As an annual event hosted by the Prime Minister of Estonia, the Tallinn Digital Summit brings together leaders of the digitally-advanced world. Politicians, government officials, representatives from international organizations and the private sector aim to address the challenges and seize the opportunities on our road toward a connected digital future.
Open societies have witnessed a troubling trend in the past few years. In light of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified genocidal war on Ukraine, and reinforced by the pandemic and economic hardship, democracy, transparency, press, and internet freedom have suffered setbacks globally. In its various forms, authoritarianism has weathered these storms and emerged as a resilient force, pushing its agenda internationally and taking advantage of corruption and cronyism, which remains potent in open societies.
While technology was long seen as a tool that could strengthen open societies and topple authoritarian regimes, the world is now confronted with the sobering realisation that technology is not a panacea for open societies’ challenges. The spread of disinformation and propaganda, the rise of cyber-attacks and cyber warfare, the use of artificial intelligence to manipulate public opinion, and the challenges posed by the rapid change of emerging technologies such as biotech and AI have left some wondering whether the slow and unpredictable nature of democratic decision making can govern the opportunities and risks that emerging technologies introduce.
This autumn, the Tallinn Digital Summit wants to refresh the agenda of democracy and technology to chart a course for a more resilient, responsive and open future. These three key themes define the conference agenda and intend to make a crucial contribution to the global discourse around building resilient, modern democracies:
- Resilient Governance: Democracies and open societies need to learn how to react quickly to adversity, such as natural disasters, war, civil unrest, and economic crisis, and overcome it by acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses. Effective and efficient governance of technology, the skilful use of it, and underlying trusted connectivity are necessary to rally around defending open societies.
- Responsive Governance: People closely follow new ground-breaking technological features that impact their everyday life. While their experiences of private service delivery and design determine their expectations of public sector service delivery and availability, they also expect to be safeguarded against the compromission of their privacy. The challenge for government is to remain committed to a democratic, rule-based order while embracing innovation in public administration and improving the citizen–administration experience. Our response to climate change also depends on effective and inclusive adoption of new technologies, as governments and businesses jointly need to build innovation-enabling new economic opportunities.
- Open Governance: In a digital era, transparency and accountability will be even more crucial cornerstones of modern democracy – setting standards for trust frameworks, creating value and insight of available data, and strengthening collaboration with like-minded partners will boost the trustworthiness and resilience of government.
Tallinn Digital Summit 2023 will take place on the 5th of September at the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel). The day features various thematic moderated conversation rooms with invited speakers kicking-off discussions with keynote speeches. The governments and partners are invited to launch and demonstrate their new innovative solutions to the world.