Technology & Opportunities
Year 22 - No. 1 May 2018
sirius siGhTs - Year 22 - no. 1 - MaY 2018
Colophon Sirius Sights is a product of Sirius, study association for Health Sciences, Public Administration, European Studies and European Public Administration at the University of Twente. Sirius Ravelijn 1324 Universiteit Twente Postbus 217 7500 AE Enschede +31 (0) 53 489 3204 www.sirius.utwente.nl 2
Issues Year 22, no. 1, May 2018 132 copies Drukbedrijf.nl Chief editor Stan van Rosmalen Redaxie Laura Harks Kevin Heerema Maarten de Groot Sirius board supervisor Rosan Verbraak
Graphic design Yanick Brezet yanickbrezet.nl Many thanks to Carmen Landstra, Tom Hofhuis, Roel Schimmel, Jonathan Bullock, Anita Sempel, Ramses Wessel, Naut Seemann, Minna van Gerven, Auke Zijlstra, Deborah Ceccarello, Jelle Kort, Edouard Martin, Job Delfgou, Ronald Kremer, Themo Compernolle, Nolan Gertz and Jelle Jonker.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Table of contents 04 From the chief editor Stan van Rosmalen 05 From the chairman Carmen Landstra 06 Management, Society & Technology Kevin Heerema 07 Interview: Bits of Freedom 11 Glory of Enschede Tom Hofhuis 13 Donorregistratie Roel Schimmel 14 The current EU energy policy Jonathan Bullock 16 Drie jaar decentralisatie: een bijna onmogelijke taak voor gemeenten Anita Sempel 18 The forgotten dimensions of Brexit Ramses Wessel 20 Future of Education Naut Seemann 21 Technology & the ageing population Minna van Gerven 23 In the News 26 What has Sirius done for the past half year? 28 A photo-flashback to recent activities 30 The other side of the coin: cryptocurrencies Carmen Landstra 31 What do you mean, sovereign? Auke Zijlstra 32 EU as a new United States of Europe Deborah Ceccarello 34 Energietransitie Jelle Kort 35 Rutte III: a cabinet of conflict Maarten de Groot 36 Gender equality Edouard Martin 38 Humanity & technology Job Delfgou 39 Future of agriculture Ronald Kremer 41 The sky is not the limit for the synergy between human brains and information and communication technology, if... Theo Compernolle 43 The influence of Instagram on modern society Rosan Verbraak 45 Why do we use social media? Nolan Gertz 47 History of MST Jelle Jonker 50 Who are the Redaxie? Sirius Sights | May 2018
editorial On this planet we have always had issues and it seems unlikely this would ever change. But despite the fact we have issues, our technology keeps on evolving. This brings along new societal concerns. How do you regulate technology? Can it be regulated in the first place? Looking at cryptocurrency, the answer seems to be no, for the biggest part of the world at least. But there are many people who seem to think technology should be regulated, and steps in this direction have indeed been taken. Dutch Minister of Finances Wopke Hoekstra, for example, wants the Netherlands to play a leading role in the
From the chief editor We as humans are the species to have invented technology. It has brought us countless opportunities. We are, for instance, able to fly around the globe in an airplane in less than two days. Two months ago a red car was launched into space, while it was playing David Bowieâ€™s song Space Oddity on repeat. Elon Musk used a super rocket with twice the launching power of any existing rocket for this, with the hope the car will reach Mars. Astronauts and experts think the dawn of a new era of space exploration has commenced with this project, which took five years to prepare. If this voyage is successful, it might open up possibilities for the realisation of Mr Muskâ€™s dream to launch hundreds of satellites into space, with the purpose of giving broadband internet access to the developing world. Many would say that Elon Muskâ€™s project is the current pinnacle of technological development, and it might very well be. But it is certain that this will not remain to be the peak forever. Us humans continuously evolve, and especially our behaviour. The changes people have to adjust to in the timespan of a lifetime are immense. Technology brings forward so many new possibilities and chances, that adjusting to it seems inevitable. Without a doubt, technology is controlling us more and more. Knowing this, a crucial question needs to be answered: How do we control technology? Because if we cannot control technology, how can we stop it from controlling us? 4
European and international approach of regulating and monitoring cryptocurrency. China even went so far as to completely ban and block crypto trading both domestically and externally. Many man-made theories exist which appoint technology as the root of all evil: as the downfall of earth. Climate change, the theories say, is caused by technology, which in turn is created by humans. But can we prove this? Many initiatives towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources have been carried out by governments. But can we be sure that if we adopt energy reducing policies, our planet will indeed exist for a longer period of time? Or will we wait too long for this to be proven, and is our downfall indeed around the corner? People have all kinds of different visions on this matter, as they do with everything that concerns them. Some of these visions are displayed in this edition of the Sirius Sights. This Sirius Sights edition is brought into life to share the sometimes contrasting thoughts of different persons. Most of them have something to say about the relationship between society and a technological aspect of it. Our magazine includes a collection of visions on a lot of intriguing subjects. Some prominent writers are featured, such as members of the European Parliament. Of course we are a student magazine, which means plenty of the featured articles are written by our own students of the University of Twente! Having said that, I wish every reader tons of reading pleasure, on behalf of the Editorial Committee! Stan van Rosmalen Chief Editor of Sirius Sights May 2018 | Sirius Sights
From the chairman We live in a world where technologies are changing faster and faster. So fast that sometimes technology surpasses our society. This is a frightening thought. Our policy makers are constantly one step behind on the regulations on such technologies. Robots, Cryptocurrencies, Algorithms and other technologies of which we are close to losing control. However, it must be noted that technologies are created for reason to contribute to society. Think about the implications of the technology in the Health sector, the logistic system and our social life. It brings us many advantages that cannot be ignored.
It is good to be critical to these technological changes and its implications. Are the opportunities we are creating really worth the negative externalities the technologies have? What are the risks and what does it change in our society? Do we want to stop these developments? And if not, how on earth are we going to cope with the increasing monopoly of technology in our societies?
Carmen Landstra Chairman and Commissioner Internationalisation, 44th board of Study Association Sirius
With the launch of the Netflix Original: Black Mirror, I honestly was completely hooked. For people that are not acquainted with the series. It is a series that created fictional scenarios that show the implications of our current technological developments on our society in a way that is almost frightening. This made me more aware of the fact that I feel so surpassed by technology, it is like I have lost control.
Sirius Sights | May 2018
Management, Society and Technology By Kevin Heerema, Editor of Sirius Sights, Student EPA For decades, the world has been facing the trend of globalization. With the emergence of new technologies such as the internet, borders of countries blur and the other side of the globe is closer than ever. How do we deal with the new challenges that arise with these developments? That has probably been the question asked most frequently by the educational staff of Public Administration, ‘Bestuurskunde’ until the year 2013. So they started in 2003 with creating an entire new study program that would be more internationally orientated than the Dutch study of Bestuurskunde. After several years, the educational staff experienced a small distinction between Bestuurskunde and European Studies. Therefore it was most logical to integrate these two bachelor study programs into a new study program that covers both public administration and the international aspect of it: European Public Administration (EPA). But in this ever changing world, EPA did not seem to cover it all. EPA is far from a technical course, which is strange on a university that is mostly technical. How can High Tech – Human Touch be integrated in this course? The educational staff could have chosen to keep European Public Administration as it was and subtly integrate a technical aspect in the already existing courses, but to profile itself as a course with a technical aspect the change had to be more radical.
and other non-Dutch countries. What will the change of the program mean for you as EPA student? If you are in your second year of European Public Administration in this academic year, you will be the last students that will follow the course designed for EPA. Although the name-change has not taken place yet, the first years are already following the new course program of MS&T. They follow different subjects, their module project is different from the EPA course and the main themes will be much more technological. However, the main learning objectives will not vary too much from EPA. They have just been updated to prepare students for the future of technology. The main courses are still internationally focused and you’ll learning everything about public management, sociology of public administration, economics and law.
For that reason the name of the course will change to Management, Society & Technology (MS&T). After graduating from this course, you will know much more about modern technologies and how to deal with them on a managerial, organizational and political scale.
Therefore, you will not notice too much of the change that affects you negatively. The educational staff remains very flexible in cases where that is needed, for instance in case you fail a course as an EPA student and have to retake this course or module in the MS&T program.
Of course, the change also takes place for competitive reasons. Other universities such as the Delft University of Technology already offer the course of Technical Public Administration, but the name of Management, Society & Technology is expected to sound more attractive for potential students and because it is completely taught in English, it will also attract students from Germany
After completing three years of studying and graduating afterwards, you will be a ‘hybrid’ professional: you are a manager able to bridge the gap between advanced technology on the one side and economic, legal and ethical knowledge on the other side, on regional, national and international levels. This will put you before many other public administrators in the future.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Interview with Bits of Freedom By Niels de Groot, Editor I/O Vivat This interview has previously been published in the I/O Vivat, the association magazine of study association Inter-Actief. Permission to republish this article has been given to Sirius Sights by the original author, the editorial office of the I/O Vivat and the interviewer.
