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  • Author: Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on digital technologies, it has highlighted the growing digital divide between and within societies. Universal access to the digital world has become more urgent than ever, and failure to achieve it could undermine progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. While closing the digital divide and increasing connectivity are among the UN secretary-general’s priorities for 2021, this goal remains elusive and faces many obstacles. One challenge is the lack of a shared understanding of what universal connectivity means. It is not just a technical challenge; it also requires addressing questions related to adoption, usage, accessibility, and the relevance and veracity of content. Another challenge is that funding for digital connectivity is uncoordinated and not easily accessible by those who need it most. There is also a lack of concerted leadership and coherent governance structures at all levels. Moreover, getting the framing right is key. National, global, and local leaders need to establish clear and compelling links between universal connectivity and the 2030 Agenda with its message to “leave no one behind.” Addressing these challenges requires a human-centered, human rights–based approach. Connectivity comes with risks, including privacy issues, misinformation and hate speech, and online violence and sexual harassment. While discussions on universal connectivity have gained momentum, these human rights considerations often remain an afterthought. Governments, businesses, and civil society need to understand connectivity as a right whose protection is their shared responsibility. Ultimately, bridging the digital divide requires a stronger and more inclusive multilateral system. Geopolitics, a lack of shared understanding, knowledge gaps, and suspicion between actors continue to hold back digital cooperation at the UN. Governments need to meaningfully include private sector and civil society actors in formal decision-making processes. In parallel, the UN should create informal platforms to build trust among stakeholders. To achieve meaningful and sustainable progress toward digital inclusion, all actors need to commit to working through a multi-stakeholder platform.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Sustainable Development Goals, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Katharina Krings, Jakob Schwab
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: While blockchain technology (BT) has gained a great deal of publicity for its use in cryptocurrencies, another area of BT application has emerged away from the public eye, namely supply chains. Due to the increasing fragmentation and globalisation of supply chains in recent years, many products have to pass through countless production steps worldwide (from raw material extraction to the point of sale). Ensuring the quality and sustainability of production in preceding steps is a major challenge for many firms and thus, ultimately, also for the consumer. BT offers potential for achieving significant progress on this front. Put simply, the blockchain makes it possible to verify data decentralised within a network, store it in a tamper-proof and traceable format and make it accessible to all members of a network.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Cryptocurrencies, Sustainability, Blockchain
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Pichler, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of ICT-skills on individuals’ labour market mobility patterns, in particular job-to-job, employment- to-unemployment and unemployment-to-employment transitions. Based on the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and longitudinal EU-SILC data, individuals’ labour market outcomes are examined over the period 2011-2017 in nine EU countries and the UK. Our results indicate that individuals with strong ICT skills have better opportunities and are therefore not only more likely to change jobs more frequently but are also less likely to face unemployment. Furthermore, ICT skills support unemployment exit towards medium and high digital occupations. A certain minimum level of ICT skills also supports unemployment exit towards low digital occupations but seems to make employment in such occupations less likely once this threshold is crossed. Overall, ICT skills have less predictive power for transition towards medium digital occupations. Thus, while ICT skills appear to improve labour market opportunities significantly, it seems that there are still jobs that require relatively few ICT skills.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Labor Market, Information Technology , Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vincent Stamer
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Global container ship movements may reliably predict global trade flows. Aggregating both movements at sea and port call events produces a wealth of explanatory variables. The machine learning algorithm partial least squares can map these explanatory time series to unilateral imports and exports, as well as bilateral trade flows. Applying out-of-sample and time series methods on monthly trade data of 75 countries, this paper shows that the new shipping indicator outperforms benchmark models for the vast majority of countries. This holds true for predictions for the current and subsequent month even if one limits the analysis to data during the first half of the month. This makes the indicator available at least as early as other leading indicators.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Trade, Shipping, Machine Learning
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ingrid Ott, Ivan Savin, Chris Konop
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Taking robotic patents between 1977 and 2017 and building upon the topic modeling technique, we extract their latent topics, analyze how important these topics are over time, and how they are related to each other looking at how often they are recombined in the same patents. This allows us to differentiate between more and less important technological trends in robotics based on their stage of diffusion and position in the space of knowledge, where some topics appear isolated while others are highly interconnected. Furthermore, we propose a novel approach to match the constructed topics to the IFR classification of service robots based on frequency and exclusivity of words overlapping between them. We identify around 20 topics belonging to service robotics. Our results corroborate earlier findings, but also provide novel insights on the content and stage of development of application areas in service robotics. With this study we contribute to a better understanding of the highly dynamic field of robotics and contribute to new practices of utilizing the topic modeling approach.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Robotics, Models
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christian Ruhl, Duncan Hollis, Wyatt Hoffman, Tim Maurer
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As cyber insecurity has become a growing problem worldwide, states and other stakeholders have sought to increase stability for cyberspace. As a result, a new ecosystem of “cyber norm” processes has emerged in diverse fora and formats. Today, United Nations (UN) groups (for example, the Group of Governmental Experts [GGE] and the Open-Ended Working Group [OEWG]), expert commissions (for example, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace), industry coalitions (for example, the Tech Accord, the Charter of Trust), and multistakeholder collectives (for example, the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace) all purport to identify or operationalize various normative standards of behavior for states and/or other stakeholders in cyberspace. As some of these processes wind down (for example, the Global Commission) and others wind up (for example, the OEWG), cyber norms are at a crossroads where each process’s potential (and problems) looms large.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Geopolitics, Norms
