Europe, in developing its own knowledge-intensive industries, is confronted with the challenge to find a new way to interact with what Ray Kurzweil has called “Spiritual Machines”, but respecting European cultural traditions: how will it be possible to develop ICT in such a way as to avoid the complete destruction, by machines, of the natural human environment, to which we are used to live, as feared , for instance, by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk,-what Vladimir Putin has called “Bridling Artificial Intelligence”-?.
A series of different industries are converging presently around ICT, under the cover of huge multinational groups, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba, such as cultural and communication industries (education, publishing, broadcasting, cinema, music, entertainment), bioengineering, cybernetics, neurosciences, robotics, mechatronics, telecommunications, aerospace, defence, etc.
In consideration of the ongoing worldwide effort to build up such industries and of the present employment crisis in Europe, to which our Governments are unable to provide a remedy, the European Union should concentrate its efforts in generating jobs in all sectors of knowledge-intensive Industries, such as, for instance:
a) ICT intelligence and warfare;
b) a Universal European Academy, unifying the existing ones, including an ICT Academy, as proposed by the European Parliament;
c) a whole set of pan-European e.publishers;
d) unifying Arte and Euronews into a powerful multi-channel multilingual broadcaster for all Europeans, alongside the model of al-Jazeera and al-‘Arabiyya for the Arab world;
e) a new “digital Hollywood”;
f) a European hardware manufacturer, competing with Apple;
g) a European software producer, competing with Microsoft;
h) a European Web Provider complying with all requirements of European legislation;
i) a European Internet system;
l) a European search engine, competing with Google;
m) a European e-commerce portal, competing with Amazon and e.Bay;
n) a pan-European promotional portal in all languages;
o) a financial company investing in pan-European touristic enterprises;
p) concentrating and coordinating the existing telecommunication companies for a management of the framework infrastructure apt to safeguard the security of the Europeans’ data.
Presently, Europeans are completely absent from the web industry, search engines, large scale e.publishing and e-commerce.
The Chinese example shows that a State having, as China has, a continental scale, possesses all characteristics required for hosting the first e-commerce companies of the world, and even two search engines, which, together, have subtracted, from Google, more than 20% of the world market. Therefore, there would not be any reasons why also Europe could not do the same. Presently, no one of these activities is actively supported by the European Institutions, not even at the very low level of “traditional” publishing. It would be impossible to create new jobs for 30 million people in these sectors in a very short time with the same methodologies adopted up to now. Among the innovative leverages to be utilized for such large scale job creation, a connection with the Belt and Road Initiative could result decisive.
In particular, the newly created EFSI, connected to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the “On Belt-One Road Fund”, should foster development projects especially in areas along the New Silk Road where, presently, there is, in Europe, a lack of investments.
We remark also the following:
- in the debate organised by CGTV at the occasion of the Xiamen BRICS forum of 2017, the idea of a new form of transnational media consensus was aired, which could overcome the media concentration presently existing in the West. A more independent European communication sector could be a part of the play;
- Baidu and Alibaba have acquired a valuable experience in creating new knowledge- intensive industries strictly connected with national identity, which are able to compete effectively worldwide, and could be helpful for repeating the same experience in other Continents;
- the new Pirelli corporate governance shows a path for Belt and Road investors to safeguard the independence of European joint ventures and/or subsidiaries.