Virtual Library

Our virtual library is an online repository of all of the reports, papers, and briefings that IST has produced, as well as works that have influenced our thinking.

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Memo

Roadmap to Potential Prohibition of Ransomware Payments

Ransomware Task Force Co-Chairs

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Reports

Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Evaluating Initial Solutions to Public-Private Misalignments

Ben Purser, Pavneet Singh

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Reports

Public Private Partnerships to Combat Ransomware: An inquiry into three case studies and best practices

Elizabeth Vish, Georgeanela Flores Bustamante

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Reports

Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Public-Private Misalignments in Biotechnology, Energy, and Quantum Sectors

Ben Purser, Pavneet Singh

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Reports

Effects of Electromagnetic Pulses on Communication Infrastructure: An IST Primer

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Reports

How Does Access Impact Risk? Assessing AI Foundation Model Risk Along a Gradient of Access

Zoë Brammer, along with contributors from the AI Foundation Model Access Working Group

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Fact Sheet

DOD and SBA Launch the Small Business Investment Company Critical Technology (SBICCT) Initiative

Strategic Balancing Initiative

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We also welcome additional suggestions from readers, and will consider adding further resources as so much of our work has come through crowd-sourced collaboration already. If, for any chance you are an author whose work is listed here and you do not wish it to be listed in our repository, please, let us know.

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Shortcutting Critical Thinking

Leah Walker and Zoë Brammer

SUMMARY

What effects do digital technologies have on critical thinking? The DCDI coalition and IST researchers came to five major conclusions:

  1. The scale, accuracy, and speed of digital technologies make them particularly effective at activating the very emotions that influence and undermine critical thinking. Not only do digital technologies have the ability to inflame those emotions, but they often are designed to do so, as those very emotions drive engagement, use, and consumer spending.
  2. Digital technologies are affecting the cognitive processes that comprise critical thinking, including memory, attention, and reasoning.
  3. Digital technologies make it easier for people to confirm their existing beliefs, with little incentive to go through the often arduous processes of thinking critically. The most prolific online spaces are designed to validate beliefs, rather than challenge them. This constant reinforcement, in turn, makes people more confident in and vocal about their beliefs.
  4. Overconfidence in beliefs makes people more vulnerable to disinformation and less likely to take in contrary arguments. 
  1. Compounding the problem, there is little financial incentive for tech companies to design products that encourage people to think critically, especially if that involves helping people slow down by building friction into systems optimized for speed.
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