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

  • 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

  • Michael Rich and Ellen Hancock at the JIE Board meeting in April 2015

    Content

    Ellen Hancock on Technology, Leadership, and Service

    Ellen Hancock has led the RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment (JIE) Advisory Board for three years; she has been a board member for seven. In June 2015, we spoke with Ellen about her experience on the board, how her long career in technology informs her service, and why she believes in RAND.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • Hand touching tablet behind social media diagram and map

    Commentary

    The Clash of Internet Civilizations: Why Neither Side Should Prevail

    The debate over net neutrality pits two opposing philosophies against each other — one pushing for the continued evolution of the Internet as an open information superhighway, the other asserting that the Internet's evolution needs to take more account of the many ways it is and will be used.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • A police officer points a spotlight at a group of demonstrators near Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014

    Report

    Visions of Law Enforcement Technology in the Future

    The Law Enforcement Futuring Workshop identified ten possible future scenarios and 30 high-priority technology needs for law enforcement based on consideration of current and future trends in society, technology, and law enforcement.

    Mar 16, 2015

  • A drone operated by paramilitary police flies over the site of explosions at Binhai new district in Tianjin, China, August 17, 2015

    Report

    Emerging Trends in China's Development of Unmanned Systems

    An exploratory analysis of China's development and use of unmanned systems focuses on maritime unmanned systems, the roles China sees for them, Chinese development of unmanned vehicles, and uses for such systems in the East and South China Seas.

    Mar 12, 2015

  • Research Brief

    Innovation models for defence

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study of innovation models and make recommendations on changes the MOD could make to better harness and absorb innovation from external sources.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • Report

    Innovation Models: Enabling new defence solutions and enhanced benefits from science and technology

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study of innovation models and make recommendations on changes the MOD could make to better harness and absorb innovation from external sources.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • Illustration of idea, solution, and money

    Commentary

    Managing Technology in an Unmanageable World

    The need for purposeful and focused R&D in the U.S. has never been greater, but technology is advancing so quickly that the structures available to manage it have not kept pace. A comprehensive examination of the technological landscape is needed to help the government take a more holistic approach to investing in and regulating technologies.

    Feb 19, 2015