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

  • 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

  • A drone takes off from an operations center in Muhanda, Rwanda, on its way to deliver blood supplies to remote hospitals, October 12, 2016

    Commentary

    Drones Could Deliver Change to Africa

    Drones could transform Africa's urban and rural infrastructure and enhance its agricultural productivity. But deployment of drones on the continent faces technological, economic, social, and legal, and regulatory challenges.

    Nov 17, 2017

  • Dissertation

    Accelerating the Transition of Technologies Created through the U.S. Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research Program

    This dissertation gains to understand the contextual effects on the success of the transition of technologies generated through the U.S. Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research program.

    Nov 16, 2017

  • Report

    Understanding the landscape of Distributed Ledger Technologies/Blockchain: Challenges, opportunities, and the prospects for standards

    This report analyses the current landscape of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) / Blockchain. The study examines the issues that are central to its development in conjunction with the potential role of standardization to support its growth.

    Oct 18, 2017

  • Report

    Civic engagement: How can digital technologies underpin citizen-powered democracy?

    The report provides an overview of an expert consultation on how digital technologies can be used to support citizen-powered democracy. It identifies key opportunities, risks and aspirations, as well as emerging ideas for delivering on this vision.

    Oct 11, 2017

  • Report

    Wanxiang Innovation Energy Fusion City: Recommendations for Developing an Innovation Cluster

    RAND authors develop a mission statement and recommend policies to help achieve the Wanxiang Group's vision of developing the Wanxiang Innovation Energy Fusion City into an innovative cluster built around smart and green automotive technologies.

    Sep 20, 2017

  • Report

    Developing standards to support the synthetic biology value chain

    A study identifying the impact that adoption of synthetic biology is likely to have on the global marketplace as well as any existing barriers or obstacles preventing the rapid scale-up and commercialisation of the technology.

    Sep 11, 2017

  • A police body camera is worn by an officer during a news conference on the pilot program of body cameras involving 60 NYPD officers dubbed Big Brother at the NYPD police academy in Queens, New York, December 3, 2014

    Report

    Wearable Technologies for Law Enforcement

    Wearable technologies that could help officers in the field, such as flexible batteries and wireless charging, are available today at reasonable costs. Law enforcement agencies should work with manufacturers to provide input on future wearables.

    Sep 8, 2017

  • U.S. ground troops patrol while robots carry their equipment and drones serve as spotters

    Commentary

    Artificial Intelligence and the Military

    AI has many possible applications for the military, such as providing unpredictable and adaptive adversaries for training fighter pilots. But what are the implications of AI adoption?

    Sep 7, 2017

  • Hacked internet of things

    Commentary

    Gaming Policy in Cyberspace

    Hacked devices and intellectual property theft are a rich hunting ground for policy development. The challenge posed by Internet-connect devices is only getting worse as the number of online devices continues to grow.

    Aug 23, 2017

  • Report

    Civic Engagement: How Can Digital Technology Encourage Greater Engagement in Civil Society?

    This Perspective explores the potential impacts that digital technologies may have on the nature of civic engagement and political processes, providing an overview of the opportunities and risks associated with the use of these technologies.

    Aug 7, 2017

  • A green globe illustration

    Q&A

    Global Risks in 2040: Q&A with Andrew Parasiliti

    Andrew Parasiliti discusses how the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security is envisioning the world in 2040, and the security challenges that will shape it.

    Jun 30, 2017

  • Syrian refugee Omayma al Hushan (2nd R), 14, who launched an initiative against child marriage among Syrian refugees, and her friends rehearse a play about it at a school in Al Zaatari refugee camp, Mafraq, Jordan, April 21, 2016

    Commentary

    How Innovation Can Assist the Refugee 'Pathway'

    New ways to collaborate and coordinate humanitarian actions are needed so that refugees, host communities, and other stakeholders are empowered to create and spread innovative solutions. These efforts should consider the entire refugee pathway, not only emergency and arrival assistance.

    Jun 27, 2017

  • An artist's rendering of a refueling depot for deep-space exploration between Earth and the moon

    Commentary

    Mining the Moon for Rocket Fuel to Get Us to Mars

    Students from around the world participated in the 2017 Caltech Space Challenge. They proposed designs of what a lunar launch and supply station for deep space missions might look like, and how it would work.

    May 16, 2017

  • A mobile phone with an app to control wireless devices in a smart home like a washing machine, security camera, door lock, and music player

    Commentary

    Using Digital Data in Criminal Investigations

    Personal devices such as smartphones and wearables gather and store personal data. How much of this “digital footprint” should be available for criminal investigations?

    May 15, 2017

  • Person consulting a smart watch with GPS technology

    Commentary

    Using Wearable Fitness Devices to Monitor More Than Just Fitness

    Manufacturers could reinvigorate the market for personal health devices by incorporating measures of health and well-being beyond step counts. Wearables could gauge a neighborhood's air quality, safety, or its level of social connectedness.

    May 14, 2017