Digital Transformation has become of high importance in a majority of fields and sectors, be it economy, industry, politics, career or private life. Hence the German government established the new post Minister of State for Digitization in March 2018. Dorothee Bär is the first politician to hold this office in Germany. In this interview she tells us about the best moments so far, her weirdest social media encounters as well as future plans and visions.
You would like to learn about the Digital Revolution from a federal perspective? Join Dorothee’s keynote about digitalization at #ada18 in Berlin in October.
Interview with Dorothee Bär
Congratulations, Dorothee! With 6 months in office as State Minister for Digitization you have passed your political trial period. What was the #bestmomentever during that time?
Probably the moment, when Chancellor Merkel joined my guests and me at our reception during the Fashion Week where we discussed the impact of the digital transformation on the fashion industry and where – finally – the picture showed more women than men.
As a politician who’s active on social media it’s probably impossible not to attract trolls, right? What was the most hilarious moment?
When somebody with an egg as a profile picture and 5 followers threatens on Twitter that he and his friends will crucify me for something I posted.
Apart from the tongue-in-cheek mentality and irony: social media can have a disastrous downside. It seems as if fake news and hate speech have created bigger trenches within our society and made it impossible to discuss different opinions (online). How can we deal with this?
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this. We cannot solve this with a law like the NetzDG. When mankind learned to talk face to face, we developed cultural and social norms what is alright. The same happened when we learned to write letters. Now we have to develop cultural norms how to behave communicating via social media. I just hope it doesn’t take too long.
Germany’s digital research is excellent but the German economy has trouble being a worldwide frontrunner in creating innovative business models. Which role can our government take to change this?
On a federal level, we will improve the interconnectedness of our research facilities among themselves and with our European actors. The French-German cooperation in AI is a good example. Furthermore, we will improve the situation for startups by cutting red tape and improving access to capital. That will ease the transition from researcher to founder. On the state level, we should try to improve the conditions for research to make our universities more attractive to national and international scientists.
Finally, let’s have a look into the fortune teller’s crystal ball: The Bundestag is currently in its 19th session. Do you think there will be blockchain-based elections in Germany? Which year will it be in?
I can imagine a blockchain-based system for voting machines in polling places. Nevertheless, I am a little bit old-fashioned and think that it is just and reasonable for citizens living in a democracy to leave their sofa once every 4 years to go voting.