Social, ecological and feminist digital politics from the perspective of development cooperation

  • Martin Wimmer

    Chief Digital Officer, BMZ

On June 14, Martin Wimmer, Chief Digital Officer of the BMZ, spoke at the Initiative D21’s “Digital Ethics” working group. His presentation included remarks on the following topics:


Please, close your eyes. Visualize the globe. Find Germany. Where is Africa? If you think “down there” then you are already in the middle of ethical questions that Germany also has to ask itself, relating to keywords such as colonialism, genocide, missionization, pop culturalization. We are shaped by prejudices, culturally shaped preconceptions and Western notions of dominance, always associated with the danger of local identities being erased or at least overwritten by European-American claims to hegemony. The discourse on digitalization also follows this pattern. The digitalization of the African continent then initially means exploitation, market development and value colonization. Even the collective term “Africa” is a Western construct that does not do justice to the diverse realities of the people of that continent, and the same applies to “the Global South”. Against the background of Germany’s colonial history in particular, we must treat the cultures on the African continent with respect. Their iconographies, their languages and social practices, rituals and taboos, are they adequately represented in the design of hardware and software, knowledge databases and social media, keyboards and emojis? Without being exposed to cultural appropriation and exploitation in the digital space. Only 20 per cent of Wikimedia’s contributors come from the Global South. Yet it is precisely these “third spheres” where cultural difference is newly ordered and negotiated. Anyone who has read Wittgenstein knows about the cultural determination of language and thought processes.

Contrary to the fiction of objectivity often assumed for technology, it also applies to programming languages and algorithms. This is the other side of the narrative of standardization in the digital world: behind the scenes, a global culture war is raging over standard measures, standards, ICT industry definitions, certifications – and leadership positions, traced by experts at institutions such as the ITU, ISO or IEC. Supporters of the leading culture (Leitkultur) will see it differently: For the rest, there is much reason to support the diversity of digital ethics on the basis of universal human rights.


Ethics are global

Ethics do not end at borders. For assessing the consequences of my actions, global contexts of justification apply. And that is true for all actors: Coders, financial managers of a digital business model, search engine optimizers, users or often yes: the used, posters, gamers, digital politicians. What we do affects the Global South. Whatever happens elsewhere – be it in Africa, Asia, Latin America, countries of the Eastern partnership – entails consequences for us. Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, the Taliban in Afghanistan, a virus from China, the election of Lula in Brazil, the possible introduction of a common digital currency of the BRICS countries: All this has a massive impact on the global economy, procurement and sales markets, supply chains and data flows. This is why Germany is reducing dependencies and trying to diversify more. You can observe this for instance in the context of energy and semiconductors. Digitalization has accelerated globalization to the point of real time. We all experience the consequences of disruptions first hand: as when there is suddenly a shortage of cooking oil in the supermarket, when extremely expensive gas drives up our energy costs, when chips for car production become scarce, or when labour costs suddenly rise due to inflation and currency fluctuations while IT services are being offshored.


Social disruptor

Whether eAgriculture, eHealth, SmartCities, SmartEnergy, eGovernment or Industry 4.0, anyone who cannot use the latest technology because they lack rare earths, their own chip production, AI research or IT security software is no longer competitive and will be left behind – whether as a company, a state or an individual. As a result, large parts of the world and economy have been brutally cut off from technological progress in recent decades. Numerous established brands, entire industries have been disrupted by the market. Despite all the anecdotal counter-examples from Silicon Savannah in Nairobi to the 2,000 FinTechs on the African continent and popular terms like “leapfrogging” and “reverse innovation”: While on the one hand wealth is growing immeasurably and digital entrepreneurs are taking over the top 20 list of the richest people on the planet, a third of humanity does not even have access to the internet. Of those, 96 per cent live in developing countries. Women and girls are particularly affected. These people do not benefit from all the promises of the net: no free knowledge from Wikipedia, no online consultation with the doctor, no emergency alert from the app, no weather forecast to optimize seed and harvest schedules. By the way, 828 million people also go to bed hungry every night. Keep this in mind when you put your mobile phones and tablets on the charging station before going to bed. In Germany, around 21% of senior citizens are offline. Many migrants have no chance of digital participation because of the language barrier. Accessibility in general continues to be severely neglected.  As for the 5.5 million recipients of a maximum of 502 euros a month in Bürgergeld: how many digital devices, data flat rates, productivity apps and digital newspaper subscriptions can they afford? Digitalization is the great social disruptor, within our society, and between the rich countries and the Global South. You know it as the “digital divide” or the “digital gap”.


