A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join a terrific group of panelists at the Google Ideas Summit Beyond Software: The Future of Conflict . It was a fascinating discussion on the issues that governments, businesses and private citizens are wrestling with in real time around the use of new technologies in warfare and security.

The data analytics show that if you put the word ‘Drone’ in the headline, it’s one of those heat words that draws eyes to it… It’s a term that people then want to read more about.” — Peter Singer

In addition to myself, the panel included:

  • Moderator: Peter Singer, Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Brookings Institution
  • Helen Greiner, Cofounder, iRobot and Chief Executive Officer, CyPhyWorks
  • Colonel Gregory Conti, Associate Professor and Director, Cyber Research Center, West Point
  • Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur and Investor

We spent a fair amount of time discussing public debate around the use of drones and irobots in both combat and humanitarian missions. As moderator Peter Singer pointed out, “The data analytics show that if you put the word ‘Drone’ in the headline, it’s one of those heat words that draws eyes to it… It’s a term that people then want to read more about.”

But while drones and robots tend to grab the headlines, it’s vast, complicated, emerging territory — and it’s moving incredibly fast.

The good news is that the global community has already faced similar challenges: As we did for the air and the sea, we will need to come together to create a set of international norms to help us safely navigate the cyber space.

One key difference is that the centers of power are changing, and any solution will have to involve a combination of public, private and non-governmental leadership.

At The Fletcher School, we’re convening a number of discussions on campus and around the world that aim to study what new thinking and resources we’ll need to apply to this emerging field. Below are a few of the discussions we’re looking forward to. We’ll publish more details on our calendar when we have them. I hope to see you at one of them.

  • December 7, 2013: I’ll be giving the keynote address Sailing the Cyber Seas at the The 11th Annual Fletcher School London Symposium.
  • January 2014: I’ve been invited to participate in a discussion on warfare and diplomacy in the digital age at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos
  • March 2014: A group of first-rate Fletcher alumni — including Farah Pandith, US Special Representative to Muslim Communities; Joshua Haynes, an expert on development and internet freedom at the USAID; and myself — will participate in a panel on Foreign Policy in the Digital Age at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, TX.
  • Spring 2014 (TBA): Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas and Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations will join us at The Fletcher School in Medford, MA, for a discussion on the new digital age.
  • Spring 2014 (TBA): We’re thrilled to welcome Peter Singer, Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Brookings Institution to Medford to talk about his upcoming book on cyber.

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