Author and geopolitical expert Abishur Prakash is a consultant at the Center for Innovating the Future. He’s also a frequent contributor to Robotics Business Review. At RoboBusiness 2017 on Sept. 27 and 28 in Santa Clara, Calif., he’ll be speaking about cyber security, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
Here, he discusses his areas of expertise — cyber security and international robotics — and gives a preview of his session.
What got you interested in robotics and AI, and how is it connected to what you’re now doing?
My work revolves around understanding how new technologies will transform world affairs and what this means for a business or government. Of all the different technologies, from embryo editing and biotechnology to space mining, the two most important are robotics and AI. Their impact on the world has not been fully understood, and that means their ability to bring huge transformation and disruption continues to rise.
Which emerging technology or application excites you the most?
The use of AI in foreign policy decision-making. I went in depth about this in my new book, Next Geopolitics: The Future of World Affairs (Technology). As governments deploy AI in trade, security, diplomacy, and other avenues, it is going to change how countries behave with one another and how nations grow their power.
What are the biggest barriers to continued growth of the autonomous systems market?
Policy. Ironically, lack of policy is also the biggest catalyst to the growth of this market. Every government is approaching robotics and AI differently, and many of the advances, such as those coming from the defense industry, require federal policy if not international policy. Thus, how every nation approaches robotics and AI regulation will have a huge impact on whether these technologies can take off.
Take a look at the recent ban on self-driving cars by India to protect jobs — and likely social and political stability — and you have an understanding of the kind of radical steps government are going to take to control the trajectory of robotics and AI.
Where do you expect robotics and AI use to grow the most in the next five years, and why?
It depends on what kind of robotics and AI growth. If we are talking about major advances then Japan, Germany, the U.K., and South Korea all fit the bill. If we are taking deployment of robotics and AI, then...