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

  • A Rohingya woman talks with her relatives on a mobile phone after crossing the Naf river by boat in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017, photo by Turjoy Chowdhury/Sipa via AP Images

    Content

    Schmidt Futures: Fueling Research to Improve the Lives of Refugees

    With a gift from philanthropic initiative Schmidt Futures, RAND researchers are looking into how technology—from cell phones to biometric screeners—could improve the lives of the world's 69 million refugees, displaced people, and asylum seekers.

    May 1, 2019

  • Abstract curly tendrils, photo by gremlin/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Eight Lessons to Inform the Future Oversight of Emerging Science and Technology

    The prospect of Brexit has prompted much discussion about the future of science and technology in the UK. Effective oversight systems are crucial. They could help to create public trust and minimize risks, while allowing emerging science and technology, along with the businesses that arise from them, to flourish.

    Apr 11, 2019

  • Report

    Oversight of emerging science and technology: Learning from past and present efforts around the world

    To help inform decisions about emerging science and technology oversight in the future, RAND Europe studied ten examples of oversight spanning different countries, time periods, and science and technology areas, and identified eight key lessons.

    Mar 20, 2019

  • Kathryn Bouskill, a social scientist at RAND, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Essay

    What the Speed of Life Means for Security and Society

    Dozens of technologies with the power to transform human life, from 3D printing to cognitive implants, could become as ordinary as a cellphone by 2040. Society will have to adapt, on the fly, in ways it never has. The speed of life itself could pose a security challenge.

    Mar 6, 2019

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: March-April 2019

    This issue explores resilience and adaptation strategies researchers can pursue to address the impacts of climate change; security challenges posed by artificial intelligence and the speed at which technology is transforming society; and more.

    Mar 4, 2019

  • Young Asian woman looking at an eye scanner image, photo by Photographer is my life/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Biology, in the Language of the People

    As technology and the ability to gather ever-growing amounts of data move further into the realms of biology and human performance, communication and transparency become increasingly important. Experts should consider whether they are using the words, examples, and models that connect with a broad audience most effectively.

    Feb 21, 2019

  • Pardee RAND students shared their Tech Lab Pilot projects during a 2017 open house

    Essay

    Pardee RAND Reimagines the Future of Public Policy Problem Solving

    The Pardee RAND Graduate School is taking a new approach to public policy education. Three new streams of study and action will better align with today's policy needs. Faculty and students will shift the focus from coming up with solutions to actually implementing them.

    Jan 7, 2019

  • Multimedia

    Healing the Invisible Wounds of War with Virtual Reality

    In this episode of Veterans in America, we hear the story of Joe Merritt, a former Marine and Army National Guard soldier, and learn about an effective evidence-based treatment for PTSD: virtual reality exposure therapy.

    Nov 8, 2018

  • RAND's Kathryn Bouskill speaks at a TEDxManhattanBeach event.

    Multimedia

    Why We Should Control the Speed of Life

    RAND's Kathryn Bouskill discusses the accelerating pace of nearly every aspect of our lives, and the societal and security challenges it presents.

    Nov 3, 2018

  • Car driving autonomously with LIDAR sensor

    Commentary

    The New AV Challenge: Creating a Universal Safety Framework

    Autonomous vehicle developers are pursuing different safety strategies and technologies, making different claims, in different ways, about their systems. A universal framework could provide a more consistent and transparent view of progress in AV safety within and across the industry, better informing the public and policymakers.

    Nov 2, 2018

  • Processor pins of a microchip

    Commentary

    Examining the Weak Spots in Tech's Supply Chain Armor

    When an attack on the supply chain occurs, manufacturers and purchasers should be better positioned to respond and recover. Even the simplest devices can rely on parts from multiple suppliers, which may have their own suppliers and so on. But every supplier, no matter how small, represents a potential weak link in the chain.

    Oct 16, 2018

  • Woman's eye with technology of security concept

    Commentary

    The Perils of Connecting Our Bodies to the Internet

    High-tech health care solutions are part of an emerging sector of medical technologies that monitor personal health data by essentially connecting your body to the Internet. As smart devices in health care evolve, the line between human and machine is blurring, and creating new concerns about consumer safety and privacy rights.

    Oct 15, 2018

  • Bird scooters outside a restaurant in Santa Monica, California, July 23, 2018

    Commentary

    A Better Way to Think About Scooters

    Unleashed in Santa Monica, California, last September, Bird and its competitors are now in 30 American cities and counting. Cities are responding to the scooter takeover with new regulations and increased law enforcement. But if officials rely only on 20th-century tools to integrate these 21st-century scooters into their cities, they will miss a big opportunity.

    Aug 28, 2018

  • Maj. Mike Stinchfield, left, and Maj. Greg. Pavlichko, demonstrate the virtual capabilities of the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer concept at the Combined Arms Center - Training Innovation Facility on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

    Commentary

    The Military's Search for Innovation

    Militaries have historically sought ways to incorporate new weapons, armaments and methods of fighting into their operations. As the United States military continues to vigorously pursue innovation, history has provided important lessons which can help guide future innovation efforts.

    Aug 13, 2018

  • A desk with 3D printing technology on top

    Commentary

    Downloadable Guns and Other 3-D Printing Security Threats

    Americans may soon be able to legally access blueprints for 3D-printed guns. The growing opposition to these weapons shows that potential security threats do not have to be inevitable. The security challenges inherent in 3D printing could be addressed, while the development of industry norms can still be shaped.

    Jul 31, 2018

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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