Technology disrupts privacy. What can we do about that? Recently I visited a lunch lecture where the person giving the presentation was talking about the fourth industrial revolution. Now, if you look at the history books, you will notice only three have been documented throughout history. The reason the fourth industrial revolution is not in there is quite simple, it’s because it is happening as we speak. The current industrial revolution is blurring the lines between physical and digital and is fundamentally changing the way we live our lives. Disruptive technology brings advantages, it opens up a whole new range of ideas which were previously not technologically possible. However, these technologies are visibly and invisibly deteriorating another important aspect of using the digital world, our privacy. Luckily, there are organizations who are watching out for us. We talked to Rejo Zenger from Bits of Freedom. A century ago people first started thinking about privacy when the photo camera was introduced. A century later, how has people’s view on privacy changed? Well, the most important laws which concern the internet are - I think - from 1995. From that moment onwards laws have been created with some form of the internet in mind. What you most often see - or what we most often see - is that until 4 years ago, privacy was actually quite an abstract subject. Most people did not have a clue about the consequences of putting much of their information online for the world to see. With the revelations of Edward Snowden, I think a lot has changed. People suddenly realized they trusted a company with their most Sirius Sights | May 2018
intimate details, but it is likely this information will at one point or another fall into the hands of governments, which may be less careful with it. Since then, a lot has changed for individual people; students, employees at a company, more people ask themselves the question whether what they’re doing online is actually safe. At Bits of Freedom, we increasingly see these questions too. What we also see is that - since two to three years people have started to realize that large parts of our society are dependent on our digital infrastructure. Whenever there happens to be a disturbance in that infrastructure this may have far-reaching consequences. As an example, look at the systems for container terminals in the harbor of Rotterdam which went down last summer due to a cyberattack. Now imagine what happens when the supply of supermarkets in a city goes flat for weeks. Policy makers and others are slowly starting to understand this impact so they are starting to realize the importance of sufficiently protecting our digital infrastructure. Good protection of the infrastructure also means your data is protected better. Awareness is definitely being created, but there are still lots of people who do not have a clue about how privacy is supposed to work. Some say they “have nothing to hide”, others just don’t care as much that someone knows a lot about them. Does this worry you? I actually think the number of people saying they have nothing to hide is dropping, since most people have realized by now that they - in fact - do have something to hide. A simple example are your 7
holiday pictures. You wouldn’t show your motherin-law the same pictures you show your friends. The only reason for this is because you only want to tell certain stories in a specific context and would rather separate most of it. I am quite certain there are pictures you would rather not show your motherin-law since it would distort the image she has of you. Everyone has something to hide and luckily an increasing number of people knows that. I would like to add - for people that do still think they have nothing to hide - that things that do not seem worth hiding now are things you might still want to hide in the future. Recently in the United States, the Trump administration has requested identifying data of people who visited a certain anti-Trump website. This shows incredibly well how quickly a situation can change, which means you have to be critical about something that may happen in the future. Everything you do online is tracked in one way or another and that makes it difficult to change your mind on an issue, for example. It is possible for you to think of something in a very different way in two years, but if your past opinion is available somewhere you can always be confronted with it at a later stage. That simply isn’t possible in our analog world. 8
Now, there’s quite a diﬀ erence between an individual person who is fairly short-sighted concerning privacy and someone in a major position, within government or business, for example, who has that vision, right? Yes, and I’m definitely not convinced that everyone has the right vision right now. It is always a matter of weighing certain interests, but I think people are slowly realizing that this is an important topic. You notice that when looking at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which is increasingly aware of digital topics and is also contributing more and more to a safe digital infrastructure. You can see that when looking at policy too, but you notice it when people reach out to Bits of Freedom to ask how they safely use WhatsApp. It is not as abstract anymore. Looking at the current state of privacy, what are developments we should currently be distressed about? I think there are currently two very important developments which I would like to name. The first is that many technological barriers are disappearing which makes things that were difficult before much May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Interview easier. As an example: the Dutch police has about eight helicopters of which two are grounded at any moment due to maintenance. Keeping one helicopter in the air takes the effort of a pilot, co-pilot and a few ground crew members. Moreover, helicopters use a lot of kerosene, which is very expensive, they make a lot of noise and are quite big, which means they easily disturb the population when they keep circling above a city. All of these factors are reasons why the police is hesitant to use helicopters. You can imagine that, when you have drones which are nearly the size of your fingernail, many of these limiting factors are omitted. This means that new technology can be used much easier than the old technology. A consequence of that is that we need to think way more carefully about what exactly we want when we are drawing up policy for it. Previously, that question was pretty much answered by the limitations of the technology. Nowadays, we need to decide what’s the limit. Unfortunately, it often happens that we skip that step, experiment with something and start using it without having asked ourselves “Do we really want this?”. The second thing that is important to mention is that one should realize that with the current design of our systems there will always be a party looking over your shoulder. In the past you would buy a book, take it home and you would be able to do everything you like with it. You could underline things with a pen or pencil, you could rip pages out of it, you could even set it on fire. Nobody would notice. However, when you buy a book at Amazon, they can see which books you read, how fast you read, whether you finish the book, and more. This happens with every technology, with everything you do. Apple sees what you have installed on your phone, Netflix sees what you watched, Google is between you and your search results. There are always third parties between you and whatever you are doing, and that is a very drastic change with respect to the past because you lose control over your data. The fact that a lot of data is saved also provides opportunities in the form of big data. For example, Google can provide its users with useful data about traffic by using their phone’s location. Sirius Sights | May 2018
Yes, and that is very useful, but I think it is important to keep an eye on everything that is involved in such a technology. The fact that Google can tell you whether it’s a good idea to avoid a highway on your way home is of course convenient, but at the same time it clearly shows how much power Google has over your life. Google could, for example, also decide to not send you through a certain neighbourhood at night because it’s known for its high crime rate, and because Google would do that - and I have no idea if they do that, but if they do - there will be even less traffic going through this neighbourhood and that part of town will be further deprived. In a way, Google can almost literally steer you, but the impact of that goes much further than “Oh, it’s busy here, let’s take another route”. It means that others decide how you travel and that can have lots of societal consequences. Do you think that happens consciously or unconsciously? Well, at least it’s not transparent, and that’s a big problem because for you as a user it is not clear what decisions Google took in order to advise you to take a certain route. For example, citizens of Hollywood have, in the past, been able to get a navigation company to change the location of the Hollywood sign because they were annoyed by all the tourists. Now, we do not know whether the changed location was an accident, whether the people living on that street paid the company a lot of money to do it or whether the municipality requested the change. What matters is that it is not transparent for you as a user, and that is problematic when you realize they do control your movements with it. Now, I do not know whether transparency is always possible, but the most important take-away is that transparency is not the norm right now. You named big data as an example, which people trust a lot since the algorithms are supposedly unbiased. However, a lot of the outcomes depend on the data you put into the algorithm, and the data can actually be biased. It often seems quite easy and fine, but that is simply not always the case and we should be careful of that. In the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell, which is a well-known book from 1949 about the disappearance of privacy, the writer tries to look 35 years into the future. Orwell seemed quite pessimistic in hindsight. According to 9
inTerview you, how would privacy look for us in 35 years? My experience is that looking ahead is of no use because it is very hard to predict. With these kinds of subjects, people tend to look ahead pretty often, of course, for example in science fiction. They tend to be wrong most of the time. My expectation is that it will only get better because I think people will be more aware of the impact of technology on their freedom and the importance of a safe digital infrastructure. That means that there will probably
still be a lot of bad policies over the coming years, but I think that in the long term, we will very slowly regain our digital freedom. So there’s a reason for optimism? Yes, absolutely. Awareness is being created, which takes time, of course, but I am very optimistic.
Who is Rejo Zenger? Rejo Zenger once graduated as an industrial product designer. Not too long after his graduation, the internet was up and coming. Rejo noticed this and became very enthusiastic about it. When the government started trying to get a grasp of this new technlology, he noticed the government could use a little help. That’s when he got involved in his current field, to which he is still very dedicated to this day. About Bits of Freedom Bits of Freedom is a digital civil rights movement which is committed to the protection of fundamental rights in the context of digital communicatiom. Questions such as “What can Facebook do with your profile?” or “Under what conditions is the government allowed to wiretap your internet connection?” are daily business at Bits of Freedom. The foundation tries to establish good policies concerning digital freedom by lobbying and analysing the impact of a particular law on your freedom on the internet. In order to do this, BoF does a lot of research and can occasionally be found in court when they’re not satisfied with the information the government provides them with. If lobbying does not have the desired effect, Bits of Freedom sometimes switches to campaigning. Furthermore, an important goal of BoF is empowerment; trying to let people protect themselves better.
More info about Bits of Freedom More information about Bits of Freedom can be found on their website: https://www.bof.nl/
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Glory of Enschede By Tom Hofhuis, Commissioner Internal Affairs, 44th board of Sirius
Many of you have moved here in the last few years. And to many of you, Enschede will look like a simple city: cozy, not that big in numbers. But if you have to cycle from the Helmerhoek to the very tip of Stokhorst, it is actually a bit too big in square kilometers. A city that is great in many things, but small in even more things. What few people know, is that Enschede has an interesting history. Enschede was founded in the Middle Ages as an agricultural settlement. Enschede, then still called Anneschethe, which freely translated from the old neder-Saxon, meaning ‘on the border’, was granted city rights 1325 by the a Bishop of Utrecht named Jan van Diest. At that time Enschede had a small inner canal with gates, and with the acquisition of city rights a large outdoor moat was laid around this small inner canal. The city gates were standing where the Marktstraat and the Langestraat are now. The Eschpoort was in the Langestraat, on the spot where Gents currently is located. Whether or not the Sirius members of that time also got their dress suits here is currently unknown. The Veldpoort stood where the Langestraat crosses the Walstraat. If you put these two points on a map and draw a neat circle through them, you can see how large Enschede was in those days. This is about half of what we now call the city center. At the end of the 16th century the Sirius Sights | May 2018
city was conquered by Prince Maurits. This meant the end of the military purposes of Enschede. The wooden palisade, which had already been neglected, was demolished and the outer moat was closed. In nearly 700 years, the small agricultural colony has been transformed into a vibrant city. This went, as with any self-respecting city, with some struggles. Enschede remained fairly unknown until the 18th century. Apart from two city fires in 1517 and 1750, not that many strange things happened in the easternmost city of the Netherlands. The third city fire in 1862, which almost destroyed the entire city, was both a blessing and a curse. The city fire ensured that, during the reconstruction, the canal was closed. Around the same time, the textile industry began to flourish in the Netherlands. And with the space that the urban fire of 1862 so conveniently cleared, a lot of it was available for factories and workers’ homes. In addition, the state strongly encouraged and subsidized the textile industry in Enschede after the independence of Belgium. This brought the growth of Enschede some true momentum. Neighborhoods sprang from the ground and many of them are still there to this day. Pathmos, the Laares and various parks are examples of the urban influences that the textile industry still 11
has in the city. The textile industry not only brought rose fragrance and moonshine. The working conditions were miserable, which only improved slowly when priest Alfons AriĂŤns encouraged the establishment of the Catholic workersâ€™ association. This workersâ€™ association was the only organisation who could resist the oligarchy of the textile families. This encouragement earned Alfons Ariens a church in his name. The Arienskerk is still standing on the Hogelandsingel, but is no longer in use as a church building.
Enschede has a weird history. And then to think this is only a brief summary. Finally, I want to give you one more story so that you can tell a good Enschedese story while enjoying a lager or a glass of wine with your friends. When the big city fire took place in 1862, many people panicked and threw their valuables into the moat to save them. They never surfaced when the canals with debris during the city renovation. As a result, a lot of gold and silver can still be found beneath the Walstraat.
