Início » Is the “Digital Pandemic” democratic?

Is the “Digital Pandemic” democratic?

Arsénio Reis*

Covid-19 brought with it a huge enthusiasm for technology. It was thanks to it that we all put up with the long periods of confinement that helped fight the disease.

Humans continue to be affected by biological hazards, but machines do not. Today it is possible to think of the house of the future. Think of it as an office, where telework reigns, as a classroom, where our children are educated by what is happening on the monitor, as an office, where the doctor explains to us what we can suffer. This just to give a few examples.

Life is apparently easier than in the “distant past”, the one we lived about six months ago, that is, just before the Pandemic.

We have entered – definitely – into the era of Artificial Intelligence, in the expectation that it will be at the service of medical diagnosis, of increasingly intelligent cities, of autonomous vehicles, of the various forms of paperless payment.

Of course, we have also increased – and greatly – our dependence on so-called GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft). Without any certainty about the goodness of giving them such a large margin for maneuver and performance. We do not even have a concrete idea of ​​what this path will mean in the services that must be provided, or guaranteed, to all citizens.

If the Internet – and everything that goes on there – is going to occupy such a determining place in everyone’s life, shouldn’t it be considered a public service, not for profit?

There seems to be no doubt about the importance that technology will have in protecting public health, to give just one example, but the question is to whom the owners of these technologies will respond.

Will your control be democratic? Will it be subject to public interest criteria? Or just and only to imminently financial determinations, based on making a profit?

If the Internet – and everything that goes on there – is going to occupy such a determining place in everyone’s life, then shouldn’t it be considered a public service? Non-profit?

Is the accumulation of power and wealth of some of these digital giants legitimate?

There are cases, such as the media, where they have a high dose of responsibility for the bleak landscape that remained after their passing. Still, we all continue to repeat that free media is fundamental to the functioning of democracy.

Contact Us

Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

Plataforma Studio


Subscribe Plataforma Newsletter to keep up with everything!