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"Are we stumbling blindly into digitization? We need to do our digitalduty"

digitalduty, an initiative by Deutsche Telekom on the issue of digital responsibility: the most important questions and answers.

The initiative is intended to illuminate the issue of digitization in all its facets and to call for a dialog on some of the as yet unanswered questions and unexamined aspects of it. It aims to point both to the opportunities and to the risks posed by the digital revolution. To achieve these aims it consulted a range of experts from a wide variety of fields, including the world of science, politics and industry – and even the worlds of sport and culture. 

And it also gets actively involved in discussions itself by acting as a catalyst for new thinking – see the comments by our Board chairman Tim Höttges on the topic of a universal basic income in an interview with the German weekly "Die Zeit" in December 2016 – and explains how the Group deals with issues of great relevance such as data privacy and cyber security. 

The digital revolution constitutes the most important transformation of our time. Yet very many people know very little about it, very often responding to it with hostility or simply by doing their best to ignore it. 
Deutsche Telekom is one of the drivers of digitization through its network build-out, through its cloud services, via its various partnerships, both large and small, and through lots of other activities. We are quite sure of one thing: simply trying to jam the door shut would be futile. The new digital world has been around for a while now. And it is transforming almost every aspect of our lives. We need to get to grips with what is happening to be in a position to help shape its effects on ourselves. 

It is because Deutsche Telekom is also very conscious of its responsibilities to society that it took this initiative at the beginning of 2016 under the slogan "Are we stumbling blindly into digitization? We need to do our digitalduty," with the aim of opening discussion and of raising awareness of the topic.

Not at all. What we at Deutsche Telekom are aiming to do is to illuminate the issue of digitization in all its facets and to call for a dialog on some of the as yet unanswered questions and unexamined aspects of it. It aims to point both to the opportunities and to the risks posed by the digital revolution.

When we talk about digitization, our discussion has to include issues of impact assessment and digital responsibility. Why are we as a society and an economy going in that direction at all? What is in it for us? What are the risks? Who will be the winners and losers? 

The main idea behind the discussion is to deal with the question of exactly what shape digital responsibility is going to take. No one individual can ordain that shape by decree – nor can any one company, any one institution or any one government make that call. We can only develop digital responsibility together. 

As part of the initiative, we have consulted a large number of experts from the worlds of science, industry and politics on a variety of facets of the digitization process. Critical voices are very welcome. The goal of the initiative is to act as a catalyst and to spark off discussion among the widest possible sections of the public. 

The digitalduty initiative was launched at the beginning of 2016. You can find all information on the Deutsche Telekom Group's website at www.telekom.com/digitalduty. We are also active in social media under the hashtag #digitalduty.

The initiative is intended to work out the opportunities presented to society by digitization – without concealing the risks. We want to break down fears in the face of change and show how we can actively participate in shaping the future. But we need to find out the facts and debate how we want the digital revolution to shape our future. 

Everyone is welcome to debate the issues with us directly on our website www.telekom.com/digitalduty and to post their comments and opinions for discussion. And we are naturally also active on Twitter under the hashtag #digitalduty.

But we also invite the public to events, including the series of readings held during 2016 that we named "futuread," or the "Museumtalks" that will take place during the course of this year. At such events we offer the opportunity for participants to discuss with us and with the experts the issues that most concern them. You can find the dates on our website www.telekom.com/digitalduty. We look forward to your contribution!

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