Dr. Nancy Stetson, special representative for Habitat III at the US Department of State, gave the opening remarks, where she highlighted the importance of cities in combating critical transnational security issues, ranging across areas as diverse as food security and violent extremism. Dr. Stetson, the lead negotiator for the US delegation to the conference, noted that, in an era of national gridlock, local officials often can take quicker and more effective action to address these challenges. Building more effective and inclusive transnational networks, focusing in particular on city-to-city relations and policy exchanges, will be an important topic at the Habitat III conference in Uruguay, she added. Dr. Stetson finished her remarks by inviting other stakeholders to join her and the US delegation at the conference to better shape urban development in both the United States and around the world, and help counter security threats including violent extremism, climate change, and economic inequality.
SFI staff and Qualcomm representatives visited Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, because the city is building a national reputation as a hub for technological innovation and entrepreneurship. They hosted two roundtables, each attended by individuals prominent in the local tech sector, and held several private meetings, all designed to understand Madison’s success as a tech hub and to identify the potential challenges which could undermine the city’s continued growth in the future.
The world is on the cusp of a new industrial revolution, the convergence and synergy of emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, 3D printing, sensing technology, advanced manufacturing, new materials, biotech—all built on a digital information technology platform, transforming how we work and live. The United States has been on the cutting edge of most of these technologies. But in a world of diffused power and growing competition from such emerging economies as China, can the United States sustain its competitiveness?
In fact, many have adopted quasi-democratic practices such as political competition, rule of law, and economic openness in order to appear more legitimate in the eyes of the international community. This is because the liberal world order provides the capital, globalized markets, and free-flowing goods they need to maintain power over their increasingly connected, internationally aware, and informed citizens.