Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center and the UP Department of Political Science held a public lecture entitled “Technology Governance and Global Innovation” on 30 April 2024 led by Dr. Virginia Bacay Watson, a Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event was formally opened by Dr. Aries A. Arugay, Chair of the Department of Political Science, UP Diliman. Professor Tina S. Clemente, Ph.D. facilitated the event and discussion.
In her lecture, Dr. Watson zeroed in on technology governance and its crucial role in the economy and society. Beginning with an overview on the development of the cyberspace and its integration to national interests, Dr. Watson discussed the historical evolution of industries and how technology factors into the progress of innovation. She emphasized the crucial role of data in the economy which involved the deconstruction of big technology companies’ innovative strategies, which ultimately allowed them to accrue in value and influence.
The pace in which technology develops creates the need to regulate it, Dr. Watson added. She then identified key challenges that prevent technology governance from fully taking hold. These include differences among the perspectives of key players, such as companies and politicians, and the matter of national interests, which vary between countries that hold high influence over technology. Dr. Watson also discussed the lack of appropriate governance bodies brought about by rapid development and the shelf life of online platforms, which quickly get replaced by other new technologies. Finally, she highlighted the loss of freedom and autonomy in many countries, which are not seen as a worthy trade-off in exchange for governance.
To illustrate how technology governance is implemented, Dr. Watson identified strategies of certain countries: the United States focuses on laissez faire policies, Europe on user sovereignty and regulations, while China exerts digital control. Moreover, the concept of technological authoritarianism, a phenomenon where strong online activity creates an opportunity for military forces to tap civilians and involve them in operations to influence public opinion, was discussed. In wrapping the lecture, Dr. Watson encourages the public to watch out for further innovations, especially in artificial intelligence.
Following the discussion was a short question-and-answer portion which covered inequality in technology governance, AI regulatory frameworks, and laws related to AI. Dr. Watson stressed that technology should serve as a bridge between infrastructure and public service. She amplified the role of the educational sector advocating that the Philippine government should look into developing classes related to the responsible use of AI, not just in the academe, but also in different industries. Moreover, the private sector should also work with the government to address the clear lack of comprehensive policies. This goes the same with the community who should also be involved in ensuring that laws reflect the needs of stakeholders impacted by AI technologies.
In closing, Professor Matthew A. Santamaria of the UP Asian Center delivered the closing remarks emphasizing how power and technology are intertwined with one another, making it crucial for people to be vigilant about new innovations.
The lecture was organized by the UP Asian Center in collaboration with the UP Department of Political Science, one of the eight (8) departments at the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP Diliman.


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    The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.