Value orientation

Since what happens or does not happen in the Global South has repercussions for our country and our citizens in real time, it is the duty of a German government agency to be up to date – that is, as close as possible to the prevailing technological status quo – and to work quickly with IT support (digitisation in the sense of administrative modernisation is a management and organisational priority here) and at the same time to coordinate the effects of its digital policy actions on third parties (for BMZ: partner countries and the multilateral system) with the interests of our citizens. If a government’s guiding ethical principles are democracy, human rights and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, this also obliges the executive in the field of economic cooperation and development to adapt to a digitally transforming world. For this reason, the staff of the BMZ and its implementing organisations deal intensively and critically with digital technologies and their social and global economic implications: rejecting digitalisation for the sake of technology, with the declared aim of a value-oriented, namely social, ecological and feminist governance, design and regulation of the digital transformation. A digitized administration is one that has mastered the cultural change to such structural issues, not one that, after MS DOS and Teams, now also uses Azure and ChatGPT. The question of using algorithmic systems to increase efficiency in one’s own administration may be worthwhile for sales managers, but in the context of global development cooperation amidst the Zeitenwende, pandemics and the turn of interest rates, it is quite honestly a marginal topic.



The keyword is “ecological”: the chimneys of Silicon Valley smoke and stink just like those in Gelsenkirchen or Manchester once did. Digitalization has long been responsible for more CO2 emissions than the aviation industry. And that’s just the beginning: nearly three billion people are yet to be digitalized. The world population has just reached eight billion people, and by the middle of the century it will reach ten. Many economies in the Global South have much higher growth rates than Germany. If all the unicorns and startups and ICT giants achieve their growth targets: What will digitalization mean for the environment? The latest developments – streaming, AI, AR, Metaverse – demand even more data transfer, more processing power, faster replacement of even more expensive hardware. “Digitalizing” means generating energy consumption. So paradoxically, the reverse is also true: energy crises are digital crises. Once the plug is pulled, the system stops working. Natural raw materials are being exploited by unsustainable methods. Electronic waste is being produced which can’t be repaired or recycled. The e-waste landfill of Accra in Ghana is considered one of the most toxic landfills in the world. Data is misused to fuel unnecessary consumption online. Data centers are CO2 polluters. The world’s largest Internet node is located in Frankfurt, where people are proud of the peak value of 12.4 terabytes of data transfer per second and 70 data centers in the region with a land consumption of already 30 soccer fields, and it is booming, with seven new ones being added every year. There are 3,000 of such large data centers in Germany, plus another 50,000 smaller ones. Cities are turning from a sea of concrete into server farms. Each one of them is a gigantic boiler. Just as your cell phone gets hot from time to time, the millions of servers in these racks never stop heating up. That’s why they have to be cooled. 20 percent of the total electricity consumption in Hessen is consumed by data centers. The apparent digital “progress” is at the same time accelerating the fire of global warming. The digital is by no means immaterial. Your data doesn’t store on an off-world Internet; the data storage is simply manifested in data centers made of concrete, steel and plastic. Every single search sends your data across hundreds, perhaps thousands, of servers around the world. This is why Twin Transition (the combination of digitalization and decarbonization) and Just Transition (the political concept for a structural change toward a climate-neutral social and inclusive social and economic order) are key buzzwords in international digital policy processes: Be it in the EU’s Digital4Development Hub, which BMZ is funding to a large extent, the UN’s Global Digital Compact, or the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum process. UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO, the World Bank: all the major organizations have this in mind. Thus, sticking on streets and runways represents demonstrations with the symbolism of the last century.



