Governments are losing control. Society is being drawn step by step into the digital world. Digital platforms, cyber criminals, super riches and dubious regimes increase their power in the world through digitalisation. Due to lagging legislation and national impotence, governments are losing control of digital companies, crime, numerous control mechanisms in many areas and, finally, society as a whole.
Some examples. The consequences are huge. We are in danger of ending up in an disordered society, where the (digital) right of the strongest becomes the norm. Some examples.
Cyber crime is totally out of control and has become an international billions of business of around € 1200 billion in 2018 that national governments have no control over. The criminal world has been totally turned upside down by the possibilities of digital technology (ransomware, fishing, etc.) and criminal platforms, so that criminals for low risks (zero chance of being caught), negligible costs and no physical victims can achieve maximum results. Conspiracy has never been so easy.
Data privacy is a nightmare. More and more citizens and companies are being robbed of data or put under pressure by elusive extortionists. As example: ransomware as a Service (RaaS) with which IT systems can be held hostage can cheaply be bought everywhere to extort organisations for millions. Governments hardly put up a defence, in particular because this goes through elusive international routes. China and the US, on the other hand, increase their grip on data files because of so-called national security importance. The police still exist for a traditional theft. But where can you go for sometimes much more serious digital fallow?
Information is increasingly in the cloud. Governments, citizens and companies often do not know where or what is happening with it. Sometimes large data files suddenly end up on the street. The financial world is increasingly dominated by algorithms that function in part autonomously, which transports capital in milliseconds from one part of the world to another on behalf of super-rich, criminals or financial companies. National governments have hardly any insight into international money transactions.
Fake news and deep fakes directly threaten democracy in many countries. Elections have been influenced in the US. The UK goes to a Brexit based on lie messages. The citizen no longer knows who or what to believe and is constantly manipulated. There is little to be done about it, because this often internationally organised. In the meantime, states can effortlessly hack into each other’s infrastructure or other systems and the digital power of large countries such as China and the US is unknown but anyway very big. Thus that they are far with possibilities to wage a digital war with each other or other countries is certain.
Artificial intelligence and robotics change the labour markets rigorously and definitively, without much thought being given to the many ethical dilemmas and social consequences. Software in many large organisations or installations sometimes suddenly appears not to work (Boeing 737 MAX) , resulting in major accidents or disruptions. It takes days, sometimes months, for the error to be discovered because software is poorly documented and supervision hardly exists.
Digital chaos is imminent. In this way the world is landing into an ever greater digital chaos. Irrevocably, more and more serious digital incidents will occur in the coming years, like climate change causing more tornado’s, dryness or flooding every year. And just as with the climate, the conclusion will be that we can only manage the expanding digital problems by cross border cooperation between all countries and companies and that a form of global “digital agreement” is needed about a great number of digital topics, such as the Paris climate agreement. Just as with the climate, it is high time for a radical change in how we manage digital topics in society: the digital risks are becoming too large and are unmanageable nationally.
Conclusion. If such a worldwide consultation does not succeed, human society is in danger of getting suck into a digital black hole. After all, more and more super riches, criminals and corrupt regimes will further increase their grip on citizens, companies and society thanks to new technologies. Society is in danger of being held hostage in a digital black hole by this group of elusive people.