The textile families had a major influence on Enschede. Van Heek, Jannink and Menko are names that resonate to this date in the Enschedese society. However, you will not find textile factories in Enschede anymore, at least not in their old form. Factories have been converted into apartment complexes and cultural expositions. The old Jannink factory, for example, served as a social and textile museum for a while. The collection has been taken over by the museum TwentseWelle when it closed.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Donorregistratie Door Roel Schimmel Donatiecoördinator bij Medisch Spectrum Twente
Sinds 1998 kunnen mensen zich laten registreren in het donorregister. In Nederland kennen we het volledige beslissysteem. Iedereen vanaf 18 jaar krijgt van de minister van VWS een brief waarin gevraagd wordt om zich te laten registreren in het donorregister. Dat kan met toestemming (al of niet met beperking), bezwaar, nabestaanden beslissen, of een bepaald persoon. Uit enquêtes blijkt dat 80% van de Nederlanders voor donatie is. Toch is slechts 25% geregistreerd als donor. Een vreemde zaak. Er is veel nonchalance onder het publiek en nadenken over donatie is nadenken over je eindigheid. Nu moeten nabestaanden na het overlijden van hun geliefde een keuze maken en dat is op zo’n moment heel moeilijk. Vragen om donatie is de meest ongelukkige vraag op het meest ongelukkige moment aan de meest ongelukkige familie. Om er toch voor te zorgen dat mensen nadenken over donatie en zich laten registreren heeft Pia Dijkstra van D66 een wetsvoorstel ingediend over de zogenaamde actieve donorregistratie (ADR). Dit houdt in dat iedereen zich moet laten registreren zoals nu, maar de vrijblijvendheid gaat er wat uit, omdat als men zich niet laat registreren men weer een oproep krijgt om dat te doen. Gebeurt het dan nog niet, dan krijgt men weer een brief in huis Sirius Sights | May 2018
waarin staat dat men aanneemt dat men geen bezwaar heeft. Heeft men wel bezwaar, dan moet men dit aangeven. Op deze manier wordt het Nederlandse publiek meer gedwongen om een keuze te maken. Het is dus niet zo dat iedereen donor is en als je dat niet wil je dat moet aangeven. Iedereen moet een keuze maken en als dat na herhaalde oproep niet gebeurt, staat men genoteerd met geen bezwaar. Ik zou eigenlijk nog verder willen gaan. Iedereen moet tijdens zijn/haar leven een keuze maken. Welke keuze is niet van belang, maar je moet een keuze maken. Koppel het dan vanaf 18 jaar aan het identiteitsbewijs. Dat wil dus zeggen: je krijgt pas een identiteitsbewijs als je geregistreerd bent. En hoe je geregistreerd bent maakt niet uit, als je maar een keuze hebt gemaakt. Voorwaarde is dan wel dat er goede voorlichting gegeven moet worden, want dat ontbreekt nu ten ene male. Over het algemeen is niet bekend wat orgaan- en weefseldonatie inhoudt. Zo zijn mensen bijvoorbeeld niet bekend met het feit dat de kans dat je een orgaan nodig hebt drie keer zo groot is als de kans dat je na je overlijden een orgaan kunt geven.
The current EU
energy policy By Jonathan Bullock, Member of the European Parliament, Europe of Freedom and Democracy
As a Member of the European Parliament, I have been intensely working on the Industry and Energy Committee. MEPs meet for debates with representatives of the EU Commission, vote on new energy reports and opinions (almost on a weekly basis) and discuss about European energy policy. To put a long story short, the EU energy policy is entirely based on the man-made climate change theory. The EU Commission is a legislation machine ready to impose new texts of law to Member States in order to achieve utopic percentages of CO2 emissions cuts. It is costume to “fix” failing EU legislation with adjusting mechanisms such as the EU Emission Trading Scheme - several times, if needed. Climate Change is very expensive. I don´t believe that the EU should initiate a greenhouse gas emissions reduction as established by the European Commission. The UK represents only 2% of global emissions, the EU only 12%. The European Union has chosen to destroy its economy while the rest of the world is behaving very differently. America is living an industrial revolution based on cheap shale gas. China and India are building coal-fired power stations as fast as they can. Whatever we do, global emissions will rise. The European Institutions are planning to spend unimaginable sums of money on mitigation measures which will only damage further our economy. EU eﬀ orts to mitigate global warming are useless and uneconomical. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions represent only around 3% of the natural carbon cycle. Small rise in global temperatures in the last century is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles, and requires no special explanation. Terrestrial climate correlates very well with solar and other 14
astronomical cycles over many thousands of years. As with regard to ocean acidification, over the course of earth history life and shellfish have survived atmospheric CO2 levels up to 15 times today’s level. There is an established mechanism in the oceans by which excess carbonic acid is restored. Emission trading scheme does simply not work. Even if we wish to reduce CO2 emissions, the ETS is not a suitable system. Its impact so far has been derisory, and repeated interventions designed to “reform” it appear to have failed. It was promoted as “a market mechanism” with the objective of achieving a pre-conceived price level. But a “market mechanism” that requires repeated regulatory interventions to achieve some pre-conceived price is not, in fact, a market mechanism at all. It is simply a complex method of imposing what amounts to a carbon tax. The observed effect of the ETS (with other EU instruments designed to disincentivise emissions and increase energy costs) is to have a devastating effect on energy prices and on industrial competitiveness in Europe. Across several energyintensive businesses – steel, aluminium, chemicals, petroleum refining, glass, cement, paper — the EU is forcing plant closures, and driving jobs and investment out of Europe. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being lost across the continent. These energy-intensive businesses often go to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, and therefore result in higher emissions of CO2 than would be the case if production had remained in the EU. In conclusion, EU energy policies are not only undermining our economies but are actually increasing global emissions. They are totally counter-productive. May 2018 | Sirius Sights
The Energy Productivity Revolution will be the driver of the transition towards a carbon free economy By Kathleen van Brempt, Member of the European Parliament and vice-chairman of Socialists & Democrats No one ever thought it would be possible to create an airplane that could fly around the world on solar energy alone. However, European companies succeeded with the construction of the Solar Impulse that flew around the world with adventurer Bertrand Piccard. They managed to do so by eliminating unnecessary energy use and throwing useless ballast overboard. The remaining energy demand is thereby so limited that it can be provided by renewable sources. This basic philosophy applies to the energy transition we need to achieve in the European Union. By increasing the level of ambition in energy efficiency, we can save so much energy that in the future the remaining part of it can be supplied by renewable sources. The increase in the level of energy efficiency to a minimum 35 percent binding target by 2030 by the European Parliament - compared to the 30 percent proposal by the European Commission - facilitates the increase in the share of renewables to 35 percent in the energy mix. To put it simply: the more we achieve on energy efficiency, the easier it becomes to make the revolutionary transition towards 100 percent renewables. Parliament also increased the ambitions for renewables from 27 to 35 percent. This difference is substantial. In the sector of wind energy alone the lower target, proposed by the Commission and so far supported by the Council, means that €92 billion investments will not be made and 136.000 jobs will not be created. A broad cross-party support in the European Parliament for more ambition on both energy savings and renewables, has given a strong and clear signal to the Council, which is not yet willing to accept the need and possibility of higher targets. Member State leaders are stuck in the outdated Sirius Sights | May 2018
misconception that ambitious energy savings will hinder the competitiveness of European businesses. As it happens, the opposite is true. No one doubts that industries can become more competitive by saving on jobs and labour costs. For some political groups in the European Parliament it is the core of their belief. Social Democrats in the European Parliament however firmly believe that energy savings can be a new driver for the competitiveness of our industries. It will boost opportunities for our economy rather than limiting them. The increase of labour productivity was undoubtedly the driver of economic growth over the past century. Now we need to change the paradigm towards an ‘energy productivity revolution’ which should become the agent of economic progress and prosperity in the 21st century. By investing in clean technologies and renovating energy slurping buildings into near zero energy buildings, we will not only create millions of jobs, moreover we’ll keep cashflow within the EU. The EU currently imports more than half of the energy it consumes, and we pay 1 billion euros every day for fossil fuels to countries outside of the EU. If instead, we would spend that amount to pay back investments, it would not only make fossil energy imports obsolete, we would create extra jobs, improve our building stock, spur on innovation in building- and heating technology and improve air quality. 15
feaTure We must ensure that no one will be left behind in this clean energy revolution. Therefore the provisions that prioritise measures among lowincome, energy-poor households are crucial. Just as crucial are firm measures to ensure a just transition for workers in heavy, carbon-intensive industries. Indeed the energy transition is part of the ‘disruptive innovations’ challenging our economy. If we want to take innovation of renewable energy solutions to the next level, we need to assure that workers in the shrinking fossil fuels industry can rely on the skills and training necessary to access jobs in the clean energy economy. Therefore we regret that a conservative majority in the Parliament voted against measures to ensure this just transition for workers. Finally we put in place a consistent strategy, avoiding false solutions like using palm oil. We blocked investments into new production of food crop-based biofuels. We must push for advanced biofuels, leaving aside food and instead using forest residues, agricultural waste and manure from livestock. All this will contribute to an ethical zerowaste model. In the next months Member States will have to show that they are serious, not only in reaching the Paris climate deal but also in presenting a credible vision for the transition towards a sustainable future that benefits European citizens, as well as the European economy.
