Technological innovations can cure diseases, make food safer and address the climate crisis.
Yet in the wrong hands, certain technologies also can disrupt economies, spread disinformation and threaten human rights.
The potential benefits of technology are why the Biden-Harris administration puts technology “front and center” in its foreign policy and in its positive vision for the future, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in 2022.
Here are a few ways the United States works with private and public sector groups from around the world to ensure technology helps — not harms — people, nations’ economies and the planet.
Fostering innovation in health care, climate
Cancer prevention: The United States announced new partnerships with African nations to prevent cancer, including funding for research teams in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa to adapt, engineer and apply new technologies.
COVID-19 prevention and treatment: The U.S. has worked with France, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea and India among others developing and producing vaccines and treatments against COVID-19.
Environmental protection: The U.S. is working with Brazil, Pacific island nations and other countries to combat climate change and develop clean energy and with Japan to develop small modular nuclear reactors to help bring safe and sustainable power to market.
The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region — and our relationship is stronger than ever before. I met with Prime Minister Kishida to deepen our cooperation on security, emerging technologies, clean energy, and more. pic.twitter.com/obC08hiCnO
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 23, 2022
Strengthening supply chains
The United States works with the private sector, foreign governments, nonprofits and other partners to develop and use the latest technologies that enable global supply chains to deliver food, medicine and other consumer goods to people.
U.S. and European researchers also are working to design early warning systems to signal potential disruptions in critical supply chains, such as for semiconductors.
Delighted to host the third TTC ministerial at @UofMaryland College Park. Today’s discussion demonstrated that democratic and market-oriented approaches to trade, technology, and innovation can expand not just Transatlantic prosperity but global prosperity as well. pic.twitter.com/aJ7Zn6H0MC
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 5, 2022
Securing connectivity for all
To keep cyberspace secure and safe, the U.S. government:
- Convened 36 countries and the EU in October 2022 to develop concrete actions to stop the global spread of ransomware.
- Launched an initiative with 60 countries committed to a single global internet that is open, fosters competition and respects privacy and human rights.
- Affirmed commitments with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to uphold responsible state behavior in cyberspace and promote an open, reliable and secure internet.
- Imposed sanctions, together with the United Kingdom, on members of a Russia-based cybercrime gang that targeted critical infrastructure in the U.S. and U.K.
- Will help improve broadband access in Pacific Islands countries and develop open, reliable and secure digital connectivity.
- Established the Department of State’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy and the Office of the Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technology.
We’re proud to co-lead the Technology for Democracy Cohort of the U.S. Summit for Democracy, launched at the @TallinnSummit.
Learn more about our objectives, from combating #InternetShutdowns to advancing algorithmic transparency ⬇️ #TDS2022https://t.co/iFqbmTE8zm
— Access Now (@accessnow) October 10, 2022
As a result of President Biden’s 2021 Summit for Democracy, the U.S., U.K. and Estonia brought together 150 partners across 40 countries to develop “Technology for Democracy” initiatives that enhance connectivity and promote online inclusivity and transparency.
Technology should be advanced “to lift people up, not to hold them down,” Biden said at the first Summit for Democracy in 2021.