Build counter-powers against GAFAM / BATX!
“If I had to do it again, I would start with culture”, said Jean Monnet in a famous speech about the European project. Remarkable observation of a man who understood the deep logic that drives a paradigm shift. It is this same cultural logic that inspired Silicon Valley in its “revolutionary” period when it invented the Internet and personal computers that would contribute to an unprecedented economic and social revolution. And it is again this cultural logic that will allow us to offer alternatives and checks and balances to respond to the GAFAM and the BATX, which are in a position to dominate all sectors of activity in the long term and put Europe under supervision.
It is the existential question which must first be asked in order to think of the world according to
The key to “exist” against the Americans and the Chinese is not technological but cultural, it is our ability to produce (and defend) a new representation of the world. Think about the world after. Capture dissatisfaction by proposing new forms of interaction. It was by responding to the blockages of conservative society in the 1950s and the traumas caused by the Vietman war that Silicon Valley developed the Internet “bomb”. Create direct and transversal relations to emancipate oneself from the State.
It is the existential question that must first be asked. Who are we ? We, Europeans, French, with our history, our culture, our intelligence, our interpersonal skills and our know-how. What world do we want to live in and what do we want to change or do again. Introspection is vital (viral). What are our ambitions in this new world. What place do we have the will to take there? How do we position ourselves in the face of new powers and new entrants who are now in the lead? What can we expect from even 2.5% growth? What is our future?
In France, we speak of a start-up nation, of French Tech. Uentrepreneurial culture inherited from the 19th century and based on engineering and specialized technical solutions
An approach to the company that hurts our economic players locked in their original sin, an entrepreneurial culture inherited from the 19th century and based on engineers and specialized technical solutions (even start-ups). In France, we talk about start-up nation, French Tech, we wonder how France could be the world pole of artificial intelligence. We think of the future like engineers and in pieces! JEDI, the Franco-German collective, which brings together around a hundred research organizations, large groups and start-ups, is campaigning to endow Europe with an agency for breakthrough innovation on the model of Darpa. Around thirty challenges have been identified in total, such as the development of a less energy-consuming blockchain, the creation of quantum links with satellites that would make them more competitive compared to 5G for example.
Technology for the sake of technology has no meaning or purpose. 5G, blockchain, these projects, as interesting and necessary as they are, are only of interest if they are part of much larger groups that offer new operating systems of the world. More ambitious ecosystems that give meaning to technology and encourage citizen engagement. Artificial intelligence (today!) Is not an end in itself, it is a tool at the service of an idea. The real question is its appropriation. What do we “do” with it and what do we make it “say”, in the service of what and for whom? Essential question for a technology which in the wrong hands can become “monstrous”.
bring out a new generation of entrepreneurs to invent the models of tomorrow
Answering this question of meaning requires the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs, acknowledging that our software is worn out, and that French leaders, from large groups to start-ups have neither the training nor the imagination to create these ecosystems and change the era. And that it is outside the current “reasonable” recruitment channels that we must find new entrepreneurs capable of inventing the models of tomorrow. To convince the actors of the human or social sciences, philosophers, literary artists, artists, historians, sociologists …, sensitive to the fundamental movements which animate our environment, that the company in this new context of hyper complexity has become a formidable field of experimentation and a full political actor. Or to understand the creative and driving force of immigration. Getting out of our consanguinity to bring out new multicultural leaders who take a fresh look at the world. There are undoubtedly many avenues to explore.
A level of dissatisfaction that creates the conditions for a new revolution
What are the dissatisfactions that could feed the creation of these new European ecosystems today? There are many. “We opened Pandora’s box and we found a black box” says Steffi Czerny, director of DLD, with a jumble of surveillance capitalism, threats to democracy, abuses of dominant positions, fake news, widening inequalities… A level of dissatisfaction that creates the conditions for a new revolution. The world has to be reinvented. Citizens expect proposals and express them more and more openly! “Despite signs of stability and expansion, the GAFAMs are cracking: their relationship with the customer is deteriorating, the identity which has helped to shape their economic and cultural hegemony is losing clarity”, says Clara Schmelck, media philosopher. A quarter of Americans have deleted Facebook in a year. Same fight on the other side of the planet, the BATX are advancing quietly to question global governance and the historical weight of the West with their strategy of “silent transformations”. However, will we accept without reacting their system of “democracy” which they unabashedly claim and which offends the European spirit. Nothing is less sure.
A Europe of law and diversity to produce, through new actors, new stories
The context is ripe for the Europe of humanism, that of law and diversity, to produce new stories through new actors. No offense to the Eurosceptics, Europe has a soul and that soul is its humanism. It is on this culture that we will build the alternative models of tomorrow by inventing other forms of use with new business models. And it is up to us, entrepreneurs, to “start the business”. Locked in short-termist logic, mind blocked by courses that are too dull and too linear, economic and political players have chosen out of interest or lack of vision to put our values on hold and give the keys to the “house” to Americans. It’s up to the multitude to react and take over!
Will Europe be able to seize its chance?
Will Europe be able to become once again this crossroads of ideas and migrations, this land of culture, resilience and rebirth, this new space of freedom and growth to respond to the major challenges that await humanity. Will Europe be able to offer alternatives to the techno-centered world, without flesh and without historicity in which the American and Chinese leaders are inexorably leading us?
From human sciences to business strategy. Literature graduate. Designer with Pierre Paulin and Roger Talon. Confronted with the world of mergers and acquisitions and branding at DDB Needham and Target. Immersed in the subversive world of digital platforms, I now help entrepreneurs to broaden their vision to build ecosystems, a set of functionalities at the service of an ‘idea that will change the course of “history”.