Speakers: Cohn, A. (Steptoe & Johnson, LLP); Kaufman, D. (CNA); Thomas, D. (CNA); Weber, S. (UC Berkeley)
Date: 7 June 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Ms. Dawn Thomas (CNA), Dr. David Kaufman (CNA), Dr. Steven Weber (UC Berkeley), and Mr. Alan Cohn (Steptoe & Johnson, LLP) as a part of its SMA General Speaker Series. To begin, Ms. Thomas outlined her team’s key propositions: 1) Cybersecurity is the biggest problem of the Internet era; 2) The problem set is evolving more quickly than our understanding of it (and our ability to ‘solve’ it); 3) Different countries and industries will grapple with these challenges in different ways; and 4) Gaining foresight into those differences enables us to tilt the digital world in a direction that is more secure and beneficial to people and societies. She then spoke about their project as a whole, which introduced four scenarios that highlight different aspects of how technology and people might interact in 2025. Her team conducted workshops in four different locations (Palo Alto, Munich, Singapore, and Hong Kong) in order to see how people in different countries/regions react to the scenarios provided. After Ms. Thomas spoke about what policy success looks like, Mr. Cohn described each of the four scenarios posed during the workshop: 1) “The New Wiggle Room,” 2) “Quantum Leap,” 3) “Trust Us,” and 4) “Barlow’s Revenge.” Ms. Thomas then discussed how the participants at each of the workshops answered the following questions, with respect to cybersecurity in 2025: 1) “Who will come in and save the day?”; 2) “Where are first mover advantages most important?”; and 3) “Where are the new criminals?” Next, Dr. Weber outlined the overarching themes that arose from the team’s research: 1) There is disillusionment when it comes to the idea of ‘cyber norms’; 2) It takes concerted effort to keep hold of the upside (of cybersecurity); and 3) The discussion (surrounding cybersecurity) has been nationalized. He also spoke about digital geopolitics and how it is creating new alignments among new state and non-state actors; digital job displacement and inequality; and the maintenance of data integrity and trust. To conclude, all four speakers addressed questions posed during the Q&A session.