THE GEOPOLITICS AND DIPLOMACY OF DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES

International Conference

21st of March 2024, Athénée Palace, Le Diplomate Hall

Bucharest, ROMANIA

Emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs) – including cyberspace and artificial intelligence (AI) – are becoming increasingly entangled with geopolitics while at the same time posing challenges to diplomats and diplomacy. Technological capabilities ate seen as a measure of geopolitical prowess. Governments fight out their geopolitical rivalries through technology as much as trade.

The big technology companies are becoming geopolitical actors in their own right, even though some are slow to recognise this. EDTs are generating problems at an international level which require multilateral regulation at the same time that multilateral institutions are finding it harder function. Smart city technologies not only improve the lives of citizens within individual cities but also strengthen the abilities of cities to network with each other generating a new level of diplomatic activity.

Both governments and major technology companies need to develop a new technology diplomacy, or Techplomacy, to allow them to engage effectively over these issues.

The Conference

The international conference will be organized on the 21st of March 2024 in Bucharest, around three panels.

Each panel would consist of a moderator and four speakers and would last 60 minutes, including Q&A. Each panel would have at least one international speaker.

 A report of the conclusions of the panels would be produced after the conference, for which each panel would have a rapporteur to summarise discussion.

The conference would bring together international expert speakers from government, cybersecurity and other internet companies and academia.

Wider participation in the conference would be focused on government, internet/technology and cybersecurity companies, diplomats, academia, think tanks and relevant non-governmental organisations.

Conference Agenda

09:00 – 09:30 — Registration, Welcome Coffee & Networking


09:30 – 10:00  Official opening

Message of the Prime Minister of Romania H.E. Mr. Marcel CIOLACU delivered by Mr. Nicolae COMĂNESCU, State Counsellor for Foreign Policy and Strategic Affairs

Mr. Valeriu ZGONEA – President of ANCOM – National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications

Mr. Bogdan-Gruia IVAN – Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalization – TBC

Mr. Preetam MALOOR – Head of the Emerging Technologies Division at the International Telecommunication Union (online from ITU Zurich)


10:00 – 11:00 Panel 1:  Emerging Disruptive Technologies in the geopolitical arena

H.E. Ms Kathleen KAVALEC – Ambassador of the United States of America – TBC

H.E. Mr. Kap-soo RIM – Ambassador of the Republic of Korea

Mr. Achilleas KANARIS – CEO, Vodafone Romania

Moderator: Mr. Shaun RIORDAN – Director of the Chair in Diplomacy and Cyberspace at the EIIS

Major powers, in general, prefer to avoid direct military conflict because of the risks of escalation. Great power rivalries therefore tend to be fought out in other areas like trade and technology. This has been evident in restrictions on the trade in high technology products (e.g. microchips), the adoption of technological superiority as a measure of Great Power status and the debates about the security of 5/6 G networks. Harmonising 5G networks (which may include issues surrounding the forthcoming 6G mobile telephony) and the issues surrounding digital inclusion.
The panel will explore how governments use EDTs to pursue national interests and geopolitical rivalries. The reduction of access to key raw resources and components (chip wars). The threats to underwater internet cables and other key infrastructure. Concerns about cybersecurity and dependence on components from geopolitical rivals. The conflicts over 5G and 6G and the threat to international industrial standards.


11:00 – 11:15 — Coffee Break & Networking


11:15 – 12:15 Panel 2:  The International Challenges of AI

H.E. Dr. Peer GEBAUER – Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany

H.E. Ms Willemijn van Haaften – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Mr. Paul HURMUZ – Career Military Diplomat

Moderator: Manuela CATRINA – Deputy Director of Romanian National Cyber Security Directorate

The geopolitics of AI – virtual and physical infrastructure. AI poses new challenges to cybersecurity. It can enhance both cyber offence and cyber defence, potentially leading to an AI arms race between cyber-attack and defence.
The development of even newer technologies like quantum computing have implications for encryption, key to the safe transfer of data. How to prevent an ever grater digital divide. Regulating how AI is used and to prevent the reinforcement of existing discrimination and prejudice.

AI has its own dependencies in terms of energy consumption and rare earth materials which could further increase cyber dependencies. AI in automotive industry.
Opportunities and threats of using AI in managing international relations.
International norms on human oversight of AI.

Military uses of AI and Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems.


12:15 – 12:30 —  Coffee Break & Networking


12:30 – 13:30 Panel 3:  Technology Companies as Geopolitical Actors

H.E. Mr. Uffe A. BALSLEV – Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark

H.E. Ms Therese HYDEN – Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden

Moderator: Mr. Valentin PREDA – founder DIPLOMACY360

Conference Rapporteur: Mr Emanuel CERNAT – Managing Partner: Corporate Affairs Strategies

Explore how the major internet and technology companies increasingly act as geopolitical actors in their own right, whether shaping the geopolitical environment, being used as tools in geopolitical rivalries or directly participating in geopolitical conflicts.
The implications for government diplomacy including engaging with internet and technology companies in debates about international technology regulation.
Some countries have appointed ambassadors to the tech sector to engage with these companies on political and geopolitical as well as commercial issues. This panel will discuss the best ways of engaging with technology and internet companies, including the idea of “techambassadors”,

How technology and internet companies can develop their own Techplomacy for engaging with governments and other actors.


13:30 – 15:00 — Lunch Break & Networking


 

The event will be held in English language with Romanian simultaneous translation.

2024 SPEAKERS

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Description

21st of March 2024, Athénée Palace, Le Diplomate Hall, 9:00

Bucharest, ROMANIA

The event will be held in English language with Romanian simultaneous translation.


Emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs) – including cyberspace and artificial intelligence (AI) – are becoming increasingly entangled with geopolitics while at the same time posing challenges to diplomats and diplomacy. Technological capabilities ate seen as a measure of geopolitical prowess. Governments fight out their geopolitical rivalries through technology as much as trade.

Wider participation in the Conference will be focused on government, internet/technology, telecom, software and cybersecurity companies, diplomats, academia and relevant think tanks.

A report of the conclusions of the panels would be produced after the conference, for which each panel would have a rapporteur to summarise discussion.

 

 

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The Geopolitics and Diplomacy of Emerging Disruptive Technologies International Conference

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