Cyber Risk Wednesday: How Will Our Cyber Future Be Different from Today?

Welcome and introduction by:
Barry Pavel
Vice President and Director, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Atlantic Council

A discussion with:
Jason Healey
Senior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Atlantic Council

Richard Stiennon
Chief Research Analyst

Steven Weber
Professor, I School and Department of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley

Moderated by:
Barry Pavel
Vice President and Director, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Atlantic Council

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Join the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative on May 20, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a panel discussion on the future of cyberspace and the game-changing scenarios that could transform it to be far better, or perhaps more likely, far worse, than today.
The Internet and related technologies have been safe, secure, and resilient enough for the past three decades of their existence to reshape nearly every industry, create a hyper-connected world, and transform the global economy. Perhaps this will continue indefinitely, with the future holding yet more wonders. However, the increasingly pervasive Internet brings with it growing dependence on a shared, stunningly complex system-of-systems. This has critically exposed companies and governments to systemic cyber risks, where a series of local failures might turn into a global shock similar to the 2008 financial crisis.
What is more, while cyberspace has been continuously evolving through changes in usage and available technologies, most of the current cybersecurity trends now point to a darker future: every year we face more data breaches, critical vulnerabilities, and nations building and using offensive cyber capabilities. Will the accumulated downside risks of dependence on a sometimes rickety and untrustworthy digital infrastructure soon start outpacing the upside opportunities of global interconnectedness? Or will cyberspace head in a direction that is unlike anything ever experienced or envisioned? What game-changing discontinuities could transform the future of cyber conflict and cooperation?
The moderated panel discussion will assess these tensions between risks and opportunities rooted in cyberspace and discuss potential cyber futures that could take shape over the next decade.
This event is part of the Atlantic Council project with Zurich Insurance Group and the University of Denver's Pardee Center for International Futures focusing on assessing the balance between risks and opportunities in cyberspace. In the first year, using quantitative and qualitative frameworks, the group is assessing the impact of accumulated downside cyber risks on upside opportunities for economic growth. In the second year, the team will evaluate the impacts of geopolitical and demographic risks.


During 2014, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative continued to promote its ideas on Saving Cyberspace, examining the best (and worst) cyber futures, and collaborating on groundbreaking ideas with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and other stakeholders.

Our 2014 Year in Review details our accomplishments, efforts, and programming ranging from our groundbreaking project with Zurich Insurance Group (video here) to our student cyber policy competition ‘Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge’.