On September 22, 2023 the Boston Global Forum and MIT Connection Science discussed with the CEO of Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), Huynh Quang Liem, to explore the creation of a national data center and data economy in Vietnam. This collaboration marks a significant stride toward harnessing the power of data for prosperity and security.
The meeting, featuring distinguished guests and experts, including Thomas Hardjono, Technical Director of MIT Connection Science, delved into key aspects of establishing a national data center and how this endeavor can revolutionize Vietnam’s approach to data governance and utilization.
Key Highlights from the Meeting:
- Areas of Research:
The national data center’s research areas encompass a broad spectrum, including computational social science, data privacy, privacy-preserving computations, generative AI, large language models, web3 technologies, digital identity, tokenized assets, and network and cybersecurity.
- The Three Critical Components:
The success of this initiative hinges on three core components: capital, labor, and data. While capital represents the means of production, citizens’ trust in data and the AI economy is paramount. Citizens want control over their data and trust in the outcomes derived from it.
- Building Trust:
To establish trust in the data ecosystem, the meeting proposed several measures, including data ownership rights, enabling individuals to have their copies of data, and the creation of community institutions that actively interact with citizens.
- Tackling the Data Literacy Challenge:
One of the challenges identified was the average citizen’s limited ability to understand and interpret data effectively. The meeting explored innovative solutions, such as data co-ops and unions, regional councils, and data banks, to empower citizens to collectively analyze and make sense of data.
- Data Banks as a Model:
The meeting highlighted the potential of data banks, similar to credit unions, where members collectively pool data resources. This model could provide more accessibility to data analytics for citizens.
- Deriving Insights from Data:
The discussion touched on the importance of enabling external parties to derive valuable insights from the data housed in the national data center. Initiatives like MIT Living Lab in South Australia, which focuses on monetizing data in a privacy-preserving way, served as an example of a sustainable model.
- Understanding Disinformation:
The meeting considered the role of analytics in understanding and combating disinformation, citing examples like China amplifying Russian disinformation and instances of financial rumors causing significant market disruptions.
- Zero Trust Network Security:
In the context of evolving network security paradigms, the meeting examined the concept of zero trust network security and its relevance to safeguarding data.
The collaboration between BGF, MIT Connection Science, and VNPT represents a significant step toward building a national data center that will not only drive economic growth but also empower citizens to actively participate in the data-driven economy. With data as the new currency of the digital age, this initiative holds the potential to transform Vietnam’s digital landscape and establish it as a leader in responsible data governance and utilization.
As discussions progress, BGF, MIT Connection Science, and VNPT will continue to engage with stakeholders to explore opportunities for collaboration and the creation of a data ecosystem that benefits all.