It is for me a sincere and great honour to be part of the Open Diplomacy Institute's project "Parliamentarians for Peace" (P4P), a solid network made of Members of Parliaments all around the world sharing the common goals of peace and democracy.
We find ourselves in a rapidly changing world, where so many wide-ranging issues and challenges emerge daily. The entire world had to face an unprecedented health crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, and only thanks to innovation and its use in public health, we are now finally starting to overcome the virus. The European Union has been one of the first and hardest-hit areas. I perfectly remember the dramatic first weeks when my country, Italy, was initially affected by the spread of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we must admit that we were not ready to face such an emergency, both at the national and European level. The human loss has been dramatic, and the socio-economic negative consequences are in front of our eyes every day.
At the same time, the pandemic served as a wake-up call for the whole European Union. In fact, following an amazingly rapid production of innovative and very safe vaccines, these are slowly starting to be available all over the world, representing one of the most important human achievements in the innovation and medicine field. Such an example shall make even more clear to everyone that our world, built upon peace, democracy, and prosperity, can exist only when innovation is at its very centre. Together with the Parliamentarians for Peace network, we envision that the international community shall focus its cooperation toward objectives such as the development of health and safety, environmental protection and inclusion. But only when these fundamental features are matched with innovation a truly stable and peace-led world will be achievable.
As Parliamentarians for Peace, we also call for greater multilateral cooperation around the many geopolitical challenges entailed by innovation. It is necessary to reaffirm the importance of a much stronger political leadership on the way of our future, and international tensions as well can be shaped by innovation. Focusing on digital, the European Commission recently presented the EU new vision and outlook for Europe's digital transformation by 2030. This vision for the EU's digital decade is built around the four cardinal points of skills, infrastructure, business, and government. We see a much-awaited fundamental focus on innovation, digital rights, competencies and skills, aiming at fighting the overall digital divide.
Moreover, as a member of the AIDA Committee in the European Parliament, which is the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence, I had the opportunity to work directly on one of the most promising innovations touched by humanity. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity-related instruments, quantum computer sciences, and so on, offer at the same time a great and unprecedented opportunity for humanity, and a risk. Therefore, we must work all together to ensure adequate safeguards for high-risk applications of new technologies, to stimulate good innovation and the creation of a true ecosystem for AI that serves humanity, and not just the interests of a few. As Parliamentarians for Peace, we strongly call for human rights-driven regulation of digital disruptions, the only way to enhance the positive potential of this ever-accelerating technological revolution.
Brando Benifei is a Member of the European Parliament, Head of Italian Socialist & Democrat Delegation and a Rapporteur for the Artificial Intelligence Act.