Advanced Technology
24 June , 2019

Cooperation, competition, or conflict in the development of disruptive technologies




Disruptive technologies are the source of long-term growth and development. They improve the competitiveness of entire countries and regions. Unless they embrace disruptive innovation, economies ultimately face diminishing returns and relatively decreasing productivity. Disruptive technologies will replace existing technologies and jobs, while also creating new jobs and increasing overall efficiency, prosperity and living standards. This has been the overall experience of past industrial revolutions and incremental technological advancements.


However, today’s digital revolution might be different. While past technological transformations have largely been aimed at substituting and rationalizing physical labor, today’s digital transformation directly competes with what has kept humankind distinct from technology, i.e. the human faculty of intelligence, expression, and decision making. The digital revolution will not only augment and increasingly replace human cognition, but also blur the boundaries between the organic and inorganic worlds, potentially rendering the former as a set of complex algorithms that can be optimized and connected with the later.


Thus, today’s disruptive technologies will bear tremendous opportunities for vertical industries, unleashing unparalleled efficiencies and new growth models. At the same time, disruptive technologies will also pose unpredictable risks to societies, economies, governments, and security, and raise fundamental ethical questions, bringing a wide range of new global challenges.


Session themes and format


Fierce global competition over technology leadership and heightened geopolitical tensions may aggravate, rather than mitigate the risks associated with disruptive technologies, thereby undermining the dynamic balance of benefit distribution within a country or around the world. This TCF workshop therefore intends to discuss and identify ways of harnessing the opportunities of transformative technologies, while minimizing and mitigating their potential risks by considering the global context. The focus is on the best ways to enable cooperation across boundaries and negotiate a balance between competition, cooperation, and regulations, while seeking mechanisms that help to prevent future conflict,which are likely to occur on national and international levels. Of particular note during this workshop are technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 5G, blockchain, advanced materials, and medicine. The following three themes will be addressed in detail:


A. Reviewing the current progress and opportunities of selected disruptive technologies;

B. Mapping risks and threats that could hamper the equitable sharing of the benefits;

C. Identifying mechanisms to balance between cooperation, competition, and regulation.