CEPIS Newsletter

Welcome to the new issue of the CEPIS newsletter. In this issue:

Save the date: GI annual conference to take place in September

The German Informatics Society (GI) will host its annual conference INFORMATIK 2018 at the Fraunhofer Forum in Berlin on 26 and 27 September. This year’s topic will be “The Future of Work – The Future of Informatics”. High level speakers from science, economy and politics will discuss topical questions on digital education, the future of work, security, protection and trust in a digital society as well as ethics in computer science and the regulation of algorithms. The INFORMATIK 2018 and its various workshops, keynotes and discussion panels will be accompanied by several other parallel events around Berlin such as the KI2018, the annual German conference on artificial intelligence or the SKILL 2018, a national conference for computer science students. All events combined form the INFORMATIK FESTIVAL 2018 that takes place on 24 - 28 September in Berlin. For more information, please visit the conference website (in German).

Cedefop publishes handbook of ICT practices for guidance and career development 

The European Centre for Development and Vocational Training, Cedefop, has published a Handbook of ICT practices for guidance and career development, which shows the potential of ICT to help people find the right training and jobs, as well as increasing their employability and develop their competences. The handbook helps the user to determine the best option for a specific context, providing a common reference tool for citizens of the EU.

It also offers recommendations to support implementing ICT in the areas of education, training, employment services and other relevant organisations in European countries, while the authors hope that it will encourage continuous cooperation between pioneers in technology and the relevant stakeholders of these different sectors.

The Handbook can be found on Cedefop’s website.

European Conference on ‘Digital Transformation and IT Professionalism’ to be held in November 2018 in Brussels 

A Digital Capability Reference Framework will be presented at a conference to be held on 15 November in Brussels, which aims to help increase Europe's digital talent pool and the digital capabilities of enterprises. The event will highlight major themes addressing shortages of IT professionals and the digital maturity levels of enterprises and SMEs, with leading speakers and panellists participating. Currently, 200 experts from industry, education, government and associations from across Europe are set to attend. 

The initiative is run by Capgemini Consulting, IDC and Empirica, who have been awarded a service contract by the European Commission (Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry,

Entrepreneurship and SMEs) to support its work in synergy with other relevant activities including those of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) on IT professionalism in Europe. 

Further updates on this event will follow. 

New report by Capgemini shows countries’ ‘AI readiness’

Capgemini has released a new report placing a range of countries in an ‘AI Readiness Benchmark’, which indicates adequacy of a country’s institutional environment, as well as degree of technological maturity and skill advancement.

According to their findings the Netherlands are the most AI ready, with a score of over 450 points, while Bulgaria features last. The report also shows an ‘AI Performance Benchmark’, which shows that the United States have the highest performance in AI, with Germany and the UK at second and third place, respectively.

It is clear from the benchmarks that large differences in AI readiness and performance exist between countries, and the report goes on to suggest specific policy changes that may help achieve better results, including raising awareness by intensively experimenting with AI and decreasing the skills gap between the general workforce and the one specific to AI.

The full report can be found on Capgemini’s website.

Workshop discusses interim results of the Working Group on Standardisation in support to the ‘Digitising European Industry initiative’

The first open workshop on the European Commission’s Working Group on standardisation was held on 13 June 2018 in Brussels. The workshop showcased findings on standardisation needs in the manufacturing sector, a mapping of ongoing activities and a synchronisation model of the various standardisation activities. Currently input on available sources for standardisation initiatives is being collected, which will be assessed and consolidated over summer, where after the group aims to have finalised their contribution at the end of September for the 2019 version of the EU Rolling Plan on ICT Standardisation. 

The group was set up in March 2018 by the Multi-stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation (MSP) and the Digitising European Industry initiative (DEI) with the aim of providing a comprehensive plan to foster standardisation in support of the digitalisation of European industry.

More information can be found on the European Commission’s website

Multi-stakeholder forum delivers first draft of ‘Code of Practice’ to tackle online disinformation

A working group, composed of online platforms, leading social networks, advertisers and the advertising industry, released their first draft of a “Code of Practice” which aims to help tackle online disinformation by focusing on more transparency and political scrutiny of online platforms. The Code of Practice responds to the suggestion of the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation that as a first step, a non-regulatory multi-stakeholder approach is taken to tackle online disinformation. 

