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 6, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 7, 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

  • 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

  • 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 23, 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