A report issued yesterday by Cicero and The Chartered Insurance Institute, Curve Balls: Global Political Risks in 2015 and Beyond, says UK politicians need to face reality and prepare for less obvious risks such as the disruptive force of technological advances.
The report highlights that whilst we live amongst terrorist attacks, pandemics and global economic turmoil some less obvious risks often get overlooked, despite the fact that they could potentially have the biggest impact.
Engineers and scientists are developing technologies which could be as disruptive to existing ways of working and life as the industrial revolution, yet politicians are failing to take these risks seriously. The report outlines the enormous social impact issues like medical breakthroughs could have if, for example, they make living to more than 100 common place. Similarly, artificial intelligence is developing at a pace that is often unnoticed, meaning that large amounts of white collar work is increasingly within reach of automation.
Other curve ball risks identified in the report include:
· The possibility of an asteroid or comet crashing into the Earth
· Anti-microbial resistance (such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics)
· The emergence of a cyber-war arms race
John Rowland, Executive Director, Cicero Group said:
“Today’s report highlights the real and varied risks we face over the next decade and beyond. We must always be wary of falling into the trap of only thinking about risks that are immediate and familiar because we read about them in the news. Technological developments are underway that can transform our world more quickly than we imagine and yet, whilst scientists rewire our world, it is politicians with no scientific training that are charged with governing our societies.
“Whilst it would be a brave politician who tried to make the case that it is worth investing time and money into mitigating unlikely but cataclysmic events such as an asteroid impact, our politicians simply have not thought enough about the implications that many of the risks identified in this report might have for public policy – and they should, because many are closer than we might think.”