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jan-Philipp Brauchle, Matthias Göbel, Jens Seiler, Christoph Von Busekist
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Cyber risks present a growing threat for individual agents in the financial system: banks, insurers, central counterparties, and the like. However, cyber events may also have the potential to destabilize the financial system as a whole. While dedicated microprudential regulatory and supervisory regimes are in place or are being developed to manage cyber risks especially at credit institutions, what is lacking is a systemic view of cyber risks that particularly sheds light on concentrations and contagion channels that are material to the financial system.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Finance, Networks, Risk, Financial Institutions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alex W. Schulman
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: eathering TechNationalism provides policymakers, regulators, and corporate executives a five-part framework for mitigating supply chain risk in a holistic way. The framework lays out measures of assurance, transparency, and accountability that ICT buyers, operators, and vendors can implement jointly. Supplementing this framework, the report recommends several balanced, risk-informed policy measures—in accordance with national and industry-specific policy goals—that may further ICT and supply chain security and avoid the negative consequences of TechNationalism he action roadmap provides a whole-of-society approach and recommends that policymakers: Enable threat and vulnerability information sharing, Require diverse sources of supply, Make strategic science and technology investments, Consider narrow national security exceptions, and Review and adapt national supply chain security goals and policies.
  • Topic: Security, National Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: For all of the gains that artificial intelligent (AI) systems allow, society is only now beginning to orient itself to the tremendous ethical and political issues emerging as a result of AI’s prevalence in our society. For example, recent critiques of facial recognition software bring to light issues of algorithmic bias, data irregularities, human rights violations, and government surveillance. In response, various principles and values-based governance models are furiously being developed to direct the future of AI design. The report of the 2020 Aspen Institute Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence explored the intersection of human intimacy and artificial intelligence, investigating how different human-machine relationships may affect the development of human behavior and emotions.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Emotions, Artificial Intelligence, Behavior, Robotics, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michel Girard
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Global data standards are urgently needed to foster digital cooperation and manage global tech platforms. No global organization is currently mandated to coordinate the development, maintenance and use of technical standards covering data value chains and policy-oriented standards covering data governance. Precedents exist where standards development work is coordinated by international organizations in sectors of the economy operating across borders, from aviation and maritime shipping to meteorology, food production, public health and the management of the internet. This paper proposes the creation of a Data Standards Task Force (DSTF), which would be entrusted with a dual mandate: enabling the development of technical standards to create data value chains and being accountable for the development of data governance standards needed by regulators to properly frame the leading big tech platforms (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google). The ultimate objective of the DSTF would be to create the required architecture for a “single data zone” where data can circulate freely between participating jurisdictions.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Social Media, Data, Digital Cooperation , Big Tech
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In the era of continuous and steadily accelerating technological change that started with the Industrial Revolution, economies and societies were repeatedly transformed in ways that can be traced to ownership of the essential and scarce factor of production of the day and command of the economic rents that flowed to that factor. The digital transformation is now ushering in a new economic era, in which the economy is again being reordered by new technologies based on a new essential capital asset — data. Data generates massive rents, fuels the rise of superstar firms and generates powerful incentives for strategic trade and investment policy. The emergence of this new economy signals a new era of conflict, on new battlegrounds and with new tools or weapons, between new coalitions within and between countries. This paper describes the contours of the conflicts that are to be expected with the digital transformation as it realigns interests; compares these expectations with actual developments; and comments on the strategies of the main protagonists and the implications for the rules-based system of international commerce.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Commerce, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michel Girard
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Data is seen by many as the most lucrative commodity of the new global economy. Data analytics and self-teaching algorithms are projected to continue to disrupt every imaginable market and to create new ones. Many organizations are struggling to integrate big data analytics into their operations. New data governance challenges could be tackled through adherence to a data governance standard. There is currently no standard in place to provide guidance on the deployment of corporate data policies to manage ethics, transparency and trust in data value chains. This policy brief outlines the issues that should be covered in the proposed standard.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Data
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Suzie Dunn
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As digital technologies become more sophisticated, so does technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV). This type of violence can take many forms, from the release of personal information and private images without consent, to online stalking and death threats. For perpetrators of TFGBV, the internet is their weapon of choice — it allows them to monitor and control their targets from anywhere in the world. Victim-survivors have little recourse against the many forms of online gender-based violence, including threats of harm, some of which have been carried out. The resulting mental and physical health effects of TFGBV, among other impacts, have forced many victim-survivors out of online spaces and silenced their voices.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Science and Technology, Gender Based Violence , Mental Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: June Park
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: June Park, political economist at the National Research Foundation of Korea, explains that “even the like-minded countries of GPAI have revealed their differences and institutional variance in deploying digital technology to fight COVID-19 at a time of grave national emergency and public health crisis.”
