About the new world, sovereignty and the digital economy
About the new world, sovereignty and the digital economy

Vladislav SHURYGIN. German Sergeevich, explain what the digital economy is. Even 20-30 years ago, many imagined a computer as a very large calculator. And now, suddenly, the digital economy. But the economy, in fact, consists of numbers. So what is the essence of this term?

Herman KLIMENKO, Chairman of the Digital Economy Development Fund.You know, there are a lot of definitions. Five years ago, when the state finally faced the Internet head on, and it became clear that this was no longer a space for leisure, but a new reality, the Institute for the Development of the Internet was created. And so we have our first meeting. I say: "Please invite the Central Bank to the meeting." Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin, as a representative of the authorities at the meeting, asks me with surprise: “Why? It's the Internet! " I say: "Wait, wait, we are not the Internet for a long time, we got into the banking system a little bit, we got into medicine a little bit, we got into management a little bit"

"Digitalization" is the process of transferring development and decision-making from people to the computer - to software. Let me explain using the example of the Taxi service. Literally 5 years ago, there were 6,000 taxi drivers and 300 dispatchers in Moscow. To call a taxi, you had to call a special number and order a car from the dispatcher. These 300 control rooms employed an average of 20 people: dispatchers, director, accountant, cleaners, security. That is, 6,000 people worked in 300 dispatchers, who served 6,000 taxi drivers. There is no need to explain the commercial effectiveness of such a structure. Below the bottom! So digitalization is when 60 thousand taxi drivers are served, conditionally, by one control room, Yandex programmers. And 5000 people unnecessary for the taxi business immediately fly out of it. Of course, this is painful for all those who have been abbreviated. This is a job loss. Uncertainty and uncertainty about the future. But the efficiency and profitability of the business immediately fly up! Therefore, you can now come across the term not "digital economy", but "digital concentration camp". On one side of the scale, digitalization is a dramatic increase in labor productivity. Up to the absolute. With the removal of the administrative class. It is practically absent during digitalization. On the other - the reduction of specific people, unemployment in the whole spectrum of professions that have recently been in demand. I gave an example - a taxi service, but then you can add here construction, trade, industry - whatever! Digitalization removes from the production system and business relationships the bureaucratic class, the so-called office managers. Even in such seemingly distant spheres as education, journalism and even writing. Ideally, there will be only a person - the manufacturer of the product and a computer - the software environment. Of course, this is still futurology and fantasy, but the one that is literally outside the door. Call it Skynet if you want. This is if we speak in terms of horror stories. Although the truth is also in this story. Indeed, digitalization is almost completely knocking out a layer of officials, to whom we have become accustomed over the centuries and without whom we absolutely cannot imagine our life. Take, for example, the multifunctional centers for the provision of public services in the city of Moscow - the MFC. Previously, you had to look for time, go to the appropriate office, queue up for an official to raise the appropriate database and, having found the information you need, make a document for you with your own hand, for example, a copy of the title to a land plot. Hundreds of thousands of people in Moscow alone served as "paper makers".Now, in order to receive such a certificate, you do not need to leave your home at all - just go to the State Services website via the Internet and order the certificates you need, and the program prepares them for you. Everything! Many tens of thousands of bureaucrats are immediately cut out of the "system". This is both time saving and budget saving. But at the same time, these are thousands of people left without work.

Therefore, returning to your question - digitalization of the economy is the dream of all economists - maximum labor productivity. But the philosophical question is - should it be achieved? The shareholders of the companies that are engaged in, let us call it yuberization, of course, “for”. And people who look at their own prospects in the "digital society" do not all see them as rosy. And here a certain balance is needed …

Vladislav SHURYGIN. We remember the Luddites very well from history. Destroyers of machines. They believed that the machine is the devil's weapon, that it makes them beggars. That is, humanity has already faced a similar problem. Will not a similar movement arise now? Those who are against digitalization, which deprives them of their jobs and the future? To what extent is humanity ready to survive digitalization?

