FutureSource

FutureSource

We do not have to predict the future in order to plan for it. The core concern of strategic foresight is not a simplistic identification of what technology we will use in twenty years, for example, but what effects technological change will have on our national interests. Understanding geopolitical and technological tides will assist policymakers and business leaders in charting out smart strategies today which hedge against unwelcome storms while capitalizing on innovation and progress. This can only be done by having conversations geared toward exploring a future of unknowable, but unavoidable possibilities and pitfalls.

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According to the US National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) Global Trends 2030 report, the earth’s population will be pushing 8.3 billion (up from 7.1 billion in 2012) by 2030. This population growth, combined with ongoing urbanization and rising incomes, will increase the world’s demand for food.

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Recent advancements in space technology and commercial space industry promise to spur a dramatic surge in space tourism and research in the coming decades. While space enthusiasts might celebrate the news by calculating whether their retirement funds can be made over as space-jump funds, the bureaucratically-inclined have a good reason to worry: the current system of international governance isn’t capable of coping with a congested orbit.

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Faced with deep cuts in its operating budget, NASA has undertaken efforts to broaden international cooperation and establish a domestic commercial space industry. With the space shuttle now retired, NASA needs a way to get large amounts of cargo and personnel into space, and private companies are the only ticket up. 

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It is common knowledge that increasing societal complexity (i.e., interdependence and interconnectedness) is challenging the fundamental business models of an ever-growing range of industries. Thus, the entertainment, technology, manufacturing, information—the list could go on and on—industries are all under pressure to change the ways they think.

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“Disruptive change” that produces “strategic shocks” has become an increasing concern for policymakers, shaken by momentous events of the last couple of decades that were not on their radar screens – from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the 2008 financial crisis and the “Arab Spring.”

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