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, photo by Brian Snyder/REUTERS

    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.

  • Police desk with crime case records containing a mobile phone, photos, and keys, photo by Extreme-Photographer/Getty Images

    Report

    Preparing the U.S. Legal System for Emerging Technologies

    Jan 10, 2017

    Personal technology gathers data that can be useful in criminal justice proceedings. But this can also pose challenges for protecting individual rights. Identifying future conflicts ahead of time can help.

Explore Emerging Technologies

  • 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

  • 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 to increase voter turnout.

    Mar 23, 2018

  • 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

  • Autonomous vehicles on a highway

    Commentary

    Ensuring Cybersecurity Is Vital for a Driverless Future

    High-profile accidents involving autonomous vehicles (AVs) have led to recent discussions about the physical safety of people. However, it could be argued that consumers and manufacturers should be equally, if not more, concerned about the potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in AVs.

    Feb 12, 2018

  • Dr. Mae Jemison delivers the Haskins Lecture on Science Policy at RAND's Santa Monica Headquarters on January 23, 2018

    Blog

    Pursuing the Extraordinary Through Space Exploration

    NASA astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison delivered RAND's 2018 Haskins Lecture. She discussed how the pursuit of interstellar travel benefits society, the vital role science plays in our lives, and the importance of continued investment in research and technology.

    Jan 25, 2018

  • scientific illustration designed at RAND for Haskins Lecture

    Multimedia

    Pursuit of the Extraordinary

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Dr. Mae C. Jemison, RAND's 2018 Haskins Fellow, discusses why we must consciously pursue an extraordinary tomorrow in order to build a better world today.

    Jan 23, 2018

  • A man poses with a head-mounted augmented-reality display and armband sensors, Tokyo, Japan, March 18, 2017

    Commentary

    Disneyland's Next Rival? The Theme Park in Your Living Room

    Cheap and capable technologies available to everyone allow entrepreneurs and gamers to compete with the large multinational firms that develop and deliver entertainment. In 2018 we will see the arrival of micro amusement parks with technology-based rides.

    Jan 10, 2018

  • Conceptual image of human voice

    Commentary

    Fake Voices Will Become Worryingly Accurate

    New technology can convincingly fake the human voice and create security nightmares. Considering the widespread distrust of the media, institutions, and expert gatekeepers, audio fakery could start wars.

    Jan 8, 2018

  • The new Smart concept autonomous car Vision EQ fortwo model is presented during the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2017

    Commentary

    Autonomous Vehicles: Terrorist Threat or Security Opportunity?

    Terrorist groups that track developments in technology could be considering using self-driving cars in place of suicide bombers or for ramming attacks. But autonomous vehicle capabilities offer a range of potential benefits to law enforcement and security operations, too.

    Jan 3, 2018

  • A child poses with a Lego Boost set, a predicted top seller this Christmas, at the Hamleys toy store in London, Britain, October 12, 2017

    Commentary

    Smart Toys May Pose Risks

    Parents shouldn't avoid buying smart toys during the holidays, particularly if these devices top children's Christmas lists. But parents should definitely be wary of the security and privacy risks that smart toys can pose.

    Dec 21, 2017

  • Blockchain cryptocurrency financial technology concept with binary code

    Commentary

    Blockchain: Should We Believe the Hype?

    Industry, governments and academics are all speculating on the ways in which blockchain could revolutionize everything from finance to the music industry. Now is the time for policymakers and industry to take note and find out what blockchain could offer.

    Nov 30, 2017

  • Autonomous vehicles

    Commentary

    Driverless Cars: The Race Is On for Policy to Catch Up

    Driverless cars could be tested on Britain’s roads by 2021. While this is likely to be great news to many, the race is now on for policymaking to catch up. Why? Because driverless cars could substantially change more than just the way people travel.

    Nov 27, 2017