The Jeff Bleich Centre (JBC) is positioning itself on the frontline of this new battleground with a mission of research, education and communication on emerging digital technologies and their impact on our social and political institutions.
“Digital technology is not a discrete technological artefact,” says Research Fellow Dr Zac Rogers. “It is a techno-social and techno-political construct that includes everything from the way digital technologies play out in the defence and national security context, to the way people engage with these technologies, commercially or through social media.
“There are implications for the whole gamut of these emerging technologies. We include examination of 5G, blockchain and AI. We're really about understanding the social and political implications of these technologies.”
The JBC is named for the former US Ambassador to Australia. Now returned to the United States, he serves on many boards or advisory boards of international cyber-technology companies and think tanks including RAND, the US Studies Centre at Sydney University and Stanford University’s Center on the Advanced Study of Behavioral Science.
Bleich’s term in Australia was marked by the US “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific, with Australia being the focal point for that shift. With a long history as military allies, it is not surprising the two countries are working together in this new battleground.
While the JBC has a strong research focus, it is also actively engaged with industry and government.
“We're putting together an education package for the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre in South Australia. Known as A3C, the centre is based at Adelaide’s new high-tech hub, Lot 14, and assists business in navigating the cyber ecosystem.
“It is aimed at executive level people in government,” says Dr Rogers. “We’re expanding the concept of cybersecurity in relation to computer network attacks and critical infrastructure vulnerabilities. We're very much focused on the social and political implications of even using the internet and digital devices when they're working normally, before getting to confront cyber attacks.”