Herman KLIMENKO.Perhaps this is one of the main questions - how humanity will go through this transitional stage. Of course it won't be easy. Optimization has replaced the jobs of millions of people. In fact, it destroyed hundreds of prestigious professions in the recent past. And the question of questions - will our new economy find jobs for these people? As long as she finds jobs, we can see this in today's COVID story, exclusively of couriers. My colleagues in the courier business are not enjoying life these days. Just an exceptionally high-quality contingent is coming to them now: waiters, sales managers, fitness trainers, baristas. While these are the conditions of the epidemic. But you need to understand that these processes will continue to develop. The new reality, the digital economy, will generate new demand and new career trajectories. For example, how do you become the best barista? Before the coronavirus, there were just a huge number of cafes in Moscow, almost 17,000, where they just poured coffee into a glass. And young guys worked there, brewed coffee. Earlier, in Soviet times, what was the story? I myself worked as a waiter when I needed to save up some money. The work was temporary. It is still temporary today, and many baristas have textbooks under the counter. But as digitalization progresses, the disappearance of entire groups of professions, the career of a barista can turn out to be a real path. And a textbook of higher mathematics, for example, will replace a reference book on coffee varieties and a collection of coffee recipes. Now he can make 16 types of coffee. Soy milk, double roasted, latte, cappuccino and so on. This is one money, one career level. And the barista understands that when he will be able to brew 32 sorts of coffee and still make drawings on the surface of coffee, for example, from the Kamasutra, then he will move to another level, to a more prestigious cafe. And he will no longer have 50 thousand, but 70 thousand salaries. This will be the career path …

We wanted to become first programmers, then heads of the programming department, and head institutes. But in the new reality, it turns out that there are no heads of the programming department. If we look at the example of taxi drivers. There is a taxi driver, and his growth criterion is the points that he is paid. And these points are converted into the fact that he has a smart system, some kind of singularity, Skynet, because he is loyal to the system, does not make mistakes, does not break speed, and gives more good orders. Couriers have the same story. And so their career growth is oriented there. They consider it normal. For me, this may be wild. But I understand perfectly well that the positions of chiefs are being killed. There are no more taxi managers who could distribute, build a distribution grid for the correct load of taxi drivers.Because the computer copes with this, not only is it better, not only is it faster, it also does not get sick and does it online. This is our digital economy.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. It's clear. And yet, is not a new Middle Ages emerging as a result of all this? With its "guild" traditions, rigidly designated classes. When the son of a barista can only be a barista, and the son of a prosecutor can only be a prosecutor? People are frankly afraid of this. There is such a global phobia that billions of people will lose their jobs, be enslaved by machines and put in a kind of digital concentration camp …

Herman KLIMENKO.And before that, they, straight, were not enslaved? You know, only the type of enslavement will change. Previously, it was a person - the owner, boss, master, boss, bureaucracy in general. And now the software environment. There will be Yandex instead of bureaucrats. What's the difference then?

Vladislav SHURYGIN. In any case, people are afraid

Herman KLIMENKO.They are afraid because they do not understand. A "live" owner is always room for any lawlessness, and a program is always an algorithm. And the program about a barista or a taxi driver will take care of it much more efficiently than a “live” boss simply because it is “registered” for maximum efficiency. The program will monitor the health of the employee not in order to push them around, but in order for him to work better. Already, programs are monitoring taxi drivers. What kind of exploitation was there under a “live” boss? "Mental" exploitation - do you need money? Well, so work in 2 shifts, in 3 shifts, until you fall asleep while driving and fly under KamAZ or you get a stroke. And we'll find a new one there! And the service takes care of the taxi driver, the algorithms make sure that the person does not overwork. So that he works no more than 8 hours a day, take breaks from work, so that he monitors his health. Because an experienced, trouble-free, well-rested taxi driver is a high profit.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. It turns out that digitalization is changing the metaphysics of human development. The role and place of education is changing. How were we brought up? Education is a means of being able to occupy a certain social niche on a certain social floor. And there were a lot of these quarry floors. What, then, is the point in education in an era when a career in life becomes that of a barista?

