"Between Pixels and Principles": A Foundational Event for Shaping a More Responsible Digital Future

Europe as a global trailblazer for responsible digital technologies?

Ferdinand Ferroli

2 min read

Paul Nemitz standing at a lectern in front of an audience.
Paul Nemitz standing at a lectern in front of an audience.

BRUSSELS, December 14, 2023 – On 13 December, TownHall_Europe in Brussels became the hub of a pivotal discussion on the future of digital technology, as Identity Valley’s "Between Pixels and Principles" event unfolded. The gathering saw key figures from the EU, academia, civil society and industry convene to deliberate on how to make responsible digital technology a reality.

After warm words of welcome by Identity Valley CEO Jutta Juliane Meier, Thibaut Kleiner, Director for Policy, Strategy and Outreach at the European Commission (DG CONNECT) kicked off the discussion emphasising the importance of bringing together like-minded actors to support the EU’s push for more responsible technology. In his keynote speech, Paul Nemitz, principal adviser to the European Commission (DG JUST), welcomed the renaissance of the law in the wake of the EU’s push for bold digital legislation and again highlighted the need to organise to confront emerging power structures.

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Harhoff, Director at the Institute for Competition and Innovation of the Max Planck Society set the scene with his video message underlining the importance of digital trust for the functioning of society. Statements continued with Victoria de Posson, Secretary-General of the European Tech Alliance (EUTA), who reiterated that European digital businesses have the willingness and potential to lead a global push for more responsible digital technology but only if financial sustainability is not overlooked. Ondřej Liška, Director Europe at Porticus pointed out that responsible technology will only be successful if we achieve a paradigm shift on institutional, societal and business level at once and drew attention to the striking mismatch of resources between civil society and tech lobbying. Paul Fehlinger, Director of Policy, Governance Innovation & Impact of Project Liberty went on to advocate for re-shaping market incentives and making responsible technology more attractive to investors. Ferdinand Ferroli, Director Policy and Research at Identity Valley closed with a statement illustrating the challenges ahead and how the Digital Responsibility Goals can enable responsible solutions for the future of the digital ecosystem.

After a lively debate with the audience attendees continued the discussion at a networking reception. With the festive touch of mulled wine, the atmosphere was one of collaboration and optimism and the consensus was clear: while challenges abound, there is a strong commitment among Europe’s digital leaders to work towards a more ethical and sustainable digital future. However, to achieve this future more collaboration and coordination is direly needed.

Watch the recap video of "Between Pixels & Principles" here