Drie jaar decentralisatie:.......... Door Anita Sempel Oud-Raadslid GroenLinks Enschede, periode 2014-2018 Drie jaar na de decentralisatie van de zorg voor langdurig zieken, ouderen en de jeugdzorg naar de gemeente, hebben veel gemeenten te maken met oplopende tekorten in het sociaal domein. De gemeente Enschede is hierop geen uitzondering. Het afgelopen jaar werd de gemeenteraad tot twee keer toe opgeschrikt door een tekort op de jeugdzorg. Tot spijt van GroenLinks besloot een meerderheid van de raad het initiële tekort op te lossen door juist te bezuinigen op het sociaal domein. Een onverstandige keuze, want de beoogde transformatie van de zorg en de jeugdzorg waarbij er wordt ingezet op preventieve en laagdrempelige zorg om de druk op de zwaardere, dure zorg te verminderen, vergt juist financiële ruimte. Toen drie jaar geleden de zorg voor langdurig zieken, ouderen en de jeugdzorg over ging naar de gemeente, was de gedachte dat gemeenten beter in staat zouden zijn de zorg eenvoudig en dicht bij de inwoner vorm te geven. Door meer in te zetten op preventie en vroegtijdig signaleren van problemen, worden mensen immers eerder geholpen en is er minder zware, dure zorg nodig. Met de alsmaar stijgende kosten van de zorg, zou dit niet alleen beter zijn voor de zorgvrager zelf, maar ook voor de portemonnee van de overheid. Vooruitlopend op deze gedachte besloot het Rijk dan ook direct het budget voor de gemeenten voor het uitvoeren van de zorgtaken te verlagen. Een meerderheid van de Enschedese gemeenteraad besloot bovendien al voor de daadwerkelijke decentralisatie, niet meer aan zorg uit te geven dan het Rijk ervoor beschikbaar stelde. De afgelopen tijd heb ik, als raadslid van GroenLinks, veel gesprekken gevoerd met bestuurders, zorgprofessionals en zorgvragers en bijna iedereen staat vierkant achter de gedachte van de transformatie. We moeten af van een systeem van behandelen en genezen en zo veel mogelijk problematiek trachten te voorkomen door in te zetten op voorlichting, een gezonde leefstijl en laagdrempelige zorg. Het opbouwen of uitbreiden van een preventief systeem kost echter tijd, geld en vertrouwen in professionals. De opbrengsten zijn,
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
...........een bijna onmogelijke taak voor gemeenten
vooral de eerste jaren, niet eenduidig terug te zien in de cijfers. Het is immers makkelijk om aan te tonen hoeveel mensen je hebt behandeld, maar het is een stuk lastiger aan te tonen hoeveel behandelingen je hebt weten te voorkomen. Bovendien betekent het laagdrempeliger maken van de zorg, ook dat je een toename in aanloop kunt verwachten. Investeringen in het preventieve veld hebben de afgelopen jaren onder druk gestaan van de bezuinigingen door de Rijksoverheid. Na drie jaar decentralisatie zijn de zorgkosten nog niet aan het dalen, maar lopen de tekorten bij veel gemeenten juist op. Afgelopen zomer besloot een meerderheid van de Enschedese gemeenteraad het initiĂŤle tekort op de jeugdzorg op te lossen in het sociaal domein. Met name de preventie en de eerstelijnszorg werden daarbij getroffen. Toen eind van het jaar duidelijk werd dat de tekorten nog verder op liepen, werd er gelukkig gekozen om niet verder in het sociaal domein te bezuinigen. Desalniettemin constateer ik dat juist de bezuinigingen op het sociaal domein en de daaruit voortkomende controledrang van de politiek, de gemeente belemmeren de transformatie vorm te geven. Met de decentralisatie van de zorg en de jeugdzorg heeft het Rijk de gemeente opgezadeld met een vrijwel onmogelijke taak. De stijgende zorgvraag, dalende budgetten en een landelijk verdeelmodel dat slecht uitpakt voor Enschede, zorgen ervoor dat Enschede als arme stad pijnlijke besluiten heeft genomen. Willen we de transformatie laten slagen en de zorg voor langdurig zieken, ouderen en de jeugdzorg de komende jaren betaalbaar houden, dan zit er niets anders op dan de zorg de ruimte te bieden om te kunnen innoveren. Dit houdt in dat we moeten investeren in preventie en vroegsignalering, jongeren tijdig de juiste zorg moeten bieden, onnodige bureaucratie los moeten laten en zorgprofessionals de vrijheid en het vertrouwen moeten geven buiten de bestaande hulptrajecten te werken. Ook als dit betekent dat de gemeente buiten de financiĂŤle kaders van het Rijk zal treden en zelf geld bij moet passen. Sirius Sights | May 2018
The Forgotten Dimension of Brexit: Relations with non-EU States By Ramses A. Wessel, Professor of International and European Law & Governance, University of Twente Introduction Most studies on Brexit focus on the possible future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU. The focus of the present short contribution is on a different dimension of withdrawal that is less often part of the debate: the consequences of Brexit for the relationship with other states in the world. From the moment of withdrawal the UK will no longer be bound by existing EU agreements with third countries. And there are many different types of international agreements; all with their own legal and political complexities. Can the UK already conclude new (trade) agreements with other states? In many international settings the UK will have to face the transition from an EU to non-EU Member State. This entails that the UK may have to negotiate a large number of international agreements. The United Kingdom will remain an EU Member State until the formal date of departure. Hence, EU rules continue to apply to the UK until 29 March 2019, 23:00 GMT. This first of all implies that all existing international agreements will remain binding on the UK. The EU treaty database currently lists over 1100 international agreements concluded by the EU and/or Euratom with countries around the world, ranging from trade and economic issues to human rights and the environment. There are ‘EU only’ agreements (to which the Member States are not a party in their own right) and ‘mixed agreements’ (to which both the EU and its Member States are contracting parties). One of the questions that is left open is to what extent the UK can already anticipate its future role as a non-EU country. The British international trade secretary, Liam Fox, is reported to have said that the UK is “discussing the possible shape of new agreements” with at least 12 countries, adding that dozens more were prepared to expand their UK trading links. Given the fact that the UK will remain empty-handed when it does not replace the trade agreements it currently has with third states 18
on the basis of its EU membership, the question has indeed come up whether the UK can already start negotiating with other states prior to exit day. When nothing special is agreed upon, the UK would continue to lack a competence to conclude international agreements in many areas. The result is that the UK simply does not have the competence to conclude international agreements in for instance the area of trade, or indeed in any other area of exclusive EU competence, until it formally leaves the European Union. And also in areas in which the Union ‘shares’ a competence with the member States, the UK will still have to follow the rules of the game as long as it is a member. Unfortunately, the more informal talks between the UK and one or more third states prior to the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement also seem difficult. After all, still being a member of the EU, the UK is simply not allowed to negotiate or conclude trade agreements. Can the UK remain a party to existing International Agreements? Unless some kind of transitional regime is agreed to, the territory of the UK will no longer be covered by the agreements after Brexit-day. From the EU side the situation is therefore quite clear: international agreements concluded by the EU as such are no longer binding on the UK. In other words, the UK will have to start from scratch, although it may in some cases aim at what could largely be a copy of the agreements that were concluded by the EU. At first sight, the situation could be easier in the case of ‘mixed agreements’. Yet, in the case of bilateral agreements (between the EU/Member States and a third party), the UK would probably cease to be a party, as it merely joined the agreement as an EU Member State. Also in the case of multilateral agreements (between the EU, the Member States and a (large) number of other states – think of the Paris agreement on climate control), the UK joined as an EU member, but the UK’s continued May 2018 | Sirius Sights
participation may become subject to negotiations between the EU, its Member States and third countries. It is important to note, however, that the UK will suddenly become responsible for aspects of the obligations, including the ones that formally were taken care of by the EU. Conclusion: starting from scratch Indeed, the UK will have to start from scratch in redeveloping its international relations as large parts of it were regulated on the basis of EU external relations law. The existing division of competences as well as the principles of sincere cooperation and primacy make it difficult for the UK to fully prepare future relations with third states prior to exit day. A special transition arrangement for the UK, may be necessary to solve this problem. This is not to say that the UK’s external relations regimes will by definition be very different compared to what it is now. In a substantive manner it may be possible to copy-paste many of the arrangements that are currently in EU-only agreements. At the same, there may be possibilities for the UK to align itself to the EU’s foreign and security policy and to other external policies and it may continue to contribute to EU military missions. All of this, however, will be done as a non-EU member and the UK will not only have to be ready to ‘take back control’ in areas in which it was used to leave international negotiations and participation in international institutions to the EU, but also to ‘give up control’ in the Institutions of one of the most influential global actors.
Sirius Sights | May 2018
The future of education By Naut Seemann, Commissioner of Educational Affairs, 44th board of Sirius You probably already knew that Sirius is moving to the Technohal. Once we move to the Technohal we will be living side by side with the study association Paradoks of the studies Biomedische Technologie and Technische Geneeskunde. But our vision of a future together goes further than just being neighbours.
To beat competition we need to understand as much as possible. To impress others we need to offer more than just our own expertise. A person with an interdisciplinary background offers more abilities, more solutions to problems, than a person with a single discipline can ever do. But do students want to gain interdisciplinary knowledge, and is it even possible? The answer simply is yes to both.
Paradoks and Sirius have something in common, they want to improve the quality of health for everyone. Since we are going to live side by side, why wouldnâ€™t we work together? The future students and the future career makers cannot be bound by merely one discipline of study. In a modern society, which becomes more and more complex, we should not want to remain knowing only one branch of academic discipline.
So what is a possible solution then? Better yet, what can we improve in our current situation? We already have the options to choose our own minors and master tracks, allowing us to become knowledgeable of complexities of society, the art of technologies and the challenges management responsibilities carry along. So we have options, and seeing students choosing different minors and masters based on where they do feel themselves fit in society, we may conclude they have a desire to become interdisciplinarily knowledgeable.
The art of being a good student, and offering a good study, is not just preparing future workers to be able to do what their function demands. It goes beyond that. Having a successful ambitious career means more than being good at what you do, it is being better than the competition. The why is simple, if you would want to promote someone and give them more responsibility, you take the best player you have. Being good just doesnâ€™t cut it in the competition.
