Denmark to appoint world’s first digital ambassador

Diplomatic shift comes as government looks to better groom tech giants like Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft

The foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, has announced he will appoint the world’s first ambassador for digitalisation.

The coming official will be charged with establishing and grooming networks with tech giants like Google, Apple, IBM and Microsoft.

“These companies have become a new kind of nation, and we need to address that,” Samuelsen told Politiken newspaper.

“They are companies that influence Denmark as much as other nations do. It’s a new reality.”

READ MORE: Denmark eyes gender equality in 2017 diplomatic shuffle

One-person job
The new position is a diplomatic nuance that reflects a power shift between states and privately-owned behemoths. Measured in market value, Apple and Google are almost big enough to be part of the international G20 forum.

Samuelsen said the new ambassador wouldn’t mean an abandonment of more traditional forms of diplomatic networking, and it is yet unknown where the new tech ambassador would be stationed.

Martin Marcussen, a researcher of diplomacy and diplomatic innovation, contends the appointment will be symbolic.

If I understand the Foreign Ministry correctly, the position would closely resemble the Arctic ambassador. The ambassador will get an office, practically consisting solely of that individual. He or she will have this title and be able to travel around, but it’s just one person, so one can’t expect too much.”