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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new report seen first by Axios details the global security risks posed by emerging technologies like AI and gene editing.

Why it matters: Rising populism, as well as the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, has already eaten away at the postwar global order. Now powerful new technologies threaten to widen the gap between what we can do and what we can control.

What they're saying: "AI, bioscience, cyber threats and autonomous weapons are on the cusp of transforming every aspect of life," says Robert Manning, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the author the report. "Yet the governance deficit is dangerously wide."

Details: Among the advances Manning identifies are:

  • 5G: Next-generation mobile broadband will enable everything from automated vehicles to precision farming, but the U.S. and China are already butting heads over who will seize the lead.
  • Hypersonic missiles: The development of missiles that can fly far faster than current ICBMs threatens to undercut the Cold War logic of deterrence.
  • Quantum computing: Next-generation computers will help tech sidestep the limits of Moore's Law, but their code-breaking ability poses an existential threat to cybersecurity.

What's next: The early years of the Cold War were marked by destabilizing technological leaps on nuclear weapons that were only later restrained by arms control treaties.

  • But today, Manning notes, emerging technologies "all pose new risks to crisis stability at a time when the framework of restraint, of arms control, is unraveling."

The bottom line: The sooner major powers recognize their shared vulnerability to the disruptions of emerging technology, the safer we'll all be.

Go deeper: The U.S. rift with China has tech on edge

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 26, 2020 - Technology

Why quantum computing matters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new government initiative will direct hundreds of millions of dollars to support new centers for quantum computing research.

Why it matters: Quantum information science represents the next leap forward for computing, opening the door to powerful machines that can help provide answers to some of our most pressing questions. The nation that takes the lead in quantum will stake a pole position for the future.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
38 mins ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.