Euronews Debates | Profit vs public good: How can innovation benefit everyone?

The technology is under scrutiny after a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower accused the company of knowingly preferring profits to …

The technology is under scrutiny after a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower accused the company of knowingly preferring profits to public safety and providing thousands of internal documents in support of the allegations.

With demands for more regulation growing, citizens, policymakers and innovators wonder: How can we ensure that technology serves the public good without stifling innovation?

This will be one of the questions at the center of our recent Euronews debate on Tuesday 19 October at 3 p. M. CEST. Follow it live on this page.

Our experts discuss how different types of companies develop and use technology and innovation and answer the question of whether this can be profitable and non-profit.

You can ask your burning questions about the future of the digital economy to our panel during the live debate using the following form:

Innovation drives today’s global economies. The deployment and use of technology are seen as keys to increasing productivity and growth while reducing the impact on the planet’s precious, finite resources. This should go hand in hand with prosperity, a higher standard of living and a positive influence on society. That’s the theory. But who really benefits when most of the innovation is driven by the private sector?

Research before the pandemic found that “the digital economy is worth € 11.5 trillion (€ 10,000) worldwide, which is 15.5 percent of global GDP, and has grown two and a half times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years . “

COVID-19 and the new digital habits it brought with it have further strengthened the profits and power of tech giants. The five largest companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook) reported total sales of over 1.04 trillion euros in April.

There are fears that Europe’s digital economy is lagging behind other parts of the world. Data released by the World Intellectual Property Organization showed that Chinese and US companies are responsible for approximately 85% of AI-related patents worldwide.

But the old continent is leading the way when it comes to setting the standards for tomorrow’s technologies with groundbreaking laws relating to data protection and privacy. The Digital Services Act, a new legislative proposal from the European Commission, aims to regulate illegal content online, including hate speech, by making platforms more liable.

But while governments encourage and stimulate innovation through funding and education, the practical role of the public sector in directing technological change can be limited.

With so much power in the hands of private companies, how do they harmonize with the mood of society today? Those who increasingly want to know that new technologies are safe, good for the environment, and do not violate their privacy and human rights. And all of this in a world of disinformation and dwindling trust.

What drives the private sector to invest heavily in research and development? Is it possible for innovation to increase profits and public good? What role should politics play in the future to ensure that innovation benefits everyone? Which collaborations do we already see?

Take part in our latest Euronews debate where we will be putting these and other questions to a special guest panel below.

Meet our panel

Annalise Eggimann

Annalise Eggimann, CEO, Innosuisse – The Swiss Innovation Agency executive supports Swiss start-ups, promoting science-based innovation for the good of the economy and society in Switzerland.

Tommaso Di Giovanni

Tommaso Di Giovanni, Vice President, International Communications, Philip Morris International – The corporate communications specialist’s work focuses on raising global awareness of the opportunity presented by innovation, science and technology to achieve a smoke-free world.

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith, Professor of Consumer Behaviour & N/LAB Director, Nottingham University Business School – The academic specialises in consumer behaviour and psychology, with a focus on ethical decision-making.

Elena Bou

Elena Bou, Innovation Director, EIT Innoenergy – The researcher, practitioner and professor in innovation founded the European incubator EIT InnoEnergy in 2010. The company has since supported nearly 500 start-ups in the field of sustainable energy, including two unicorns.

Damon Embling

Damon Embling,Euronews moderator – Damon is a seasoned broadcast journalist with more than 20 years of professional experience gained in the UK, across Europe and globally. At Euronews, he regularly produces and presents programmes, with a focus on business, travel and tourism, and technology.

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