The Geopolitics of Emerging Disruptive Technologies (EDTs)


19th of March 2024, Bucharest, ROMANIA


A one-day workshop aimed at senior executives in technology or internet companies (it would also be interesting for government officials dealing with technology and international affairs and executives from the banking sector). The workshop will focus on how EDTs are increasingly important in international geopolitics and diplomacy and the implications for companies and how they operate. EDTs both shape geopolitical rivalries and are shaped by them. The major technology and internet companies increasingly act as geopolitical actors in their own right, even if they are sometimes unaware of this, while at the same time being manipulated by governments in pursuit of their foreign policy objectives. Companies in the internet and technology sectors cannot avoid the geopolitics of EDTs and need to develop effective policies and practices to allow them to engage with these issues and with governments. They need to develop their own Techplomacy.

This workshop will focus on developments in the geopolitics of EDTs, future trends and how companies can develop strategies for dealing with them. It will be practitioner focused. The workshop will be delivered in English. A light lunch will allow the opportunity for networking. Written materials will be provided before the course. A certificate of attendance will be issued at the end of the workshop. The workshop can be delivered within a single company or externally with participation of executives from different companies. Participation will be limited to 20 executives. This will allow the workshop to be more interactive. A practical exercise will allow executives to practice what they have learned. The workshop modules can be adapted to the needs of individual clients.

Workshop Modules

How the embeddedness of EDTs, including AI and cyberspace, generates politically driven geographies and the opportunities and vulnerabilities this creates. How governments manipulate EDTs in pursuit of foreign policy and national security objectives. Chip wars and the fight over key physical resources. The dangers EDTs – including AI and biogenetic technologies – pose to international security.   Future trends in the geopolitics of EDTs.

Even though not aware of it, major internet and technology companies are increasingly being seen as geopolitical actors in their own right. They get drawn into geopolitical conflicts. They shape the geopolitical environment. The tools they develop are weaponised by governments. They function in geopolitical ways (eg involvement in Ukraine). The module also looks at the role of digital currencies and cybersecurity companies in geopolitical conflict.

What are the implications of the geopolitics of EDTs for internet and technology companies? How can they understand the implications of the geopolitics for their own operations? How can technology and internet companies develop effective ways of engaging with governments and other key international actors? What is the role of internet and technology companies in the debates about the regulation of EDTs? How can governments more effectively engage with internet and technology companies as partners rather than as subjects of regulation?

A tailored practical exercise built around analysis and the development of effective Techplomacy strategies built around the challenges and opportunities identified in the analysis phase.

The Geopolitics of Emerging Disruptive Technologies (EDTs)

Workshop Director

Shaun Riordan is Director of the Chair of Diplomacy and Cyberspace of the European Institute of International Studies. He is a visiting fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (“Clingendael”) and the Charhar Institute (Beijing). Shaun is a senior consultant on public, digital and cyber diplomacy with both UNITAR and UNDP and has taught at diplomatic academies in Spain, Bulgaria, Armenia and the Dominican Republic. He also teaches at the Financial Markets Institute in Madrid and the University of Deusto and has been a research fellow of the London School of Economics.

Shaun is a former British diplomat who served in New York, Taiwan, Beijing and Madrid, as well as in the Counter-Terrorism, Yugoslavia, UN and Hong Kong Departments in the Foreign Office in London. He is the author of “The New Diplomacy” (Polity 2003), “Adiós a la Diplomacia” (Siglo XXI 2005), “Cyberdiplomacy: Managing Governance and Diplomacy in Cyberspace” (Polity 2019) and “The Geopolitics of Cyberspace” (Brill 2019) and co-author of “Science Diplomacy, Cyberdiplomacy and Techplomacy in EU-LAC Relations” (Springer 2023). He has written widely on diplomacy and geopolitics and their interaction with digital and other emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs), including co-authoring recent T20 Policy briefs on the geopolitics of AI and the regulation of cybersecurity companies. He has an MA(Hons) in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Shaun Riordan
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