Cyprus can become a digital era pioneer, conference hears

Cyprus can become a pioneer in digital economy and digital society, House President Demetris Syllouris said on Thursday.

He also underlined the need to create a “Network for Innovation and Smart Development”, to take advantage of the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that fuses the digital, physical and biological worlds.

Addressing the opening ceremony of a conference, organized by the House of Representatives, in Nicosia, Syllouris said that Cyprus ranks at the bottom when it comes to digital maturity.

He said, however, that the country can make it in the core of countries with advanced digital economies and societies, since it has the expertise, the know-how and the determination required.

“Our country’s small scale is not an obstacle. To the contrary, it may be used as a competitive advantage, offering swift and easy information dissemination” while the general vision will be easier to spread around, he underlined.

According to the President of the House, the main goal is to create a “Network of Innovation and Smart Development” with the participation of academics, businesspeople, trade unions and other stakeholders, including the Media.

Before his speech, Syllouris had a brief conversation with Nicky, a robot developed by the University of Nicosia, which asked him to pass a bill to regulate robots.

A great idea for a small country, like Cyprus, is to be at the forefront of developments, said Anna Diamantopoulou, the President of a think tank called “DIKTIO” – Network for Reform in Greece and Europe.

The former European Commissioner, who has also served as Minister in Greek governments, said that the memoranda that various European countries had to implement, in order to recover from the crisis, are not in position to inspire people towards an idea or a general goal.

“We need a great idea” that has to do with the achievements of the mind, said Diamantopoulou. A country, she went on, can make the leap into the Forth Industrial Revolution, even if it experienced no great success in the previous three.

The former European Commissioner underlined the need to advance technological skills along with humanistic sciences. Teaching software development needs to be accompanied by Aristotle, she noted.

Speaking about preparations for the Forth Industrial Revolution, Diamantopoulou said that only four European countries started designing a comprehensive approach, including France.

She said however that no similar event was held at parliamentary level and congratulated the House of Representatives on the initiative to organize the conference.

In a prerecorded video message, Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner responsible for Digital Economy and Society, said that the European Commission aims at creating a hub for innovation in every region and congratulated Cyprus for making its own hubs operational.

“We know that our future is digital,” said Gabriel, adding that technology is a driver for innovation.

She said however that only one in five companies in Europe are fully digitalized and that a lot remains to be done.

The conference comes after a similar conference on the Fourth Industrial Revolutions, organized by the House of Representatives last year.

source: CNA