14.12.2018 15:00 By: Department of Strategic and Regional Studies

Special visit of the OECD Secretary-General

On 13th December 2018 we hosted José Ángel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General and Marcin Ociepa – Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology. They discussed how digitization would change cities.


The guests were greeted by the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, prof. Celina Olszak. Then we had the opportunity to hear a lecture led by José Ángel Gurría entitled "Making the most of digitalisation for inclusive and sustainable cities". The secretary emphasized that cities must be at the center of our attention. "75% of OECD residents live in cities. If we think about OECD, we should think about cities. Everything is happening in the cities." – added the secretary Gurría.

He concluded his lecture pointing out to hidden costs of digital transformation of cities. He divided them into three groups. The first one was described as undermining legal foundations. He drew attention to the difficulties in protecting consumer rights of e-services, as well as issues related to tax evasion as far as digital services are concerned. He emphasized that the issue of how to tax the digital is currently the hottest "political potato" in the fiscal policy of OECD countries. The second group of hidden costs is related to privacy protection, while the third is the reduction of digital exclusion.

Minister Marcin Ociepa argued that the digitization of cities should be primarily an action for the residents. He emphasized that we live in times of huge civilizational leap in terms of technological revolution. What is interesting, according to the recent estimates in 2020, more than 200 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. However, he warned against excessive technologicalisation. "You can not build a city so intelligent that no one will want to live in it" – said the minister.

He also drew attention to the fact that we can think about the smart city only when the residents are smart and city authorities are open to cooperation with the community. In this situation, according to Marcin Ociepa, the challenge of collecting and processing big data and applying artificial intelligence mechanisms can be taken. And this will ensure a viable and desirable transition from descriptive analysis in cities to dynamic forecasting and optimization.

The lectures of OECD the Secretary-General and Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology was followed by a discussion panel,moderated by Marcin Baron, Phd from the Department of Strategic and Regional Studies. The panel consisted of the following experts:

  • Prof. Aleksander Surdej – Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the OECD;
  • Mariusz Skiba – Deputy Mayor of the city of Katowice;
  • Jacek Woźnikowski – Head of the Department of Socio-Economic Development and Cooperation(Silesian Metropolis)
  • Marcin Nowak – Head of ABSL Silesia Chapter;
  • Prof. Adam Drobniak from the Department of Strategic and Regional Studies;UE Katowice
  • Prof. Małgorzata Dziembała from the Department of International Economic Relations;UE Katowice
  • Prof. Krystian Heffner, Department of Spatial and Environmental Economics, UE Katowice

More information about urban development → www.oecd.org

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