(CRISRAnet) Technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, and 5G will be the backbone of the 21st century economy. Leadership and ongoing innovation in these areas will confer critical economic, political, and military power, and the opportunity to shape global norms and values. The pandemic pre-crisis trajectory of waning clout in technology development, standards-setting, and proliferation posed an unacceptable and avoidable challenge to the interests of the world’s leading liberal-democratic states.
The current crisis accentuates this even more: it lays bare the need to rethink and restructure global supply chains; the imperative of ensuring telecommunication networks are secure, robust, and resilient; the ability to surge production of critical materiel, and the need to deter and counteract destructive disinformation. This is difficult and costly — and it is best done in concert.
The world’s technology and democracy leaders — the G7 members and countries like Australia, the Netherlands, and South Korea — should join forces to tackle matters of technology policy. The purpose of this initiative is three-fold: one, regain the initiative in the global technology competition through strengthened cooperation between like-minded countries; two, protect and preserve key areas of competitive technological advantage; and three, promote collective norms and values around the use of emerging technologies.