On July 29, the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD) hosted ‘The Digital ‘Great Game’ – The Technological Frontier In US-China Strategic Competition’. The virtual panel was held from 2:15 PM to 3:45 PM (EST) and can be watched on our YouTube channel.
The third panel in IPD’s ongoing series on the current landscape of Sino-American relations, “The Digital Great Game—the Technological Frontier in U.S.-China Strategic Competition” will explore the geopolitical drivers behind the heightening technological rivalry between Washington and Beijing. Likewise, it will seek to trace the role of developments in digital technology and telecommunications in strategic escalation. Speakers will examine the securitization of technology, the balancing of innovation and cyber policy against cybersecurity risks, and the race to technological dominance in the context of the return of great power politics.
What are the national security implications of global advancements in core technologies of the cyber age such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and machine learning, Fifth Generation Technology (5G), and Internet of Things (IoT)? What sorts of security failures could we expect from such technologies? What impact would such concerns have on Chinese and American approaches to trade and bilateral relations? In what ways would they shift the terms of the competition between national economies—will they produce more interdependence or autonomy? What is the role of giant tech monopolies in such debates: do they welcome digital sovereignty and economic nationalism or resist decoupling for the sake of global enterprise? Given the increased concerns over forced technology transfers, corporate espionage, as well as privacy and IP issues as well as the rise in trade barriers, sanctions, and export controls in the name of national security, what are the prospects for competitive interdependence in the globalized knowledge-intensive economy? What are the foreign policy implications of these developments, and could we expect the cyber wars and ensuing technological bifurcation to produce real escalation and hot conflict between Washington and Beijing?
Friction over these domains and the controversies over 5G infrastructure projects have intensified as the EU and NATO have joined American concerns over Chinese cyber activity and the U.K. reassesses Chinese firms’ involvements in its 5G networks and infrastructure. This panel will attempt to frame the recent tensions within the larger strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China, separate fact from fiction as to the real dangers that lurk in the digital technology sector, and provide insight as to how Washington and Beijing can avoid potential flashpoints. Amid intertwined supply chains, scientific exchange, and a shared digital commons, speakers will also address how other countries must recalibrate their role within the dynamics of this new “Great Game”.
Rebecca Fannin: Founder, Silicon Dragon Ventures; Author of Tech Titans of China (2019)
Paul Triolo: Managing Director, Global Technology Policy, Eurasia Group
Rogier Creemers: Co-founder, DigiChina, New America and Stanford University; Assistant Professor, University of Leiden
Steven Weber: Professor, UC Berkeley; Faculty Director, Berkeley Center for Long Term Cybersecurity (CLTC)