The faculties are looking for more options to make our students even smarter, faster and more able to solve the problems society throws at us. The Technohal will create unique options which no other university in The Netherlands can offer. But what this future will offer us exactly is only speculation and dreams so far. But do not worry, behind the screens of organization, we consider all options to make your future brighter.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Socialising the technology in the era of ageing of population By Minna van Gerven, assistant professor of Sociology of Governance, University of Twente
Extended life expectancy in Europe is one of the great achievements of modern societies. In the last 20 years, on average, people have gained six years in their life expectancy (UN 2017). Yet, the ageing of population is a janus-faced metaphor. This achievement will put a considerable strain to the public sectors in the coming decades. Already today, the European Union has the oldest population in the world. By 2020, a quarter of the Europeans will be older than 60 (Eurostat 2017). This aged segment will strain the public sector considerably more than working aged population does. Costs related to the pensions, health care and long-term care systems already make a significant share of public finance expenditure and they are only expected to rise in the coming decades (Eurostat 2017). Therefore, governments in Europe, but also beyond the European continent, seek new (and less costly) ways to protect and provide for the most frail and helpneeding group of people in our societies. Sirius Sights | May 2018
In this daunting scenario, there is hope: technology is expected to help us to deal with these challenges. In the 21st century, technology is expected to revolutionize our lives (Schwab, 2016) including how we manage our ageing society. Technology can help people to remain longer at home. For example, due to the advances in sensor and tele-presence technology, increasingly used in our smart homes, a safer living environment for the elderly can be provided. Sensors detect if an elderly person has fallen from bed and can signal help. Yet, it is not here where the opportunities provided by technology end. There is a rising interest in the usage of socially assistive robots in various environments where elderly live, from hospitals, residential care homes to home surrounding. Social robots are numerous and can be employed for various purposes. For example, they can remind elderly to take up their medication, take over some 21
Feature physical tasks of care professionals (like lifting people from beds) as well provide social company and â€˜becoming a friendâ€™ for the elderly. The soft toylike robot PARO is often used as an example for the latter. PARO is a seal like robot that interacts with facial expressions and sounds with people. PARO also reacts to the touch of the person. Elderly person with dementia and autistic children are shown to respond well to this technology and feel much comfort by it. With the abrupt speed of development in technology and wide possibilities that Artificial Intelligence brings along, social robots have a great potential in alleviating the labour intensive health care sector by providing reasonably cheap tools for care work. Moreover, socially assistive robots, through their increasing ability to react to human behavior, have the ability to take over more tasks in social care provision and meet the psychosocial needs of the elderly. Here, much can be gained, since one of the most frequent problems among the elderly is social isolation and loneliness. All this sounds very promising indeed. Yet, we meet a great obstacle with achieving these goals. Namely, the people. The research shows that the biggest obstacle for social robots are the users. The acceptation of robotics remains the Achilles heel of most of technology. Design and engineering can
only just go so far: the engineers do impressive work on improving the capabilities of human interaction with the robots. Designers and programmers have endless ways to make the robots more human like and therefore, more appealing to human users. However, in order to make social robotics to become a success, and live up to their true potential, we need social and behavioural sciences. Social sciences will help to develop and design robots that are more easily accepted by the society. More exploration is needed about the behavioral aspects of human robot interaction, as well as how different groups of individuals accept technology like robots. Much more can be learned about how social robots can be embedded in the daily routines and service delivery in care organisations, but also in peopleâ€™s homes. The public administration aspect is thus crucial in understanding how innovations are publicly managed and implemented. It is here where the department of Public Administration at Twente University is shifting the boundaries of research and knowledge. Together with our Bachelor and Master students I will be working on this topic in the coming months and years.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
In the news The Netherlands voted for the Municipality council. 21-03-2018
The Netherlands voted on the WIV referendum. 21-03-2018
Sirius Sights | May 2018
In the news
Historic handshake between North- and South Korea. 09-02-2018
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
In the news
School shooting at Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Parkland, Florida. 14-02-2018
Sirius Sights | May 2018
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Sirius Sights May 2018
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Sirius Sights | May 2018
The other side of the coin: Cryptocurrencies By Carmen Landstra, Chairman and Commissioner Internationalisation, 44th board of Siriusâ€™ If the word cryptocurrency never crossed your path, you might have been living under a stone or in a cave somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The newspapers are filled with crypto news and the fanatics are constantly checking the current rates. And why not? Many have already gained a fortune by doing this. However, many people do not engage in the cryptocurrencies, for many reasons. But why? And what if cryptocurrencies become the main transaction value? What are real societal challenges that the emerging cryptocurrencies take along? First of all, the technology of cryptocurrency remains a technology. Where physical money and transactions nowadays do not require much understanding, when owning cryptocurrencies, it does. For many people, the procedures of the cryptocurrencies are quite hard to understand and therefore a step too far. Next to that, dealing in the currencies require much more time and knowledge. It is simply too hard to understand all the different cryptocurrencies and their fluctuating values. Also, the implementation and use of the cryptocurrencies might have a great influence on our societal balance. Owning the currencies requires having access to technological gadgets. Logically, not every citizen in the world might be able to have access to such gadgets, most of the time the poorest. In case of enormous growth of the cryptocurrencies, it might completely compete the current currencies from the market. Which leaves the poorest even poorer. Another major downside of the cryptocurrencies is that it is not held by governments. This is most of the time regarded as a positive aspect, but this might have a massive impact on the especially the values of the currencies and the societal welfare. This indicates that the values of the cryptocurrencies are determined fully by the people and not influenced by government. In case of corrupt governments, this might be a good thing, but it prevents a government 30
Translation: The system looked over her shoulder and decided to wait for society. from acting in case of enormous inflation of thevalue of the currencies, which side-lines the government and makes consequences of mass inflation unavoidable. Another aspect of the cryptocurrencies is the security and the secrecy surrounding transactions. Following and checking the transactions is hard and this creates a free passage for criminal money to be transferred into our monetary system. Money flows can often indicate criminal pursuits and prevent for example terrorism threats. Such control by secret services, police and government organisations will extremely decrease, leaving the criminal minds with a free play of monetary funds. From a quite liberal point of view, this is just left-wing-hippy writing about all the negative consequences of technology and the undermining of the social utopia that we are striving so hard for. But in any case, it is not. I do surely not try to change your mind about cryptocurrencies, because the currency also brings many advantages in our fast-changing world, but I would only like to remind you that everything has a downside that is urged to be researched. The world is changing fast and we must keep in mind that not all can keep up. May 2018 | Sirius Sights
What do you mean, sovereign? By Auke Zijlstra, Member of European Parliament, Europe of Nations and Freedom
The German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel in January 2018 said: “In the future, Europe will only be able to act on a sovereign basis through the EU. We will only win back sovereignty through the EU - we have lost this in today’s world.” On 17 august 2011 PM Mark Rutte said in Dutch parliament on the European Commission interfering in national budgets ‘if you can make clear to the Commission that you adjusted your policies enough to stay out of trouble, they will not interfere in the budget setting process. Therefore we don´t lose sovereignty.’ Actor Ronnie Barker in the 70´s comedy Porridge said to his cellmate, a first time offender scared to see the door of the cell close at night, to comfort him: ´let´s have a quiet night in´. The audience laughed, understanding the joke. A joke apparently completely lost on the German and Dutch minister. Three examples to show that the public in the 1970´s had a better idea of what freedom and rights entail than contemporary politicians. Doing what someone tells you to do is not freedom. Sirius Sights | May 2018
Being able to tell someone what to do is not freedom. Sovereignty by definition is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. So, did IQs drop sharply in these decades? Probably not. But something changed. Freedom doesn´t mean what it used to. It´s all about the outcome, not about principles. It´s the idea that freedom of speech is useless if you stay silent. And that if you stay silent, taking away your freedom of speech doesn’t mean anything. Needless to say I don´t agree. In today´s world, freedom is going down the drain. The European Union is the outcome of an updated treaty. A treaty that started over half a century ago with the definition of what would become very successful: free movement of goods, of capital and of labour. The result was a spectacular economic growth that lasted for decades. Strangely enough, there were no strict decision-making structures. All member states understood that competition was beneficial to all. 31
Feature The system where every member state in principal had a veto, and therefore the freedom to say no at any point meant that every decision had the support of all. That whole idea has eroded over time. The European Union, and with that I mean the legal person created by the Lisbon Treaty, has introduced the idea of the majority vote in the Council on an ever increasing amount of subjects. This means that when a country absolutely does not want something to be European law, they can still be outvoted. For instance, Hungary and Slovakia did not agree that the introduction of a quota system for refugees was part of the Treaty. This means that unanimity was needed, and it could not be settled by majority vote. The European Court of Justice ruled against Hungary. The whole principle that the Treaty is legally binding is even dismissed now. According to the Treaty, the European Commission is not allowed to run a deficit. They did nevertheless. Then the Council took a majority vote to decide that a majority vote was all it took to decide that the member states would cover the loss. Read that last sentence twice please. This meant that the Dutch had to pay over a billion. Money that was not agreed beforehand and ignoring the fact that every member state has a veto where the budget is concerned. The Treaty does not support the idea that the Treaty can be ignored by majority vote. If that were the case then the whole Treaty is useless. And this is indeed what is happening. Most laws that I vote on are not in accordance with the Treaty. The financial support for Greece was illegal. The European Stability Mechanism is illegal. The bondbuying programme of the European Central Bank is illegal. The European Union has no role in border defence or public health for instance. Nevertheless, this is ignored time and time again. And the member states, especially the national parliaments are unable to fight this. They too think that the outcome is more important than the principle. I beg to differ. If legal principles are negotiable, if freedom can be handed over, we are nothing more than a bad example to the world.
EU as a new United States of Europe?
By Deborah Ceccarello, BSc in Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights, University of Padua; Trainee European Union Experts The first test for the European Union was a real success. However, when we had only few states in the economic alliance, we could not talk of the European Union, but of the European Economic Community (EEC): a regional organization which aimed to bring economic integration among its 6 founding members. After that accomplishment, no one could have known that the foundation stone was laid. Soon it was time to give another face to EEC by bringing political and cultural integration with an own EU anthem, and then with social rights as a flag of a new era for Europe. All these efforts were made to move towards a federal State, a federal Europe. Nevertheless, there is not a united consensus, among the states, about which steps the European Union should make. For some, a federation is a natural development after all those years, for instance the German position is quite clear on that. For others, integration should be viewed with caution in favor of a confederation, or rather, an intergovernmental EU, as Britain claimed before Brexit turned the tables. But, first, what is a federation and what confederation? And why federation seems today a proper path for the future of the European Union, up to the point where “the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, Martin Schulz, has called for EU member states to commit to a United States of Europe [expression invented by Winston Churchill in his speech at Zurich University] by 2025, setting out an ambitious European reform agenda?” In the “Treccani” encyclopedia, a federation is a “union of states featured by conferring international legal personality to the union, and recognizing judicial, legislative and executive powers to the Federal States within the limits set by Federal Constitution”. Therefore, a federation is “a system of government in which significant governmental powers are divided and shared between the central government and small sub national units,” based on May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Feature a division of powers laid out in a constitution. On the other hand, confederation is an “alliance among neighboring states with common goals, especially on the international landscape, thanks to proper institutions, but in the same time remaining perfectly independent and sovereign on their own territory. The Treaty establishing different shared bodies with specific competences usually regarding security, defense and foreign policy”. It involves a top-down, loose system of administration and the key difference between a confederation and a federation is “is the inability of a confederation to exercise power over citizens of member states”. In the beginning, the EU seemed to move towards a confederal system. However, in the recent period we can say with certainty that this trend has not completely developed, having instead, as only common identity achieved of a federal system, a common currency, the Euro (apart from some countries). Leaving then, the European Union stalled between the idea of a moderate integration and the ambition of a strong confederation like federation of states. Indeed, there is not a proper balance between the push for standardizing all Member States under a common culture, shared goals and common policies, like in a federation, and on the other hand, it is typical of a confederation to leave the Member State too much liberty on decision-making about topics that would better be tackled at Community level.
than the EU. No more bureaucrats electing other bureaucrats electing other bureaucrats. Only a strong, united European army can have a chance against a big threat. A united army is better for taxpayers too – no need to duplicate the same things 28 times and also, an accountable and strong European foreign minister to effectively protect interests of Europeans in the world”. But is this possible and especially desired by European citizens? It has been shown that EU’s chief dream of a United States of Europe collapsed at pools revealing that none of the major countries support the proposal. Only in Germany and France, opponents and supports are almost equally divided, but Northern Member States have demonstrated a clear opposition with on average 52% against the 12,5% in favor of the USE. So, such numbers reveal a great fragmentation and a lot of questions unanswered about Europe’s future. This begs the question of what is really going on and if, maybe, it would be better to find the own spirit of Europe instead of replicating something which is historically and culturally different from our own.
