The Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) (part of the UK Ministry of Defence) helps to inform Defence strategy, capability development, operations and provides the foundation for joint education. As part of this, its Futures Team, in collaboration with its global network, considers what the future might look like in 30 years’ time and publishes its thoughts and findings through its Strategic Analysis Programme. The Team’s most up-to-date publication, Global Strategic Trends: The Future Starts Today (GST), was published in October 2018, and describes a strategic context for those involved in developing long-term plans, strategies, policies and capabilities.

GST6 Title Image.jpg

[Source Image from - Global Strategic Trends - The Future Starts Today]

To develop our understanding of future trends and their potential impacts, the DCDC Futures Team (with input from the UK policy community) has selected a number of specialist research areas as the focus for deeper exploration. Now, through this crowdsource, we are inviting your contributions to the analysis which we are conducting in two of these areas: ‘people and skills’ and ‘automation and artificial intelligence’. Using Futurescaper the relevant data from GST has been mapped to help us understand the most significant strategic themes in both of these areas; now we will ask you for your thoughts on the potential trends which we have already identified, as well as encouraging you to put forward your own ideas which might not have been covered previously.

In each case the crowdsource will ask you to begin by selecting one of four main themes for consideration. When you choose a theme, you will be asked to think of strategic approaches to help address it, explore the actions you would take and then consider uncertainties. Options will be suggested based on both the trends in GST and the responses provided by other people through the crowdsource.

In the case of ‘people and skills’, the four main themes you’ll be asked to consider are:

  • Humans [Evolved] – where physical and cognitive enhancement technologies alter human limitations.

  • Total diversity – where the future workplace becomes more diverse in terms of gender, ability, health, age, race and sexuality.

  • Human or Machine? – where more sophisticated autonomy and artificial intelligence technologies change the nature of human work.

  • Global gig economy – where on-demand transactional working replaces the traditional employer-employee relationship.

In the case of ‘automation and artificial intelligence’, the four main themes are:

  • Autonomy’s Geneva Convention - where an international framework is developed to govern the use of autonomy and AI.

  • The AI Economy - where autonomy and AI become increasingly integral to the global economy as more businesses rely on autonomous processes.

  • AI Vulnerabilities - where AI becomes increasingly able to calculate and exploit vulnerabilities in cyberspace and critical national infrastructure.  

  • Robots Soldiers only - where conflict is seen as too costly for humans and only takes place between robots and in cyberspace.

We are looking for short and provocative answers. As you start to fill in any box, answers that others have offered will appear in a drop-down. If your answer is not on the list, hit “add”. If your answer already appears in the list, hit that instead.   It will take about five to ten minutes to complete the exercise, and you can have another go after completing. Please don’t feel constrained to just explore one theme! 

All responses are anonymous and results will be aggregated to ensure anonymity. Feel free to forward the exercise to colleagues via social media using the sharing buttons at the bottom of each page. 

Thank you for your contribution!