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(Credit Image: ESO/P. Horálek)

As the Covid-19 spreads, it also invades all thoughts and permeates most issues and actions.

As a result, we kept the section on the COVID-19 pandemic for articles truly specific to the pandemic, such as confinement or possible second wave of outbreak, as well as for the struggle against related rumours.

Then we spread the signals according to usual categories. Thus, for example we have many signals related to the COVID-19 and economy, and as many to COVID-19 and international relations. For example, the pandemic is also now instrumental in the tension between the U.S. and China. It is also testing the EU, the sanction regime against Iran, could be used by Jihadists for new attacks or lead to new unrest, etc.

The COVD-19 has become – obviously – an issue in itself, an intensifying factor and probably a revealer.

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The 26 March 2020 scan→

This is the 26 March 2020 issue of our weekly scan for geopolitical risks (open access). Read it below.

Using horizon scanning, each week, we collect weak – and less weak – signals. These point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems. As a result, they indicate how trends or dynamics evolve.

Horizon scanning, weak signals and biases

We call signals weak, because it is still difficult to discern them among a vast array of events. However, our biases often alter our capacity to measure the strength of the signal. As a result, the perception of strength will vary according to the awareness of the actor. At worst, biases may be so strong that they completely block the very identification of the signal.

In the field of strategic foresight and warning, risk management and future studies, it is the job of good analysts to scan the horizon. As a result, they can perceive signals. Analysts then evaluate the strength of these signals according to specific risks and dynamics. Finally, they deliver their findings to users. These users can be other analysts, officers or decision-makers.

You can read a more detailed explanation in one of our cornerstone articles: Horizon Scanning and Monitoring for Warning: Definition and Practice.

The sections of the scan

Each section of the scan focuses on signals related to a specific theme:

  • world (international politics and geopolitics);
  • economy;
  • science including AI, QIS, technology and weapons, ;
  • analysis, strategy and futures;
  • the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • energy and environment.

However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement.

Featured image: Milky Way above SPECULOOS / The Search for habitable Planets – EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars (SPECULOOS) is searching for Earth-like planets around tiny, dim stars in front of a panorama of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO/P. Horálek.

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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