Peter Haynes

  • "The Show Must Go On"


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  • Multiculturalism Is the Answer to Ukraine’s Identity Crisis

    Celebrating diversity: that's the official theme of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Kyiv this May. This is an inspired choice; Ukraine has been one of Europe's most diverse and multicultural lands for centuries. Since the Soviet collapse, this organic multiculturalism has played a disappointingly minor role in Ukraine’s nation-building efforts. However, it is perfectly in tune with the new and inclusive sense of national identity that has flourished in Ukraine thanks to the Euromaidan Revolution and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hybrid war.

    By officially embracing the country’s demographic diversity at Eurovision, Ukraine can begin to consolidate its national identity gains of the past few years while denying Russia one of its most powerful propaganda weapons. With a global audience numbering in the hundreds of millions, the song contest is the perfect platform for redefining what it means to be a modern Ukrainian.

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  • The Rise of ‘Social Machines’

    Increasingly, Computer Systems May Harness Us and Our Data to Machines, Often Without Our Knowledge. How Should We Regulate That?


    Back in 1999, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, envisioned a time when computers would be used “to create abstract social machines on the Web: processes in which the people do the creative work and the machine does the administration.” More than 15 years later, the idea of social machines remains both arcane and relatively unexamined. Yet such machines are all around us. Many are built on social networks such as Facebook, in which human interactions—from organizing a birthday party to protesting terrorist attacks—are underpinned by an engineered computing environment. Others are to be found in massively multiplayer online games, where a persistent online environment facilitates interactions concerning virtual resources between real people.

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  • Online Voting: Rewards and Risks

    When it comes to elections, the vast majority of the world still votes on paper. Yet given the universal connectivity of services where almost every task can be completed online or electronically, this illustrates a curious anomaly. Why are those technologies that have revolutionized our daily lives not being used to bring the electoral process into the twenty-first century?

    Online voting and  e-voting could become a larger part of the political process in the United States and in other participatory democracies with the right security to back it up, according to Online Voting: Rewards and Risks, a new Atlantic Council study by Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Nonresident Senior Fellow Peter Haynes conducted in collaboration with McAfee, part of Intel Secutity.

    pdfRead the Report (PDF)

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  • Rebalancing Socioeconomic Asymmetry in a Data-Driven Economy

    As the global economy becomes increasingly grounded in the exchange of data, the ways in which those data are collected and analyzed will become even more opaque to individuals, and the value exchange that is taking place even harder to discern. Although an individual may receive something in return for their information, the real values of both the data provided and the service returned (i.e., the underlying exchange of value) is almost impossible to determine—one reason why few individuals seem to put much trust in the data-driven economy.

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  • Technology Policy in an Age of Unknowledge

    Technology evolves so quickly that government regulations are outdated from the day they are written. Policymakers should consider the thirty-year-old insights of an obscure British economist for a map to the new approach we need to regulating technologies. 

    We are moving rapidly into the age of the “Internet of Everything” (IoE), in which tens of billions of smart, interconnected devices – from environmental sensors to bathroom scales – will interoperate without human involvement, and in ways that likely will be unknowable.  If governments default to their tradition of writing regulations for specific technologies as they are currently known, they will risk stifling some of the innovation that will change those technologies tomorrow. Instead, regulators should read the writings of economist George Shackle, who described the state of technological “unknowledge” back around 1980. Shackle would have policymakers combine their current knowledge with imagination to create a “thought map” that envisions all probable and possible future scenarios. They should then make policy decisions that are sufficiently flexible and dynamic to encompass a wide range of such scenarios. 

    Read Haynes’ full article on our FutureSource blog.

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  • Technology Policy in an Age of Unknowledge

    Technology evolves so quickly that government regulations are outdated from the day they are written. Policymakers should consider the thirty-year-old insights of an obscure British economist for a map to the new approach we need to regulating technologies.

    Read More
  • In the Shadow of Forster's Room

    What might the world look like a century from now? This is not an idle question: if we were able to forecast the ultra-long-term future with at least some degree of accuracy, our approach to policymaking would be very different. For example, if we consider federally funded R&D since World War II, much of it looks like a random walk, albeit one down a not-so-gentle incline. But now imagine that, back in 1950, America’s top forecasters had universally predicted that the world would somehow be electronically interconnected by 2000, and that what they referred to as “cyber-warfare” and “cyber-espionage” would pose an unprecedented (and unanticipated) threat to U.S. socio-economic security. How then might the U.S. have chosen to allocate its R&D dollars over the ensuing half century?

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