Ambassador Mark Brzezinski’s Remarks at Sektor 3.0 Festival

May 18, 2022

Good morning! I am thrilled to kick-off this important event on the future of technology and use my voice to say that trust should play a fundamental role in our tech-driven world.

I believe democracy is built on a foundation of trust. American and European democracies are vibrant, full of ideas and innovation because we trust one another and our systems of representative government.

Ideas, freedom of expression, and the truth are under attack around the globe. The very trust our societies rely on is at risk of being eroded.

Authoritarians seek to undermine our trust in one another and in the shared sets of institutions and values that bring us together.

In the wrong hands, technology can facilitate or exacerbate the worst impulses of anyone seeking to manipulate, sow doubt, or cause chaos.

For an example, we need only look at how the Putin regime uses traditional and social media to spread multiple falsehoods on its actions in Ukraine, not always to convince people of their lies, but to plant doubts about the truth.

So, what can we do?

Just last month, the United States, the European Union, and 32 other countries agreed to a “Declaration for the Future of Internet.” Let me quote from the opening of the Declaration:

“We are united by a belief in the potential of digital technologies to promote connectivity, democracy, peace, the rule of law, sustainable development, and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The Declaration goes on to spell out how governments can and should work together to build – or restore – trust. Not only trust in the internet itself and all of the commerce, communication, and community it makes possible, but also the trust individuals have in technology to make their lives better.

I know many of the discussions that follow today focus squarely on this dilemma.

The issue of trust and technology is complex, and pose serious challenges to governments and individuals everywhere, including in the United States. In order to tackle these challenges, we must work together. And that takes trust.

Technology can help build and restore that trust, but only if we put in the effort to make sure that it does.

Thank you.