Funding and priorities for technology development today determine the terrain for digital battles tomorrow, and they provide the arsenals for both attackers and defenders. Unfortunately, researchers and strategists disagree on which technologies will ultimately be most beneficial and which cause more harm than good. This report provides three examples showing that, while the future of technology is impossible to predict with certainty, there is enough empirical data and mathematical theory to have these debates with more rigor.
Geopolitical tensions between the United States and China have sparked an ongoing dialogue in Washington about the phenomenon of “decoupling”—the use of public policy tools to separate the multifaceted economic ties that connect the two powers. This issue brief provides a historical lens on the efficacy of one specific aspect of this broader decoupling phenomenon: using export controls and related trade policies to prevent a rival from acquiring the equipment and know-how to catch up to the United States in cutting-edge, strategically important technologies.
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