Brave and digital Ukraine
Ukraine sets out its vision for 2030.
Ukraine has produced and released a number of slick media assets during the war with Russia. In one of the latest, Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, has promised that by 2030, Ukraine will be the freest and most digital country in the world.
This is the latest ‘infomercial’ in a series which resemble snazzy Hollywood film trailers. Despite the difficulties of war and the uncertainty about the outcome, the Ukraine government has set out a very clear vision for the future. It is characteristic of wartime propaganda to imagine a brighter future that all must work towards, but the scope of change it sets out for the people of Ukraine is quite breathtaking.
The video depicts a brave, digital world, which will be convenient. It’s interesting that convenience is the benefit used to justify such a gargantuan paradigm-shift in government and society.
Scripts will replace bureaucrats, and ‘‘the Ukrainian government is digital. More like an IT company, in terms of the efficiency of implementing decisions”. I think people all over the world would agree governments should be more efficient. But promising that 80% of civil servants will be successfully integrated into a “new economy” (ie they will lose their jobs) is radical. And if artificial intelligence (because that is what is meant by scripts) is to make government more efficient, wouldn’t other industries also benefit from similar efficiencies? In which new economy are these redundant bureaucrats to find new jobs?
Beyond government, the judiciary will also change. Courts will make decisions using AI.
Schools will be digital.
Digital payments will replace cash.
Ukrainians will need smart phones if they want to register a car, a plot of land, build a home or start a business.
Health will be monitored remotely.
Ukraine will be “the freest and digital”.
“This is all because international partners and the world’s leading technology companies supported the digital for freedom initiative.”
Which international partners and world-leading tech companies are driving these far-reaching decisions about government, the judiciary, education, health, property, civic and business life?
Have the people of Ukraine been consulted? Were any of these changes in a manifesto? If ordinary people are busy keeping their country going and surviving a war, they might not even know about these plans. (What’s more, the video is in English, it is for an international audience, more than Ukrainians.) Should the Ukrainian people be as worried about these technocratic movers and shakers as they are about Russia?
Then again, maybe these plans are as mythic and insubstantial as the Ghost of Kyiv.
The slogan ‘Brave Ukraine’ has been usurped in this video by “brave and digital”. Let us hope the future of Ukraine is free and brave. And if the people of Ukraine are free, then it is they who should collectively drive and vote for digital and societal changes.