The country must finally face the Internet correctly – without fear or disinterest. Connection to the network should be a fundamental right.
Hate postings, identity theft, extortion Trojans – no, the Internet is no different from any technology that people have invented so far: it has its good sides. And others too. But there is one difference. Even a powerful technology like nuclear power could be abolished if only the nuclear states agreed to forego it and if efforts to switch to renewable energies were stepped up.
But the Internet has become so important to the world, it is a basic technology similar to electricity grids, that doing without would amount to a disaster. The opposite must therefore be the goal: Connection to the network should be a fundamental right. And should not be about corporations, but the elected representatives.
But for all actors in society – citizens, administration, politics, business, trade unions and so on – that means accepting the Internet as a fact that you don’t just have to face, to which you don’t just have to react somehow. It’s about designing. It’s about changing the way you think and plan so that you can use the (no longer so) new technology for yourself.
Germany has so far not given a good picture despite (perhaps also because of) its economic strength. This is now starting to have a negative impact. The auto industry, for example, the flagship industry for decades, has to be shown digitalization by an American start-up, and the government gets its extremely poor record in statistics after statistics.
Lack of infrastructure as a symptom
Of course, the infrastructure is lacking, but that’s just the symptom. Above all, there is a lack of a mindset in Germany, i.e. the right attitude. Because with the necessary awareness it would not have happened that politicians could have overslept such an important development in such a grand way. With the right mindset, the population would have put enough pressure on them or the politicians might even have figured it out themselves. But the Internet was considered a patron to many, which only nerds deal with. Some were also afraid to get involved.
But at the latest the corona crisis has shown many: It is really nice to see the grandchildren at least on a tablet. Company executives who hadn’t been able to do much with home office before found out: running. Video conferencing – actually a good thing, saves some business trips.
Of course, this is not digitization that really moves an industrialized country like Germany forward. It should go much deeper. Digitization does not only mean that the processes that have been done in analogue so far are digital. In extreme cases, digitization can also mean changing your business model because new technology also requires new approaches.
Wherever production takes place and where Germany has one of its strengths, there is more potential in digitization than many suspect. Here, too, it is not just a question of replacing slip management and Excel spreadsheets with networked, high-performance systems. The aim is to extract efficiency gains from the large amount of data that a company has. It is about examining how the processes have to be designed so that they make the best possible use of the digital possibilities.
The eye-opening experiences from lockdown times should be an incentive to finally accept the challenge properly. If the country really wants to emerge from the crisis stronger than politicians promise, this can only be achieved with a different attitude towards the Internet and digitalization. Incidentally, this does not mean that all negative effects simply have to be accepted. Politicians have chosen digitization as the main task alongside the fight against global warming. Would be a good thing if she kept the promise.