We champion positive paths forward that nations, economies, and societies can pursue to ensure new technologies and data empower people, increase prosperity, and secure peace. Correspondingly, these common principles represent the bedrock of the work the Atlantic Council does around the world. Equally important, new technologies and data should advance these principles globally.

The Atlantic Council GeoTech Center encourages global tech collaborations, evaluates good tech choices as well as measurable policy alternatives, and educates world leaders and the public on issues related to global tech competition.

The post-COVID-19 world: GeoTech and the pandemic

Learn what the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center has done since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. View our video recaps. Read our analyses. Glean insights on how tech, data, and leadership can ensure the world gets through the pandemic and we build a better post-COVID-19 world together.

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Galvanizing GeoTech action

people holding luminated smartphones in the air at night

Future of data

Informed choices can shape behaviors that, over time, become ‘sticky’ habits across societies. As a result, these repetitive habits inculcate norms. A central issue for the Future of Data is the ability of individuals and societies to choose how we want to reshape norms and distribute power in our communities.

trouble ahead photo of a lightning storm at night over a city

Future of sensemaking

Sensemaking is something we all do. We each concurrently interpret dozens of symbols by shifting spatial attention at a rate of up to five times per second with our brain’s complex adaptive network of over one hundred trillion synapses. The Future of Sensemaking shapes how we perceive data, make sense of our environment, and decide to work – or not – together as societies.

flags of several nations

Future of trust

We are now witnessing widening polarization and mistrust within societies. In part this is because new technologies, once developed, are difficult to regulate even if they prove disruptive to social cohesion, market operations, and institutional trust. The Future of Trust depends on us building bridges across different tech, commerce, and community sectors, thereby enabling the examination of the prospective effects of new technologies and greater control by society.

people walking on a road that looks like a calendar during day time

Future of work

Certain inventions, such as the assembly line, both benefited societies and required new laws to protect individuals from an asymmetrical distribution of power—for example, unsafe working conditions. The Future of Work will require new ways of collaborating across societies so that all people can evaluate, accept, and receive benefit from new technologies.

example of satellite technology in space

Future of space

As space becomes the new frontier to be explored by national governments and private sector interests, the Future of Space requires us to develop initiatives that benefit people, prosperity, and peace while working to deter actions and policies that do not promote these values for all nations.

example of health technology with test tubes

Future of health

We are now in an era where we can change our genes and biological processes that regulate our bodies. The Future of Health requires new abilities for understanding and regulating technologies at a pace that matches the speed by which personalize medicine and other bio-related technologies are advancing.

The next generation of technological change will have a more dramatic impact on how individuals live and work, how economies operate and how nations interact than any that has come before it.

Frederick Kempe, President & CEO

GeoTech Commission

We must transform how we make choices regarding technology and data, both locally and globally. Thus, the Atlantic Council GeoTech Commission recommends policy actions to ensure the most beneficial outcomes for people, prosperity, and peace. This is necessary because we must overcome significant challenges in distinguishing good from bad choices. We also must ensure people and societies are informed on key questions, such as:

  • How can either societies or markets characterize new technologies and data choices regarding measurable benefits to people, prosperity, and peace?
  • In what ways can good technologies and data choices be incentivized, with attention to either policy or business approaches?
  • How can overall adoption of beneficial new technologies and data initiatives be accelerated regionally, nationally, and globally?

Commission co-chairs

Commissioners

GeoTech Partners

The Atlantic Council’s GeoTech efforts succeed in light of our wide range of Partners. Above all, our Partners embody the collaborative, multi-faceted work that we do. Together, we champion positive paths forward for new technologies and data globally.

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GeoTech Center

Because our future depends on our choices today, we work to illuminate for world leaders how new technologies and data can benefit people, prosperity, and peace. As a result of our mission, our focus at the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center includes the global, national, and economic impacts of data and machine learning, personalized medicine, additive manufacturing, nanotechnology, green energy, commercialization of space, robotics, synthetic biology, and other new technologies on the horizon. The Center’s overall activities include:

  • Identifying choices affecting the use of new technologies and data that explicitly benefit people, prosperity, and peace.
  • Recommending positive paths forward to help markets and societies adapt in light of technology- and data-induced changes.
  • Determining priorities for future investment among public and private entities seeking new technologies and data initiatives specifically for global benefit.

Team

Activities, Videos, and Analyses

GeoTech Activities:

AI & China: Smart Partnerships for Global Challenges

New technologies and data are tools. It is upon the choices we make, both as individuals and as communities, that ensure that they are used as a force for good in the world.

Dr. David Bray, Director, GeoTech Center

Experts

Content

Fri, Sep 25, 2020

Transfer of EU user data to the United States halted

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, an EU privacy regulator, has issued a preliminary order to Facebook Inc. that demands a suspension of the transfer of EU user data to the United States, where regulations on user data are less stringent.

