The International Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning Symposium (IRAHSS) in Singapore is always a highpoint in the agenda for those trying to make sense of the future. Once again a super line-up, with some extremely interesting insights, ranging from the impact of technologies that are currently just below the horizon, through the hidden impact of migration and the state of (de)globalisation.
My only caveat, the dominance of (mostly male) speakers from the developed Eurasian and North American countries. Thanks to the whole team!
At this year’s Global X meeting, I was particularly struck by the discussions around Artificial Intelligence and platform economics with the likely enormous impact on all industries. If we can manage to create the platforms correctly, they will not just severely disrupt value chains but also be greener than before.
Also of note was the discussion around uncaptured GDP and the era of abundance: two notions which fundamentally challenge the classical economic models I grew up with, and that neatly complete the (much better covered) field of externalities. After all, it is not just that our national accounts fail to capture the costs of polluted air and depleted natural stocks, but also, they fail to include much of the “value” generated in (especially through) services according to the research presented.
In any case thanks to all contributors and participants for a fascinating time, and great to hear the inputs of Europeans, US Americans, Canadians, South Americans and Asians in such an intimate format! Also thanks to Brenda Fox, Leena Ilmola and John Casti for organising the whole thing in Vienna.
Thanks to Daniele Réchard and her team for organising an excellent day as part of the ESPAS ‘Global Trends to 2030: The Making of a New Geopolitical Order?’ event, and good to see so many friends there, inter alia Angela Wilkinson, Aaron Maniam, Jeanette Kwek, Norbert Reez, Jaana Tapanainen, Kristel Vanderelst, Thomas Lehr, Alun Rhydderch, Duncan Cass-Beggs, Joshua Polchar, and Christopher Cordey …
Many speakers focused on the threats we face, so I used the chance to promote Garret Banning’s idea of a starting an Annual Opportunity Assessment hearing. His logic: the US has an annual threat assessment, so why not also look for the opportunities in a systematic way as well: social, technological and political change makes many things possible in international relations today that were not possible before, and as Mary Kalder pointed out, if we only look at things through the geopolitical lens, everything seems very bleak…. And my thought: no need to wait for the US on this, let’s have the European Parliament organise the opportunity assessment (and please, if so, not in a standard format, let us be creative for once!)
Thanks to Andres Veiel and Jutta Doberstein for the chance to have co-moderated a fascinating couple of sessions on “Welche Zukunft”at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.
Turning the usual process on its head, we gathered headlines of future news from 250 participants who sacrificed their Saturday to look at how the future may change – and what a future crisis may bring. In the process we uncovered a number of driving forces, and contours of the landscape in which we are – and may have to – operate.