“It’s up to all of us to determine whether these technologies are a force to empower people or to deepen repression,” he said.
President Joe Biden used portions of his 30-minute speech before the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday to call for partnerships among Democratic allies to address challenges posed by emerging technologies and the evolution of cyber warfare in what he hopes will be an era of “relentless diplomacy.”
Biden called the present moment an inflection point, and listed several challenges that necessitate a united response, including “ending this pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, managing shifts in global power dynamics, shaping the role of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber and emerging technologies and facing the threat of terrorism as it stands today.”
“As we deal with these crises, we’re also encountering a new era, an era of new technologies and possibilities that have potential to release and reshape every aspect of human existence,” Biden said. “It’s up to all of us to determine whether these technologies are a force to empower people or to deepen repression.”
Equity and ending the climate crisis are two key components of Biden’s agenda, though the administration spent much of its first year in office responding to the coronavirus pandemic and a series of high-profile cyberattacks. In May, the Biden administration issued an executive order focused on securing the nation’s critical infrastructure and government networks. The executive order lays the groundwork for how the federal government will shore up the nation’s cybersecurity, including through new policies, standards, security frameworks and partnerships.
The federal government, he said, is “hardening critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, disrupting ransomware networks and working to establish clear rules of the road for all nations as it relates to cyber space.”
“We reserve the right to respond decisively to cyberattacks that threaten our people, allies or interests,” Biden added. “We will pursue new rules for global trade and economic growth.”
Biden also pushed his plan to increase funding for research and development in emerging technologies. His fiscal 2022 budget request calls for a 9% increase in non-defense R&D spending and more than $171 billion in total R&D spending. Biden made clear he’s interested in addressing technology challenges globally with Democratic allies and not with countries working against American interests.
“As new technologies continue to evolve, we’ll work together with our Democratic partners to ensure that new advances in areas from biotechnology to quantum computing, 5G, artificial intelligence and more are used to lift people up, to solve problems and advance human freedom, not to suppress dissent or target minority communities,” Biden said.
“The U.S. intends to make a profound investment in R&D working with countries in all stages of economic development to develop new tools and tech to help us tackle the challenges of this second quarter of the 21st century and beyond,” Biden added.