The oldest calculation tools, such as the abacus, were used by the Sumerians as early as 5,000 years ago. The first automatic calculating machines were created in the 17th century.  Leibnitz himself designed the stepped reckoner and laid the foundations for binary number coding, which later led Konrad Zuse to mechanical, then to the first digital computer. Leibnitz is remembered for saying that it is “unworthy to waste the time of excellent people on menial arithmetic, because when a machine is used even the most trivial can write down the results with accuracy.” Although the discussion about work ethics seems to be very modern, it is actually an old hat, if we acknowledge that mathematical slipsticks, pocket calculators and quantum calculators are only different versions of the calculator after all. The idea of state sovereignty first appeared in the 16th century: With Jean Bodin, who wanted to grant the absolutist ruler the ultimate power of decision. Who is nowadays the king of the internet? Who has the sovereign power over the data? Digital sovereignty – does it come from the people? The “outstanding people” – who are they in the digital age? The question is not that far-fetched: the term technocracy does not originate from ancient Greece, but was invented in 1919 by William Smyth, an engineer from California. Only a few years later, the technocracy movement was founded on this basis. The goal of this movement was to replace politicians with an elite of technicians. The basic idea of the technocrats was (and they share it with many supporters of today’s AI): that people – and especially their elected representatives – are stupid, too slow and just too human; and therefore, decisions should better be made data-based, by information technologies, computers, algorithms. This deeply undemocratic technocracy movement was banned in 1940. Among the people arrested was Elon Musk’s grandfather.



A century later, transhumanists, effective altruists, and longtermists dominate the feuilletons. Technical elites – especially big tech companies – accumulate more resources, more information and more influence than entire states. The sovereignty of the national territory is democratically legitimized for a limited period of time by the electorate. There is no such thing on the globally connected Internet, where war, competition and anarchy reign, and kings come and go: CompuServe, AltaVista, Netscape, Commodore, ISDN, floppy disks are gone. Clubhouse, Mastodon, was there something? Alpha, WeChat, generative AI, NVIDIA, right-wing trolls, and Russian hacker groups are on top right now in 2023. What once began with hopeful terms, as a free Internet, with the concept of net neutrality, as a “world wide web”, as “peer to peer”, is now highly monopolized, dominated by small groups of financial investors, who systematically disrupt sector after sector, country after country, and annex them to their own databases, until everyone and everything is stored as a digital twin in one of the metaverses and belongs to someone as a data record. Even the last bastions are being conquered: With GovTech and eGovernment, politics and administration, elections and communication between citizens and the state, and generally all the central processes of democracy are to be channeled through the tablets and clouds of the few top dogs in order to ensure our complete dependence on them. Huawei, Cisco, and Microsoft could shut down parts of governments and administrations with a single action today. Elon Musk just made the power of private decision makers clear in Ukraine when he threatened to shut down his Starlink there. In the digital space, there are hardly any free niches left that I don’t pay admission to enter anyway. Even the digital commercialization of the public space is well advanced: Satellites in orbit, submarine cables, transmission towers on roads and schools, broadcast frequencies, from personalized advertising in public broadcaster apps to eScooters on sidewalks. Ethical debates on digitization generally look too often at the application layer. What remains underexposed is the materiality of the seemingly fleeting digital: Infrastructure, hardware, microchips, connectors, sensors, antennas, distribution boxes, routers, switches, racks, printers, keyboards, cameras, VR headsets, powerbanks, dongles, headphones, packaging, all the plastic, the silicon wafers, fiber optic networks, neodymium and lanthanum, the LEDs. We don’t see the forest for the trees, and we no longer see the backbones and periphery for the screens. Every new car, airplane, ship is now a computer. Speakers, televisions, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, door intercoms, prosthetic limbs, assembly lines, CAD-programmed industrial robots are connected to the Internet. Some estimates suggest that as many as 1% of blue whales today are tracker-equipped transmitters that consistently pump data into the web.



Again, a brief overview of phenomena in the world created by private-sector forces driving the digital transformation: Platform economies and monopolies, dotcom bubble, cyberbullying, data abuse, biased AI, built-in obsolescence, lock-in strategies. Brutal working conditions in the gig economy. Most recently, the example of ChatGPT by OpenAI by Microsoft, revealed the inhumane conditions under which workers in Kenya are exploited for this purpose. You know the pictures of children digging through mountains of garbage. That’s what it looks like when you have speeches written for you today using seemingly “automated” technology: Kenyans have been combing through the garbage of the Internet for you and sorted out all the poison there is to be found with their bare hands. And all this for – despite all the hype – often fatally poor results. Scientificity is evidenced by reflection on what has been thought before, the falsifiability of theses, accurate definitions and citations, footnotes, and bibliographies. Text generators do not do this. What is produced instead of a claim to truth is only: chatter. State actors, in turn, are responsible for cyberwar from Russia, social scoring in China, the NSA in the U.S., Internet blocking in Iran, and censorship in North Korea. Many Germans have experienced a totalitarian, authoritarian regime themselves. Right-wing populist parties are once again gaining dangerous strength in this country. If fascists can rule through, you will suddenly find government access to your tax data, health data or your communications to be threatening as well. The federalism with its decentralized and resilient systems, which is much criticized in the context of administrative modernization, must therefore be welcomed. Digitalization can contribute to democracy and the strengthening of civil society, but it can also be a brutal weapon of oppression. By the end of 2022, 108 million people were fleeing countries that no longer offered them a free and safe home. Fled from hunger, poverty, corruption, war, persecution and the consequences of human-induced climate change.


