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Preparing
for the Second Half of the
21st Century!

Our Challenge

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.

Our Approach

We are establishing a global network of forward-looking thinkers. Together, we evaluate emerging technologies by extrapolating their trajectory, to anticipate the shape of the world of 2050 and beyond. We predict their impact on how future societies function and humans interact inside and between them. Putting all of this into the context of demographic, economic, and political changes of nations and regions, we “back-cast” from there to identify meaningful strategies that minimize conflict but advance humanity. Through this we seek to ensure a free, prosperous, peaceful, and resilient world, with empowered people and communities, from the smallest units to the largest nations.

Every 3 to 5 years, we put together a report that outlines probable scenarios and requirements to achieve these goals.

Our approach continuously looks at interactions on three levels:

First, we determine the digital foundation underlying and driving most technological changes, i.e. digitization and big data, AI, IoT, quantum computing, Blockchain, VR and AR, 5G and beyond. This is the prime enabler of and threat to almost all other developments.
Second, we identify and evaluate emerging technologies in four fields of deep technology: Energy, Manufacturing, Biotech, and Space Tech.
Third, we predict the likely impact on several functional areas of society: Health, Trade, Finance, Food, Transportation, Environment, Safety and Security, Civil Society, and Geopolitics.

Our Tools

We establish a global network of centers. We define streams of research along the various deep tech and functional areas. We organize conferences. We publish studies and books. We coordinate our activities in a way that quantifies results for guidance to decision makers, in the form of reports.

During the whole process, we engage with leaders in society, from business, non-profits, government, academics, and international organizations.