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Digital minilaterals and new approaches to technology cooperation

By Danielle Cave

In December 2020 Danielle Cave wrote an article on digital minilaterals and new approaches to technology cooperation for India’s largest think-tank The Observer Research Foundation:

“Most nation states have only had limited or fleeting influence on what will become one of the most important strategic and foreign policy issues of the coming decades — emerging and critical technologies. As a handful of larger nation states jostle and elbow one another for influence and control in this space — primarily of course, the United States and China — it is too often forgotten that most countries are technology takers, not technology makers. Few of us are actually building the technologies we are so quickly adopting, and even fewer are setting the rules and norms that govern this technology. This unusual policy environment has led to complacency. Most ‘technology taking’ states have been slower to keep up their policy resourcing, and hence policymaking and national strategies. For most, this is only now starting to change, but it is changing quickly.

Despite these changes, global public discussions remain dominated by the views of the United States, China and to a lesser extent Europe. The rest of the world is struggling to be heard on key issues from data privacy to smart city and surveillance technologies to the biases being baked into machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies that are now, often unknowingly, an increasingly integrated part of our lives. We know where Washington, Beijing and Brussels stand on such issues, but what about Jakarta, New Delhi, or Tokyo?”

Read the rest of this article here.