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Three statements three opinions: Rutger van Zuidam

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

“Being competitive doesn’t have to happen at the expense of responsible digital leadership, and vice versa. Creating a future vision and then setting this in motion is important for responsible digital leadership. The value of this vision increases when this is accompanied by ethical responsibility. It can actually reinforce the value and impact you provide if you incorporate this ethical responsibility into your business practices. Parties that fail to do this will lose their competitive advantage.”

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

“This depends on how we set this up. As Stephen Hawking once said, ‘We can achieve our greatest dreams when technology is an amplifier of, not a replacement to, the great things that people create.’  It is also crucial for us to keep developing. This means conducting the debate in more pointed terms, much more so than is now the case, combined with turning the risks or objections into opportunities and solutions will lead to a future in which we can achieve a healthy symbiosis with technology in the broadest sense of the word – including artificial intelligence and robots. Humans must also be at the center of the systems and models that we are designing for the future.”

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.

“Both are just a matter of taking action; it’s not rocket science. Getting your privacy affairs in order is part of responsible digital leadership. More and more entrepreneurs are doing just fine in this regard. The new law is a great catalyst for innovation. No reason to panic, but instead a business opportunity for improving customer relationships. In our innovation program, starring roles are being set aside for GDPR and blockchain (in the Energy Transition project). We are also once again working on a digital global identity project; the Ministry of the Interior is our partner on this. In this project, we are working on solutions that give citizens control (back) over their own data, information that is currently being stored mostly by third parties, public and private institutions.  It is important to develop these types of solutions together with others. Responsible digital leadership does not exist in isolation; it is a collective effort.”

Rutger van Zuidam (1983)
Founder and CEO of DutchChain and the Blockchaingers open innovation program

Author: Gwen Teo, Translation: Allison Klein
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