Strategic Foresight Initiative

  • Keeping a Global Competitive Advantage with STEM Education

    Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers play an integral role in maintaining or advancing a nation’s economic and societal competitiveness. A recent report of the eight most valuable startup companies in the US further emphasizes the impact of STEM disciplines in the creation of new industries and domains. The success of a majority of these startups heavily relies on STEM skillsets that include software/app development, data analytics and machine learning expertise, and the seamless integration of technologies that enhance user experiences. While the demand for STEM degrees continues to increase, the time needed to attain a higher education degree remains relatively constant and typically exceeds fifty-two months, well beyond the...
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  • Burrows and Burwell Quoted in World Economic Forum on the Future of Europe


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  • Striking a Balance Between Privacy and Security

    In an age of increasing connectivity and data-collection technologies, policymakers must grapple with the central tension between the public’s desire for privacy and the need for security.

    “We’re going to have to make this fundamental trade between how much do we value national security and protection, versus how much do we want to behave in a free society,” said Robert Schukai, global head of design and digital identity solutions at Thomson Reuters. “Technology can solve a lot of problems,” said Schukai, “but if we can’t figure out the rules of the road… it’s an asymmetric battle.”

    Leslie Ireland, who served as assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the US Department of the Treasury in the Obama administration, said “there needs to a broader conversation in our country about what needs to be done for protection and what that cost can be to your privacy.”

    “I wonder if there’s going to have to be such a [large-scale] privacy breach...

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  • Big Data: A Twenty-First Century Arms Race

    We are living in a world awash in data. Accelerated interconnectivity, driven by the proliferation of internet-connected devices, has led to an explosion of data—big data. A race is now underway to develop new technologies and implement innovative methods that can handle the volume, variety, velocity, and veracity of big data and apply it smartly to provide decisive advantage and help solve major challenges facing companies and governments.

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  • Cognitive Systems and the Policy Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

    This blog is the first in a series exploring the implications of different policies on the development and deployment of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive systems.

    The term “cognition” is defined as “of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity”.1 Our world is surrounded by cognitive organisms that range in complexity from an ant to the most intellectually-capable cognitive organism that is known today – a human. A fundamental characteristic of cognitive organisms is their ability to form higher-level abstractions of cognition that mimic or surpass their individual levels of cognition.2 A cognitive system is a human-made system that is able to interact with their human counterparts and understand human expression mechanisms that are primarily delivered via visual, audial, and textual communication.3 For clarity,...

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  • Why Bot Makers Dream of Electric Sheep

    Using fake social media accounts to attract real users

    Social media “bots” have repeatedly made headlines over the past year, accused of driving traffic and distorting debate on social media platforms, especially Twitter, in the US, French, and UK elections. But what are bots, and how do they work?

    In social media terms, a bot is an automated account set up to make posts without human intervention. Such bots can play a range of roles, including sharing poetry, spreading news or attempting satire; many...

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  • Telegraph Highlights Atlantic Council Report


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  • Data Firms React to Iranian Presidential Showdown

    This blog post is part of a series analyzing the newest forms of data forecasting.

    The Iranian presidential election has leapt into the headlines as two candidates feverishly make their final arguments to voters. President Hassan Rouhani and conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi have burst into the lead after two other hopefuls dropped out of the race this week. With opinion polling scattered and inconsistent, a clear picture of the electorate is difficult to measure. Two data science startups have offered their election analysis before Friday’s voting. This blog is part of the Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative’s continuing series on data-driven electoral forecasting. Previous pieces looked at data forecasts versus polling predictions in the runup to the French presidential voting in late April and early May, and the recent South Korean presidential election.

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  • Engelke in Meeting of the Minds: On Benjamin Barber—Cities, Democracy, and Global Governance


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  • Data Firms Weigh In On South Korean Presidential Race During Polling Blackout

    This blog post is part of a series analyzing the newest forms of data forecasting.

    The South Korean presidential election scheduled for tomorrow has been fraught with anxiety as voters remain divided over the direction of the country’s political future. The aftermath of a presidential impeachment has placed heightened scrutiny over the presidential race. North Korea has added to the apprehension as it continues to rattle the electorate in its quest to mate ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

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