Herman KLIMENKO… Here it is worth starting with the fact that our higher education has radically changed its function over the decades. How many percent of university graduates continue to work in their specialties? If you do not take medical universities, about 37% Why? Because, for at least three generations, the university was the "armor" from the army and the source of the prestigious status of the owner of "higher education". You know that no other country in the world has as many university graduates per thousand as ours. And two-thirds of these diplomas are just "crusts" that are gathering dust in family archives. And where is a graduate of a pedagogical university, or, for example, an engineering university going today? To school and to the factory? Only a certain percentage, and the rest go where they pay more. Before the epidemic, in any salon selling prestigious foreign cars, one could find a whole bunch of university graduates who had nothing to do with selling cars. The same is true in the offices of large trading companies.

In the 90s, we graduated annually 20,000 lawyers and 20,000 medical professionals. Thirty years have passed. What do you think is the picture now?

Vladislav SHURYGIN. I think that there are much fewer lawyers …

Herman KLIMENKO.The number of lawyers has just increased, we are now graduating 150,000 lawyers. And we are still graduating 20,000 doctors. Because in order to launch a medical university, very serious investments are needed, this is a qualitatively different education. And most importantly, medicine needs those very 20,000 graduates a year. There are places for them, there is work. But with lawyers everything is different - get a diploma and go in all four directions.

And here digitalization simply puts a young person in front of reality - either you have a profession and you are in demand in it, or you are simply superfluous in the new system of relations “person - software environment”. And then everything immediately falls into place. Boys immediately remember that they can go to work as a waiter and earn quite good money, by the way. You can go to a car repair shop, all boys love cars and, by the way, it’s also very good to make money in 2 years.

So "digital" here introduces a huge new history. About the work of the barista. Let's mean barista work as a variety of simple stories that get paid enough. Such a classic consumer society, when a person can, while working as a waiter or car mechanic, have children, take out a mortgage. But then he will have a son who will inherit the job as a waiter and continue to go … This, by the way, is not as bad as it seems. Because we have a problem in our country that we have dynasties of lawyers, but no dynasties of locksmiths. This is not an honorable story.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. It seems to me that our dispute about the future of education in the digital economy still boils down to a worldview dispute about the meaning of education in the 21st century. Relatively speaking, why would a barista need trigonometry or astronomy? Or the history of the Ancient World? Or a hereditary plumber? Will it not turn out that with such an education system, we are creating a kind of digital concentration camp. Or the new Middle Ages with its estates, whose framework is defined and unchanged?

Herman KLIMENKO. We will now go into an amazing dispute, where there are arguments, on the one hand, for a narrow specialization, on the other, for a broad specialization. But let's move on from the ultimate task of education. For the state, the task is not for a young man who came from some Latyrkin to enter the Moscow Architectural Institute, unlearn and create more than one beautiful house on Tverskaya. And so that he returned back to Latyrkino and built a bridge there for a long time. Come from the region to the center, study, return and live a full life there, raise the region. And we have the eternal problem of the three musketeers. Remember, of the three musketeers, only one - the fourth - d'Artagnan was very proud of his Gascony. Here we are too - a person breaks out of Tver or Tomsk, settles in Moscow, and now he is a “Muscovite”, moreover, with aplomb and disgust for the “province” that gave birth to him. Today people are trying to immediately remove their regionalism, forget about it and never return there. And this is largely due to the fact that in the regions today there are no conditions for normal study and work. That the gap in living standards is too great between Moscow and, for example, Kursk. And the task of "digitalization" is to smooth out this problem. I understand that this does not sound very nice, but the digitalization introduced to the regions gives the country a chance … Systematically, we can dramatically raise the quality of education.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. Then tell me who you want to raise …

