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June 15, 2021

New US/UK Atlantic Charter takes on tech

By GlobalData Technology

One clear result of the election of Joe Biden as US President is a focus on collaboration instead of confrontation, and that in turn has led to a new focus on ‘winning’ in technology as part of a revised Atlantic Charter.

As the saying goes, “elections have consequences.” And in the case of the election of Joe Biden as US President, one of those consequences has been a new focus on closer collaboration on a number of issues, including pandemic response, global warming, cybersecurity, and – now – 6G.

As part of Biden’s June visit to the UK, the US and the UK announced a newly updated Atlantic Charter, agreeing to collaborate on research and development across a number of areas in order to “create wealth and tackle inequality, and ensure the values of liberal democracies, open societies and open markets are embedded in the design and use of technology globally.”

Atlantic Charter revised

The Atlantic Charter itself is now 80 years old, having been agreed to by US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941 to envision a post-war rebuilding plan. The revised charter embodies many of the original charter’s sentiments: democracy, open societies, adherence to the rule of law, freedom of the press, and the like. However, it also shines a light on more modern challenges, including climate change, biodiversity, and cyberterrorism.

The new charter also adds a focus on science and technology leadership. As part of a joint statement accompanying the new Atlantic Charter, Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to build a bilateral technology partnership in 2021 or 2022.

While the details will need to be ironed out, specific target areas include artificial intelligence and battery technologies in addition to addressing supply chain issues that are currently resulting in production delays in a number of product areas, including automobiles and smartphones.

The two countries also committed to focusing on quantum computing and to strengthen collaboration on emerging 6G technology and building common digital technical standards. On quantum computing, in particular, the UK has already embarked on a ten-year £1 billion R&D plan, while the US authorized $1 billion in funding in 2018.