Disruptive Civil Technologies

So I was rummaging around for topics for an upcoming “IR of East Asia” presentation and I found this website where you can look over declassified National Intelligence Estimates. NIEs are like studies that the 3-letter intelligence agencies use to present information to the rest of 3-letter intelligence agencies…so you get the low down on what the State is worrying about.

The funniest one here is “Disruptive Civil Technologies: Six Technologies With Potential Impacts on US Interests Out to 2025“. (PDF)

Said six technologies are:

  • “biogerontechnology” — i.e. technology for slowing aging and extending the human lifespan
  • energy storage materials — batteries and whatnot
  • biofuels and bio-based chemicals
  • clean coal technologies
  • service robotics (!)
  • “the internet of things” (IoT) — i.e. household items being perpetually connected to the internet

They proceed to go through and break down all the ways that each one could impact the world with respect to US dominance. Who knows if any of this will come to pass — I’m particularly skeptical about “clean coal” — but I think the whole idea of the report is intriguing, like they’re setting the scene for some kind of pulp science fiction novel.

The annual Global Trends report is also worth looking at, though it’s less goofy and it gets usually some press when it comes out, so you probably know about the findings already.


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