Nevertheless, in a time where the awakening of nationalism is overshadowing the culture of democracy, where social exclusion and inequality remain a serious concern in several Member States and where “the periphery of the European Union is pulling away from the center”, the European Union must be stronger than ever. When everyone is doubting about the European Union, the time to show strength, unity, security, has come. And United States of Europe seems to be the right answer to make Europe great again. However, what are the results of this proposal? The European Federalist Party, for instance, made a Manifesto defining the hypothetical features of USE. “The USE will have a European president elected directly by the European citizens, one single army with a single central command, one single diplomatic corps, representing a common European foreign policy”. According to that, the system would be “more democratic, accountable and transparent Sirius Sights | May 2018
De energietransitie: ideaal en realiteit op regionaal niveau Door Jelle Kort MSc, Bestuurskunde-alumnus van Universiteit Twente, fractievoorzitter GroenLinks Enschede
De energietransitie – het noodzakelijke afscheid van fossiele brandstoffen dat zo kort mogelijk moet duren – behoeft geen verdere introductie. Op elk overheidsniveau wordt hieraan gewerkt. Met name op lokaal en provinciaal niveau worden sinds ruim tien jaar (gelukkig) ambitieuze energiedoelen vastgesteld. Denk daarbij aan doelen voor energiebesparing en verhoging van het aandeel duurzame energie in het totale energieverbruik. Helaas vallen de beleidsresultaten in de praktijk tegen. Wat is er aan de hand? In het recente rapport Op weg naar een energieke regio schrijft het bureau Berenschot over de regionale energietransitie: ‘Er is vaak weinig aandacht voor mobiliteit, zware industrie en de benodigde veranderingen in de energieinfrastructuur die de energietransitie op regionale schaal met zich meebrengt. Dit laatste ligt onzes inziens aan de beperkte invloed van provinciale en gemeentelijke overheden op het mobiliteitsgedrag, gebruik van energie binnen de zware industrie en de ontwikkeling van de energie-infrastructuur. Met het oog op het totaalverbruik en de toekomstbestendigheid van het systeem zijn dit echter essentiële onderdelen van een regionale energiestrategie.’ (2017: 24) Verder valt op dat ‘regio’s veel aandacht besteden aan maatschappelijke bewustwording’, ‘lokale initiatieven’ en tevens aan ‘het betrekken van burgers bij de veranderende energievoorziening’ (2017: idem). Weliswaar is dit allemaal nodig, maar ‘systeemkeuzes’ worden te weinig gemaakt meent Berenschot, terwijl die wel noodzakelijk zijn om de energietransitie effectief aan te pakken. Ondanks de door velen al langer besefte noodzaak van ingrijpende maatregelen is 34
het overigens zo dat een aantal regio’s nog steeds bezig is hiervoor een eigen ‘routekaart’ (vergeef mij deze term) op te stellen (2017: 23). De lezer weet nu dat hierbij een aantal belangrijke stappen richting een duurzame energievoorziening niet worden gezet. Ook weet de lezer waarschijnlijk wel dat veel provincies en gemeenten mogelijkheden laten liggen om mobiliteit te ‘vergroenen’. Bij de keuze tussen asfalt en openbaar vervoer wordt vaak niet voor het laatste gekozen. Intussen heeft Berenschot (wel) nagedacht over de gamechanger die de genoemde (cruciale) onderdelen van de energietransitie los kan trekken en tevens de economische basis versterkt voor technische innovaties in de duurzame energiesector. Enigszins verstopt tussen een flink aantal adviezen, voornamelijk gericht aan provincies en gemeenten, worden onze nationale overheid en Europese beleidsmakers geadresseerd in het eerder genoemde rapport: ‘Het instellen van een minimum CO2-prijs kan een nationale maatregel zijn (natuurlijk op Europees niveau afgestemd) om sturing te geven aan de decarbonisatie van de elektriciteitsproductie in Nederland. Een dergelijke maatregel (…) leidt tot extra CO2-reductie in Nederland, en helpt regio’s om partijen te activeren om minder CO2 uit te stoten.’ (2017: 44) Op alle overheidsniveaus moeten dus nog belangrijke stappen worden gezet. Zolang fossiele brandstoffen relatief goedkoop zijn en de vervuiler niet of nauwelijks betaalt, blijft een grootschalige omwenteling naar duurzame energie helaas buiten bereik. Link naar rapport Berenschot: https://goo.gl/9xZohu
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Rutte-III: A Cabinet of Conflict By Maarten de Groot, Editor Sirius Sights; Student European Public Administration As the 2017 elections already showed, the Netherlands has become a highly polarized society. Despite the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders not living up to his high expectations of seats in the parliament, many parties nearing to extremes have either entered the stage or grown in size, including Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (from fifteen to twenty seats), Thierry Baudets extreme right-wing party Forum for Democracy (from zero to two seats) and Tunahan Kuzu’s left muslim party DENK (from two to three seats). Furthermore, despite the humongous loss of the Labour Party, the total of seats in the parliament owned by left-wing parties did not decrease that much, mostly through the tripling of seats from the Green Left party. All these circumstances together made it quite a task to form a majority government. After the excludance of the second party, the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, it was only the task of Mark Rutte’s Liberals, Sybrand Buma’s Christian Democrats and Alexander Pechtold’s Democrats to find a suitable fourth party, leading to what would become the first government with four parties since the 70’s. Initially, an attempt to include the Green Left party was made, but after the second attempt crashed, the Christian Union, a Christian left-wing party, entered the government, closing a long lasting period of government talks, respectively from March to October. As some might figure, in a government with four parties, conflict is always lurking. Now that the new government has been there for some months, we can already identify some possible conflicts that might test, challenge or rip apart this government. Perhaps the greatest conflict of all is what is called ‘medical-ethical issues’. The Democrats are completely in a different position compared to the two Christian parties, as the Democrats want to introduce a law that makes it possible for people above 75 to commit euthanasia if they think their life is ‘completed’. However it seems that this conflict is partly solved in the coalition agreement, the Member of Parliament that is responsible for this law recently announced that she wants to submit this law in this government period. A second issue worth noting is the opening of Sirius Sights | May 2018
Lelystad Airport. Amongst citizens in the region of Lelystad, there are big protests against the opening of this new affiliate of Schiphol Airport, with complaints ranging from noise disturbance to climate impact. Therefore, the Democrats and the Christian Union have recently got a political victory in the decision of the government to delay the opening of Lelystad Airport from 2019 to 2020. Still, the Lelystad Airport matter is political dynamite for this government,
Lastly, there is the conflict regarding migration policy. The Green Left party left the table when those four parties could not make an agreement on the forming of a new migration policy, voicing great complaints to the idea of more deals like the refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union. Also for this government, it was a hell of a job to form a migration policy which everyone could agree on, as there are two groups of two parties (the Democrats and the Christian Union on the one side and the Christian Democrats and the Liberals on the other side) who firmly disagree with regards to asylum and migration policy. To conclude, it is clear that this new government has the near impossible task of ruling the country for four years without major conflict. Up to this point, it seems that they are doing this task at their best effort, but it will be interesting to see how they will react to the spontaneous changes at the above mentioned and other matters. As it seems, Rutte-III is merely a cabinet of conflict. 35
Gender Equality: time to transform awareness into actions By Edouard Martin, Member of European Parliament, Socialists & Democrats Domestic violence, sexual harassment, the gender pay gap, cyber violence… When you take a look at the situation regarding women’s rights in the European Union, there is no denying that a lot of things still have to be done. The conclusions presented in the Eurobarometer in June 2016 were terrible: one in three women in the European Union has been victim of physical or sexual violence and one in ten experienced harassment linked with the use of new technologies. Although the European Union took a step forward by signing the Convention of Istanbul in June 2017, we still notice a discrepancy among Member states when it comes to the will to implement it concretely. In fact, eleven Member states have not yet ratified the Convention, some because of the tedious nature of their legal systems
but others because they disagree with the content of the Convention. Countries such as Bulgaria and Slovakia for example, refuse to ratify it because they think it implies the recognition of a third gender and the promotion of LGBT rights, which would be against their so-called traditional values. If we take the concrete example of the gender pay gap, which is the topic of the campaign chosen by PES Women for 2018, we have to underline that the problem mainly comes from three factors. First, women are overrepresented in part-time jobs because they generally are the caregiver of the family, looking after children or older relatives. This is what has been named “charge mentale” by a French cartoonist and the directive
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Work-Life Balance should definitely consider this. Unfortunately, this situation creates a vicious circle because not only does it have significant consequences in terms of wage gap, it also creates a breeding-ground for future precarity as they will have lower pensions. On average in the European Union, women are paid 16% less than men whereas it is written in European treaties since 1957 that they should be paid equally, a principle that has been reinforced by the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice and especially by the case Defrenne in 1976. The situation is even worse in regards to pensions where there is a gap of 40%. However, this is not surprising when we consider that 10 countries in the European Union do not even have paternity leave, or the “glass-ceiling” that makes it difficult for women to reach higher positions in their company. Then we have a second issue, which is the lack of diversity related to jobs: women are overrepresented in professions such as nursing assistants, secretaries or other low paid jobs whereas they are underrepresented in well-paid jobs, such as IT services. This imbalanced situation exists today because children are brought up differently when it comes to self-esteem. Various studies underlined that starting from 6-year-old, girls tend to believe that they are less intelligent than boys. The last element is the lack of willingness of employers who are not that transparent in terms of the wages they give in their company and sometimes perceive the fact of hiring women as a problem for their business. We noticed that last summer, with the discriminatory remarks made by an engineer working for Google,
Sirius Sights | May 2018
who declared that women are not able to work in IT because of biological reasons. However, thanks to the naming and shaming process, this employee has been dismissed. So we can see the significant impact of the pressure coming from civil society. In my opinion, it also underlines another specific problem as a former trade unionist: the lack of consultation with trade unions that could play an important role between the employer and the employee in cases of discrimination if they would receive a proper training. What I suggest specifically is the following. First, politicians and companies need to implement a right of information so that transparency is guaranteed regarding the wages given. Indeed, it is difficult for women to ask for an equal salary or to prosecute an employer for sexual discrimination if they do not know exactly how much their male colleagues get paid for the same work. It already exists in Iceland, and Germany is currently thinking about implementing a similar system. Additionally, we need to establish legally binding rules: if there are no sanctions, companies will continue to pay women less than they should be paid. Finally, if these companies are not respecting the law, not only they should be sanctioned but they should also be exposed publicly so they will be obliged to treat women and men equally if they want to ensure future success. Although the EU Action Plan 2017-2019 named “Tackling the Gender Pay Gap” announced by Vera Jourova last November is a good initiative, we need to go further.
