Speaker: Gerstein, D.
Date: 22 November 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Daniel Gerstein as a part of its SMA DHS CAOE Speaker Series. This is the inaugural speaker session of SMA’s new series, co-hosted by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Office of University Programs (OUP) and the Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency (CAOE) at Arizona State University. The series is titled “The Age of Disruption—Great Power Competition Implications for Homeland Security.” During his presentation, Dr. Gerstein addressed the following questions: 1) What is technology, and where does it come from?; 2) Can technology be managed?; 3) What is the appropriate balance of discovery and prudence?; 4) What does the history of technology tell us about the future?; and 5) How can we shape a future that is hospitable—or at least not threatening—to humanity? He explained that the history of humankind and technology are inextricably intertwined; humans even measure their progress by the technologies used throughout history. Moreover, technologies are collections of other technologies or systems, and each generation makes improvements to the technologies made by the previous one. This convergence of technologies has led humankind to possess a greater technological capacity and reach than ever before. Furthermore, he stated that technology is inherently dual-use, increasingly disruptive, and highly democratized. Next, Dr. Gerstein discussed six major trends that he observed during his research: 1) the continuing shifts in technology development; 2) the increasing challenge of managing technology development and controlling technology; 3) the emergence of a tech war; 4) the growing competition between humans and computers; 5) the changing expectations for society regarding privacy, liberty, and freedom; and 6) the increasing risk technology poses to humanity. To conclude, Dr. Gerstein spoke about several areas for potential conflict in an increasingly technology-enabled world, including 5G, social media, deep fakes, immigration, the “Big Data Catch-22” (people need to consolidate vast amounts of data, but doing so creates vulnerabilities), the cyber realm, export control, and artificial intelligence.