Filter bubble

The positive aspects of digital transformation are undisputed. From re:publica to the Creative Bureaucracy Festival, from the Green Tech Festival to the Global Solutions Summit, from the Digital State Congress to the Future State & Administration Congress to Bitkom’s Digital Sustainability Summit, you only need to take a look at Berlin’s event landscape: It is absolutely fascinating to see how many dedicated people are using modern information and communication technologies to create great digital solutions. For Sustainable Finance, for GreenIT, for FairWork, FemTech and ClimateTech. Today, I am intentionally highlighting only the negative aspects of the digital transformation in order to put the ethical challenges in the spotlight. I know, the many contradictions, paradoxes, the complexity is hard to listen to.

But that’s also because you’ve now been trained for years in your hyper-polarized Berlin-Mitte Filter Bubble to emit adrenaline and endorphins when you’re encouraged with likes, hearts, and smileys. You may already be suffering from app-(a)ddiction or app-(dep)ression, as two of the many new diseases that have emerged with the Internet and are ironically downplayed. The extremely positive narratives about digital culture are all too often about a purely fictional, imaginary future, while the reality, past and present of digital capitalism must often be viewed critically. The digital revolution, like the industrial revolution, of which the digital revolution is the escalation stage, led to ruthless corruption of human rights, nature and the climate, which is not priced into the market. In fact, it was the digital revolution that promised an improvement in all of this and claimed: “From now on, it’ll be better.”



The underlying pattern is, at worst, an attempt to replace one devil with another and eventually we end up in the science fiction hell of the matrix. In the best case, however, for the optimists among us, repentance, atonement, conversion from Saul to Paul and the entry into the digital paradise will of course succeed. Seriously, ethical issues are too often resolved in a teleological perspective: “digital tools in order to.” A purely instrumental, utilitarian understanding is tacitly applied. The “digital” is framed as “innovation” and “progress”. But it includes visible regressions of civilization: cybercrime scaled up to an unimaginable degree, fake news, child pornography. Taking a closer look, what remains of the great paradigm shift of the digital revolution are rather colonialist traditions from the perspective of DC. “Subdue the earth” has always been misunderstood as “Subdue the weak and risk to recklessly destroy nature”. The operating, active, modern subject “western human being” seizes instruments, tools, machines, media, computers, robots, in order to exert power on a passive, old, inferior “object” nature and “natives, aborigines, primitive peoples”. The strong eats the weak. The winner takes it all. Private equity prevails over social equity. You can see the world that way, but you don’t have to and most of all you shouldn’t. It is also possible to build attractive value systems on mercy, kindness, happiness, love, helping, comforting. I have deliberately given this part of the text a brief religious grounding. Ethics always has an interface in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Voodoo, ethnic religions, even if the communications protocols are often flawed. You hear about the utopias often enough. That’s why today I’m mainly bringing facts. Did you know that what you learned as the “world language”, English, is only understood as a native language by just under 5% of the people on earth and as a second language by just over 10%? Roughly 476 million people belong to indigenous populations, and nearly 4,000 of their languages are in danger of disappearing along with their cultures. Sure there’s a great translation app pilot here and a dedicated local oral history database there, but in the end, what do you think TikTok does for the Uyghurs? I even spare you from the darkest dystopias of our risk society: “Reducing the risk of annihilation by AI should be a global priority alongside other threats of great societal magnitude, such as pandemics and nuclear war.” You are all following these open letters, after all. Technology assessment – from semi-automatic firearms to nuclear energy to genetic engineering and AI: No reason for smileys. But that’s the way it is with ethics, the question of right and wrong, of important and unimportant, whether with consequentialists or deontologists or structural rationalists or anything in between or beyond, also in administration: How should I act reasonably – why, to what end? The somewhat dull response that Germany ranks only 13th in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI, 2022) and that we have to catch up no matter how, no more caution, just no regulation, all hands on deck for OZG, IT consolidation and leap innovations, obviously falls too short.