Humanity and technology By Job Delfgou, student European Public Administration With the current surge in robotic technology humans could start to replace their organic body parts with mechanical “superior” ones in the coming decades. This has led to a lot of discussion between proponents and opponents of the technology and has rekindled a philosophical issue as old as humanity: is all technological advancement good? Before I will go into this issue, however, I first want to look at the question if this has not already happened ages ago and if this would just be another step in the “cyborgization” of humanity. The foundations for this cyborgization are older than our species (homo sapiens). It all started with early humans starting to use technology such as early tools and evolving in such a way to make better use of tools. Bipedalism in itself could be seen as a suboptimal evolution. It made early humans more vulnerable to predators since they were slower than their four-legged opponents. The evolution however freed up their two other legs to evolve into arms which could be used to make better use of tools such as early spears and allowed humans to not only be subject to nature but also to shape it. This continued evolution around technology created a species that not only created technology but also was reliant on it. Humanity lost most of its fur but replaced it with clothes, we lost our claws and our animalistic strength, but replaced it with spears and bows. This all came to a climax with the discovery of agriculture. The discovery of food crops allowed humans to become sedentary and allowed for a major growth in technology and culture, since for some survival was no longer a daily task. By many this was seen as the first step towards humanity becoming the dominant species on earth, however by some it is considered the biggest crime against humanity. The discovery of agriculture led to the formation of the first cities and villages rather than living in a nomadic tribal society. It also started the decay of the human body, rather than being on the move and eating whatever was available diets changed to a couple of food crops and traveling was replaced monotone labour like farming. This change 38
in diet and daily routine set in motion the decay of human immune systems which in turn led to replacing what we lost with technology (medicines). Taking into account what I stated before, one can argue that humans are already heavily dependent on technology. It is important to stress that in this article I refer to technology as everything that was created by humans. For example, clothes are technology. Even the most mundane things such as a bucket are technology. Taking this into account, it is easy to see how dependent we have become on technology: we cannot imagine a world without it. A human cannot survive without technology, it is not strong enough to fight off predators without technology and needs it to stay warm or cool. Using this logic, one could state that humans are already cyborgs in nature, we are no longer just organic but also heavily technological. Following this logic, proponents argue that replacing our “failing” bodies with technology would only seem like the next step. Their rationale is that using glasses to read is the same as replacing one’s eyes with mechanical ones, the latter is only more advanced. They both accomplish the same goal: seeing better through technology. Opponents argue that doing so would forever change humanities relation towards technology. Until that moment we have always been both the “masters” of technology, we need it to survive but it was separate from us. Once we start replacing organic parts with technology we would no longer just be a master of technology but we would be technology. As is often the case in philosophy, there is no concrete answer to this question but what may be more important is how this influences our view on humanity. One thing that is clear, however, is that humanity and technology are forever linked and cannot be separated, whether we like it or not.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
The future of agriculture
By Ronald Kremer, Commissioner External Affairs, 44th board of Sirius
200 years ago, most of the residents of the Netherlands lived in the countryside to work at farms. Today, nearly everyone lives in cities, or at least does not work at a farm anymore. This hasn’t gone with a huge decrease in available food, or a decrease in residents of the country. Almost every worker has been substituted by technology. The current tractors can easily replace all the handworkers, and have created the possibility for much bigger farms. In the last 20 years, the average farm has doubled if not tripled in size. Besides growing, farms also have a higher output of food. By using several types of pesticides most harmful bugs are killed, and by cultivating the land it becomes more fit for agriculture. Nowadays, more and more people are having gluten-free diets or eat as much biological food as possible. But is biological food even healthier? At first, the requirements. For plants it’s quite simple. No pesticides can be used. Besides this, the crop on the field should be interchanged each year to prevent plagues. To prevent harmful bugs/ plants from ruining the harvest, natural predators
Sirius Sights | May 2018
or mechanical control can be used. For animals, it becomes a bit more complicated. For a cow to fall under the label ‘biological’, it can only be injected with antibiotics 3 times per year. If the cow needs it more often, it cannot be sold as biological anymore. This means, if a farmer has a cow which already had 3 injections of antibiotics in the last year and it needs another one, the farmer has to make a decision: Give it a 4th one and sell the cow as normal meat, or wait and hope the cow restores naturally. In both cases, whether a cow lives in the ‘usual’ way or the biological way, there is no clear difference in the end product. After having a shot of antibiotics, there is a waiting time before the cow can be slaughtered. Although biological cows can only be slaughtered with a waiting time which is twice as long, in both cases almost all antibiotics have already left the body. Cows in a biological sphere have more living space, but in the usual way will get their antibiotics faster if needed. In the end, there is no scientifically proven difference on how healthy the meat is. The living circumstances differ, but in the end, how big is the difference?
Wie we zijn
Wat we doen
Dit is Nautus
Nautus werkt samen met gemeenten aan complexe vraagstukken in het sociale domein. Wij leveren advies en resultaat. Wij passen ons aan op wat nodig is om dit resultaat te bereiken. Dit kan in de rol van onderzoeker, adviseur of projectleider. • Wij zijn nieuwsgierig, gedreven en staan graag middenin gemeentelijke organisaties om beweging te brengen. • Wij werken uitsluitend voor gemeenten. • Wij kennen het speelveld, de werkwijze en de vraagstukken van gemeenten door en door. • Wij leveren sterke adviseurs en projectleiders. Zij werken vanuit inhoudelijke expertise en een grote mate van authenticiteit in veranderingsprocessen. • Wij zien elke opdracht als uniek. Gemeentelijke vraagstukken zijn complex en er is altijd sprake van specifieke omstandigheden en belangen. • Wij versterken onze meerwaarde voor gemeenten door talenten aan ons te binden en continu te investeren in onszelf en in onze organisatie.
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Gemeenten hebben een toenemende verantwoordelijkheid bij het vergroten van de participatie van hun inwoners. Van arbeidsparticipatie tot mantelzorg: gemeenten zijn steeds meer aan zet om beweging te brengen en resultaten te boeken. Niet alleen vanuit hun eigen organisatie, maar ook door het samenspel met andere partijen. Gemeenten moeten continu inspelen op dynamiek in regelgeving, politieke voorkeuren, belangen van mensen en organisaties, maatschappelijke trends en verschuivende oplossingsrichtingen. Zeker is, dat niets zeker is. En dat stelt hoge eisen aan de wijze waarop wordt afgewogen, besluiten worden genomen en keuzes daadwerkelijk ten uitvoer worden gebracht. En dat is precies de kracht van Nautus. Wij helpen gemeenten bij het verkennen van vraagstukken, bij het maken van keuzes en bij het doorvertalen van die keuzes zodat ze ook daadwerkelijk worden uitgevoerd zoals ze bedoeld zijn. Het werkelijke beleid is de uitvoering ervan. En daarmee helpen we een uitvoering te creëren met de best denkbare effectiviteit. En dát zien wij als de kroon op ons werk! 40
Wij helpen gemeenten bij het verkennen van vraagstukken, bij het maken van keuzes en bij het doorvertalen van die keuzes zodat ze ook daadwerkelijk worden uitgevoerd zoals ze bedoeld zijn. Voor aanvullende informatie over onze dienstverlening kunt u terecht op www.nautus.nl.
Verkennen doen we als u nog niet toe bent aan het maken van keuzes. U heeft wel de indruk dat er iets aan de hand is, maar u wilt er meer over weten voordat u plannen maakt. Aan Nautus vraagt u om op onderzoek uit te gaan en met aanbevelingen te komen. Het kan gaan om een evaluatie van beleid of een project, maar ook om een kosten-batenanalyse of het onderzoeken van alternatieven voor de uitvoering van het participatiebeleid. Van Nautus krijgt u een helder en scherp geformuleerd advies waar u echt iets aan heeft.
Plannen maken doen we als u toe bent aan het maken van keuzes. U weet wat er aan de hand is, maar voordat we aan de slag gaan is het verstandig om eerst goed neer te zetten wat we willen bereiken, hoe we het gaan aanpakken, met welke middelen en binnen welke randvoorwaarden. Een goed plan vraagt even tijd en aandacht, maar het zorgt voor draagvlak en focus, het voorkomt knelpunten en brengt versnelling in de uitvoering. Van Nautus krijgt u een krachtig en gedragen plan waarmee u richting geeft aan de uitvoering.
Stroomlijnen is nodig om plannen uitgevoerd te krijgen zoals ze bedoeld zijn. Dit wordt bijna altijd onderschat of overgeslagen. U heeft een plan om de uitvoering te sturen, maar zonder stroomlijning verandert er niets in de uitvoering. Onder stroomlijning verstaan we de aanpassing van afspraken, processen, systemen, overeenkomsten en werkwijzen in uw organisatie zodat de uitvoering optimaal overeenkomt met uw plan. Nautus zorgt voor die stroomlijning, zodat uw plan ook echt uitgevoerd wordt.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
The sky is not the limit for the synergy between human brains and Information and communication technology, if... By Prof Dr Theo Compernolle MD., PhD. CEDEP European Centre for Executive Development in Fontainebleau (France). Author of “BrainChains” and “Stress: Friend and Foe”. Our future lies in the synergy between the human brain and our technology When the computer DeepBlue won against chess master Kasparov or the Watson computer beat the world-champions of the game of Jeopardy, the discussion about the future of IT and robotics specifically was hijacked by sensationalist writers, journalists and sometimes-even scientists who declared “The human brain the big loser in the competition against the computer.” Some of these naïve or ignorant ideas even transpire when the media report about the work of surgeons, writing or insinuating that robot-assisted surgery is the beginning of the end of the job of a surgeon. Sirius Sights | May 2018
I think they get the fundamental question wrong and neglect a more important related issue. On the 2nd of March 2004, one of my clients, the European Space Agency, launched the satellite Rosetta. It was meant to land an explorer on the Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet, a block of ice with a diameter of 4km (2.5 miles) speeding at 40.000km/h (24.600 miles/h) through the Milky Way in the neighborhood of Jupiter. Scientists compared the task to a fly trying to land on a speeding bullet. It took the spacecraft 10 years to travel an accumulative distance of 6.5 milliard kilometers (4 billion miles) and to make the explorer Philae land with a 100m (328 feet) precision. 41
Feature The point I want to make, is that the network of 2.000 people who assisted in the mission could never have done this without computers, AND that a network of all the computers of the world could never have done this without this network of 2000 superb human thinking brains. Together they did what the two parts never ever would have managed and will never be able to manage separately . The technology, the software, the robots are not in competition with the human brain; they amplify and multiply the power of the human brain. IT penetrates into every nook and cranny of our lives and work. Little by little, every tool and machine in the production process, every step in sales, each household appliance, every phone, every person, and every intervention in health care, every aspect of government and every teacher and student are linked to a network that continuously produces data. From ever increasing amounts of data computers extract ever more useful information for governments, businesses and individual citizens. The essence of the ICT (information and communication technology) revolution is that, together, modern ICT and the unique ability of our brain to think, can produce insights, knowledge and performances that they cannot produce separately. The future lies in the synergy between the human brain and our technology. We are only at the very beginning of it, scratching the surface. We have seen nothing yet, the sky is not even the limit and this is certainly true for our profession too. The way we use ICT in daily life undermines the potential of both our brain and our ICT However, there is a shadow-side to the seemingly limitless potential synergy between the human brain and modern technology. In daily life the way we use our ICT undermines our brainpower and decreases our intellectual productivity, efficiency and creativity. Could a surgeon do her work while multitasking? Could a surgeon deliver high-quality surgery while interrupting his work dozens of times per hour to answer a phone or to write a text or an email or to check Facebook… ? Of course not, and neither can a pianist, a golf player, an office worker or a car mechanic.
