Reports & Papers

79 Items

Paper

The Coming AI Hackers

| April 2021

Hacking is generally thought of as something done to computer systems, but this conceptualization can be extended to any system of rules. The tax code, financial markets, and any system of laws can be hacked. This essay considers a world where AIs can be hackers. This is a generalization of specification gaming, where vulnerabilities and exploits of our social, economic, and political systems are discovered and exploited at computer speeds and scale.

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Factsheet: Differential Privacy

Differential privacy is a safeguard used to protect an individual’s data privacy. It allows for the collection and publication of data patterns and trends, while protecting the privacy of individuals captured in a dataset. Differential privacy is not a tool or method, but rather a criterion or a property that multiple methods can achieve. More specifically, it is a mathematical definition of privacy that quantifies privacy risk. 

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Factsheet: Vaccine Platforms

A vaccine platform is a “plug -and-play” physical framework that can be used when developing vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. Vaccine platforms use a base carrier or “vehicle,” such as a nucleic acid, viral vector, or liposome, which can be used interchangeably for various diseases. Once designed and licensed for one vaccine, the development of future vaccines using the same platform would simply require substituting the desired antigenic component, or a genetic compound that normally triggers an immune response. This would enable faster and cheaper development, regulatory approval and mass production. 

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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Technology Factsheet: Battery Technology

A battery is a device which stores chemical energy and converts it to electrical energy. Battery technology is pervasive for individual consumers and in scaled operations, whether that is through the use of smartphone, automotive vehicles, or even large-scale data centers. The most popular battery type currently is lithium-ion, which ranges in application from powering small cellular devices to the electrical grid.

The Dave Johnston coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyoming, July 27, 2018.

AP Photo/J. David Ake

Paper

Enabling U.S. Technological Leadership for the 2050 Net-zero Market

| February 2021

By investing in the public and private sector research and development in this space, and by fostering a community of researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors literate in CO2 capture opportunities, the United States can be the leader of this new economic sector. It is essential for the Nation to build a vibrant and sustained research and development community spanning the public sector, academic and research domains, and for-profit companies, ensuring world leadership in this new technological domain.

Report - Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship and the German Council on Foreign Relations

Stronger Together: A Strategy to Revitalize Transatlantic Power

| December 2020

Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) convened a strategy group of experts and former government officials from the United States and Europe over the past year to discuss the crisis in the transatlantic relationship and to propose a strategy to revive and strengthen it.

A view of the interior of the U.S. Capitol building

Benn Craig

Report

Building a 21st Century Congress: Improving STEM Policy Advice in the Emerging Technology Era

| November 2020

Many congressional personal offices and committees are already staffed by smart, public-spirited scientists and technologists, and Congress can draw on outside experts to inform its legislation and its hearings. But none of the interviewees for this report or our previous report, argued that the status quo worked as well as it should; no one thought that Congress had enough STEM expertise to effectively reckon with emerging technology issues. Everyone—from members of Congress to their staffers, from non-profit leaders to private sector professionals, from generalists to STEM professionals—thought that Congress can do better. 

Report - Technology and Public Purpose

Building a 21st-century American Economy

| November 2020

As the world confronts systematic, interrelated challenges from a raging pandemic to devastating climate catastrophes to a growing chasm of inequality, the United States has the opportunity to make deep commitments to new technological foundations that will usher in the next industrial revolution and greater shared prosperity. Or, we can continue along a business-as-usual path, ceding global leadership and the associated economic value creation elsewhere.

A watchtower in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus' buffer zone in Nicosia, July 2019.

Photo by Author

Paper

The Modern Roots of the Graveyard for Diplomats: The Tripartite Conference on Cyprus in 1955

| October 2020

For nearly 60 years, attempts at finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Cyprus have created an environment known as the “graveyard of diplomats” for practitioners of international relations.1 Hastily constructed by the British Royal Air Force in December 1963 because of intercommunal fighting between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, a demilitarized buffer zone, or “Green Line,” partitioned the two communities and has separated the island and its inhabitants ever since. Now, Cyprus hosts an amalgamation of different powers: two British sovereign bases which cover 98 square miles, the “Green Line” patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) spanning 134 square miles, a de facto state only recognized by Turkey called the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC) occupying one-third of the island, and the Republic of Cyprus which has de jure sovereignty over the entire island but is located in the southern two-thirds.

Members of the Faculty Working Group discuss the public purpose implications of emerging technologies.

Benn Craig

Report

Boston Tech Hub Faculty Working Group Annual Report 2019-2020

| September 2020

The Boston Tech Hub Faculty Working Group (FWG), hosted by former Secretary of Defense and Belfer Center Director Ash Carter and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean Frank Doyle, holds monthly discussion-based meetings that explore and answer the question:

How do we resolve the dilemmas posed to public good and public purpose, created by technology’s unstoppable advances?

The Boston Tech Hub Faculty Working Group Annual Report is a summary report of findings, key insights, and outstanding questions from the discussions held during the 2019-2020 academic year.