Category Commentary

History and War

The recent War on the Rocks podcast, World Wars and the Craft of History, featuring Michael S. Neiberg, was an interesting and relatively short segment (at least it seemed to go by fast while sitting in traffic!) talking about Neiberg’s work studying WWI and America’s involvement in it. One of the things that I enjoyed […]

Blurring Reality in the South China Sea

A piece yesterday noted that Taiwan asked Google to blur its satellite images of one of its islets in the South China Sea.  This is not a surprising thing, and it reminds us how much we are becoming dependent on – or simply impact by – the various layers of digitally mediated reality. One has […]

Anticipating Actor Adaptation to Disruption

An article this morning in Claims Journal online entitled, “Autonomous Cars’ Effect on Auto, Cyber Insurance” reminds us that one of the reasons we sometimes get forecasts wrong is that we fail to anticipate how changes – no matter how disruptive – inevitably feedback and drive attempts to adapt to the change. The impact of […]

International Security Scenarios

Earlier this year the World Economic Forum put out a set of three original scenarios forecasting possible futures for the international security landscape.  This was an attempt by WEF to use futures thinking to explore the international security environment in 2030.  I haven’t conducted a count yet, but it feels to me like more and […]

The Tactical vs. Strategic Implications of Automation

Swarms of autonomous drones patrol the skies and waters near contested spaces.  Human warfighters accompanied by support robots, supply chains of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, and directly aided by cheap ISR drones.  High endurance drones crisscrossing the oceans and skies in a global network of autonomous coverage. The above represents one fairly common image of […]

The Future Doesn’t Belong to Futurists

As much as it pains me to say it, “the future” doesn’t belong to futurists. A colleague recently had an unfortunately bad reaction to a comment I posted about an article they shared.  My comment was short and based more in my long-lived frustration with how “futures” gets conveyed on most media.  Overall, the piece […]

Technologies Empowering Others and Risking US Dominance

A recent article in Joint Force Quarterly, “Cheap Technology Will Challenge U.S. Tactical Dominance,” highlights a number of technologies that the author suggests will enable smaller states (and, he admits, some non-state actors) to disrupt the tactical dominance that the US has enjoyed in recent decades. The key technologies that the author identifies are: Additive […]

Foresight and Strategy: Disrupting the Powers that Pay

Over the years I’ve had many people ask me why our firm wasn’t doing some cool big picture, long-term, foresight work for [name the issue in obvious need of big picture, long-term help].  My short answer is usually that we’ve never been approached, or that our conversations with leaders in that area have never gone […]

The World Still Hasn’t Achieved “Crowdsourcing” for Constitutions

A recent article in Quartz ran with the phrase “crowdsourcing its new constitution” in the title, which immediately caught my eye (bravo to effective headline writing).  Unfortunately, as is all too common in the realm of political design (designing governance systems), the headlines are either conscious hyperbole or the result of misunderstanding true novelty in […]

Why We Should Expect Resistance to Universal Basic Income

A recent Quartz article, “All of the problems Universal Basic Income can solve that have nothing to do with unemployment,” reminds the reader of some of the broader socio-economic impacts that a basic income could have across society.  It’s a nice reminder to seek the broader impacts and benefits from a transformative change in policy […]