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“We carry digitalisation in our pockets”

Jobs disappear and new ones emerge. Human-like machines and self-driving cars. Digitalisation is far-reaching, affecting us all and changing our society. But what will our digitalised world really look like? We meet Per-Erik Holmberg, Business manager at RISE, who discusses and offers his views on digitalisation.

What do you think digitalisation will bring with it the future?

“Digitalisation means that we can solve a great many problems in a smarter, more efficient and simpler manner. Take the classic examples of how we managed to maintain contact with one another in the past, or how we arranged meeting places without mobile devices. Sure, things worked out but it’s so much easier today!”

Keeping in touch digitally is only one of the many services that technology already provides us with. However, as digitalisation develops, privacy becomes an important challenge to be resolved.

“My own work involves the digitalisation of the transport sector and there are any number of smart services that we could develop. For example, optimizing collective traffic or making it easier for drivers to find parking spaces. However, this would require keeping tabs on where vehicles are at any given time. This is where issues of privacy come in – do we really want our every move to be monitored?”

In the transport sector, digitalisation is also being used to develop self-driving vehicles, such as buses and lorries. One question that often arises in this context is, what happens to all of the professional drivers when vehicles drive themselves?

“Our jobs will change in parallel with technological advancements. As fewer drivers are required, these jobs will disappear. However, at the same time new jobs will be created. Perhaps in future, someone who was once a lorry driver will instead be a coordinator, controlling and monitoring an entire convoy of self-driving vehicles.”

So, as jobs change, what effect will this have on our education system?

“We will see new study programmes and a higher level of education. In general, highly digitalized countries require a better-educated workforce. When I grew up, an upper-secondary education was fine, even something special, while today it is seen as a basic educational requirement. I believe that this is partly related to technological developments. We are moving towards a knowledge society and, in order to keep up in such a society, knowledge is a prerequisite.” 

Smartphones and computers have of course been with us for some time now; why is digitalisation such a hot topic at the moment?

“One reason is probably that use and access have increased so much over recent years; we have access to computers and telephones wherever we find ourselves. We carry digitalisation in our pockets. Another reason is that this is no longer arcane knowledge, it is generally available. We have come to expect accessibility. I myself had a doctor’s appointment recently and, while sitting in the waiting room, I was looking through my old patient records on my phone; quite simply, these days we expect most things to be digital!”

Per-Erik Holmberg

Does: Business manager at RISE

Advantages of digitalisation: It increases the level of utilization of our resources.

Challenges of digitalisation: Developing smart solutions without violating individual rights and freedoms.

Favourite app: I hope we will see more Mobility-as-a-Service apps that move us away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility solutions that are consumed as a service.

Published: 2018-09-24