Stefan Lindström – Keynote 04 2023
20 June 2023 | 10:00 EEST | Main auditorium | |
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Stefan Lindström, Keynote
About Stefan Lindström
Stefan Lindström, Finnish Ambassador for Digital Affairs, is a result-driven business advisor, networker and diplomat with 20+ years of global experience in branding, business/export promotion and building successful partnerships. Member of Boardman. Partner at five venture funds. Energetic Performer with a proven ability to translate ideas into concrete action in a global or local set-up. Specialist in geopolitics, global scenarios and analyzing paradigm changes. Passionate about emerging opportunities of digital transformation and innovation.
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>> STEFAN LINDSTROM: Good morning, everyone. I’m not going to talk about the Matrix, even though it is my favorite movie of all time. We’ll talk about technology, Internet, geopolitics and everything else and the attack on Ukraine. Can I get the clock going, please? The countdown clock. There we go. Thank you. The main point is, this concerns it all, regardless of where you come from, what you do, the war in Ukraine concerns us all, every individual, every country.
You may not like it, but that’s what happened and that’s the way you have to think when you look at the situation there when you see what’s going on from every single aspect of your life, work or your values.
The suggestion is that technology is the main guideline and absolutely everything in society, whenever you look at it, technology, it drives foreign policy, we know that for sure, of course, that’s why we’re here. Cybersecurity policy, we have seen that all over the world today, how does technology effect everything? We talk about trade policy, of course. We talk about standards. That’s a key issue in all of these aspects today and technology standards are, of course, of utmost importance when you talk about these issues. You talk about development policy, Human Rights, technologies on the forefront, the core of everything concerning Human Rights, democracy, I come back to that a little bit later, what the connection between technology and democracy really is. Of course, values. Like I mentioned, I can speak for hours about values.
Our government, the new government that’s actually been sworn in today has taken this task head on. The word digital is mentioned in the governmental programme 103 times. I’m really hopeful that we can tackle this issue the way that it should be really looking at it from sort of the top-down perspective.
We didn’t come here to talk about Finland, we came here to talk about Ukraine, what’s happened on the technological perspectives from the technological perspective of the situation in Ukraine.
The bottom line is that this is the first cyber World War. We had World Wars before, but they have not been cyber war worlds, that’s the first one. Threes how we have to look at it as well. We look at Ukraine in a sense, what is going on there, how does technology, how does the Internet effect everything that’s going on in Ukraine? You can also start thinking what would happen if the Internet hadn’t existed in Ukraine when the Russians attacked? I breakdown this to a few smaller issues, you can see here already, we talk about signals, interference, crowdsourced intelligence, we talk about different kind of model building aspects, we talk about videos, geo locaters, I will mention them a bit later on.
The first one, of course, cyberattacks. You look what happened in Ukraine, it is kind of a blessing in disguise. When the Russians attacked Crimea, it was also proceeded by a giant cyberattack. This has meant that Ukrainians has had 8 years, 9 years to train how to deal with the Russians sort of cyber warfare, and they’re now one of the best in the world. That’s what I meant by a blessing in disguise, they knew what was coming, knew what to do, they were trying to get the resources with our help. That’s another key issue, that we’re never in this alone. There is always help, partner, that’s why we work on resilience together. That’s what I mean by we’re in this together.
There is a social media war also on different way, and all Western platforms. Also note Russian controlled platforms and Chinese controlled platforms. There is a clear winner in this – when you look and analyze what side people are, what’s being posted, so forth. It is very important to follow this and to see that this channel is open, that they’re open for all people, all over the place, even from the enemy side so that they can see what’s going on openly.
All of the social media and a lot of other signaling resources that comes from technology, that come from different sources has enabled us what we call in the business as OpenSource intelligence. Now when we have resources with different parts of artificial intelligence to analyze all of the open sources and information we gather from there, we can actually create a picture that’s many times much better than the normal, military intelligence picture, how many people have been involved in a different battle, how many troops have been there, how many tanks have been lost, so forth. It is amazing actually what you can achieve with OpenSource intelligence today.
Starlink and satellites, not much could be done without satellites provided. A key instrument there in a sense and what could be done there. All of the artillery, the missile systems are operated by technological features that partly run on the Internet, what would happen if they hadn’t been there. Would the Russians have succeeded in a different way than they have today? You look at the electronic warfare, the jamming, the false information spreading, so forth, what you can do from radio canals, things like that. This is all technologically related, all ran on the Internet, also the Cloud, so really key features in a sense of Ukrainian resilience on the Ukrainian fight back on all of these issues.
Drones provide intelligence to the artillery, drones can also do limited attacks and so forth. Again, a total new technological aspect of the war we have never seen before, and then we have things like consumer applications. It is kind of amazing when you think about it, even a refrigerator today can be a duel-used technology because it has semi-conductors.
Dia is a Ukraine application, where you can basically track where did you park your car but it has been used widely so that civilians can tag the Russian vehicle, Russian military base, radiocommunication centre or a tank, and then they can destroy it. You take a normal application, day-to-day application, and you use it in a military way. I think it is brilliant.
RA/VR used for boosting morale for the troops and I think for identification. The Ukrainians used AI in the sense that they have tagged or traced the Russian refugees, soldiers, fallen soldiers with the Russian social media to inform relatives that this person is in captivity or maybe passed away.
The big thing, what we have seen in the war, it is that like in every World War, First, Second, there is a huge technological evolution in the sense of what’s been done and how things have been changed and how things can be innovated in a different way. Wars, they are bad, of course, but they’re good in a sense because they bring up a totally new testing ground for applications in a way we really couldn’t think about before.
