Emerging Technologies and Society

The Emerging Technologies and Society project is a collaboration between Singapore's Risk Assessment Horizon Scanning Programme Office (RPO) in the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) and the Atlantic Council Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security's Strategic Foresight Initiative (SFI). Initiated by RPO, the project focuses on the political, economic, and societal impacts of significant innovations arising from the science and technology fields. Through a series of meetings with leading researchers and private enterprises in the Silicon Valley, the project explores topics ranging from ubiquitous robotics and its impact on human capital developments, to algorithmic risk, quantum computing, and their challenges to national security.
  • Bitcoin and the Future of Currency

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Pinning down exactly what Bitcoin is like identifying Superman in old comics.

    Legal, financial, and political experts approach the issue from different angles—labeling Bitcoin into categories which established governments and institutions can understand and control. Meanwhile, technologists and innovators view virtual currencies as nothing less than a revolution in how we exchange goods and services. Conversation on Friday, April 11 at the Atlantic Council centered on how to define virtual currencies in legal terms and comprehend how this innovation will transform the way society transacts currency and more in the future.

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  • Technology Policy in an Age of Unknowledge

    Technology evolves so quickly that government regulations are outdated from the day they are written. Policymakers should consider the thirty-year-old insights of an obscure British economist for a map to the new approach we need to regulating technologies. 

    We are moving rapidly into the age of the “Internet of Everything” (IoE), in which tens of billions of smart, interconnected devices – from environmental sensors to bathroom scales – will interoperate without human involvement, and in ways that likely will be unknowable.  If governments default to their tradition of writing regulations for specific technologies as they are currently known, they will risk stifling some of the innovation that will change those technologies tomorrow. Instead, regulators should read the writings of economist George Shackle, who described the state of technological “unknowledge” back around 1980. Shackle would have policymakers combine their current knowledge with imagination to create a “thought map” that envisions all probable and possible future scenarios. They should then make policy decisions that are sufficiently flexible and dynamic to encompass a wide range of such scenarios. 

    Read Haynes’ full article on our FutureSource blog.

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  • Technology Policy in an Age of Unknowledge

    Technology evolves so quickly that government regulations are outdated from the day they are written. Policymakers should consider the thirty-year-old insights of an obscure British economist for a map to the new approach we need to regulating technologies.

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  • Big Data Is Changing Your World... More Than You Know

    In the latest FutureScape brief from the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative (SFI) at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, SFI’s Senior Fellow for Innovation and Global Trends Banning Garrett assesses the ubiquity of big data and the opportunities and risks it poses to our lives.

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  • A World Run on Algorithms?

    In the latest FutureScape brief from the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative (SFI) at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, SFI’s Senior Fellow for Innovation and Global Trends, Banning Garrett, assesses how algorithms now run much of our lives and in the future will be increasingly ubiquitous in ever more aspects of our personal and work life. Mostly without our awareness, algorithms are the guts of software that governs the operation of every digital devices, from modern airplanes and the electric grid system to our laptops, tablets and smartphones.

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  • Rising Robotics and the Third Industrial Revolution

    In the latest FutureScape brief from the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Senior Fellow Robert A. Manning assesses the onset of the era of robotics, one component of a technological transformation that is reshaping the world.

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  • Interview: We Need to Encourage Research for Development

    Infosys' Executive Co-chairman S. Gopalakrishnan, a member of the Atlantic Council's International Advisory Board, spoke to Bibhu Ranjan Mishra of Business Standard on the reasons behind instituting research awards and also about technologies that are expected to steer the IT industry forward.
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