The Near Future: 2019 – 2024 (Part II) Security and Sovereignty Come First!
21.01.2019

This time I want to share with you a possible scenario for how we can solve the problems we discussed earlier, particularly, what we can take responsibility for and what to build the future of the region and the University around. From both, global and local contexts, we see that the present and the future of the economy and other spheres of social activity are connected with all kinds of security. In the digital society such security is provided, first of all, by information technologies.

At TSU, we have not focused on security as a scientific and technological problem yet, but I believe it is time to do that. Everything that is going on around us proves that new technologies are changing economic and social infrastructures, not even mentioning the military one. All countries face the fact that there is not a single industry that can function without digital technologies nowadays. The AI is being implemented in various spheres. Governments spend huge money on developing and using all those new technologies.

There is another side of the medal, which is digital addiction. It turned out that to develop a “complete package” of technological security system is more difficult than to develop separate technologies. There are only two countries today, the USA and China, that actively work on such packages. The idea of “switching off the electricity in Kremlin” has already been sent to Russia by the Anglo-Saxon part of the world. Today such an anti-utopian scenario does not seem unrealistic. If a country uses gadgets produced outside of it, it becomes very vulnerable. Today, pushing one button, one can turn off an entire vital infrastructure.

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Russia has a strategic challenge to become the third country in the world that can develop a full security package and create a network of strategic partners that need this package and do not want to depend on the USA and China. Those are countries of Southeast Asia, Iran, and Turkey. Historically, Russia has an experience of having such a package. Its components used to be nuclear energy and space technologies. Today, a basic component of such a package is cybersecurity as a core element of any system, for example, energy engineering, communications, and transportation. Right now, cybersecurity is a weak spot for our country. Russia is one of four countries that has its own searching engines, corporations that develop security soft, and is able to control the internet and social networks. Most countries cannot do that.

On the other hand, we, as many other countries, use various soft and gadgets made in the USA and China. That is why we really need a package of our own.

What should we choose as our priority and focus on, considering all possible global and national contexts? We believe that we must deal with developing a partnership network of IT leaders that can be involved in creating the strategic package. This is a complicated task and not all countries are capable of doing it. Russia is capable of that. Using this logic, we have started developing a project of a REC. Who can take responsibility for assembling such technologies in our region? Of course, the research and educational collaboration of institutions. We discussed this project at the meeting of the experts, talked to the Governor and the other rectors and directors of research institutes. There was no other alternative to the idea with the wild herbs. In general, it is a good idea, but it will unlikely make us visible as strategic leaders on the federal map in times of changing technological paradigms. 14_dikorosy.jpg

What I am going to share with you, concerning our future REC, is just a blueprint that will go through multiple changes and corrections. Try to look at it from the perspective of your professional and academic interests. In general, the idea of the REC is focused around four key areas: individual, society, technologies, and environment (natural and artificial). These are the areas where the University can show its potential as a “big university”.

For example, in the “environment” block, the priorities are ecology, territory, and its resources. In this regard, we have some mutual interests and work with Polytechnic University: developments in ecology and climate, oil and gas, and partnership with large companies. The content of the “individual” block is medical and psychological diagnostics, active longevity, biomedicine, digital learning technologies, and much more. In this block, there are also ethical issues: bioethics, research on the issues of the society in connection with the increasing life expectancy. It must be said that ethical issues take place in all four areas, including the technological one. It is already obvious that new technologies are connected not only with new technological risks, but also with massive unemployment, vanishing of the middle class, and so on. In the latter examples, it is clearly seen that the four areas of the RECs cannot exist by themselves. They are in constant interdisciplinary interaction. The scientific teams should include representatives of different sciences.

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In the context of the future REC, with its focus on critical technologies capable of ensuring the sovereignty of states, our entire innovation-entrepreneurial line is of particular relevance. Why? Because when changing the technological structure, innovators and entrepreneurs are the designers of the new system of division of labor. And the university that is able to massively bring its development to the market begins to occupy its niches in the new system of division of labor. This is a very good news for us, since we have already started working on this vector, and we have many opportunities here. The bad thing is that we have little money. We need to produce not a few or even dozens of new technological leaders - very well-trained specialists (research engineers, engineers with entrepreneurial competencies), but hundreds and thousands. Only then will this environment really earn and make its contribution to the development of the domestic package of critical technologies that ensure sovereignty. The geopolitical forecast shows that about a third of all countries may be interested in such a package. And the export of technology to Southeast Asia will automatically lead to an increase in demand for the training of national personnel capable of serving these technologies. And this is a task for the “big university”. This is very briefly about the preliminary idea of the REC and the groundwork available to it.

 

to be continued


29.07.2019
The issues of the new campus and Tomsk as a university city come up in conversations among policy makers, as well as in social media communication and chats with friends and relatives.