[] network

So, what is a positive role for the state in digitization? The state must ensure that the digital transformation develops both fairly and equitably for citizens and serves the common good. That it contributes towards the achievement of the SDGs on the international level, promotes peace, freedom, prosperity, justice, and helps to combat climate change and wars. That is one of the reasons why the BMZ is a respected partner.  Because we are doing just that with our digital policy. We open up interesting access to the digital ecosystems in Germany and Europe for our partner countries. This way, we intend to bring voices from the Global South closer to the German public. To this end, our minister has launched the [] network together with GIZ and KfW. That is where all the things we are talking about today are negotiated with NGOs, companies, multilateral and bilateral partners.
Go to [] network


International digital strategy

Last year, the German government committed to presenting an international digital strategy for the first time. Under the leadership of the BMDV and with the participation of the AA and other ministries, this is currently being developed with the involvement of all stakeholders. Over the past few weeks, all departments at the BMZ have held a broad in-house consultation to determine our department’s contribution to the strategy. At this point, let me remind you of the question I mentioned at the beginning: Who is responsible for digitalization in the administration? The answer in our case: Everyone, each in his or her own area of responsibility. The days when digitalization was outsourced to hubs and labs are long gone. Although we have a CDO, CIO, CDS who coordinate this with a strategic board for the digital transformation of development cooperation and an operational steering committee: Anybody in the BMZ who did not understand what we are talking about here would no longer be able to write a technically sound draft for the minister, would not be able to conduct government negotiations, or to make program decisions worth millions of euros. The BMZ has a digital portfolio of several hundred million euros. In total, the German DC implements around 600 relevant projects in 90 countries. When I say German DC, I also mean GIZ and KfW, IDOS and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), and Engagement Global. For example, we operate 20 digital transformation centers on site. We clearly stand for Digital Public Goods, Open Data, Open Source. The BMZ is committed to a digital transformation that integrates our partner countries into a globally open Internet and fair data markets. It offers its partner countries a human-centered digital policy with European standards as a third way in the geopolitical race between the state-centered Chinese model and the market-centered U.S. model. We feed into the increased legislation at the European level: Chips Act, Data Act, DSA, DMA. And we proactively participate in the current global discourses.


Artificial Intelligence

Taking AI as an example: For a moment, let’s not look at AI through anthropomorphizing glasses. Terms such as artificial “intelligence”, “expert” system, machine “learning” misleadingly suggest that here individuals, persons develop a life of their own, act and therefore have to take responsibility and thus behave ethically. Software products don’t do that. Whatever AI is used for, it is just that, nothing more, nothing less: It’s just a calculation by an auxiliary device that can be switched on and off. Not in the head, not with the abacus; with a lot of data, a lot of program rows and a lot of electricity, but nevertheless just calculated by a device, on the basis of numerical values. Even if marketing-optimized search fields, input masks, chats and voice inputs, the smart application of behavior patterns for a better UX and higher conversion rates, suggest a you, a personal counterpart: I interpret the chimera of “intelligence” that can be addressed with women’s names as a rhetorical distraction to obscure those who are actually acting and to divert attention from liability issues. Whether you’re launching a car or any product that uses AI, everyone in the entire value chain is responsible: if your car flips during the moose test due to a design flaw or an illegal device was installed in the engine management system of your diesel vehicles, someone is to blame and in the worst case will go to jail. However, if you cause an accident due to improper use, you are liable. Not the car, not the manufacturers. It’s the same on the provider side with software: This applies to the programmer who delivers incorrect codes. The business information scientist who deliberately trains on incomplete data, which also violates copyrights. The backend developer who deliberately ignores IT security requirements and circumvents data protection regulations. The SEO manager who deliberately aims to trigger the basic instincts of the target groups. CEOs who exploit workers in supply chains. Merchants who provide false information. They all bear ethical – though not necessarily entrepreneurial – responsibility for their actions as a provider.


