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Socrates Romania Online Transatlantic Seminar

On October 5-7, 2020, Aspen Institute Romania will organize the second edition of the Transatlantic Socrates Seminar (online), in partnership with the Aspen Institute Socrates Program (USA), and supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US. If you are interested in participating, please contact

Friend or Foe?: How Tech Is Transforming Democracy

How can the West improve its resilience and remain competitive in the security and technological challenges of the next decades?

The seminar will be organized in the margins of Bucharest Forum 2020, under the framework of the Aspen Technology & Society Program and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security Program and will explore how technology is transforming democracy.

Technology has transformed democratic societies in recent years, from playing a significant role in recent elections on both sides of the Atlantic to amplifying the voices of ordinary citizens on everyday matters. In addition, the ongoing pandemic has accelerated the global shift of power and realignment of the global balance of power, making great power competition more tense and more intractable.

There is also a major technological shift underway, as the technological superiority of the West is being challenged for the first time in hundreds of years. China and other big powers are emerging as formidable competitors in a whole range of cutting-edge fields. The political West needs to show solidarity in the face of these incoming challenges and find a new narrative for acting together, as allies on both sides of the Atlantic. For instance, through its NATO 2030 Agenda, the Alliance is planning to strengthen its capabilities and prepare for new challenges over the next several decades.

The Online Transatlantic Socrates Seminar will explore opportunities and challenges presented by technology, debating how the West can improve its resilience and mobilize the kind of resources needed to be competitive in this great security and technological challenge. The Seminar will discuss opportunities and challenges in fields such as AI, big data, biotechnology, human enhancement, 5G, space exploration and new generations of weapons.

Furthermore, as part of the wider technology and democracy debate, the Seminar will address the topic of resilience in the face of online disinformation and fake news through social media, a tactic which has recently become a key pillar of a wider hybrid warfare campaign waged by state and non-state actors against institutions such as NATO, the EU, and their member states. Does tech help or hurt our democracies?

The participation to the seminar will be by invitation only. The participants will include multiple stakeholders from the Aspen Technology & Society and the Aspen National Defense & Regional Security program communities.

Moderated by Cameron Abadi, Deputy Editor at Foreign Policy, and Radu Puchiu, Co-Founder and CEO, H.appy Cities.

Event information
Mon Oct 5, 2020 - Wed Oct 7, 2020