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

  • Susan Dentzer, Eric Topol, and Mark Friedberg at RAND's Politics Aside event in Santa Monica, November 12, 2016

    Blog

    The Price of Personalized Health Care

    Medical care in the United States is entering an era where technology can give patients more control over their care and let them take control of their health data.

    Nov 13, 2016

  • The autonomous ship "Sea Hunter" is shown docked in Portland, Oregon before its christening ceremony April 7, 2016

    Commentary

    Killer Robots: Moral Concerns vs. Military Advantages

    The U.S. military should balance Americans' ethical concerns over computers making life and death decisions with the need to maintain an edge in the face of rapid advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning across the globe.

    Nov 4, 2016

  • Soldiers conduct cyberspace operations during a training rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, January 24, 2016

    Commentary

    The Pentagon's New Chief Innovation Officer Should Tread Lightly

    The innovation efforts taking place in the Department of Defense are exciting and have much potential. But installing a chief innovation officer with centralized authority who may become just another bureaucratic player among many could spoil those efforts.

    Nov 3, 2016

  • A fleet of Uber's Ford Fusion self-driving cars are shown during a demonstration in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2016

    Q&A

    Driving to Safety: Autonomous Vehicle Questions, Answered

    A recent RAND report found that test-driving autonomous vehicles is not a feasible way to determine when they will be safe enough for consumer use. This resulted in a lot of questions.

    Oct 25, 2016

  • A U.S. Air Force B-52 carries the X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle for a launch test from Edwards AFB, California, May 1, 2013

    Commentary

    The Future of Hypersonic Weapons

    Russia and China appear to be developing hypersonic weapons. But the United States should make decisions about whether to develop its own hypersonic weapons in a vacuum.

    Oct 20, 2016

  • Report

    Accelerating the Internet of Things in the UK: Using policy to support practice

    Using insights from businesses and informed users of technology, RAND Europe carried out a study to support a process for policy feedback that will inform the development and adoption of the Internet of Things in the UK.

    Oct 4, 2016

  • Research Brief

    Accelerating the Internet of Things in the UK: Linking policy with practice

    Using insights from Internet of Things (IoT) implementations and informed users of technology, RAND Europe carried out a study to support a process for policy feedback that will inform the development and adoption of the IoT in the UK.

    Oct 4, 2016

  • Dmitri Dolgov, principal engineer on the software team of Google's Self-Driving Car project, speaks during a presentation in Mountain View, California, September 29, 2015

    Commentary

    The Brains Behind Autonomous Vehicles May Need a License to Drive

    Autonomous vehicles require exquisite software. To make this software secure, industry and government should consider educational standards and licensure requirements for the engineers who create it.

    Sep 27, 2016

  • A police officer working on a computer in a patrol car

    Report

    Future Communications Technologies Could Strengthen Law Enforcement

    A workshop with 41 experts on both law enforcement operations and broadband technologies identified needs for technology initiatives and how law enforcement could best use future capabilities while mitigating potential risks.

    Sep 26, 2016

  • A fleet of Uber's Ford Fusion self-driving cars are shown during a demonstration in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2016

    Commentary

    When Will We Know Self-Driving Cars Are Safe?

    Will autonomous vehicles be safe before they are allowed on the road for consumer use? Maybe. And that might be the best that can be said.

    Sep 25, 2016

  • John Seely Brown at RAND's headquarters campus in Santa Monica, California

    Content

    John Seely Brown: Pardee RAND Patron

    John Seely Brown has been steadfast in his philanthropic support of Pardee RAND, the graduate school founded at RAND more than 45 years ago to train the next generation of cutting-edge thinkers and policy analysts. He has served on its Board of Governors since 2013.

    Aug 22, 2016

  • A Tesla Model S with version 7.0 software update containing Autopilot features is seen during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California, October 14, 2015

    Commentary

    Tesla Fatal Crash Reminds That Human Interface Remains Important

    The first reported fatality in a self-driving vehicle is a chilling reminder that the evolving relationship with increasingly robotic motor vehicles needs to be a partnership, an undertaking with humans and machines managing the risks.

    Jul 30, 2016

  • Aerographer's mates stand by as an unmanned underwater vehicle leaves the surface to search for mines as part of a training exercise

    Commentary

    The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Intelligence Agencies

    The defense community has already begun a healthy dialogue about the ethics of AI in combat systems. The intelligence community should develop standards for AI risk assessments and assign responsibility for conducting them.

    Jul 18, 2016

  • The interior of a Tesla Model S is shown in autopilot mode in San Francisco, California, April 7, 2016

    Commentary

    Fatal Crash Shouldn't Kill Self-Driving Cars

    The first known fatality in an autonomous vehicle occurred on May 7 and raises important questions. It does not, however, mean that self-driving cars are less safe than human drivers or that development of the technology should be stopped.

    Jul 16, 2016

  • Double decker bus going by Big Ben and Parliament in London, UK

    Commentary

    Looking Out the Window to Transport in 2035

    The UK's roads, railways, and airports are some of the most congested in the world. Exploring future transport scenarios and the technologies that will drive them can help guide today's policy and investment decisions.

    Jun 27, 2016

  • Red bus passing over Westminster bridge with Big Ben in the background, London, UK

    Report

    Travel in Britain in 2035

    Without substantial investment, the UK will experience severe congestion across its transport infrastructure by 2035. How might emerging technologies be able to address the problem?

    Jun 24, 2016

  • Research Brief

    Travel in Britain in 2035: Future scenarios and their implications for technology

    By 2035 UK transport infrastructure may be severely congested. Innovate UK commissioned this study to explore how technology might address the congestion problem by using capacity more efficiently, supporting modal choice and managing travel demand.

    Jun 24, 2016

  • A pro-Russian rebel sends messages over his smartphone in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk, May 16, 2014

    Report

    How Commercial Tech Can Affect Military Intelligence Operations

    Commercial technologies such as smartphones are primarily about identifying and tracking people and patterns of behavior. Their presence is greatest in urban environments. This happens to be where most military intelligence operations are conducted and where most future insurgencies and wars are likely to take place.

    Jun 6, 2016

  • Illustration of data encryption

    Blog

    RAND's Lillian Ablon Presents 'Lessons from a Hacker'

    Lillian Ablon, a cybersecurity and emerging technologies researcher, spoke at a RAND Policy Circle Conversation on the world's expanding cyber vulnerability, those who are out there to take advantage of those vulnerabilities, as well as consumer attitudes toward breaches.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research Institute, talks about developing autonomous cars during the 2016 CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 5, 2016

    Commentary

    Why It's Nearly Impossible to Prove Self-Driving Cars' Safety Without a New Approach

    There are arguments to be made for permitting driverless cars in some capacity even if they are not quite as safe as human drivers, because doing so may enable developers to improve them faster, and thus save more lives overall.

    May 12, 2016