If you pay attention to national security or foreign policy, chances are you have heard the term “emerging technologies.” The term has become a headliner for panels at conferences, an appendage used to call for urgency or to underscore security concerns in op-eds and articles, and a frequently-used marker of interest in biographic profiles. However, more often than not, the term usage lacks a descriptive component that would afford it a context-specific orientation and a more commanding impact.
While the two-word term may have been sufficient in the initial identification phase for the new wave of security threats, more descriptive usages of the term will be necessary to develop a meaningful, concrete, and transparent understanding of the security impact emerging technologies will have. Only after an increased depth is developed can successful policy recommendations emerge. In order to push for this depth, we must start to realize the diversity of topics in the field of “emerging technologies,” and specify which aspect our individual interests, article usages, and conference panels are focused on.