Inclusion as part of Data Economy
In the framework of the Finnish EU Presidency, a High Level Conference on Computer Economics was held in Helsinki at the end of November. Funka presented the importance of user inclusion and accessibility for digitisation to be successful.
The conference presented a broad spectrum of solutions and defined principles for a sustainable, competitive and human-driven computer economy. More than 400 high-level, influential participants from various Member States, EU institutions, business and civil society discussed how principles for future development of the European data economy should be formulated.
It is always very exciting to lecture on accessibility to target groups that we normally do not reach, says Susanna Laurin, Chief Research and Innovation Officer at Funka. It is brave of the Finnish Ministry of Finance to high light also "soft" questions to this kind of conference.
The four priorities for Finland's EU presidency include making the EU more socially inclusive. Under the heading "People, skills and society", the program focused on the need for skills, active citizenship and social inclusion. Teemu Roos, associate professor of computer science at the University of Helsinki, showed how training in Artificial Intelligence, AI, can give large groups greater understanding of the opportunities offered by the new technology.
Social inclusion with different perspectives
Touria Meliani, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, talked about how the city works to build confidence through social integration and that digitisation, despite an ambitious effort, is not yet reaching everyone. Funkas Susanna Laurin lectured on the need for accessibility for digitisation to succeed;
With an increasing number of digital services, the large variety of interfaces, passwords and navigation systems is difficult to handle for many users. For groups of users, for example people with disabilities, the elderly and individuals with another mother tongue, the challenges can be overwhelming, difficult or impossible to overcome.
Online services cannot be effective if large sections of the population are excluded. Manually handling each such person becomes costly and can potentially be perceived as stigmatizing. Therefore, it is imperative to develop and design all services so that it supports accessibility for users regardless of ability and interest in technology.
In addition, the services must meet real user needs and be worth using, so creating them together with users is a strong recommendation.