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Discontinuities and Distractions - Rethinking Security for the Year 2040

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

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This report is based on a workshop convened by the RAND Corporation in New York Cityon September 8, 2017, to discuss how to better define, anticipate, and address global trends anddiscontinuities that could shape the world though the year 2040. Nineteen participants from awide range of disciplines and professions analyzed continuities and discontinuities from previouseras and anticipated likely or consequential developments in the coming 25 years. Continuitieswere those trends and events that were unsurprising, even if they occurred at an accelerated pace.Discontinuities, also known as black swans, are developments that were deemed impossibleand thus never considered, yet they proved consequential enough to change history, making atrend line suddenly jump or even disappear. The most consequential continuities cited were that1 life expectancy in many parts of the world would continue to rise, 2 extreme weather eventswould increase in frequency, and 3 the advancement of technologies would continue toprogress rapidly. The most consequential discontinuities cited were that 1 artificial intelligencecould displace a significant portion of the labor force 2 advanced genomic editing couldbecome a disruptive force 3 climate change and extreme weather could spark mass migrationand 4 shifts in climate, energy, and demography could alter the international power balance.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

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