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IEET > Security > Biosecurity > Military > Fellows > Ayesha Khanna

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How Technology Promotes World Peace


Ayesha Khanna
By Ayesha Khanna
The Atlantic

Posted: Sep 25, 2012

Much as economic integration made the world more cooperative and less conflict-prone, so can technology. Is this Pax Technologica?

Every era comes with a vision of global peace, usually named for the reigning hegemon of the time. Pax Romana during the Roman era, Pax Mongolica when the Mongols ruled so much of the world, Pax Brittannica for many years, and Pax Americana today. None of these were particularly peaceful periods, of course. The great power enforced their dominance through, among other things, advances in military technology, which intimidated its enemies but spurred arms races and competition. The Romans had bronze weapons and artillery launched from giant catapult ballistae; the Mongols used stirrups and the composite bow to gallop across Eurasia; steam engines and rifles enabled the British military to build a global empire; and the U.S. still has an edge in nuclear weapons, aircraft carrier fleets, and long-range bombers, among other technologies.

This essay was co-written with Parag Khanna

It is little surprise, then, that some observers see historical patterns of competition playing out in China’s rise today. The Asian power is behaving in some ways like a classic mercantilist empire, locking up natural resources across continents, while flooding global markets with its cheaper goods. Some of its current account surpluses have been plowed into military investment, such as a blue-water navy, space-based weapons, and cyber-security.

Since the rise of Song Dynasty China a millennium ago, you might say that there’s been a hegemonic power transition somewhere in the world about once every century. That’s not a scientific formula, of course, but it certainly informs speculation that China might someday surpass the U.S. on the global hierarchy. But, as the world potentially faces yet another round of national competition, there is one factor that is leading the powers, great and non-great alike, to be more cooperative and less competitive: technology. As states become more populous, urban, and interconnected, they are more reliant on technology—medicine, agriculture, communication, and so on. Technology requires long supply chains to build and cross-border cooperation to develop, both of which are easier if states cooperate rather than compete. Even as technology evolves to suit military objectives, and is often guided by the military (the Internet began in part with U.S. Department of Defense funding), we might be about to enter a sort of Pax Technologica of global stability through, in part, technology.


Image - U.S. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, center, meets with Chinese counterparts at a lab in Shanghai. (AP)


To Read the Rest of the Essay, CLICK HERE


Ayesha Khanna is Managing Partner of Hybrid Realities, a consulting firm specializing in scenario analysis, technology trends, future cities, and geostrategy. She is also Founder and Principal of the Hybrid Reality Institute, which explores human/technology co-evolution and its implications for society, business and politics.
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COMMENTS


Its naive to believe the technology promotes world peace. You overlook the hidden realities of technology. It promotes wealth to those who are greedy or already wealthy. So, that’s an evil. Greed actually promotes technology as well. In the process, many people in the world are forsaken due to funds being redirected to technology rather than goodwill. Also, a lot of lies and deception are promoted to promote technology. We are told we need the products to survive even though we don’t.

Bottom line is this. People knew how to live peacefully very long ago. Greed kept showing up and disrupting the status quo, just like it does today. Take away the evil entities that promote technology, and you end up with peace minus the technology. Pretty stupid to think otherwise.





Actually, jjm789, violence is something that can be and is diminished. Of course you are morally correct but I immediately think on how we are creatures living on a ball of rock rolling through space; we *have* to take it on board as we adjusted to the lost innocence of youth when we grew up (grew old), adjust to the financial manipulations which have partially replaced violence. At the top, people are bought off (people who want power can’t be bought off but those who want money can); at the bottom people are bribed with little things. In ‘68 I thought the world was permanently in the Age of Aquarius… then it faded and what a shock that was. Now the sense is that complaining wont convince anyone who is unreceptive and wont make a difference to those who will listen.
IEET is about ethics however you want to be optimistic, not chasing elusive virtue—what happens in your own life when you let down your guard, when you expect too much? all day the silent message goes out: “you snooze, you lose.”
So we accept/tolerate what we cannot change and hope for the best.

About as best as it can be explained.





... in the interest of Equal Time for unrepentant pessimists, this is a view contrary to my view violence is slowly diminishing (but perhaps Van Creveld simply admires warfare and wishes war to continue so he can write books and articles about the subject and give lectures at military academies):


“Van Creveld notes that many of the wars fought after 1945 were low-intensity conflicts, LICs, which powerful states ended up losing. The book argues that we are seeing a decline of the nation-state, without a comparable decline in organized violence.”





Incidentally, this is dubious:

“Bottom line is this. People knew how to live peacefully very long ago.”

They were not as ‘peaceful’ as you think they were very long ago. Perhaps you meant to write they were more religious a very long time ago?





“Its naive to believe the technology promotes world peace. You overlook the hidden realities of technology. It promotes wealth to those who are greedy or already wealthy. So, that’s an evil. Greed actually promotes technology as well. In the process, many people in the world are forsaken due to funds being redirected to technology rather than goodwill. Also, a lot of lies and deception are promoted to promote technology. We are told we need the products to survive even though we don’t.
Bottom line is this. People knew how to live peacefully very long ago. Greed kept showing up and disrupting the status quo, just like it does today. Take away the evil entities that promote technology, and you end up with peace minus the technology. Pretty stupid to think otherwise.”


Such an open heart as your’s ought to be addressed, jjm789, in more detail. But you need an open mind as well as an open heart: in the Midwest I can hardly talk to people, as they are openminded spiritually, but decidedly thickheaded. My mistrust of the religious (not that you yourself are necessarily religious) isn’t so much of their religion per se but rather of their thinking—that is to say the contents of their minds is what is of concern, not the contents of their hearts. I know they have to adjust to the material world:

“what happens in your own life when you let down your guard, when you expect too much? all day the silent message goes out: ‘you snooze, you lose’ “,

I wrote in answer to you.

—————————————
What you wrote above is not a platitude, but a given. Ayesha Khanna is no fool, has never claimed to have all the answers; no one at IEET has ever done so; in fact more than one writer has claimed to only possess questions, not answers..which is self-evidently accurate.
What would be a platitude would be to write at IEET “we should love each other more”; I hear that from the religious on a semi-daily basis, several times a week; and it is true for all save for reptiles. Yet people only care about their families, friends and until such changes—if it ever does—then you waste your time writing what you did. Rousseau wrote similar to what you did in the 18th century however it did him little or no good.

And again the following is to be greatly doubted:

“Bottom line is this. People knew how to live peacefully very long ago.”

Perhaps they knew from their religious instructors and their texts how to live peacefully yet they surely did not practice what they knew. The myth of the ‘golden age’, of golden ages secular and religious, has recurred again & again albeit has no demonstrable basis.

Let’s just leave it they knew spiritually what to do (the heart), however their minds did not know what to do; they could not adjust their spirituality to the material world.





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