GeoTech Cues by Richard J. Cordes

Digital Policy European Union

Fri, Sep 18, 2020

Securing a future for farmers through technology

COVID-19 has shaken up markets across the globe as much as it has societies, but perhaps no supply chain has been as impacted as that of food and agriculture. Farmers themselves, and the leaders who advocate for them, have been the first to notice these dramatic developments, as shipments were delayed or even canceled due to catastrophic decline in demand, forcing farmers to dump excess goods or sacrifice already tough margins. Fortunately, though, technology promises a brighter future, one where data shared over the internet can connect farmers directly with the people consuming their products. As Dr. David Bray, Director of the GeoTech Center, explained at the recent Agricultural Science Association of Ireland 2020 Conference, the world will need to consider an international approach, with far-reaching political implications, in order to rethink our current supply chains and meet the needs of our growing population, even with natural and human made shocks disrupting along the way.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Civil Society Coronavirus
gtc photo of sun peaking through a large rock formation

Tue, Sep 15, 2020

Open societies must create a grand strategy framework for data, sensemaking, and trust

Open societies are at a series of crossroads requiring intentional choices for the decade ahead. These choices are forced by new technologies, improvements in data capabilities, and changes in geopolitics globally. While human nature has not changed, the number of people on Earth has changed–up from 1.6 billion people on the planet in 1900, to 2.5 billion in the 1950s, to 7.8 billion in 2020.

GeoTech Cues by James Schmeling (Guest Author) and David Bray, PhD

Cybersecurity Digital Policy

Tue, Sep 15, 2020

Why data governance matters: Use, trade, intellectual property, and diplomacy

Global data and internet governance represents a scattered, multi-stakeholder, bottom-up, and driven by loose coordination among various players. Data governance can be thought of as incorporating a triangle of individuals and their privacy, nation-states and their interests, and the private sector and its profits. Its current status and prospects might be thought of along several lines of activity, which are interrelated but, for the sake of clarity and with some danger of oversimplification, are discussed in the following different sections: privacy and data use; regulating to police content; using antitrust to dilute data monopolies; self-regulation and digital trade; intellectual property rights; and digital diplomacy.

GeoTech Cues by Pari Esfandiari, PhD, Gregory F. Treverton, PhD

Cybersecurity Digital Policy

Wed, Sep 9, 2020

Pandemic puts pressure on innovators to speed up

“Necessity is the mother of invention, and right now, COVID-19 has created the need for tools to treat the current pandemic and mitigate the effects of future outbreaks, Dr. Bray said. The situation reminds him of how the risk from house fires prompted innovators to design a system to warn occupants before it was too late. ‘Can we instrument the planet in such a way that we’ll have earlier warning signs about new viruses and infections, analogous to smoke detectors?’”

In the News by Atlantic Council

Civil Society Coronavirus

Tue, Sep 8, 2020

Pandemic accents federal need for identification technology

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have become increasingly reliant upon digital tools for their very survival. Whether in digital workspaces, or online applications for essential aid through unemployment insurance and other forms of relief, Americans have depended on digital resources to get through this tumultuous time. The crisis, though, has highlighted the weakness of much of the country’s digital infrastructure for handling such transactions, particularly in the lack of sufficient forms of digital identification. Dr. David Bray spoke to Signal magazine of the AFCEA on how Canada has implemented a form of digital identification that allowed them to overcome some of the hurdles faced by the US Government as it attempted to support the population.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Civil Society Coronavirus

Sun, Sep 6, 2020

#GoodTechChoices: Addressing past and current racism in tech and data

This article examines what the data and tech communities can do about racism, specifically instances where tech products and services provide different treatment based on how people present, specifically their skin color, names, and other markers of not being what 'white' which is a term loaded with both non-inclusive and unjust connotations.

GeoTech Cues by Sara-Jayne Terp

Civil Society Economy & Business

Fri, Aug 28, 2020

Crisis innovation through data trusts: Dr. David Bray

Major global crises like COVID-19 have proven how understanding data quickly and effectively will be essential to our survival; and, to meet that necessity, artificial intelligence will be key. However, without intentional choices to put people at the center of how we collect and manage data, artificial intelligence could spell the end of open societies, replaced instead with surveillance states or surveillance capitalism. “If companies or countries want to succeed in the next decade, we’ve got to figure out a way to do data with people, not to people,” Dr. Bray explained.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Cybersecurity Digital Policy

Thu, Aug 27, 2020

Building a collaborative ecosystem for AI in healthcare in Low and Middle Income Economies

For AI-enabled technologies to truly transform healthcare and improve national and global health outcomes, it is imperative that cross-cutting challenges like data availability, business model sustainability, and lack of enabling infrastructure and other building blocks are addressed.

GeoTech Cues by Abhinav Verma, Krisstina Rao, Vivek Eluri, and Yukti Sharma (GeoTech Guest Authors)

Africa Americas
gtc phases of the moon at night

Thu, Aug 27, 2020

Making sense of sensemaking: What it is and what it means for pandemic research

We are often blind to our incredible, expansive, awe-inspiring ability to make sense of our environment—until we no longer can. R.J. Cordes dives into sensemaking and its role in pandemic research.

GeoTech Cues by Richard J. Cordes

Disinformation Internet

Events

Wed, Sep 30, 2020

Space economics: Building sustainable space infrastructure

ONLINE EVENT - An expert panel discussion about the rapidly changing economics of space exploration and the implications of its market shifts for geopolitics, coordination, and technology. TIMEZONE NOTE - The times listed on this page are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT, UTC-04:00).

12:00pm ONLINE EVENT