This is the 27 May 2021 issue of our weekly scan for political and geopolitical risks or, more largely, conventional and unconventional national and international security (open access).
- The Red Team Analysis Weekly – 10 June 2021
- The Key Technologies of the Future (1)
- Antarctic China (1): Strategies for a Very Cold Place
- From Cassandra’s Curse to the Pythia’s Success
- Strategic Foresight, Warning and Intelligence Products and Documents
- The Chinese Fishing Fleet, Influence and Hunger Wars
- Why the Messenger Got Shot and how to Avoid this Fate
- Early Warning Systems & Indicators – Training for the ESFSI in Tunisia
Editorial: Of note, among others, we selected as featured article a study according to which ‘More than half of Europeans want to replace lawmakers with AI, study says” (CNBC). Indeed, this wish is symptomatic of the rising crisis of legitimacy in European liberal democracies. It also points towards complex and far-reaching consequences, including in terms of great and middle power competition. Interestingly, in their answers to the survey, Europeans are closer to the Chinese than to Americans, which, again, may indicate future interesting impacts.
Also, get ready for a new bout of ideological war between the U.S. and China regarding the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, with, again, likely wide-ranging international consequences.
Using horizon scanning, each week, we collect weak – and less weak – signals. These point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems. As a result, they indicate how trends or dynamics evolve.
Horizon scanning, weak signals and biases
We call signals weak, because it is still difficult to discern them among a vast array of events. However, our biases often alter our capacity to measure the strength of the signal. As a result, the perception of strength will vary according to the awareness of the actor. At worst, biases may be so strong that they completely block the very identification of the signal.
In the field of strategic foresight and warning, risk management and future studies, it is the job of good analysts to scan the horizon. As a result, they can perceive signals. Analysts then evaluate the strength of these signals according to specific risks and dynamics. Finally, they deliver their findings to users. These users can be other analysts, officers or decision-makers.
You can read a more detailed explanation in one of our cornerstone articles: Horizon Scanning and Monitoring for Warning: Definition and Practice.
The sections of the scan
Each section of the scan focuses on signals related to a specific theme:
- world (international politics and geopolitics);
- science including AI, QIS, technology and weapons, ;
- analysis, strategy and futures;
- the Covid-19 pandemic;
- energy and environment.
However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.
The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement.
Featured image: Image of the Swedish-ESO 15m Submillimeter Telescope (SEST) at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, located on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile and at an altitude of 2400 metres. The photo was taken by Stefan Seip, one of the ESO Photo Ambassadors.