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Crisis Management, Trade, Artificial Intelligence, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Fei Su, Dr Vincent Boulanin, Johan Turell
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The ever-increasing dependence on information and communication technologies (ICTs) in all aspects of society raises many challenges for national crisis management agencies. These agencies need to prepare not only for new cyberthreats and cyber vulnerabilities, but also for the fact that the aftermath of a cyber incident affecting critical infrastructure has its own challenges. On the one hand, the practical disruptions caused by an isolated incident can be hard to predict and control and, on the other hand, the consequences and perceptions of an incident whose cause is not yet determined can be equally hard to manage. Uncertainty around the cause of the incident and remedial actions being taken often lead to public speculation and political pressure to respond in ways that could create political tensions, and possibly conflict, between countries. This policy paper is the result of a nine-month research project that was jointly conducted by SIPRI and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) on cyber-incident management. It explores what national crisis management authorities can do to improve their cyber-incident prevention, detection and response strategies and also how they can do better to deal with the larger societal and potentially political aftermath. It investigates why and how cyber incidents may lead to escalatory scenarios and how these scenarios can be avoided and contained using various de-escalatory approaches. It comprises an introduction providing background and the inspiration of this report (section I); four sections that explore the dynamics of escalation and de-escalation from conceptual (section II), analytical (sections III–IV) and empirical (section V) standpoints; and two sections that present the main findings and recommendations (sections VI–VII).
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Sweden, Global Focus
  • Author: Dr Vincent Boulanin, Kolja Brockmann, Luke Richards
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: In 2018 the United Nations Secretary-General identified responsible research and innovation (RRI) in science and technology as an approach for academia, the private sector and governments to work on the mitigation of risks that are posed by new technologies. This report explores how RRI could help to address the humanitarian and strategic risks that may result from the development, diffusion and military use of artificial intelligence (AI) and thereby achieve arms control objectives on the military use of AI. The report makes recommendations on how the arms control community could build on existing responsible AI initiatives and export control and compliance systems to engage with academia and the private sector in the governance of risks to international peace and security posed by the military use of AI.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Peace, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Margaret Croy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: Several states have succeeded in extracting “yellowcake” uranium from phosphoric acid as part of the phosphate fertilizer production process. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has both the means and motivation to undertake such work, thus significantly altering existing open-source assessments of how much yellowcake uranium North Korea could produce annually, which in turn affects estimates of how many nuclear warheads DPRK can make. There is ample rationale for the DPRK to pursue this method of uranium extraction. The dual usage of existing infrastructure would both conceal the activity and make it more difficult for international audiences to positively identify and condemn. The DPRK certainly needs fertilizer, and the information on how to extract uranium from its production is readily available. Lastly, this method of yellowcake production embodies the policy of byungjin—parallel nuclear-weapon development and economic expansion—a hallmark of Kim Jong Un’s strategy. Given these factors, the rationale for the pursuit of this method is clear. The evidence is even more so. The first section of the paper explains the science behind uranium extraction from phosphoric acid produced as an intermediary in the production of fertilizer from phosphate rock. The second section highlights some of the historical cases of states using this method to obtain uranium. The third section elucidates the reasoning and rationale for using this method in the DPRK, and the fourth section examines the open-source evidence available indicating that this method of obtaining uranium—however uncommon—is in use in the DPRK today, and is likely to continue and expand in scale.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Mining, Manufacturing, Uranium
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy, Howard Mann
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: he green energy transition will be exceedingly mineral intensive. Manufacturing solar panels, wind turbine and batteries to power cleaner energies is set to significantly increase the demand for co-called “critical” minerals. Such a forecast prompts high expectations in mineral-rich countries and suggests promising opportunities for developing countries. However, the projects to increase the primary extraction of critical minerals rest on bullish forecasts and uncertain terrain due to a number of factors explored in the paper that threaten to leave these investments obsolete and economically stranded.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Green Technology, Sustainability, Transition
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tom Martin
