February 24, 2023 ☼ Information Age ☼ acorn ☼ Speech
Summary of my speech to a US Senate delegation
Welcome to Nitin Pai’s cyberspace. You are in the structured section of my domain where I have my blog posts, newspaper columns, updates on my teaching and research, and other things you had always been warned about.
As we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital revolution, it is increasingly clear that the United States, India and other liberal democracies must construct an international order that reflects our foundational constitutional values. Our world is marked by anxiety, populism, and authoritarianism, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) emerging as a key pole in shaping the global landscape. While the CCP may not be the sole instigator, it is certainly the beneficiary of the erosion of liberal democracy and its institutions.
Democracies around the world are on the defensive, and our institutions are weakening. This is not surprising given the politics of the Information Age, how human psychology works, and how networks can suspend rational faculties, putting both liberal democracy and market capitalism at risk. We must find a solution, but in the meantime, we must defeat authoritarianism. It is important to remember that we are fortunate that Allies won World War II, and the United States must start believing in its own prospectus. You cannot be apologetic about your values just because you have a bad rap. No one is clean in this business.
The concentration of power among tech platforms is also a cause for concern. We must protect cognitive autonomy, the freedom to think, and cognitive security, emphasizing their importance in this new digital landscape. Competition law is an imperfect tool, antitrust is an instrument of the industrial age and is not well-suited to dealing with the Information Age. We must think about cognitive autonomy, the Freedom to Think, and cognitive security as critical aspects of protecting our democracy.
Instead of self-defeating policies of self-reliance, we must take constructive steps towards a new smart globalization by building bubbles of trust. We can share technologies where there is a congruence of interests, values, and competence, and we can work towards open public digital infrastructure. Self-reliance is a myth that cannot be achieved, even by the US. There is more genius in the world than in any one country alone, and we cannot close our doors to talent or cut ourselves off from the rest of the world. We need to breathe life back into multilateralism, and in the meantime, we can start with bubbles of trust.
In conclusion, we must work together to construct an international order for the Information Age based on our foundational constitutional values of liberal democracy. We must protect cognitive autonomy, the Freedom to Think, and cognitive security while building bubbles of trust through smart globalization. Let us remember that the challenges we face are not insurmountable, and we have the power to shape our future. Thank you.
(The text of this speech was put together from my detailed outline and is representative, though not a verbatim transcript, of my remarks.)
To read about more things like this, you can check out my published raw notes and my massive archives.
© Copyright 2003-2023. Nitin Pai. All Rights Reserved.