In 2006, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense published the DCDC Strategic Trends 2007-2036 report, outlining possible scenarios for technology, society and world politics. Among other issues, the 2006 report accurately envisioned a “revolutionary middle class” that would revolt against economic hardship and burdens of debt.
An updated version of the report was published on June 30, 2014. Titled “Global Strategic Trends out to 2045“, the report outlines a future in which globalization limits countries “freedom of action”, alternative currencies challenge the establishment, environmental warfare and viruses delivered via insect-machine hybrids.
Global Elite: Regarding globalization, the report states that because of increasing immigration and the growing power of Non Governmental Organizations, “Globalisation could conceivably face a backlash, perhaps driven by anti-immigrant sentiment or resentment at perceived over-reaching of authority by international organisations.”
In the MoD’s previous report, the think tank saw “…the emergence of a global elite, a powerful network of individuals and institutions that sits above the level of individual states and influences the global agenda…”
Off The Grid: Alternative currencies like Bitcoin are viewed by the MoD as a a disruptive trend that will make tracking economic activity and taxes a “significant challenge” to the establishment because of their anonymous nature.
Corporate Armies: In response to the increasingly bankrupt state, the MoD predicts that private security will gain more power. “Private companies are also likely to provide many of the security functions currently provided by the state, with states increasingly contracting out their monopoly on force.”
The Minnesota town of Foley replaced its police department with private security in 2011. Some wealthy neighborhoods in California are hiring private security as budget cuts reduce the number of police officers on duty.
Human Augmentation and Robotics: Advancing technology will eventually enable humans to enhance our abilities well beyond their natural limits. “Future technologies may make it possible for people to radically alter their identities by using a range of physical and cognitive enhancements”, says the MoD report.
Major social disruption is the inevitable result of automated systems replacing humans. “Unmanned systems are increasingly likely to replace people in the workplace, carrying out tasks with increased effectiveness and efficiency, while reducing risk to humans. This could ultimately lead to mass unemployment and social unrest.”
Insect-Machine Hybrids: “We could also see sophisticated environmental warfare, capable of spreading plant and human diseases by insects or insect-machine hybrids. Crops and cattle could be destroyed, as well as people being incapacitated or killed.”
FBI agent Carmine Nigro attended a conference held at MIT on May 1, 2014 that discussed synthetic biology. He is quoted by the New York Times as saying, “These technologies [synthetic biology] do not just pose a risk to individual buildings or cities, but if cleverly deployed, can reduce our population by significant percentages.”