Scientific American: Space Technology Could Change the Balance of Power in Africa

In 2013, during a visit by French president François Hollande to Morocco’s capital Rabat, a deal was made in secret for France to build a satellite for the Moroccan government. On November 7, 2017, four years after this deal was signed, Mohammed VI-A, Africa’s first high-resolution imaging satellite, was launched, giving Morocco a new kind of power in North Africa.

The launch of Mohammed VI-A reflects a new way nations in Africa are growing their economic, social and military capabilities. Instead of conforming to the status quo of the past or accepting one-sided trade and geopolitical agreements, they are turning to space. For Morocco, the satellite, which is nominally to be used for mapping, natural disaster management and more, raised eyebrows in Algeria and Spain over its potential for spying as well.

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For the past 70 years, geopolitics has been defined by oil, natural gas, defense and much more. Now, geopolitics is being defined by technology. And, AI is the most important. Nations of all shapes and sizes are looking to AI to give them an economic and geopolitical edge. Everything from ethics to bias to warfare will be defined and redefined by the geopolitics of AI. See why nations are competing over a technology that nobody fully understands but everybody wants.

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