Cloud, AI, and the Strategic Rivalry for Digital Infrastructure – CyCon 2024

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DateJun 20, 2024

This video features a panel discussion at the CyCon 2024 event titled ‘Compute to Compete,’ which addresses the significance of computing capability in economic security and political power. The panelists explore how computing influences innovation, security, and geopolitics.

From an economic perspective, computing is crucial for innovation in areas like drug discovery and turbo fan design. It enables research and development across various domains, particularly in generative AI.

In terms of security, computing has been essential since the advent of digital computers, playing a key role in calculating artillery trajectories and breaking cryptographic technologies. Today, with the rise of distributed and autonomous operations, computing is critical for military strategies worldwide.

Politically, computing infrastructure is physical and subject to national laws and geopolitical constraints, making it a significant element of cyberspace influenced by political realities. The discussion aims to offer insights into how computing affects international security and competition beyond technical or market dynamics.

The panelists include Julia Carver, a PhD candidate in international relations at Oxford and European cybersecurity fellow; Dr. Max Meitz, co-director of the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative and senior researcher at ETH Zurich; Emma Schroeder, associate director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council; and Taylor Roberts, director of Global Security Policy at Intel Corporation.

Julia Carver highlights the competition for compute from an international relations perspective, emphasizing digital infrastructure and its role in compute provision. Dr. Max Meitz discusses the historical evolution of compute, algorithms, and data, and their significance in the AI revolution. Emma Schroeder addresses the importance of where data is processed and the private sector’s role in compute power as a national resource. Taylor Roberts focuses on the need for resilience and redundancy in semiconductor resources, especially highlighted by the pandemic and global shortages.

The discussion also touches on the differences between historical and current competition for compute, noting the increased complexity, applicability, and accessibility of computing power today. The relationship between the public and private sectors is deemed crucial for leveraging compute capabilities for strategic advantage.

The panelists provide specific examples from the war in Ukraine to illustrate how computing power, particularly through AI and cloud services, plays a significant role in maintaining government services and military operations.

In summary, the video underscores the critical role of computing in economic innovation, military strategy, and political power, emphasizing the need for strategic partnerships between governments and the private sector to navigate global competition in this domain.

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