Digitalization revolutionizes business models, production, communication, and our everyday lives. It significantly contributes to growth, welfare, and consumer value. However, substantial barriers persist to leveraging its full potential for social and economic inclusion. As the Internet is and has to remain open, global, and interoperable, governments and business have to intensify international cooperation to make full use of the opportunities provided by digitalization.
In the B20 Digitalization Taskforce more than 100 business representatives from 27 different countries and diverse economic sectors developed a set of highly relevant recommendations to the G20, that speak for the entire global business community. The three focus areas of the taskforce were:
Strengthen global connectivity: As cyberrisks are mostly transfrontier in nature, global cooperation is of utmost importance regarding cybersecurity. Cooperation is equally important to strengthen the openness and interoperability of the Internet. G20 members should strive to develop common standards, processes, and procedures in a cybersecurity baseline framework, while incorporating input from the business community. Cross-border data flows increasingly become the fuel of the global economy. G20 members should commit in bi-, pluri-, and multilateral trade agreements not to engage in forced governmental localization of data or ICT infrastructure (clearly defined safeguards should exist for the protection of privacy and security). Furthermore, on a voluntary basis they should aim to make their data protection regimes more compatible, without lowering effective protection levels, and facilitate the use of mechanisms that enable the transfer of data without impairing data protection. The expansion of ICT infrastructure has to be fostered to reach the goal „Internet Access for All“. Governments should ensure an investment-friendly environment, for instance through nondiscriminatory spectrum allocation, and incentivize investment in unprofitable deployments.
Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet (I4.0&II): The G20 should foster and protect innovation and its applications, for instance by supporting knowledge exchange on use cases and demonstration systems. I4.0&II applications require a high broadband coverage, which underlines that the expansion of ICT infrastructure also needs to be a priority in industrialized countries. G20 members should foster international cooperation for standardization across different economic sectors. Furthermore, governments should incentivize the use of global and international standards, for instance by referencing them in public tenders.
Embrace artificial intelligence: The G20 should ensure an informed public dialogue on the effects, opportunities, and challenges that the dissemination of artificial intelligence will entail, and mandate the OECD to draft a report in this regard. Policies and regulation should be regularly adjusted and updated to ensure that innovations related to artificial intelligence can be used to the benefit of all, for instance by enabling the use of Big Data. Together with the Global Infrastructure Hub the G20 should work towards a common understanding on the opportunities and use cases of smart infrastructure, as well as the exchange of best practices to effectively develop and deploy smart infrastructure.