Herman KLIMENKO. … When we worked with doctors, they kept saying: "You want to keep us on the threads of artificial intelligence (AI), neural networks …" And we answered: "No! We just want to live! " So I personally, as a person, want to come to the medical center, and so that it was there, not like now, when you have to make an appointment with each doctor, bypass them all one by one, but, if you live in the provinces, then also go somewhere to a large city for advice. Earlier, when Chekhov was a doctor, people resorted to him: “Anton Pavlovich, urgently! Agafya's something jumped out and got sick. " And what did he say: "Harness the horse, let's go to watch …" Or "Bring Agafya here, how is it without a full-time examination?" Today it is 2020, you have CT, MRI, blood tests, ultrasound. You, in general, don't need Agafya in front of your eyes today, frankly speaking. It only bothers you. Because its optimism or, on the contrary, pessimism prevents the doctor from objectively evaluating the data.And when we entered medicine, we were accused that we want to manipulate doctors, to put them under the control of a soulless machine. But when a tumor and its size are revealed on computed tomography, the doctor for some reason trusts the machine. And “extramural” medicine is somehow taboo … Digitalization is a tool. He can help, and he can harm. It all depends on who is in whose hands it is. Like a table knife, it's just a knife. Some of them cut their bread, and someone cuts their heads. But on this basis, we do not prohibit knives. You need to be able to use them.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. To what extent is Russia ready for this race to digitalize the future, where does Russia belong in it? How do you assess the state of this process?

Herman KLIMENKO. Question for five. In our shared digital history, we have always said that we are great. We have Yandex, we have Rambler, we have Contact. But at the same time, not a single of our company is in the top of the exchange … Well, Yandex is somewhere, but we are not in the top 10. And this is our problem. We are still, as usual, suppliers of intellectual material to the West. Now, however, they also began to give material to the East. The bins don't end there. The education system is somehow amazingly built. And, fortunately, unlike Europe, for example, we have at least a little bit left for ourselves. But there is just enough left to somehow imitate happiness, but not enough to break forward. In any company in the foreign world you can find our Russian programmers. And we are constantly looking for a place for digitalization, weighing, arguing. And this is one of our biggest problems. We cannot make up our minds and are wasting time. But there is China for a long time with its very clear strategy in the field of digitalization. There is America with its very clear strategy. And there are we who have not joined anywhere. Whether we can survive on our own is a philosophical question at the moment. We don't even put it on. Why? Let me give you an example. For example, you are the Minister of Energy, I am the Minister of Industry. And we say, let's build a pig iron production plant, we need it. But you need him in Vologda, and I need him in Lipetsk. And until we agree, there will be no plant. And you can agree endlessly - no one is driving us anywhere. It may even continue with the next minister, with the next minister. Until one of us pulls. During this time, there will already be five factories in China! Because all decisions there have long been made in the "digital" space, to which all structures are connected and all this goes in real time. There the phrase "a year to think" is a letter of resignation, but here it is a bureaucratic norm. I remember very well when the Chinese came to us about ten years ago, we showed them our achievements, what we can do, and they said: "Awesome!" They then looked, and they did everything for themselves long ago, but we didn’t do anything, we are still choosing. We are still writing concepts. Just recently, we adopted a program for the development of AI (artificial intelligence). And who was it instructed to execute? Do you think we IT people? Of course not! How can we be entrusted? It's money! And it doesn't matter that for ten years we have not filled up anything entrusted to us. Does not matter! Money should be given to those who “know how” to dispose of it. And they gave it! To whom? Savings Bank of the Russian Federation. Think about posing the question! Gref is responsible for AI. And Rosatom is responsible for quantum computers. And it is immediately clear that none of this will come of it. Simply by virtue of the ideology of these structures! Both Sberbank and Rosatom are very conservative organizations. Their tasks are very simple. Rosatom has a task - not to explode. And Sberbank, so that depositors' money is safe. The whole bank is permeated with the word "reliability" from top to bottom. And Rosatom is permeated with the word “reliability”. And what word is penetrated by the IT industry? Do you know how? Well, we used to call it "made of shit and sticks", but it is indecent to say in a decent society. Therefore, we came up with the word MVP, the minimum working solution.So you come to work at Google, and first you will be brought in and shown to the Google cemetery. A cemetery of unsuccessful decisions and projects. It is important. Because in these cemeteries we learn. And you will come to Yandex, and they are proud of their cemeteries …