AI in the administration

If I want to use software in an administration, whether it uses HTML or Java Script, a blockchain, 5G, TensorFlow or anything else “with AI”, it is the same on the user side of the application. The customer takes responsibility, as does the IT department, the approving staff council, the users, and in the end even the boss, in case she has to take the political fall. No matter what the AI-based software was used for – writing a speech, preparing a decision, navigating a company car: The ultimate responsibility remains with a human being – the advisor, the clerk, the driver, the secretary of state. Each of them on the user side must ethically justify his or her decisions on the use, results, and consequences of the software. The assumption of responsibility within a federal authority are always transparent due to hierarchical recordings and extensive documentation be it with small inquiries of the opposition, IFG inquiries up to investigation committees. Authorities around the world have therefore been quick to incorporate their own experiences on the topic into corresponding processes. The BMZ is working closely with Smart Africa on the project “FairForward – Artificial Intelligence for All”: This includes pan-African regulatory recommendations, the AI for Africa Blueprint, and self-learning courses such as AI for Policymakers. The OECD has issued the “Recommendations on AI” and the “AI Policy Observatory”. Germany is a member of the “Global Partnership on AI” and has adopted the international agreement “Principles for the Ethical Use of AI” with 193 member states of UNESCO in 2021. The EU Parliament has just adopted its position on the AI Act. The implementing organizations KfW and GIZ are committed to the Principles for Digital Development of the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL).


Repair store

You see: Self-commitment and regulation set the framework for ethical action by the state. Indeed, often too late, the state acts only as a repair store, while companies (not all, but too many) escape responsibility with ever new technologies and business practices for their own benefit and to the harm of people and nature. An inglorious example of this was the bitter opposition to the European Supply Chain Act until the last minute. Moreover, regulation usually benefits the already large corporations because they can afford to influence it with lobbying, impose the extra costs on the market, or simply bear the penalties. Their marketing mantra, with which they play their own trade fairs, podiums and social media platforms: Germany is slipping down the rankings, we need to be more digital! Translates easily into: Buy more of our products from German tax money! By contrast, emerging competitors and German SMEs are suffering from pressure. Where are the devices built? We often act as if Asia has always been a top player in the ICT industry. However, many factories were set up as sweatshops, in which people slaved away for Western corporations: Outsourcing, offshoring. Now ten million more people are victims of modern slavery than five years ago, a quarter of them children. This also happens for your and my t-shirt – and cell phone. Keyword: Depletion of rare earths. In 2020 alone, the number of billionaires increased by one third. Now these 2,700 people own $3 trillion, three percent of global GDP. In the same period, another 100 million people have been pushed into absolute poverty. The political Berlin has provided 5 billion euros for AI funding over several years. The political Benin could alleviate a great deal of suffering and hunger among its people with the funds. Playing off investment against social issues is another eternal ethical dilemma.



Good arguments on this can be found in the books: Julian Nida Rümelin and Nathalie Weidenfeld, Digitaler Humanismus. Peter Schadt, Digitalisierung. Byung-Chul Han, Infokratie. Tiziana Terranova, After the Internet. But to conclude, let’s go back to 1919. You remember, William Smyth and the technocrats in California. Another elitist argument of many “techies” is that only people who understand quantum technology, know how to program Python and have already made a pitch to a business angel are entitled to discuss digitalization at all. I explicitly don’t support that. I believe that philosophers, historians, and psychologists have much more informed insights into the ethics of digital transformation. Because the history of information technology is at its core – like so many – one of racism, sexism, classism. And not the one about the great, male Caesars, as it tends to be told. The talk of the “virtual” regularly obscures the virile, the stereotypes of male creative power that are constantly reproduced in the digital scene. I also believe that poets and painters capture and express the important elements of the digital culture for a successful life in a much more beautiful, more true and better way than the press officers of the NASDAQ. Progress as “state of the ART”, not “state of the MARKET”. 1919 also brought another movement into being. While technocrats in the U.S. were developing their vision of founding society on data rather than political interests, a new art movement emerged on European soil after the horrors of World War I. The movement is called “Dada” and rejected logic, reason, capitalism, nationalism, and militarism. The term was used by artists who emphasized creativity, art, irrationality, humor, and the non-intentional and incomprehensible nature of being human. One hundred years later, both the followers of Dada and Data are still around us, often even in the same room. As someone who works for a ministry that advocates for a social, ecological and feminist policy and drives the digital transformation in the spirit of the SDGs, I am grateful for your invitation today and wish us all an inspiring discourse.