The II Youth Internet Governance Forum (Youth RIGF 2022) finally took place at the Digital Business Space in Moscow on May 13. The Forum gathered the most creative, talented and progressive young people in the IT sector who are deeply interested in the future of the Internet. The event was joined by approximately 400 offline visitors and more than 80,000 online participants, watching the live stream on VK—the Forum's partner platform.
"We can see that the Forum is growing more popular every year, primarily because the IT industry is now becoming a priority for both the society and the government. In the world where high technology is indispensable for economic growth of every single country, IT experts are basically oil and gas. Taking into account the urgency of human capital development in the IT industry, today, Russia is creating the most favorable conditions for comfortable and, more importantly, forward-looking work of IT professionals," said the Director of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation Vadim Glushchenko in his opening speech.
The development of domestic social networks, recommendation system operation and fight against destructive content and fake news were discussed at the "Captured by the World Wide Web: Content and Algorithms" section. The discussion on the future of esports and the advances of the video game industry amid sanctions and pressure exerted on Russian sports personalities was held at the "eSports 'Epidemic': World Growth of the Gaming Industry" section. The future of VR and AR technology, the development of virtual worlds and the effect they have on global economy were talked about at the "'We All Live in the Matrix': the Future of the Metaverses" section. The "Choose a Career from a Young Age: New Demands of the Old Labour Market" section became a venue for discussions on careers of the future and the transformation of education.
General Director of ANO Internet Development Institute Alexey Goreslavsky, who moderated the "Captured by the World Wide Web: Content and Algorithms" section, shared his thoughts on this year's tracks, "The main topic of the Forum is not first and foremost fake news; it's the interest in information that surrounds us. Current events are obviously a big part of it, and this applies to both special military operation and previous years' COVID-19, that sparked a wave of information, rumors, fake news, and so forth. All of this is naturally of tremendous interest to Internet users, and the amount of relevant information exceeds all reasonable limits. The key message of the Forum is that it's important both to understand what's going on and to think of tools for countering unreliable information. Another topic has to do with the structure of Internet governance system at international, national, and local level. It is now more important than ever to understand the nature of platform policies, their interaction, the ways algorithms and recommendations work on different platforms and the ways they utilize user data. People need to understand what social media recommendations are based on and what kind of actions create personalized lists of suggestions. This is the reason why recommendation algorithm transparency and revelation are so important. Otherwise, users may feel like they're being lied to or like there's something they are not allowed to know."
Pavel Zakharov, Head of the Department for the Development of Media Technologies of ANO Dialogue Regions, who was one of the speakers during the section on content and algorithms and participated in the master class of the Youth Digital Ombudsman Dmitry Gulyaev "Fake manipulations in the mass media: how to recognize them and convince friends of the unreliability of information," commented on the speech he gave during the master class, "Yesterday we completed an analytical study assessing the change in fake information structure in Russian Internet. Just imagine that since the beginning of the special operation our analysts have detected the same amount of fake news as in the previous year 2021 (even a bit more than that, to be precise), though it is also worth noting that the amount of 2021's fake news—all related to COVID-19—was abnormal as well. Since the beginning of this year, the number of fake news stories per day has grown fourfold. The number of unique fake news per day, copy-pasted tens of thousands of times and distributed by media and social networks, has quadrupled."
When opening the Forum, the awards ceremony was held, with the awards being given in three categories to the young people who had demonstrated higher levels of achievement in IT. Deputy Minister of Digital Development and member of the award committee at the Youth RIGF Award Bella Cherkesova participated in the awards ceremony. The modernized virtual environment Altterra created by Denis Mayorov and Vyacheslav Pridchin, students at Don State Technical University, was recognized as Best International Youth IT Project. The main prize for Contribution to Global IT Cooperation was won by Arevik Martirosyan, a PhD student at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who's promoting the International Information Security School. The Best Educational IT Project special category, created in partnership with Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, was won by one of its students Maxim Uryvaev, who had come up with the idea to develop the CommunityFinder application for searching people with similar professional interests.
In addition to that, three memoranda of understanding were signed between the Center for Global IT-Cooperation and other organizations, such as the Znanie Society represented by its General Director Maxim Dreval, the Russian eSports Federation, whose President Dmitry Smith was the one to sign the document on behalf of the organization, and ESforce Holding, headed by its CEO Nikolay Petrossian. Director of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation Vadim Glushchenko was the one to sign the memoranda on behalf of the Center.
Head of the Presidential Directorate for the Development of Information and Communication Technology and Communication Infrastructure Tatyana Matveeva attended the closing ceremony and expressed her appreciation for the unprecedented interest in Internet governance and the IT industry the Forum's participants had been showing. Their interest once again proved that the youth is in the vanguard of IT advancement.
Not only did the Forum's participants attend the main sections, but they also took part in fun-zone activities, master classes and visited the IT areas, where they could meet robots developed by Sber, build a radio receiver though VR together with the physicist and electrical engineer Alexander Popov, try their hand at esports in the esports area and even find a new job at the TASS job fair.
Organizers and participants expressed their wish that the Forum would be held annually, giving young people from Russia and all over the world the opportunity for dialogue, discussion of new ideas and project implementation.