Now imagine that you come to Rosatom, and they say to you: "Here was a big Chernobyl, here was a small Chernobyl …" They are genetically geared towards reliability and safety and therefore will not be able to give birth to something revolutionary. As well as Gref, whom I personally deeply respect. AI and a Quantum Computer can only be created by guys with brains on one side.

This is the answer to the question of where we belong. We had a place, we had a chance, but we missed it. More precisely, they almost missed it.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. So what is our place now?

Herman KLIMENKO. For China and America. It is worthy - the third. But there are only three places. This is very important to understand! And soon the time will come when there will be two places left. The third is constantly blurring, merging with the general background, where a hundred countries are sitting, which are lagging behind the digital future and therefore dependent.

The people themselves will remain, Igor Matsanyuk will not go anywhere, Arkady Volozh will not go anywhere. It's just that more and more services created by us will go where the first two are. Already leaving!

Vladislav SHURYGIN. That is, our companies are just starting to spill out into America and Cathay?

Herman KLIMENKO. We're pushing ourselves out of here! And this is very important! China is not defeating us, America is not defeating us. We ourselves are engaged in self-repression. Our laws, our governance system. As a result, people are sitting here, companies are working here. But they do not work for Russia. Now we provide services to the Germans, the Chinese, we work for the whole world. Now there are almost no startups that work for Russia. They are simply not in demand here.

Vladislav SHURYGIN. We are talking about our place in the digital revolution! And there is a question directly related to this topic. What is the situation in the field of "hardware" today? Opponents of the current digitalization say that we work on hardware that we do not manufacture ourselves. That all routers, servers, chips, cards and everything else are foreign. What if they just stop selling all this to us, we will collapse. And what, in the end, will this lead to the loss of sovereignty? To what extent are we able to maintain our sovereignty within the framework of this digitalization?

Herman KLIMENKO. Not capable. That is, if tomorrow we are prohibited from importing processors, servers, then we will indeed find ourselves in a deep crisis. But this is not a reason to try to build your own at any cost. I have great respect for my colleagues who are trying to make some decisions and, probably, this is necessary for an atomic bomb. But we must honestly admit that in modern society we must go to look for allies, in one person you can not do anything. There is a concept - the world division of labor. Today, there are practically no complex systems in the world that are 100% localized in one country. Any American, German, or Japanese car will have a proportion of Chinese or Korean components. And our domestic processors are manufactured in Chinese and Taiwanese factories. This is reality.

Maybe there is no need to deceive the authorities and say that we will produce our own processors, but give us another billion. And so there is another way, the only way, to produce something that would force everyone else to reckon with you in the overall balance. I will put it this way, if we were good at flying into space, no shit would blackmail us with processors now. If instead of releasing and spending money on processors, money would be spent on space or on the same newest floating nuclear power plants …

Vladislav SHURYGIN. So is it possible to defend sovereignty or is everything lost?

Herman KLIMENKO. The term "sovereignty" is different at different times, you must agree. For example, once there was no dual citizenship. Well, what kind of sovereignty can be if your bank manager in Russia can be a citizen of another state?At the same time, the uninformed … When he leaves Russia, having stolen all the money, it suddenly turns out that he is a citizen of a country that does not betray its criminals. Is it sovereignty? Therefore, what kind of sovereignty are we talking about? About digital?

Back in 2010, Putin decided to replace imported goods with full domestic ones. But why Microsoft is still on computers in the presidential administration, I do not know myself, I have no answer to this question, I came when I said all this, they looked at me as such … you know, a freak. Such is their "digitalization" …

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