Posts Tagged

technology

Throughout history, technological advances have put politicians and regulators in a difficult balancing act between embracing the benefits of the transformational changes brought by new technologies, versus providing reassurance to citizens that change can be managed and stability maintained. Take for example the advent of the self-propelled vehicles (cars), which was a response to 19th century society’s need for a quicker way to transport people and goods across the country. Concerned with the safety of the public and the potential harms that could result from the new technology, the British Parliament responded with The Locomotive Act of 1865. This included a maximum speed limit of 2 miles per hour and required a person carrying a red flag to walk at …

Blockchain is an emerging technology that has drawn considerable interest from start-ups, technology developers, financial institutions, governments, and think-tanks. They all identify blockchains as having tremendous potential to bring significant benefits. This technology acts as an electronic ledger and allow transaction to be carried out between parties without interference by third parties like banks. Energy supply firms are also increasingly looking the potential of blockchain technology. Blockchain has emerged at just the right time. Other revolutions within the energy sector – the decentralization of the electrical systems, the development of autonomous electric vehicles and the gradual deregulation of the energy industry – are opening the door to blockchain. By combining blockchain with new paradigms, new consumption models will emerge and …

Just a few days ago, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker presented his 2018 State of the Union speech with the title “The Hour of European Sovereignty”. In the speech, he argues that the time has come for the EU “to become more autonomous and live up to our global responsibilities”. The question is how to make this ambition become a reality, how to achieve strategic autonomy. Especially in the context of cybersecurity, strategic autonomy is becoming a widely discussed topic. The growing interest in the link between “digital” or “cyber” and strategic autonomy is driven by the increased dependency on transformative digital technologies throughout the economy and society, combined with the explosive growth of cyberthreats and incidents. The political context …

Facial Recognition Technology will have a severe impact on society in the future, resulting in a loss of anonymity for everybody. The Russian artist Egor Tsvetkov demonstrated with an experiment that it is already possible today to identify random people on the metro by just using their photos and a facial recognition app. Currently this was done by processing images afterwards with face search and augmenting it with human verification, but it is not difficult to imagine every cell phone or connected car being able to identify anyone’s face and perform a search on the web within less than a second. Instead of classical fears of big brother’s mass surveillance, there might be technology ready for peer-to-peer mass surveillance. The …

As Joseph Schumpeter already pointed out in 1942’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy “dealing with capitalism, we are dealing with an evolutionary process.” The question is in what direction is this process heading? Is the rising power and capital accumulation of FAMGA (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon) together with advances in block chains and artificial intelligence leading to the concentration of wealth in ever fewer hands, obsolescence of manual labour and even the destruction of capitalism, as Karl Marx believed in the 19th century? Or, do technological progress and innovation lead to reduced inequality and higher prosperity? Before talking about the future, its key to review the past of capitalism. Technological progress during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early …

The growing disconnect between the problems that bind us and the countries that divide is the greatest threat to humanity. Each day we are confronted by mounting evidence of the yawning governance gap. Recently, British people have been surprised to find their meat has been through the mincer of multiple legal jurisdictions through which beef has been blended with horse. Russians have been shocked by a meteorite that crashed unannounced into their territory, due to the failure of global coordination of space. In Tokyo, a bluefin tuna was auctioned in Tokyo for USD$1.7 million, raising concerns globally that market signals may be hastening the extinction of rare tuna. And in the United States, Hurricane Sandy’s impact on lower Manhattan and the New Jersey shore has raised interest in the work of scientists who identify freak storms as an early warning of climate change. Meanwhile, across Europe the aftermath of the financial storm continues to destroy jobs and livelihoods.

The St Antony’s International Review (STAIR) is proud to announce the publication of its 16th issue, “Power, the State, and the Social Media Network”. The issue is available on IngentaConnect. The launch event will take place on 6 March at 6.30 pm in the Oxford Department for Politics and International Relations. In the themed section of this edition of STAIR five authors seek to shed light upon the contemporary relationship between power, the state and social media, perhaps the most pronounced and widely disseminated digital social technology the world has encountered. Supporting and affect­ing political movements from New York’s Zuccotti Park and Egypt’s Tahrir Square, “Facebook revolutions” and “Twitter revolutions” are conceived of as borne out of social media networks; they oscillate be­tween the Charybdis of an anarchic freedom and the Scylla of surveilled repression, utilized by both citizens and the state. With such power, so­cial media now holds the potential to empower and propagandize, secure and surveil, to create, and to destroy.

When westerners think about China, the concept that springs more and more to mind is modernity.  This seems surprising when one looks at the statistics – after all, the developing middle class, an indicator of a more urban and modernizing society, is still a minority (perhaps 300 million of China’s 1.3 billion population), albeit a fast-growing one, and China remains a very poor country in terms of per capita GDP, as well as substantially rural.  Yet in other areas, it’s clear that China is placing itself at the forefront of our understanding of what it means to be a modern state.  One iconic area in this regard is space technology: the Chinese Shenzhou programme of space exploration seems particularly daring …