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Spending for prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products totaled $413 billion in 2012 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) trade and transports margin data. Just over half of this spending (52%) accrued to the pharmaceutical companies that produced the medicines, while the remainder was divided between transport and wholesale margins (21%) and retail margins (26%). Compared to other research and development (R&D)-intensive manufacturing industries with significant consumer sales, the pharmaceutical and medicines manufacturing industry ranks second in terms of R&D intensity behind communications equipment, and receives the second lowest producers’ share of total spending after other miscellaneous manufacturing. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry is unique among manufacturing industries in that it devotes a large share of its revenue to R&D, despite receiving a considerably smaller share of total spending.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Trade, Transportation, Medicine , Pharmaceuticals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Florence Mandelik, Ayat Mohamed
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: In mediation, where trust-building and confidentiality are vital, the current shift towards virtual and online interactions brings a set of new challenges for practitioners. The authors summarise early takeaways from online engagements with and between civil actors in the context of mediation projects, focusing on the opportunities and challenges that virtual tools and online engagements bring to process design and implementation. In online settings the convener should use several tools from the IT tool box in tandem, carefully selecting them to match the objective of the engagement with the overall context. Process design has to ensure that all the requirements of virtual interaction, including a code of conduct and rules of procedure, are met in order to achieve the desired result. The brief discusses this in detail, including the selection of appropriate IT applications and dealing with participants’ computer literacy and internet access challenges. In particular, it emphasises how active steps should be taken to foster the inclusion of traditionally marginalised groups, including women.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Mediation, Information Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This guidebook answers key questions about how quantum technology itself, in the form of quantum random-number generators (QRNG) and quantum-key distribution (QKD), can provide secure solutions for addressing the quantum computer threat. After explaining how QRNG and QKD work, the guidebook recommends that executives combine these quantum cryptographic solutions with other software-based, quantum-resistant applications that can deter future quantum computer attacks. Finally, the guide shows how quantum science will determine the future of communication technology by making it safe, secure, and ready for the twenty-first century.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Business , Quantum Computers
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lindsay Rand, Jonas Siegel, Scott Jones, Tucker Boyce
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Balancing the benefits and risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI), one of the most diffuse and rapidly evolving emerging technologies, is imperative when forming sound policy. This report analyzes the threats, trade linkages and mechanisms, and policy options in light of ongoing discussions regarding the prospects for applying export controls on artificial intelligence technologies and applications. Using open source research, findings from organized dialogues, and expert interviews, the report authors identified policy options that go beyond export controls and encompass a coordinated, comprehensive, and technical approach to garnering the many benefits of artificial intelligence while mitigating its security risks. These approaches take into account both traditional nonproliferation strategies and ongoing debates concerning national security and economic competitiveness. Urgent, cross-sector action by governments and nongovernmental entities, including exporters, technology developers, academia, and civil society, is necessary to activate cooperative tools that mitigate the risks posed by AI. Lessons learned from strategic trade approaches to AI can be replicated, in certain situations, to other emerging technologies.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Artificial Intelligence, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lindsay Rand, Tucker Boyce
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The rapid development of dual-use emerging technologies has magnified the importance of reconciling technological leadership, economic competitiveness, and national security objectives. While trade controls on dual-use technology transfer can promote peace and mitigate security threats, overly cumbersome policies may impose economic burdens on the private sector that threaten competitiveness and innovation. Striking a balance between these opposing agendas has become especially challenging in the context of emerging technologies that have elicited significant interest in both the military and civilian markets. The dilemma has also been complicated by the merging of economic security discourse and policy with national security. Policymaking mechanisms should be calibrated at the level of individual technologies to avoid security and/or economic consequences of under or over-regulation. This report offers policymakers data, findings, and recommendations to strengthen the effectiveness of individual policies and to work towards a comprehensive technology strategy. In order to develop trade policies that can achieve the intended security benefits without unwarranted damage to economic competitiveness and technology innovation, policymakers must recognize technology-specific development characteristics and the associated global sectoral composition – companies, universities, research institutes, and public-private collaborations - worldwide. This report applies a mapping methodology to three emerging technologies whose level of emergence and security relevance qualifies them as “chokepoint” technologies: position, navigation, and timing (PNT), quantum computing, and computer vision. Entities in each technology category were selected and analyzed using open source information in order to identify trends with respect to global dispersion, foreign involvement (including partnerships, commerce, and investment), and specific technology focus area. A second level of analysis was conducted to compare and contrast the key trends for each of the three sectors to determine how technology-specific factors impact innovation and market establishment and to illustrate the importance of technology-specific trade policies. Analysis of the data shows clear differences among the three technologies that have important implications for the desirability and feasibility of strategic trade controls:
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Innovation, Trade, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cholpon Abdyraeva
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to introduce the state of art on hybrid warfare and seeks to address the conceptual confusion regarding an ever-expanding concept of hybrid warfare. By doing so, this paper simultaneously attempts to assess the growing significance of cyber and information domains within the hybrid warfare, which can be clearly illustrated by the example of the Russian hybrid warfare strategy. The Russian approach to hybrid warfare has considerably broadened the scope of hybrid warfare and changed the focus of debates from military to non-military components of hybrid warfare. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is: 1) to produce a deeper insight into hybrid warfare, including related trends, and 2) to assess the role and impact of cyber and information warfare with a particular focus on Russia. This paper can serve as an introduction that guides policy makers with expert opinions, and as such, intends to motivate further investigation in this field.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Internet, Conflict, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Elise Thomas, Albert Zhang
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Against the backdrop of the global Covid-19 pandemic, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has become the subject of a diverse and rapidly expanding universe of conspiracy theories. This report takes a close look at a particular variant of the Gates conspiracy theories, which is referred to here as the ID2020 conspiracy (named after the non-profit ID2020 Alliance, which the conspiracy theorists claim has a role in the narrative), as a case study for examining the dynamics of online conspiracy theories on Covid-19. Like many conspiracy theories, that narrative builds on legitimate concerns, in this case about privacy and surveillance in the context of digital identity systems, and distorts them in extreme and unfounded ways. Among the many conspiracy theories now surrounding Gates, this one is particularly worthy of attention because it highlights the way emergent events catalyse existing online conspiracy substrates. In times of crisis, these digital structures—the online communities, the content, the shaping of recommendation algorithms—serve to channel anxious, uncertain individuals towards conspiratorial beliefs. This report focuses primarily on the role and use of those digital structures in proliferating the ID2020 conspiracy.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Internet, COVID-19, Misinformation
  • Political Geography: Australia, Global Focus
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi, Oliver Reiter, Robert Stehrer, Roman Stöllinger
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The global economy is currently experiencing a new wave of technological change involving new technologies, especially in the realm of artificial intelligence and robotics, but not limited to it. One key concern in this context is the consequences of these new technologies on the labour market. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the direct and indirect effects of the rise of industrial robots and productivity via international value chains on various industrial indicators, including employment and real value added. The paper thereby adds to the existing empirical work on the relationship between technological change, employment and industrial growth by adding data on industrial robots while controlling for other technological advancements measured by total factor productivity (TFP). The results indicate that the overall impact of the installation of new robots did not statistically affect the growth of industrial employment during the period 2000–2014 significantly, while the overall impact on the real value added growth of industries in the world was positive and significant. The methodology also allows for a differentiation between the impact of robots across various industries and countries based on two different perspectives of source and destination industries across global value chains.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Economic Growth, Industry, Robotics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Liza Archanskaia, Johannes Van Biesebroeck, Gerald Willmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: We illustrate a new source of comparative advantage that is generated by countries’ different ability to adjust to technological change. Our model introduces substitution of workers in codifiable (routine) tasks with more efficient machines, a process extensively documented in the labor literature, into a canonical 2 × 2 × 2 Heckscher-Ohlin model. Our key hypothesis is that labor reallocation across tasks is subject to frictions, the importance of which varies by country. The arrival of capital-augmenting innovations triggers the movement of workers out of routine tasks, and countries with low labor market frictions become relatively abundant in non-routine labor. In the new equilibrium, more flexible countries specialize in producing goods that use non-routine labor more intensively. We document empirically that the ranking of countries with respect to the routine intensity of their exports is strongly related to labor market institutions and to cultural norms that influence adjustment to technological change, such as risk aversion or long-term orientation. The explanatory power of this mechanism for trade flows is especially strong for intra-EU trade.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Innovation, Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, European Union