However, what about a surgeon staying hooked to his smartphone during a meeting, while interviewing a patient or driving his car… ? What about a nurse administering medication; could she do this safely while much of the time being busy with her phone? Can medical students register, remember and reflect while being tethered to their phones? If you know a few things about the working of our brain, you know the answer is: no way. The “always being connected” and the resulting multitasking outside the operating room and in most other professions compromises intellectual productivity, creativity and safety. Take safety: being on the phone while driving increases the risk of an accident eightfold and doing it hands-free does not make any difference, because it is in our brain that things go wrong and tasks collide. The problem is not our beautiful technology, but the way we use it, not taking into account the directions of use of our most fantastic tool: our brain. The ICT revolution unfolded so fast that we have not yet learned how to make the best use of the potential synergy between our ICT and our brain in our daily life and work. On the contrary, capitalizing on our ignorance about our brain and ICT, companies shrewdly develop addictive apps, jeopardizing the matchless capabilities of the combination of our brilliant brain with our dazzling ICT. They let the ICT ruin our intellectual productivity . Look on siriusenschede.nl or on our Facebook page for 10 fundamental scientific facts to better use our brain and the 4 main solutions to optimally use your thinking brain!
Theo Compernolle is the author of “BrainChains” and its concise version ”How to Unchain Your Brain” (Amazon direct: http://tinyurl.com/bchainsprinted); translated in Dutch as “Ontketen je brein” and “Zo haal je meer uit je brein” (www.lannoo.be)
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
The influence of Instagram on modern society By Rosan Verbraak, Secretary 44th board of Sirius
Once upon a time, there were tons of social media that ruled the world. Facebook, Snapchat, MySpace, LinkedIn, Hyves, Twitter and of course Instagram. Lately, Instagram has been taking over all of them, being the most rapidly growing social medium. With close to one billion active users Instagram definitely has some influence. The term influencer is becoming more known by the day. The modern-day definition, as stated by the dictionary is: ‘a person who has the power to influence many people, as through social media or traditional media’. These days influencers are being called the new celebrity endorsements. Data from influencer marketing platform MuseFind shows that 92% of customers trust an influencer more than a traditional environment or traditional celebrity endorsement. With most people using AdBlocker nowadays, normal advertisements don’t do so well and influencer advertisements are doing it better and better. According to Bloomberg, 255 million dollars is spent on influencer marketing every month. Instagram is becoming one of the fastest growing advertising platforms. Big influencers such as Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylie Jenner can ask up to a whopping 550.000 dollars per post to advertise something, whilst the average sponsored post rate is 300 dollars. Instagram is a billion dollar industry and influencers are the living proof of Sirius Sights | May 2018
that. Looking at Instagram, it is the social medium that has the most influence on shopping habits of customers. Next to that, the yearly amount spent on advertisements is over 2.3 billion dollars per year. Power users who create a lot of content and amass thousands - even millions - of fans on the platform find themselves in a unique situation. Their influence is worth something more tangible than likes; it is worth some serious money. On the other side, fans generally understand that influencers use their sponsored posts to compensate for their effort creating content. This can be compared with the occasional commercial breaks during your regular TV programme. The audience (thus Instagram users) knows there is no free ride, but that it is needed. Influencers are familiar with something similar. They know that their endorsements use up the “credits” they’ve built up with their audience, so the successful influencers choose collaborations with brands wisely and don’t go overboard with their sponsored posts. There is a downside of the growing advertisement business of Instagram for macro influencers (1M+ followers). Because of the rapid growth of Instagram, macro influencers are getting more and more expensive, so brands are beginning to rather 43
choose micro influencers (under 25K followers) over macro influencers. This because macro influencers are often disconnected from their audience, while micro influencers are connected with their audience. Not only is it easier to target your niche audience by working together with smaller influencers, they also have a higher engagement with more likes and comments in follower-engagement ratio comparing to macro influencers. Micro influencers with less than 25000 followers are a lot more affordable with an average price of 130 dollars per sponsored post, instead of 550.000 dollars per post. This makes them a good investment. This also means that brands can
work together with hundreds of influencers around the country - maybe even the world - to reach a much higher audience. With the huge amount of money invested in Instagram and the influence influencers have on their audience and Instagram users in general, it can be said that Instagram is becoming more and more important for influencing modern society. What the future for Instagram brings, can never be said. But because of the still exponential growth of the photosharing social medium, it can be said that the reign of Instagram is, for the time being, not over yet.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
Why do we use social media? By Nolen Gertz, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology, University of Twente Why do we use social media? Given the dangers of identity theft, of trolling, of doxxing, of the judgments of potential employers, potential friends, potential partners, why do we use social media? Facebook’s active daily users not only make it the most popular social media site, but make it so popular that it would be more appropriate to compare it to a world religion. But if we were to compare Facebook (2 billion users) to Christianity (2.4 billion users) or to Islam (1.6 billion users), then we would begin to wonder whether we use Facebook for comparable reasons, whether Facebook provides us with meaning, with happiness, with community, with belonging. Given that Aristotle defined humans as “social beings,” it should perhaps not surprise us that we would find fulfillment in “social media.” But are we finding fulfillment on Facebook or on social media in general? Or are we using social media sites like Facebook because that is what everyone else is doing? How would we even
Sirius Sights | May 2018
determine this? Could we simply use social science research methods, e.g., ask people how they feel about using Facebook? It is quite likely that people would say that they feel neither fulfilled nor unfulfilled by Facebook. That they use Facebook simply because it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid Facebook. Facebook therefore is seen not as a site of fulfillment, but as a practical requirement of everyday life. In other words, polls about how users feel about Facebook might provide results comparable to asking people how they feel about electricity, that they feel nothing about it, that they just use it without feeling and without thinking. How then should we interpret such data? Polls and statistical analyses seem likely to provide us little insight about the impact of social media on our lives, particularly if the average Facebook user were to report that the impact of social media is
Feature that they feel no impact from social media. It is here that philosophy can be helpful, for perhaps the research we need to carry out is neither quantitative nor qualitative, but instead something deeper, something that goes beyond quantities and qualities, something existential. Existentialism is concerned with questions of meaning, questions about life, about death, about why we do what we do. To ask the question of why we use social media from the perspective of Existentialism, is to ask what social media means. So if so many people use something like Facebook so much of the time, something that is neither fulfilling nor unfulfilling but just is, then what does that mean? Does this mean, as someone like the French sociologist Jacques Ellul might argue, that we are not using social media, but that we are used by social media? In other words, we do not log into Facebook, Facebook logs into us, as it is the needs of Facebook that are being fulfilled by Facebook users, not the needs of humans that are being fulfilled by Facebook. Facebook exists only so long as it has content that draws people to it, people who then consume the advertisements that Facebook puts in front of those people, the advertisements that pay for Facebook, the advertisements that lead people to believe that Facebook is “free.” From this perspective, if we are being fulfilled by social media, that is only because we have redefined what “fulfillment” means so that our interests align with the interests of social media. Alternatively, does this mean, as someone like the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche might argue, that we are not being manipulated by social media, but rather that our manipulation of ourselves is what leads us to embrace social media? In other words, humans have long sought ways to avoid being human, to avoid the burdens of being beings who can feel, who can be held responsible, who can die, and social media is simply the latest and perhaps best tool of self-avoidance we have yet come up with. Social media sites allow us to “friend” and to
“like” without doing anything more than moving our thumbs. Social media sites allow us to follow and to destroy without doing anything more than creating an anonymous account. Social media sites even allow us the promise of immortality without doing anything more than backing up a profile to a cloud server. From this perspective, if we are being fulfilled by social media, that is only because we have long defined “fulfillment” in terms of avoiding rather than being human. So while I have not here answered the question as to why we use social media, I hope that I have here at least shown why answering this question is not as easy as simply asking people. In other words, this is why we have a Master’s program here at Twente in the Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Society. To find out more about it, check us out on your favorite social media site.
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
History of Medisch Spectrum Twente By Jelle Jonker, Treasurer 44th board of Sirius
The MST is the most well-known hospital in Enschede at the moment but before we will get into details in this subject, I will take you on a journey through time about the history of the hospitals of Enschede. Then I will tell you some information about the wild developments which have made Het MST as it is today! Most of us have some experience with the hospital that is most acknowledged in Enschede: Het MST. It has not always been het MST however. It started all in the late 19th century when there were two hospitals in Enschede. One was run by a Roman Catholic group and the other was run by a neutral manufacturerâ€™s elite. It was a custom in that time that the nurses came to your house to deliver nursery. This became too time consuming however and only the rich people were able to afford such a privilege. Something else had to be thought of and then they decided that people had to come to the hospital if they wanted to be treated.
Sirius Sights | May 2018
Then the hospitals as we know them today arose. The biggest hospital till that time was opened in 1914 and was called the Sint Joseph Ziekenhuis. It was known for its complexity and its fame during that time. A little time after, another rather small hospital opened its doors which was called Ziekenzorg. This rather small hospital eventually grew into the MST which is on the Haaksbergerstraat. Eventually, both hospitals decided to merge which explains the bridge that was crossing the Haaksbergerstraat. The bridge connected one hospital with the other so that they could cooperate smoothly and it made it easier communicate with each other. From this moment, the MST was born in the year 1990. In 2010 it became the biggest supplier for employment opportunities in Enschede with over 4.500 jobs.
Feature In 2016, it moved to the new location as we know it now. The advantage of this movement is that both specialistic basic care and top clinical care are provided in the same building instead of being spread over two different buildings. The entrance of the new location is aimed at the centrum of the city and it offers plenty of infrastructural options to make sure that the hospital is easily reachable for patients. The new MST is mostly recognisable by its specific shape. You have to think of it like it is a hand (as you
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
can see on the picture). Every finger represents a discipline like a radiotherapy or an ENT department. The palm of the hand acts as a main artery which connects all the different departments which makes it easier to transport patients from one department to the other. Between the fingers are big spaces to give the patients the feeling like they are not enclosed by walls and so they can look outside. I hope I could give you all a better idea of how the health care is organized in Enschede and how the current MST is originated and I wish you healthy 2018!
Sirius Sights | May 2018
who are The redaXie?
Stan van Rosmalen chief editor Age Study Interests
21 european Public administration Travelling, sports, writing, liquid refreshments
Who are the Redaxie? let us introduce ourselves! Laura Harks assistant editor Age Study Interests
20 european Public administration debating, hockey, having a drink
May 2018 | Sirius Sights
who are The redaXie?
Kevin Heerema assistant editor Age Study Interests
21 european Public administration basketball, rowing, having a drink with friends
Maarten de Groot assistant editor Age Study Interests
18 european Public administration Journalism, Politics, football
Rosan Verbraak supervisor as sirius board member Age Study Interests
Sirius Sights | May 2018
20 european Public administration reading, Photography, travel, drinking with friends
Sirius Sights is a product of Sirius, study association for Health Sciences, Public Administration, European Studies and European Public Administration at the University of Twente. Sirius Ravelijn 1324 Universiteit Twente Postbus 217 7500 AE Enschede +31 (0) 53 489 3204 www.sirius.utwente.nl
Sirius Sights May 2018: Technology & Opportunities