Jacob Bundsgaard: Can We Trust Technology?

By Nicolai Fast Sørensen

This interview is part of our Trust Tales series, which include excerpts from the IWDK20 magazine. In this edition, Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard explains what makes IWDK unique and important.

After all our hard work, IWDK 2020 didn’t turn out as we’d planned. Like so many other events, this year’s IWDK has been canceled due to the coronavirus.

But that doesn’t make this year’s theme any less relevant. In recognition of this, we’ve decided to publish our magazine online to give you some food for thought at home. Because if anything, tech and IT have become even more relevant during this pandemic: from new welfare technologies to help our healthcare personnel, virtual meeting platforms to cyberthreats that are attempting to exploit us while we’re at our most vulnerable.

I believe that we will be discussing algorithms, data security and technologies like artificial intelligence more than ever in the coming years. But this won’t be a debate about technology alone; it will be a debate about us, the human users, and how we use (and misuse) technology.

As a public authority, the City of Aarhus is focused on how new technologies and their uses are changing how we work, live and govern. We want to create a robust digital ecosystem in our urban communities, with citizens and businesses who are well-prepared for our digital future. In this light, we think the theme Trust and Tech, Today and Tomorrow is incredibly relevant. It spotlights the opportunities and challenges of society’s digital development.

Our world is changing rapidly. And every day, the foundations of our world – our society and democracy as we know it – are being shaken by algorithms, startups and global tech giants.

We need forums where we can discuss these dilemmas. And this is precisely what IWDK is all about: people from all corners and levels of society engaging in constructive conversations about what our digital future should look like.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel IWDK 2020. But we would still like to challenge everyone to take part in the conversation. All of us have a responsibility for the development of our society. All of us are part of the development of technology, and all of us can influence it.

You’ll find lots of inspiration in this magazine, which features articles by opinion-makers from Denmark and abroad. Some contributors and topics include our minister of defence, Trine Bramsen, on the massive cyberthreat in the shadow of the coronavirus; Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age and European Commissioner for Competition, on the EU’s approach to artificial intelligence; and Jillian York, director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on what happens to trust when so much communication takes place on SoMe platforms. See the magazine here

And of course, we hope to see you again in 2021!