While democracies used to have the edge in developing and deploying new technologies, authoritarian states are gaining ground. Today, authoritarian regimes not only use artificial intelligence or big data to entrench their rule at home, but they undertake disinformation campaigns to subvert institutions and decision-making abroad. Cyberattacks constitute an integral part of hybrid warfare. In order to rise to this competitive challenge, democracies must unite around a common agenda to promote innovation and protect the democratic space. The Digitalization and Geopolitics focal area explores political and societal priorities to foster democratic values and in the digital space.
While digitalization is often regarded as a predominantly technical issue, new cyber threats emphasize the ongoing international struggle for digital supremacy. Classic geopolitical conflicts remain, but they are additionally unfolding digitally, accompanied by a multitude of critical uncertainties. This development requires an appropriate response from democratic and value-based governments, businesses, and civil societies around the world.