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Shaping the Cyber Future

On Wednesday, 20 November 2019, the Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) welcomed a room filled with technology enthusiasts for a public discussion entitled, “Shaping the Cyber Future.”

26 November 2019
Cyber future

Shaping the Cyber Future

On Wednesday, 20 November 2019, the Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) welcomed a room filled with technology enthusiasts for a public discussion entitled, “Shaping the Cyber Future.”

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Mission, the panel featured GCSP Cyber Security Fellow Dixie O'Donnell; World Economic Forum Head of Technology, Society and Policy Thomas Philbeck; and GCSP Cyber Cluster head Dr. Robert Dewar as moderator, as they discussed the state of cyber regulations and policies to counter malicious activities in cyber space.

The consensus among the panelist was that people shape technology. Even as technology shapes society, people must make choices about regulation, governance structures, and values to mitigate the negative effects of evolving technologies. While technology does indeed shape our future, human beings and societies are responsible for building and maintaining the structures that govern how technologies are used. This has been the case throughout human history, from the stone age to the copper and iron ages, from farming to industrialization, and though the speed and intensity of innovation has increased, the facts of technological innovation and human agency over it has not.

Ms. O’Donnell discussed the need to mainstream security into the design of all internet-connected infrastructure, devices and software; the way the values and culture shape approaches to cyber regulation with differing models now emerging from Russia, China and the European Union; and that the triad of governments, the private sector and citizens/civil society had reacted to the extreme disruption of the industrial revolution to protect both markets and workers in the Western world. Governments, businesses and citizens need to ask themselves what governance model they wish to influence the global economy and what their role in building and maintaining it is. Good policies and ideas are being proposed to mitigate the negative externalities of the expansion of cyberspace and its absorption of ever-more human activity, but more cooperative and systemic approaches are needed to combat disinformation, the eroding of trust between communities and countries, and ensure technology continues to benefit humanity.

Mr. Philbeck said technology is how we manifest our relationships and assumptions about the world, and new technologies let us do the same things we have always done in new ways. The inversions of scale and privacy make things problematic for policy built for physical communities. How we think and what we assume about the world is responsible for how we utilize technologies. We need ethical and security layers built into the tech development process beyond product development. Only once we start to do this, will we exhibit the kind of behaviors that restore trust.

 

We look forward to continuing this discussion at the GCSP!