The seventh commitment in Our Common Agenda is about improving digital collaboration through the creation of a “Global Digital Compact”. This means that all people should be connected to the Internet, that liability criteria for discrimination and misleading content should be developed, that artificial intelligence should be regulated, and the establishment of the “Digital Commons” as a global public good. However, the whole thing is more comprehensive than that. By extension, this constitutes the construction of a digital World Brain intended to regulate and control all human life to keep it within the planetary boundaries.
The commitment is one of the more central ones and is about creating a consensus on the need for total digitization. This builds on the recommendations made in the report The Age of Digital Interdependence (2019) by the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation led by Melinda Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and Jack Ma from the Ali Baba Group and in collaboration with actors such as the World Economic Forum and their Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
At the “Summit for the Future” in 2023, the UN, together with civil society and the private sector, are expected to agree on shared principles for an “open, free and secure digital future for all”.
This includes promoting a “trustworthy Internet” with accountability criteria for discrimination and misleading content as well as regulating Artificial Intelligence to be consistent with “our shared global values”. However, what this means in practice is that the “values” must correlate with the beliefs held sacred by the UN and WEF (see The Ministry of Truth).
Secretary-General António Guterres writes in Our Common Agenda that one of the risks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is “the use of digital surveillance and manipulation to influence behavior and control populations.”
This very legitimate concern, however, is more about the fact that the UN does not want this technology to fall into the hands of forces that they themselves or their partners do not control. This is because the whole idea behind the “Global Digital Compact” is to be able to control the world’s population and align its values to be in line with the UN’s and WEF’s interpretations of the 17 Global Goals of Agenda 2030.
A concrete example is the initiative Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES), which was formed after the launching of the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation in March 2021 with the aim of promoting “digital sustainability”. The coalition currently gathers around 1,000 stakeholders from over 100 countries.
Founders of CODES are UNEP, UNDP, International Science Council, The German Environment Agency, Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Sustainability in the Digital Age and Future Earth. The latter organisation has a key role in the agenda and are part of the Global Commons Alliance initiative, which I will return to in the last installment of this series – Be Prepared.
CODES works to implement collective system changes and remove any obstacles standing in the way of the total digitization that they believe is needed to implement the sustainability goals (70% of the goals can be achieved through the application of digital solutions according to a study that CODES refers to).
During the environmental conference Stockholm +50 in June 2022, CODES presented its action plan which aims to inform about the priorities included in the Global Digital Compact. The report describes three system shifts, eighteen strategic priorities and nine “global impact” initiatives that will give rise to the “desired” change.
These systems shifts are:
Enable Alignment – Align Values Visions Objectives
Mitigate Negative Impacts – Sustainable Digitalization
Accelerate Innovation – Digitalization for Sustainability