You were recently appointed Managing Director of the Tech Hub, which was inaugurated in October. Can you tell us more about the hub and its goals?
This competence hub on digital technologies will progressively structure different kinds of activities around two main objectives: (i) support research, teaching and dialogue on and with digital technologies at the Institute, and (ii) forge and express the Institute’s unique voice on these questions.
Even though we will focus our efforts mainly on digital technologies, we are willing to explore other technologies that might be relevant for international relations. Given the permeability of our societies to technological innovations, their dual use and the rapid pace of their development, it is essential to include a diversity of stakeholders in the design of technologies.
While for too long it was the domain and prerogative of digital and data scientists, social sciences and humanities have a huge role to play when it comes to reflecting on the social, environmental and economic dynamics that frame and construct the development of digital technologies, as well as their regulation and governance.
Our goal is to support teaching and research projects – exploring the opportunities these technologies present and the dangers they pose – in order to contribute to a future where technologies serve people and respect the environment and human rights.
What is the main digital challenge in an academic institution like ours and, more generally, in the academic world?
In the wake of the recent pandemic, it is important to reflect on how to best integrate digital technology into higher education.
We must avoid moving from “all online” to “all in-person”. What content can be delivered through video capsules? What online platforms can enable students to co-create in groups and remotely? What learning should take place as a discussion, role-playing or participatory process in the classroom?
At the Institute, the challenge is to identify the learning needs of all members of the community. To this end, a working group composed of members of the Research Office, the Library and the Direction of Studies as well as researchers met in the fall to build a digital skill referential for the Institute.
In addition, it is critical to position the Institute on these issues through the research already conducted on cybersecurity, lethal autonomous weapons, internet governance, digital health, digital trust, the digital economy, the future of work, fintech and crypto-currencies, artificial intelligence (AI) and humanitarian law, and AI and peace negotiations, among others.
The Institute has also developed expertise in using digital technologies as new research methods, including computational social science methods and big data analysis. This should allow us to be more present on these issues in International Geneva and beyond.
Learn more about the Tech Hub.
This article was published in Globe #30, the Institute Review.