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Disruptive technologies on the horizon — from the National Intelligence Council’s viewpoint

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I’m fascinated by so-called disruptive technologies and somebody (sorry — I don’t remember who) pointed me to an April 2008 report from the National Intelligence Council headlined, Disruptive Civil Technologies: Six Technologies with Potential Impacts on US Interests out to 2025. (The name pretty much captures it, does’t it?)

The group described disruptive technologies as technologies “with the potential to causes a noticeable-even if temporary- degradation or enhancement in one of the elements of US national power (geopolitical, military, economic, or social cohesion).” I’d say they are technologies that change the way we have always done business — e-mail, for example, or mobile phones… the PC.

There are a lot of them out there these days — it’s a disruptive environment right now.

Their list:

  • Biogerontechnology
  • Energy Storage Materials
  • Biofuels and Bio-Based Chemicals
  • Clean Coal Technologies
  • Service Robotics
  • The Internet of Things

You can read more about these here. The one that interested me was the last one: The Internet of Things. Read more about what they had had to say after the break…

Again, there is much more to this, so read more about these here… but I found “The Internet of Things” just fascinating:

The Internet of Things
Why is the Internet of Things Potentially Disruptive?

Individuals, businesses, and governments are unprepared for a possible future when Internet nodes reside in such everyday things as food packages, furniture, paper documents, and more. Today’s developments point to future opportunities and risks that will arise when people can remotely control, locate, and monitor everyday things. Popular demand combined with technology advances could drive widespread diffusion of an Internet of Things (IoT) that could, like the present Internet, contribute invaluably to our economy. But to the extent that everyday objects become information-security risks, the IoT could distribute those risks far more widely than the Internet has to date.

Potential Impacts of the Internet of Things on US National Power

If the United States executes wisely, the IoT could work to the long-term advantage of the domestic economy and to the US military. Streamlining — or revolutionizing — supply chains and logistics could slash costs, increase efficiencies, and reduce dependence on human labor. Ability to fuse sensor data from many distributed objects could deter crime and asymmetric warfare. Ubiquitous positioning technology could locate missing and stolen goods. On the other hand, we may be unable to deny access to networks of sensors and remotely-controlled objects by enemies of the United States, criminals, and mischief makers. Foreign manufacturers could become both the single-source and single-point-of-failure for mission-critical Internet-enabled things. Manufacturers could also become vectors for delivering everyday objects containing malicious software that causes havoc in everyday life. An open market for aggregated sensor data could serve the interests of commerce and security no less than it helps criminals and spies identify vulnerable targets. Thus, massively parallel sensor fusion may undermine social cohesion if it proves to be fundamentally incompatible with Fourth-Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search. By 2025, social critics may even charge that Asia’s dominance of the manufacturing of things — and the objects that make up the Internet of Things has funded the remilitarization of Asia, fueled simmering intra-Asian rivalries, and reduced US influence over the course of geopolitical events.

Written by cdorobek

December 4, 2008 at 7:45 AM

Posted in strategy, Technology

One Response

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  1. Interesting. Thanks for sharing. And if I may, a recent story avout how a worm crept is way up to the US Army Iraq and Afghanistan Command tends to give credit to this warning. I believe it is still a long way before it comes to this, but the pace of progress can be very fast.And while information devices expands, no one can guarantee the security of these system.

    Right now, it’s especially true about information theft, has stealing information about research or technologies using only computers and mobiles. So just imagine when everything will be connected together.


    December 4, 2008 at 10:27 AM

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