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

  • 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

  • A self-driving vehicle travels on the road during a demonstration in Singapore, October 12, 2015

    Commentary

    The Police Could Be Controlling Your Self-Driving Car

    As self-driving cars become widespread, one of the biggest issues will be the rules under which public infrastructures and public safety officers may be empowered to override how autonomous vehicles are controlled.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • A satellite orbiting Earth

    Commentary

    The Democratization of Space

    A new economic model for outer space must account for lower barriers to entry and the involvement of more and more stakeholders, such as developing countries and start-ups.

    Mar 28, 2016

  • Advertisement from 1957 for "America's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies" showing an autonomous car

    Report

    Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers

    Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to significantly improve social welfare. This report addresses the numerous legislative, regulatory, and liability issues this technology will raise.

    Mar 22, 2016

  • Bruce Sewell, senior vice president and general counsel for Apple Inc., is sworn in before testifying to the House Judiciary hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" March 1, 2016

    Commentary

    How the 'Wonks' of Public Policy and the 'Geeks' of Tech Can Get Together

    Conventional wisdom says that technology innovates and disrupts, while public policy regulates and controls. What might a better integration of the commercial tech sector with the policy community look like?

    Mar 18, 2016

  • Pieces of an iPhone are seen on a repair store counter in New York City, February 17, 2016

    Commentary

    The Cost of Security in the iPhone Era

    As the security on the iPhone better protects users from criminals, it also excels at keeping law enforcement from accessing the data. The dispute between the FBI and Apple over unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers continues but the real debate is about whether society wants legislation that weakens iPhone security for law enforcement.

    Feb 26, 2016

  • Group of friends holding their smart phones

    Commentary

    How You Can Be Cybersecurity's Strongest Asset

    Technology is thoroughly embedded within the average person's life but security is not emphasized to the general user. Teaching the importance of security early on and continually bringing awareness to the public could help temper technology-based attacks.

    Feb 18, 2016

  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Legged Squad Support System can relieve troops of their 100-pound equipment load, take voice commands, and maneuver around obstacles, in addition to numerous other tasks in the field

    Commentary

    Should We Fear an AI Arms Race?

    Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and others signed a letter calling for a ban on the application of artificial intelligence to advanced weapons systems. AI weapons are not without risks, but the benefits are substantial and the risks can be mitigated with more moderate regulation than a ban.

    Feb 8, 2016

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2016

    This issue highlights RAND research findings on the effectiveness of correctional education in U.S. prisons; an exploration of how emerging technologies present an ongoing challenge to the criminal-justice community; and more.

    Jan 11, 2016

  • A flying police car hovers past city buildings

    Essay

    How Will Technology Change Criminal Justice?

    In perhaps no other field does society have as direct a stake in getting technology right as in policing. How will technology change the work that law enforcement agencies do and the communities they serve?

    Jan 7, 2016

  • Internet of Things graphic

    Commentary

    Keeping Hackers Away from Your Car, Fridge, and Front Door

    In the ever-growing Internet of Things, attackers already outpace the defenders. If developing solutions for software liability doesn't become more of a priority, there may be no winning this technological war.

    Dec 7, 2015

  • Cover: Nanomaterial Safety in the Workplace

    Report

    Nanomaterial Safety in the Workplace: Pilot Project for Assessing the Impact of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center

    RAND researchers develop a preliminary logic model to help the Nanotechnology Research Center identify and assess its contributions to improving the safety and health of workers who could be affected by engineered nanomaterials.

    Nov 3, 2015

  • Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller gives a tour of the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, October 21, 2015

    Commentary

    When Public Trust in Corporations Is Shaken

    The Volkswagen scandal comes at a time when the public's trust in both the automotive industry and tech companies is at risk. The level of public trust in an individual organization could end up burnishing — or infecting — an entire industry or new technology.

    Oct 28, 2015

  • The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, Germany, March, 5, 2013

    Commentary

    How to Overcome the Risks of Artificial Intelligence

    The warnings and promises of artificial intelligence aren't new, but advances in technology make them more pressing.

    Oct 22, 2015

  • Report

    Additive manufacturing and obsolescence management in the defence context

    With a view to raising awareness on the role of additive manufacturing in obsolescence management, this RAND Perspective Paper includes four contributions from experts in different sectors, bringing different analytical approaches to the issue.

    Oct 12, 2015

  • A police officer examining a fingerprint on a monitor

    Report

    Internet Technology Could Aid Police, Courts, and Prisons

    New Internet-based technology may aid criminal justice agencies through promising tools, such as better criminal databases, remotely conducted trials, and electronic monitoring of parolees. But many of the developments raise issues related to civil rights, privacy, and cybersecurity that must be addressed.

    Aug 17, 2015

  • U.S. soldiers take pictures of President Barack Obama at U.S. military base Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea, April 26, 2014

    Commentary

    Loose Clicks Sink Ships: When Social Media Meets Military Intelligence

    Social media updates can reveal military intelligence. But stopping a soldier from posting a geotagged tweet or Instagram photo presents challenges.

    Aug 14, 2015

  • A car dashboard computer

    Commentary

    Learning to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet of Things

    Late last month, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars to fix a defect that allowed hackers to imperil drivers from afar. In essence, what was considered a huge threat was converted into a solved or at least solvable problem.

    Aug 4, 2015

  • Report

    Foresight Services to support strategic programming within Horizon 2020: Foresight report (D3)

    The study investigated the scope for development and optimisation of policy interventions centred around the Horizon 2020 Programme. From a foresight perspective, it explored links between long-term, forward-looking approaches and funding priorities.

    Jul 16, 2015

  • A J-31 stealth fighter of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force landing

    Commentary

    RAND Conference Examines Chinese Aerospace Training and Leadership

    To help foster a better understanding of the aerospace component of China's military modernization efforts, participants from the U.S. Air Force, the DoD, and the public policy research and academic communities gathered for the inaugural CASI conference.

    Jul 10, 2015