May 5, 2017
Chair: John C. Kornblum
Location: American Academy in Berlin
This project seeks assess the true nature of digitization as a global mega-trend and the hyper-networked world that will emerge as its result.
The goal will be to learn how this mega trend is likely to function and how it will influence relations among peoples and nations and thus affect global statecraft. Over a period of two years, the following questions will guide the debate: What actually is digitalization? How will digitalization and global networks change the sources and nature of power? Is a new strategic triangle emerging between the United States, Europe, and China, the three network nodes? How do “network effects” change everything from learning to work to democracy to the way we think? How do the different cultures in the triangle (US, Europe, China) react and adapt to the technical revolution and to the networked nature of the world? Which are the key disruptive forces How are Russia, populism, protectionism and revitalized nationalism threaten the networked world?
This project will not be a classic study of cultural and political trends, but an exercise in remapping the world. Seminar participants will be asked first to gain a better understanding of interconnectedness and what it means for statecraft. Then we will seek to understand the implications of this upheaval.
To avoid a merely theoretical discussion, participants will be asked to apply their ideas to a model based on three countries that are already recognized as being systemically important, i.e that they are already focal points for the new interconnected world. They are the United States, China and Germany.
Participants will be pushed to ask tough questions about whether interconnectedness could significantly rewire thought patterns and redraw strategic maps. Central to the investigation will be to seek a vocabulary which can better define the relevant elements of this mega-trend as it affects relations among the world’s peoples.