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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Rewired: How digital technologies shape cognition and democracy

Leah Walker

SUMMARY

This analytical report takes an escalating three-tiered approach: examining how effects of digital technologies on cognitive processes then affect the individual and society. At Tier 1, the most basic cognitive level, we hone in on the processes of memory, attention, and reasoning. At Tier 2, taking into consideration the combinatorial implications for individuals, we focus on critical thinking, trust, and emotions. Finally, at Tier 3, the analysis delves into how these insights drive societal-level issues, namely the susceptibility to disinformation and affective polarization. We attribute these negative effects to two forms of digital technologies: 1) those that affect and manipulate cognition, and 2) those that outsource cognitive functions.

To develop a model for understanding these effects, we propose a Framework on Techno-Cognitive Risks that identifies the precise elements of digital technologies that may lead to areas of concern or vulnerability from the fundamental cognitive level up to the societal level. This framework identifies 12 risks that emerge from 4 main features of technology in our increasingly digital world: 1) Design and Gamification; 2) Unnaturally Immersive and Easy Experience; 3) Lack of Friction; and 4) Information Overload. It is through the identification of these specific risks within these technology-driven domains that focused efforts can work to mitigate the threats to democracy we see today.

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