A final version of the initiative is expected in September.

More information can be found on the European Commission’s website.

European Commission formally urges EU Member States to transpose NIS Directive into national laws

On July 19 the European Commission sent letters to 17 Member States with a formal notice to transpose the EU-wide cybersecurity legislation (NIS Directive) into national law. The targeted countries, who have yet to comply with the directive, include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. The countries are given two months to respond, after which the Commission may issue a ‘reasoned opinion’ and ultimately decide to raise the matter within the European Court of Justice.

The main objective of the NIS Directive is to raise the level of security of network and information systems across the EU by developing national cybersecurity capabilities, increasing EU-level cooperation, and other measures.

The full update may be found on the European Commission’s website.

The European and Economic Social Committee calls for a fair European digital transformation

The European and Economic Social Committee (EESC) has released and opinion statement entitled “Transition management in a digitalised world of work”, which outlines proposed priorities for managing the EU workforce’s skill development in accordance with its digitalisation. Emphasis is put on the developing AI technologies that will change many roles within the European workforce and calls for continued skills development and learning opportunities for employees. The opinion expresses the importance of staying true to EU’s values, and that the transition management should work towards “full employment, social progress, a high level of protection, and reducing poverty and inequalities”.

The full statement can be found on the EESC website.

European Commission pilot project for improving digital skills in SMEs publishes first results

Interim findings from the European pilot project for improving the digital skills of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), named ‘New Professions, New Educational Methods, New Jobs’, show that while some needs vary, there are universal tools for business intelligence, marketing, e-commerce and client relationship management that are common and useful to all SMEs. The findings, which are based on 40 interviews conducted with involved stakeholders, also indicate that skills for digital marketing, social media, cybersecurity, web development and data analytics are what the SMEs most wanted to improve on. 

The pilot project was set up by the European Commission to design training solutions in digital skills to upskill SMEs. It has the objective to develop ‘blueprints’ to upskill small businesses all over Europe. The project is now ready to pilot training courses for SME employees and unemployed people in Murcia, Spain and in Lithuania.

More information can be found on the European Commission’s website.

5 ways digital technology is changing childhood

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published an article listing 5 key factors by which the smartphone and other devices are reshaping children’s lives. These include:

  1. physical changes, related to bad posture and low levels of activity
  2. rewiring the brain with apps and videos with addictive designs
  3. enhanced spatial reasoning by the effects of video games
  4. changing definition of childhood with the new responsibilities of navigating through mature environments on social media
  5. crowdsourcing youths’ mental health by discussing in forums online, which makes them more open, direct and free.

The Council of Europe also recently issued recommendations on children's rights in the digital environment, which establishes the limits of children’s consent to use of their data. Simultaneously, a guide for parents on how to monitor children's digital development, was published by the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ) Institute, in association with the World Economic Forum.

More information can be found on WEF’s website

Boosting children’s digital literacy - an urgent task for schools

According to a study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, using digital technologies for learning in schools improves parents' perceptions of these technologies, which in turn helps children's digital learning and supports a healthier and more meaningful use of digital devices.

This conclusion is based on interviews with 234 families in 21 countries, and states that children’s digital skills develop from a very young age, based on observing and mirroring parents’ and older siblings’ behaviour. Furthermore, developing digital competence as early as kindergarten can help to build critical thinking among children regarding content and devices that they use. Some parents underlined the strategic importance of schools to provide the guidance they need for presenting digital skills to their children.

More information about the study and related EU initiatives can be found on the European Commission’s website.

Upcoming Events 

26-27 September 2018 INFORMATIK 2018. Berlin, Germany.

6-21 October 2018 EU Code Week. Europe-wide. 

11 October 2018 e-CF Alliance Final Conference. Brussels, Belgium 

15 November 2018 Digital Transformation and IT Professionalism. Brussels, Belgium 

4-6 December 2018 ICT 2018. Vienna, Austria.