By: Davorin Kopše
In order for society to transform in today’s modern world, it needs digitisation. It is nothing more than a transition from an industrial age that uses analogue technologies to an age of knowledge, creativity and vitality. So if we once needed technical – machine or technological procedural innovations, in the digital age we will need digital technologies and business innovations, which will continue to be business, but will work on different principles – on the digital universe (everything connected vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and in between). Thus, the approach is changing, technology as a means and a consequence, which is more precise, much more flexible and much faster. In order to perfect this to the highest level, we need knowledge and even more knowledge, which also means interdisciplinary knowledge and connectivity.
I remember the times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the time a few years ago and what is happening now. Developments and breakthroughs in development are constant, and today we are witnessing, above all, great intensity. At the turn of the 1980s, I tested myself in economics. I had an IC and small Ltd. Among other things, at that time we were intensively involved in the import of various goods. We rented warehouses in Ljubljana’s BTC and eventually sold more and more retail goods to people. In this way, we were the pioneers of the transition from the former Shopping and Transport Center to today’s Shopping and Trade Center. So a transition to a better, more transparent and accessible.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, cell phones began to appear. These were large devices that were cumbersome and abnormally expensive. When I borrowed a car from a business partner in which he had such a mobile phone installed, it seemed incredibly noble. When I thought about making a phone call, I suddenly realised that I did not know anyone else who would have a phone like that. Technology has gone by quickly and with fast steps forward and today we find having a phone in our pocket as something completely normal. It is also common to be able to call anyone with it, as practically everyone has these cute gadgets. Mobile phones are even multifunctional today. We also call them smartphones.
The age of smartphones
Already at the time of so-called smartphones, Anže Logar ran for mayor of Ljubljana. He reminded the people of Ljubljana of the already well-developed technologies that can use digital technology to control traffic, detect its density and control traffic routing devices accordingly. This was rejected by the majority at the time of the elections, Logar became the best foreign minister Slovenia has ever had, and in Ljubljana we kept Zoran Janković, traffic jams and the memory of a lost opportunity. Well, but the situation around us and the influence will sooner or later force us to change the relationship between analogue and digital in favour of the latter.
Today we have a new Minister for Digitisation, Marko Boris Andrijanič, who was appointed a few days ago. Given the time we live in, the result of the vote is a disgrace of the left political pole, as he became a minister with 45 votes in favour and 44 against. If in the near future the relationship between digital and analogue will be the same, we will be left with a developmental stalemate as the left. Discussions of some opposition MPs are also worrying. On the one hand they assured that we do not need this Ministry, as we have not had it for years, and on the other hand, they saw the ambition to make significant progress in this area far beyond their full potential during this term of office. Yes, their capabilities on that basis for sure.
Let me point out a group of unaffiliated Members of Parliament which, through their leader, have stated that they are not against digitalisation, but that the six-month period for introduction is too short for them. It was also their argument that they voted against the appointment of a new minister. When one listens, one cannot ignore the desire for these MPs to remain forever unconnected. Not just in the National Assembly, but in general, because that would cut them off from the detrimental impact. They have had this for too long, so Slovenia has not yet become what we had in mind when we became independent and moved to a new arrangement.
We also heard allegations that the Janša government abolished the Ministry of Information Society in the first year from 2004 to 2008. This was the ministry conceived by the then Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek in 2000, and Pavel Gantar was appointed Minister. Maybe the idea of setting it up was already good at the time, but neither Gantar nor his team proved themselves. Today, none of their important achievements can be found, which was undoubtedly the reason for its abolition and transfer of competencies to the Ministry of Public Administration. All achievements in the field of informatisation and automation in public administration date back to the time after Gantar.
Digital requires digitisation – the development of digitisation in the world
The digital transformation is thus the transition of the economy and society, which is characterised by the use of analogue technologies, to the era of digitalisation. The digital transformation is a lightning-fast evolutionary process today. To do this, we need a digital strategy as an action plan of the digital transformation of society as a whole. Business processes, marketing, sales and development must become digital. In order for this process to be fast enough and consequently successful, we need the cooperation of all segments of society and individuals.
Digitisation has many different aspects. Thus, digital transformation describes the transition from existing economic and social systems to a digital age. Digital models cause radical changes, which on the one hand cause the disintegration of the old (not completely), and on the other hand the establishment of the new. Sooner or later, all of us, or at least the vast majority, will have to realise that digitalisation is entering a new phase with its innovations.
From here, things will go faster and at the same time under control. This could not be imagined with the racing of a steam locomotive. It has always reached speeds as allowed by machines on the one hand and infrastructure on the other. The raw basis (definition) that mentions assets and infrastructure has remained the same, and everything else is incomparable. At the time, steam engines seemed to be the greatest technological achievement. They were not, and we can also say with certainty today that information technology is not the last achievement of humanity. When the development of the field reaches its peak, a new revolution will take place that we cannot imagine today.
Nothing happened in Slovenia for a whole decade
Let’s go back to today’s times and today’s needs. In the last decade, Slovenia has been more or less chasing its own tail with incompetent governments – it has been spinning in a circle and lying to itself that it is successful and respected in the international environment. In reality, there was stagnation, where we lost our potential, energy and reputation by leading the one and only fight, the fight against Janez Janša. Ultimately, this is no longer a struggle, but a senseless exhausting war that we are fighting in our own ranks, making it no less destructive, but proven to be the most destructive and sinking into the structure of our creativity. Nothing can be a more destructive enemy than we can be to ourselves. When you do not have your own ideas and initiatives, the worst strategy for progress is to attack those who have it and impose your nothing on them. This is exactly what the current left is doing, which is extremely disruptive, let’s call it an analogous policy.
Finally, we are chairing the EU Council, where we have set important priorities, including digitalisation, which is also supported by the EU. If our step in this area has stalled also due to lack of funds, now this reason is no more. Funds have been provided, a decision has been made, and we still have to cooperate or at least stop constantly throwing logs under our feet in areas that are not distinctly political, but developmental.
So what will we choose at a time when the entire developed world is accelerating into a new industrial revolution? Is this the direction taken by the Government or the direction imposed on us by, unfortunately, not a negligible part of parliamentary policy? The decision is not difficult, but it will be fatal. That is also why it will be even more important how we decide in the next parliamentary elections. These will no doubt be fatally important. They will decide whether the country will follow the path of development or the path of those who have written in their programme that the development of science is leading us into obscurity. This can be found in the view of the Levica Party on the future, while other left wing parties are increasingly approaching the positions of this extreme left party, of which members otherwise like to use smartphones from prestigious brands. What is allowed to them, however, is not intended for those who, according to them, are born to serve them, but live in misery themselves. We can only decide democratically as long as we have democracy. Also about development and how fast we are going to digitise society.
Davorin Kopše is a veteran of the war for Slovenia, a candidate for the European Parliament and an active citizen.