Emerging Technologies Can Protect Democratic Freedoms
The National Interest
By: Kersti Kaljulaid
After the 9/11 terror attacks, lawmakers created a bipartisan commission to ensure that one of the darkest days in U.S. history would never be repeated.
Today, threats to the United States and our allies increasingly come from emerging technologies that can have devastating consequences if they are in the wrong hands. Quantum computing, next-generation drones, biomedical engineering, and other technologies have the potential to improve the lives of millions of people — or to empower dictators.
But unlike the 9/11 Commission, we shouldn’t have to wait for a crisis to start preparing ourselves for these threats.
Technology is the new frontier of international relations. The interaction is bi-directional: technology is defining diplomatic matters while diplomacy is also influencing the development and deployment of technology. Take semiconductors as an example. This is a technology that forms the foundation of digital economy, national security, and productivity in almost all industries. Global supply chain in the semiconductor industry is shaping U.S. foreign policy. Conversely, America’s diplomatic effort has been redefining the supply chain. Tech diplomacy is different from science diplomacy, which became a key pillar for the U.S. and other countries since World War II. Scientists participated in treaty negotiations, engaged in bilateral summits and served as attachés at embassies. Primary topics included nuclear proliferation, super-collider construction, human space exploration and environmental science.
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