STIA-475 International Relations, Information & Technology
Fall for 2007-2008
Sharman, Peter and Visner, Samuel
We live in the information age; this course explores the impact of the ongoing explosion of information technology on international relations. The current information age is characterized in terms of the conjunction of fast, cheap telecommunications with cheap and expanding computer power, so that the Internet makes it possible to share and manipulate data - and build transnational communities of interest - with no regard for distance. Trends in the growth and availability of information technology are aligned with trends in the nature of international relations. The course also explores the impact of information technology on both the stakes of international competition and conflict, and the means by which such conflicts are conducted. There is a special focus on such topics as the trade-offs between governmental effectiveness and individual autonomy and privacy; the extent to corporate access to data represents a new challenge to privacy; the changes in the ways that wealth and power interact with each other on the world stage; and how the nature of state sovereignty has evolved. The course also examines diplomatic policy issues raised by the growth of the global information infrastructure, the information services it provides, and the business it empowers. The course pays special attention to the question of how information technology may empower non-state actors and may be altering the balance of global power. The course is non-technical, although the instructors provide a layman's view and (condensed) history of information technology.
The course is taught by Dr. Thomas Carroll, a practitioner of national security policy analysis at the MITRE Corporation, and Samuel Visner, an information and technology practitioner, who is a Senior Vice President at Science Applications International Corporation and was formerly Chief of Signals Intelligence Programs at the National Security Agency.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '08: Visner, Samuel, S and Carroll, Thomas (description, file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
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