The Role of Technology in scenarios for 2040 from the US National Intelligence Council

In March 2021, the US National Intelligence Council posted analytical work, on the basis of which it built scenarios for 2040. It was interesting for me to go over the research, especially to cover the technology section.

A world that is already grappling with global pandemic and long-standing systems problems unlikely to receive significant relief in the next 20 years, according to the report. Instead, it is predicted that the institutions that have dominated global events since the end of World War II will be constantly strained to respond to “cascading global challenges,” including climate change, disease, financial crises and ever-evolving technology. These challenges will repeatedly test the resilience and adaptability of communities, states and the international system, often exceeding the capabilities of existing models. This also applies to new technologies, which can be disastrous.

One of the most significant challenges highlighted in the report is climate change, which is expected to gradually intensify over the next two decades and will manifest itself in all countries in the form of higher temperatures, sea level rise and extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornado and floods. Poor and developing countries will have the hardest hit, and the failure of their governments to adapt and respond could lead to new waves of migration.

Will technologies help us cope with these crises, or will it only make matters worse? It is difficult to unequivocally answer this question. However, the trend report traces the thread of a growing tendency for countries to respond to the technologically advanced world by separating from one another. Over the next two decades, the pace and impact of technological advances are likely to increase, transforming and improving the human experience, offering the potential to issues such as aging, climate change and low productivity growth. However, this will create new tensions and disruptions within and between societies, industries and states. The coming decades will see increased global competition for key elements of supremacy such as talent, knowledge and markets, potentially leading to the emergence of new technology leaders or hegemonies.

By 2040, the world will have even more devices, data and interactions, connecting together all aspects of modern life and the crossing of political and social boundaries. The speed of development and global access will provide nations, corporations and even individuals with access to services and resources once reserved only for prosperous countries. This hyper connected world is a future that is already beginning to take shape: next-generation networks, widespread sensors will merge in a global system with billions of connected devices.

Privacy and anonymity can disappear at will or by government mandate, as all aspects of personal and professional life are monitored by global networks. The level of crimes, in particular those that can be tracked using digital video surveillance, will decrease. New forms of discrimination will potentially arise. In a hyper connected world perspective, discussions within and between states about the benefits and risks of open connectivity will be stimulated. As global networks become more and more interconnected, this can lead to the elimination of closed systems and interrupt attempts to block the free Internet.

The technology industry, which includes fintech, is at the forefront of forecasts for the next 20 years. This is obvious, because technologies are present both in daily card payments through a dense network of terminals, banks and payment systems, as well as in medicine, military sphere, media, and so on. I stand on the side of “good” technologies and support their development, because one day a person will definitely learn to use them only out of good intentions!

CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank