Orange boss warns of rising tech skepticism



LIVE FROM MWC21 BARCELONA: Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange and president of the GSMA (on the picture) warned the mobile industry that it has a central role to play in addressing societal challenges and that it is now at the heart of the debate to contribute to equality, fight fake news and secure AI systems more inclusive.

Richard said mobile needs to find solutions to ensure that its technology can be used to reduce growing social and geographic inequalities, as well as to develop systems to be better designed and deployed.

The CEO of Orange has identified three main challenges facing the industry that need to be overcome.

First, it is about closing a deficit of use in which 4 billion people in the world were not able to benefit from digital advances. The second was the need to act in the face of lack of confidence in the industry, data piracy, the spread of propaganda, false information and manipulation “contributing to a rise in technological skepticism,” he said.

And finally, Richard highlighted climate change, “the biggest challenge facing the world today”.

The Orange boss noted that the pandemic and the subsequent acceleration of digital transformation had seen many solutions fall into place to reduce carbon emissions, but said more work needed to be done as he urged operators to use resources and their ability to create a world. where everyone can “thrive”.

With the industry having a huge responsibility for ensuring progressive technological impact, Richard said real progress will be focused on positive future impact, not “just creating new, brilliant things.”

“The benefits of technological progress for humanity do not depend on the technology, but on what we do with it. We are fortunate to be the leaders of an industry that has supported development and built trust for over a century. Confidence remains the cornerstone of a strong telecommunications industry today.

Cyber ​​threats
Continuing on the topic of trust, Richard also addressed the growing issue of cyber attacks, with an “abundance of data and communications increasing digital vulnerability”.

He cited a US threat assessment report that ranked digital vulnerability as the top risk in the country, above war and terrorism. In Europe, he noted that a third of companies reported cyber attacks in 2020.

“There are new cybersecurity fears with 5G as the ecosystem becomes larger and more fragmented. Other parts of our business are also becoming digital and vulnerable.

He said the industry is in a constant race and needs the best predictive technology “because no one can be protected behind a closed digital world.”

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