Project49 is a global initiative to prepare the world for the second half of the 21st century. 2050 will look profoundly different from today, and 2100 even more so. WE NEED TO PREPARE FOR THIS WORLD, NOT REACT TO THE PAST.
Our goal is to identify and define global policy strategies and international institutions that are ready for the future. To succeed in this we need to step outside our current institutions, establish a bottom-up global network of diverse thinkers and doers, and focus on the trajectory of big underlying shifts driven by emerging technologies.
Exponentially changing new technologies keep transforming our world: digitization and big data, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, additive manufacturing and nanotechnologies, virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR), quantum computing, Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, genomics, 5G and 6G, satellites, new and alternative energy solutions, micro-grids, and space exploration and settlement. Their impact is dramatic, on individuals, businesses, nations, domestic and international organizations. Emerging technologies empower people and shift the way societies, businesses, and human communities function. This creates new opportunities and new threats. If we only react, old institutions, strategies and thinking will clash with the new realities. This will create massive imbalances and potentially trigger major conflicts and even wars. We have no choice: We need to anticipate, adapt, and make our societies and relations more resilient.
Today, much of our thinking about international relations follows old paths, unrealistically assuming slow shifts and changes. Confronted with the rapid transformation of our world, we are barely able to react rather than anticipate. On a bigger scale, most of the world’s institutions and international regimes are still guided by the decades-old perspectives of their founding in profoundly different geopolitical context. They often are still are reacting to yesterday’s changes while their technological, economic, political, and military context and realities are being re-arranged ever more substantially. Technologies like social media, peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions, and self-governing distributed networks of finance and commerce are even challenging the very notion of what even a nation is. Post-World War II views and institutions seem out of their depths.
As global demographics and technology-driven economic, political, and military power shifts, the conflict increases. Systemic pressures keep increasing. They will continue doing so until they crack and explode – or we adjust.