New Delhi: Technology is critical in today's world, and it helps democracies to 'deliver' better, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said and also maintained that technology has always been a 'double-edged sword.
"It has brought good, but with every good that it has brought, it has brought new vulnerabilities and new challenges… Technology has created efficiencies in a way in which we couldn't have imagined. And when you say democracy delivers, it is also technology in democracies, which helps deliver," Dr Jaishankar said, participating at the Sydney Dialogue Panel discussion on "Democracies and Global Technology Governance".
The Sydney Dialogue is an annual summit of cyber and critical technologies to discuss the fallout of the digital domain. It is an initiative of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Speaking in the presence of the likes of Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, Dr Jaishankar also pointed out that "once upon a time we pretended all nations are the same, what happens inside a nation doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what you believe when we come to the table, we are all the same."
But he said things have changed. "Now, the fact is, in a much more interpenetrated world, much more globalised world, what you do at home, what you think, how you practice, matters to me. So I do think values matter. I do think practices matter. I do think issues of trust and transparency matter. And I think that's a very big issue of our era".
"You can't have data pillaging as a basis for a global business. There are countries who would obviously like to build their own businesses; there are people who want to have control over their own data. So, I think those also need to be factored in."
He said,"… We can't have the tech world, the data world, essentially run on sort of 19th century principles of capitalism. So yes, on the one hand, we need freedom, we need openness, and we need the flow. But on the other hand, there has to be the basic regulations, a sense of equity, a sense of fairness."
During the discussion, Ms Payne said: "Making sure that technology is not abused is essential." She also said from Australia's perspective, "we are very clear about where we think the lines of responsibility lie, very focused on ensuring that we, in our approach to technology, do walk within those agreed lines".
Dr Jaishankar also said that technology has a political element. "….And it is political in the sense that it is used by players to advance goals, some democratic, some non-democratic, they use it very differently. We are discussing the tough side of tech."
Dr Jaishankar said: "I think in fairness, we should also acknowledge right up front, technology has been empowered in a way in which it is inconceivable."