and ultimately increase intelligence in the process. This means that humans will always maintain control.”

If Dutch companies are already having trouble getting their “ducks in a row” for the new European privacy law, then responsible digital leadership is a long way off.

“It’s the chicken-and-egg story all over again: what is the cause and what is the effect? Organizations can really benefit from responsible digital leadership and new technologies in order to meet the challenges they face when it comes to privacy. The self-sovereign identity framework for example (a platform that will enable citizens to supply official digital information in the future without sharing personal data; APG is one of the parties developing this technology; author’s note) offers potential opportunities to better protect privacy-sensitive information. It is always harder to achieve a similar effect with existing systems than to apply new technology for this purpose. A role is set aside for businesses to work with legislators and regulators to see if new technologies can contribute to meeting the challenges that are inherent to the world we live in.”

Joep Beukers (1971)
Director of Innovation

Author: Gwen Teo, Translation: Allison Klein