Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

We are back to a thoroughly edited and categorised scan… (available below after the editorial).

Editorial: What the scan does not stresses is the rising discrepancy between two worlds. One world (portrayed by the Weekly out of the choice of sources and keywords used by the algorithm) is a planet where threats and dangers abound and spread, where changes and novelty emerge in an accelerating way, with the potential to converge and mix in a myriad of ways, which are not only completely unknown but also for which human societies have no precedent and experience. The second world is mainly constituted by human beings – disconnected from their habitat – and is a world where stock exchanges are at their highest, where concern and anticipation about threats, dangers and their very real impact seem to be at its lowest, where media focus only for the shortest time possible on the latest event, or fad, where citizens are more concerned about sports and celebs than about anything else (check Google Trends across country).

Google Trends U.S. – 14 Sept 2017 – Compare interests with the signals collected by The Weekly

 

The increasing gap between the two worlds would not be such a topic of concern if, in the same time, the second world were not also meant to rule or be responsible for the first. Is our time, this twenty-first century that has so much knowledge and information available for all, actually about to confirm the democratically shocking – but finally true?  – statement of Sir Arthur Nicolson, the British permanent undersecretary for foreign affairs before the outbreak of World War I:

“The public are as a rule supremely indifferent to and very ignorant of foreign affairs” (quoted in Gordon Craig and Alexander George, Force and Statecraft, 1990: 61)?

The even more frightening question for us is: who is the 21st century public…? Or, if we rephrase the question: who are those who are supremely indifferent to and very ignorant of foreign affairs? What is their role and what is their power?

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Each section of the scan below focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

As polarisation rises, not only internationally but also domestically within many countries, weak signals are not only “direct”, describing facts, but also, increasingly, “indirect”, i.e. perspectives on reality providing more indications about the positioning of actors, the rising tension(s) and uncertainty, than about facts. The Weekly also aims at monitoring this rising tension to evaluate the possibility for future overt crises, and the underlying corresponding dynamics.

Read the 14 September 2017 scan

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on political and geopolitical uncertainty, on national and international security issues. 

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two companion galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy, can be seen as bright smudges in the night sky, in the centre of the photograph. This photograph was produced by European Southern Observatory (ESO), ESO/C. Malin [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues. Her current focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Science, and Security. She teaches at Master level at SciencesPo-PSIA.

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