Digital Policy

Event Recap

October 28, 2020

Event recap | Data, tech, and geopolitics in 2021 and beyond

By Hannah Biggs

Find the full GeoTech Hour Series here.

Event description

In this episode of the GeoTech Hour, hosted Wednesday, October 28, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST, panelists examined data, tech, and geopolitics in the lead up to 2021 and beyond. The discussion considered actions that could uplift societies and populations as a whole. The world will, we hope, be more stable in this upcoming year, and as a result, it is the ideal time for governments to learn lessons from 2020 and adjust course accordingly.

The expert panelists highlighted current challenges, such as quantitative bias, in which individuals are biased toward anything that is quantifiable, disregarding qualitative context. It is imperative that executives find a middle ground that values both quantitative data and the context it exists in. Another challenge is that companies and technology risk getting caught in between China and the United States and their escalating disputes. Companies will have to demonstrate resilience by not being succumbing to nationalist tendencies and by prioritizing human-centric advances over nationality.

Government interventions to ensure a firm recovery from the pandemic will be essential. Creating working groups, councils, and alliances to develop and distribute vaccines and guarantee food security is essential to promoting security and peace. Such coalitions would be best initiated at the local and state level by creating groups that represent people in an authentic way. Philanthropic donors and organizations should be incorporated into solutions to these challenges.

The best way to strengthen trust in technology is to help people with the problems at their doorstep. If individuals see that the effective and ethical use of data can provide solutions to things like personalized medicine, equal education, or even something as simple as a transparent approach to plowing snow, they are more likely to opt into systems built to help them. People are skeptical of participating in some programs like the national census because of fear that their data will be weaponized against them, which leads to gaps in data. By coming together to build a new model of technology and data on a foundation of trust, we will create a society that wants to become active and work with agencies for a stronger, more inclusive community.


Melissa Flagg, PhD
Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council

Dion Hinchcliffe
Vice President and Principal Analyst
Constellation Research

Tricia Wang, PhD
Nonresident Fellow, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council

R “Ray” Wang
Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council

Hosted by

David Bray, PhD
Director, GeoTech Hour
Atlantic Council

Previous episode

Event Recap

Oct 21, 2020

Event recap | Entrepreneurs and accelerating startup ecosystems amid the pandemic

By GeoTech Center

On Wednesday, October 21, the GeoTech Center convened experts to discuss how venture capital and entrepreneurs can accelerate local start-up ecosystems globally to help the pandemic recovery, to rebuild economies, and work towards a future that is more prosperous and peaceful for us all.

Digital Policy Economy & Business

Related Experts: Melissa Flagg, Tricia Wang, R “Ray” Wang, and David Bray