Nick Beim

Thoughts on the Economics of Innovation

Technology’s Transformation of Geopolitics

Of all of the spheres of human activity that are being radically transformed by technology, one of the most consequential is geopolitics. Advances in technology are rapidly increasing national security vulnerabilities, changing the way countries compete and requiring a radical rethink of defense and intelligence strategies. Although the U.S. continues to lead the world in technology innovation, it has been surprisingly behind the curve in this transformation.

One organization that I believe can help the U.S. advance its thinking in this area is the Council on Foreign Relations, and I’m excited to join its Board of Directors. The CFR is one of the world’s leading foreign policy think tanks and perhaps the most prominent forum for debate about the role of the U.S. in the world. The organization has been ramping up its research activities in technology over the past several years and recently published reports on how to defend the country against digital election interference by foreign countries, how to share cyber threat information between the public and private sectors and how to ensure that the U.S. maintain its global leadership in science and technology.

The world is in a vulnerable state, and I believe the CFR has never been more needed. Beyond the current pandemic, the rules-based international order established by the U.S. and its allies after World War II is rapidly deteriorating. Democracy is in retreat, and autocracy, nationalism and instability are on the rise. Global problems beyond the reach of individual countries to solve on their own are also on the rise, including climate change, pandemics and cyber threats. It’s time for new ideas about how the U.S. should address these issues and how we can best harness technology to make the world a safer place. I believe the CFR can contribute meaningfully to these discussions and am looking forward getting more involved.

If you are interested in contributing to these discussions, I would encourage you to become a member.

Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology

One of the most interesting things I’ve worked on this past year is a project at the Council on Foreign Relations examining the risk and consequences of the U.S. losing part of its science and technology leadership, principally to China.

We had a phenomenal group of people working on our Task Force from the technology, government and academic communities, including Admiral William McRaven, James Manyika, Reid Hoffman, DJ Patil, Eric Schmidt, Raj Shah, Doug Beck and Regina Dugan.

Today our final report was published – you can download it here. For a 2-minute overview, here’s an article I wrote with Congressman Jim Himes that highlights the report’s major ideas and recommendations.