New Europe talked to S&D MEP from Greece, Eva Kaili, on the sidelines of ‘From Research to Innovation – The Blockchain Era’, which took place on June 6 at the Brussels Press Club. Kaili discussed Blockchain technology, women’s participation in the tech industry, job creation and legislative initiatives towards securing citizens rights.

Diasia: How do you think women fit into the discussions about emerging technologies of blockchain?

Eva: I think it’s a field that women should, and have to participate in more. Still, I would say there are just a few that dare to touch these new technologies … I think we should start from zero, basically from children. That’s why this initiative, “Girls Coding,” is amazing. It takes place [with assistance] from the European Union through the … EIT, which is the agency of Innovation and Technology, and is already launching in a few countries… What we do is free workshops for [young] girls to learn the coding language.

S&D MEP Eva Kaili interviewed by New Europe at Trust in Digital Life and New Europe’s from Research to Innovation – The Block Chain Era event. New Europe / Alexandros Michailidis
S&D MEP Eva Kaili interviewed by New Europe at Trust in Digital Life and New Europe’s from Research to Innovation – The Block Chain Era event.       New Europe / Alexandros Michailidis

What ages is this [open to]?

From 8 to 12. They’re really young. They’re going to learn how to make their own applications. This means you can work from home, which is also essential sometimes for women.

This means [that as a young girl you can grow up to have] have huge possibilities. I think you should start, of course, at this young age, because the field is dominated by men. [These young girls need] help to feel more comfortable with it. And unless you do it for free; if you just force them to pay for it, they will not go there. It’s more boys.

Looking at blockchain, how do you protect yourself from having your private key stolen? Do you think it is really as simple as having 4 or 5 verification processes like credit cards, or could a private key act as a social security number where, if stolen, it maybe more a rigorous process to reclaim one’s identity?

I think this question goes to any technology, banking accounts, IDs, passports that could be stolen, so it provides the maximum security. I do believe that this technology has the opportunity to reach the highest percentage [of people] but its still experimental. It will take some years to see its full potential. This means to see the problems and mistakes that could be made in the algorithms. But, if you set it up properly, and smartly, then I think you can have 100% safety of your data. And of course you can already by default make sure that if something goes wrong, you can take it back. This is something for which legislation has to take place, and this is why I am following it very closely, I feel that the potential is huge. It’s like, a few years ago, we wouldn’t use our credit cards online because we were afraid it could be copied or stolen and actually sometimes they were. But, the banks take action and they have some guarantees and can refund you. I think this is the same thing and will work in the same way.

Do you think people could lose jobs with intermediate people being taken out of the equation, because this technology could eliminate the need for different kinds of jobs including in Europe?

Actually, that would create new kinds of jobs and the money that you save will require maybe less people to work in this sector but more people to work in a different sector … or save money of tax-payers and then they can actually try to work in less jobs. [Many people] work 2/3 jobs to make a living, because the costs of transactions of banks, of taxes, of everything, is huge. So, I do believe that wherever there is a problem, and we manage to solve it, then we will find a new balance.