As the oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of the world’s leading research institutions, it is only fitting that I selected Oxford University as the location for the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs.
The dreaming spires of Oxford have inspired generations of academics, innovators and leaders. Drawing from this rich tradition of scholarly excellence, we can reiterate the famous words of Ronald Reagan: “While we take inspiration from the past, we live for the future.” Indeed, during its many centuries of existence, Oxford University has bridged history, tradition and academic excellence with technological discovery and modern innovation.
Today, breakthroughs in technological innovation are profoundly disrupting political and social affairs as well as international relations. Innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Big Data, blockchain, robotics and unmanned vehicles, outer space, as well as growing cyber threats present policymakers and analysts with real challenges but also enormous potential benefits. The opportunities to apply new technologies to significantly improve human life are increasingly recognized yet largely unrealized. New threats to our ways of life and economy are acknowledged but poorly grasped. A key obstacle in this regard is the scarcity of public policies to foster an environment in which new technologies can thrive for the benefit of society.
The Centre is committed to addressing these challenges and opportunities. It strives to apply new understandings about the relationship between technology and society to propose public policies and regulations that can unlock the benefits of technological innovation, while at the same time reducing its dangers. The Centre serves as a bridge between renowned experts, leaders from the technology sectors, as well as policy-makers and decision-makers from around the globe. It applies rigorous academic research to the resolution of pressing policy problems.
Our founding vision stems from a deep belief that breakthrough technologies can be a motor for human progress – but only if societies take an informed, honest and holistic approach to their development. New technologies are usually developed so rapidly that corresponding ethical and political decisions in their application, as well as their wider geopolitical implications, are often not understood.
The Centre’s mission is to fill this gap in understanding. We aim to build lasting bridges between the domains of technology and the world of practitioners. We seek to equip policymaking communities with timely and evidence-based research on technological impact and its regulation.
In the coming years, I trust that the Centre will provide leadership in the crafting of new knowledge to guide the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers towards a future where the welfare, well-being and security of citizens, governments, and private enterprises are guaranteed.
I invite you to join us in this endeavour.
Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board