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Competence Centre on Foresight

We foster a strategic, future-oriented and anticipatory culture in the EU policymaking process.

Page | Last updated: 09 Aug 2019

Double-edge considerations

  • As algorithms play an increasingly important role in governing our life, the codes of ethics that rule algorithms-writing, access and use of data and the way we address AI will have a determining impact on our future.  'AI for society' implies AI systems 'secure and ethical by design'.
  • AI and IoT bringing many benefits to our society, including greater inclusion and access to information, goods and services, and improve military systems. Nevertheless, they also carry significant risks, such as erosion of individual privacy, misinformation, misuse of data, increasing cybersecurity threats, and boost weapons capabilities in the hands of state as well as non-state actors.
  • Fintech increases efficiency of operations in the financial sector and promotes innovation and job creation, but also raises concerns such as data and consumer protection, exacerbating risk of financial volatility or cybercrime. 
  • Digitalizing the energy  and other infrastructure systems increase efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and costs, but increase the risks of cyber-attacks and other security issues.
  • Emerging technologies, bio, nano, chemo, exponentially increase the threats of (t)error incident(s). Warfare will increasingly include cyber-weapons, unmanned remote-controlled warfare, chemical and bio-weapons, militarisation of space, precision strike capability. 
  • While CRISPR -- genetic manipulation -- could help address health issues, collection (and concentration) of biometric data would make possible hacking humans and other living organism and is increasing the risks of biological inequality and biological warfare, as well as re-engineering nature. 
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  • Social media and smartphones are increasingly seen as weapons of mass manipulation. In 2017, three billion people logged on to social media networks like Facebook, WhatsApp and China’s Sina Weibo, making it one of the most powerful tools for shaping peoples' thinking. Being an "influencer" is at the reach of anyone, 
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  • While lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) are introducing the third revolution in warfare, increasing precision target and save lives, they could also be misused and are highly dependent of the codes of ethics and algorithms that govern them.
  • Quantum cryptography is increasing communication security but also adds new challenges to intelligence gathering. | Related Megatrends: Security