President Karis: Economic growth must stem from innovation
In his opening address at the international technology conference Latitude59, President Alar Karis said that since life is presenting us with new challenges, we must respond by bringing all of our skills and knowledge to bear, guided by science. “My firm belief is that innovation is the next step in Estonia’s economic development,” he remarked. “Traditional companies and those with less developed technology will always have a role to play in the economy, but science and innovation will form the basis of true success.”
The head of state added that new growth must stem from innovation and novel solutions that have never been tested. “First and foremost we must recognise the value of research and development and of cooperation between business and academic circles,” he said. “Research produces a technological advantage that boosts competitiveness and, in the long term, profits. More studies and smarter people will benefit society in the broader context as well.”
President Karis gave the example of defence and security sector innovation, thanking NATO for establishing the DIANA fund for new initiatives. “We need to be constructing secure digital systems that are based on scientific studies and innovation, and building bridges with those who are modernising the fields of defence and security,” he said.
The head of state made special mention of cyberspace security. “The situation in Europe has changed how people are behaving online as well,” he noted. “Cyberattacks are nothing new, but since web-based services are playing an ever bigger role in our day-to-day lives, we should be paying more attention to what is happening online.”
President Karis said that similar rules should be established around the world in regard to e.g. crypto assets so as to close the gaps being used by fraudsters, criminals and terrorists who might otherwise exploit legal loopholes or avoid sanctions imposed against them. “Digital companies too can contribute to security by boosting that of their own systems and establishing high standards for their platforms,” he suggested. “In devising new solutions, you have to be one step ahead of cyber criminals.”