Emerging Technologies

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RAND played a pivotal role in emerging technologies throughout the 20th century, from satellites and computers to information-sharing systems, packet switching, and artificial intelligence. RAND now explores the policy implications of emerging technologies across a broad scope of areas such as patient outcomes and health care quality; energy and environmental standards; privacy; military weapon systems; and training teachers and students in the 21st century.

  • A self-driving car being developed by nuTonomy

    Article

    Why Waiting for Perfect Autonomous Vehicles May Cost Lives

    Nov 7, 2017

    Some people think autonomous vehicles must be flawless before humans take their hands off the wheel. But putting AVs on the road before they're perfect improves the technology more quickly—and could save hundreds of thousands of lives over time.

  • 3D printer and printable drone, gun, and airplane turbine.

    Article

    Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security

    May 8, 2018

    3D printing has the potential to improve lives. But it could also bring new perils, such as disrupting weapons regulations and jeopardizing manufacturing jobs. While there's reason to be cautious about this technology, there's also danger in overreacting and overregulating what could be a new era of innovation.

Explore Emerging Technologies

  • AutoNOMOS self-driving car drives during a presentation in Zurich, Switzerland, May 12, 2015

    Commentary

    What If Autonomous Vehicles Actually Make Us More Dependent on Cars?

    Cities across Europe are taking steps to become increasingly car free. Mayors, supported by their officials and planners, should start leading a debate now about how self-driving vehicles can best serve the needs of residents and visitors, and help deliver wider goals for their cities.

    Jun 19, 2018

  • A drone flies over the ocean at dawn

    Commentary

    New Technologies Could Help Small Groups Wreak Large-Scale Havoc

    Lone wolves or small groups could use emerging technologies, such as drones or AI, for nefarious purposes. The threat is even greater when these technologies are used along with disinformation spread over social media.

    Jun 18, 2018

  • News Release

    3D Printing Could Disrupt Labor Markets and National Security

    While advances in additive manufacturing offer potential breakthroughs in prosthetic arms, jet engine parts, and a host of other products, 3D printing, as it is known, may also disrupt traditional labor markets and exacerbate existing security threats from violent actors.

    May 9, 2018

  • Clockwise from top left: RAND's JOHNNIAC mainframe computer, the RAND Tablet, a mobile phone, and an autonomous vehicle

    Essay

    70 Years of Innovation at RAND

    Seventy years ago, a group of researchers established the independent RAND Corporation. From the first satellite design, to helping ensure GPS as a public good, to laying the groundwork for the internet, RAND has been making a difference ever since.

    May 9, 2018

  • 3d printing in progress

    Report

    Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat

    If additive manufacturing—also called 3D printing—continues to develop along its current trends, it could profoundly alter the global economy, international security, and the organization of society.

    May 8, 2018

  • A graphic representing an accelerating future

    Article

    Can Humans Survive a Faster Future?

    Life is moving faster and faster. Just about everything—transportation, weapons, the flow of information—is accelerating. How will decisionmakers preserve our personal and national security in the face of hyperspeed?

    May 1, 2018

  • Abstract motion speed light with night city background

    Report

    Speed and Security: Promises, Perils, and Paradoxes of Accelerating Everything

    As new technologies and social dynamics shift society into hyperdrive, speed could catalyze security risks in areas such as transportation, communication, and health. How can policymakers devise strategies to adapt?

    May 1, 2018

  • A tablet displaying a voting website

    Commentary

    E-enabled Elections: The Future of Overseas Voting in Europe?

    Interest in technological solutions for elections is at an all-time high, but there are only a few mature online voting systems to learn from. Countries seeking to pilot e-enabled elections can learn from Estonia and others, but should also learn from those that never made it to full implementation.

    Apr 26, 2018

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Security 2040: The Promise and Perils of AI, 3D Printing, and Speed

    Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 3D printing, will pose new risks to global security. In this Events @ RAND podcast, multidisciplinary teams of experts discuss some of the most crucial trends and how to harness their potential.

    Apr 24, 2018

  • Abstract map of earth with futuristic, technological details

    Project

    Exploring the Future of Global Security

    The Security 2040 initiative explores technologies and trends that are shaping the global security landscape. By focusing on lesser-known security risks, Security 2040 aims to help decisionmakers anticipate and respond to threats on the horizon.

    Apr 24, 2018

  • Digital globe, focus on North America

    Brochure

    Security 2040: Perils and Promise Over the Near Horizon

    The Security 2040 initiative explores how new trends and technologies could impact the future of global security. The goal: Alert policymakers to potential future risks and recommend solutions.

    Apr 24, 2018

  • U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C., with storm clouds

    Commentary

    Can Washington Successfully Prepare for the Future?

    The impossibility of predicting the future does not remove the need to mull the uncertain. Policymakers should build in windows of time to think imaginatively about the pursuit of America's strategic objectives, and take a bird's-eye view of the role America can and should play in shaping an increasingly complex, chaotic world.

    Apr 6, 2018

  • Illustration of the scales of justice with computer circuit board background

    Research Brief

    Emerging Technology Trends and Their Impact on Criminal Justice

    The Criminal Justice Technology Forecasting Group discussed near-term effects that major societal trends could have on criminal justice and identified potential responses. This brief summarizes a report of the results of the group's meetings.

    Mar 26, 2018

  • A man tests Estonia's internet voting system in Tallinn, February 19, 2007

    Commentary

    Online Voting: The Solution to Declining Political Engagement?

    The potential benefits of online voting merit a conversation across Europe about its increased use in elections. But the evidence is mixed on whether online voting actually helps increase voter turnout.

    Mar 23, 2018

  • A judge's gavel represented in computer code

    Report

    Addressing Emerging Trends to Support the Future of Criminal Justice: Findings of the Criminal Justice Technology Forecasting Group

    The Criminal Justice Technology Forecasting Group deliberated on the effects that major societal trends could have on criminal justice in the near future and identified potential responses. This report captures the results of the group's meetings.

    Mar 19, 2018

  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018

    Commentary

    Our Reliance on Space Tech Means We Should Prepare for the Worst

    Space-enabled connectivity, technology, and services support a diverse array of political, military, and economic activities, many of which modern life on Earth relies upon and which the public often takes for granted. How prepared is global society to deal with the growing reliance on this technology and to mitigate associated risks?

    Mar 12, 2018

  • Composite impage of a hand holding a digital device locked with a padlock symbol

    Multimedia

    The Collision of AI and Privacy

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, RAND experts discuss risks to privacy in the age of artificial intelligence.

    Feb 20, 2018

  • A surgeon poses before a procedure supported by a tablet computer to access and visualize planning data, Hamburg, Germany, August 15, 2013

    Commentary

    How VR and AR Could Transform the Health Sector

    Immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality allow users to behave how they would in the real world, but in an artificial environment. Both technologies can help train medical professionals, deliver health services and improve the health outcomes of NHS users. But they also risk displacing workers in the health sector.

    Feb 20, 2018

  • Depiction of self-driving cars in road lanes

    Multimedia

    Safety in a World of Driverless Cars

    In this Call with the Experts, senior information scientist Nidhi Kalra discusses a RAND study that shows putting driverless cars on the road before they're nearly perfect could save lives, and also describes new approaches for safety standards.

    Feb 15, 2018