In some, Ukraine has been what I would call a big stress test for the Internet as a whole when you think about it.
We all are benefiting from that as well in many ways of what could be done, what attacks could we foresee for our countries. Ukraine is doing a lot of hard work for us as well with this.
A few words about the platforms: We all know the platforms, of course, many people think they’re evil, they’re also doing a lot of good work.
When you think about it, the sort of interdependence between the platforms and countries today, in today’s world, particularly in situations of crisis, it is really, really important.
When you look at what the platforms have done in Ukraine, they gave a lot of resources for the misinformation, resources that were quite amazing actually.
Supporting hacking from a cyber defense and a white collar hacking, but they give totally, still are giving unlimited protection to any Ukrainian businesses and to people. They transfer all of the local governmental, banking data to the Cloud for free. It was one of the goals of Russia to destroy the data of Ukraine, for them to exist as a country.
All State data, all company data was moved, all banking data. They protected energy systems in different way was their resources and what could be done. They are providing all of the critical services and in the end, also, they provided all of the free software for basically the whole of Ukraine. I think that’s quite amazing actually. When you look at it. We talk about if you put it in a monetary value, way over a billion dollars.
Then we come back, of course, to ethics, core values, what are they, how should we deal with them in different ways? The problem in this world from my perspective, we have too many people sitting on the fence. There is basically only about 40 countries that are actively, openly supporting Ukraine and about 150 sitting on the fence and don’t know where to go. If you talk about values, if you talk about ethics, I think that the choice is pretty clear, should be.
There is also discussion about kicking out Russia from the Internet and takeaway the.url and other domains. This is a problem if you shut down the Internet in Russia totally, the problem is that we create a splinternet, actually many of them is what I call, a digital iron curtain in a way because if do you that, if you separate those countries, they are authoritarian countries, they don’t care. We would have created a kind of Chinese great firewall, not a Chinese wall or something like that, but a great firewall or we would have a Russian barbwire wall or another thing and we would end up here in the 1984 situation where the state has all the data, the state owns and decide what is you do and what you don’t do.
If you look to the future, in the sense that 5G is so important right now, it changes everything in the world really about data, about what we can do, the 1, 2, 3, 4G was B to C and 5G is now business to industrial applications, when we can get so much higher speeds than ever before.
This means in essence only one thing, when globalization previously brought up about 1 billion people from poverty to the lower middle class, to mid-class, connectivity, it is going to be the next one.
By connectivity, I mean that the industrial applications that can be used in Africa, in the Global South, in Asia, in Latin America, that’s really the future when I think about it, how connectivity is going to change the life of so many people in the world.
The key here for us, it is that if you don’t have the hardware, you don’t have the software. That’s why it is so important that we get the rollout so that 5G, that the technology, it is neutral, democratic, then we can work also on the connectivity side.
I’ll jump on that one.
Ending up a little bit, what we’re seeing now, of course, the international system that’s worked so well since the Second World War is coming to an end. We see instead there is a new international order emerging everywhere. And elements are interesting in a sense, you look at the left side, you have the different geographical denominations, conglomerates, bricks, cooperations, organizations, so on, so forth. On the right-hand side you have all of the issues there, AI, content, so forth. Those are the things that when they intertwine they’re heading into something really that is the new world order and the problem is that it is really fragmented, it is pluralistic, it is incredibly complex and contradictory. Who is having the lead, what are they going on with all of these issue, very complex things really. Is it complex? This is a favorite slide in many way.
On the right-hand side, you have the train lines and then the global gamechangers on the bottom line and you combine it on a London subway map. It is a British future Watson has done, it is then showing the sort of mega trains coming there. I love the one on the bottom right hand, something that I haven’t thought about yet, the black swans. This is all relevant. Of course, when you look at Helsinki, one metro line, it is easier to have a life like that, right? 27 stations on one line instead of having a life like this. This is the reality we live in. We’re in a big paradigm change, all about data. If we don’t change, if we don’t reinvent ourselves the way that our societies work we’ll be disrupted and the key issues is really sort of continuous education on tech issues.
Last words on democracy, and how technology effects democracy, it is incredibly interesting because many times in the world today we have so many people who are disappointed that politics, the society, democracy, doesn’t protect them the way they live, the values that they have, and then we have different kind of elements coming in there. We have a practical picture for you explaining this really well. This is taken at election event in the U.S. in 2020, we all see this gentleman’s values about wearing a mask, barbeque, beer, freedom, he thinks he has the right to grill his beef on his backyard and drink his beer and is willing to protect that freedom. I don’t think this guy cares about Climate Change. I don’t think he’s a vegan. I don’t think he cares about vocation, he only cares about himself and in one way, in my thinking, it is technology that brought us there, it is falling behind. That’s why I emphasize the continuous education on technology.
The last slide in a sense, this is what it is all about, all about in Ukraine. Resilience. We have to make change even though the change is evil, you have to prepare for change, you have to work on all of these issues all the time and the last word really is that we are not working on this alone and Ukraine is not working on this alone and we cannot achieve the results that we want alone. We have to work on these things together.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Thank you so much for your keynote. I’m going to be asking, I fear that we have ran out of time and we have online participants joining us, but will you be here today for people to come and approach you to ask any questions?
>> STEFAN LINDSTROM: Until 1:00 about I think my train leaves at 2:00.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: You heard it here, live, that he’s here until 1:00 p.m. and willing to take any questions that you have. Please do take the opportunity to do so.
Thank you so much for your interesting keynote and thank you very much.
>> STEFAN LINDSTROM: Thank you. Thank you.