2015 Predictions: Social Instability in Russia, Iran Achieves Nuclear “Break-Out” Capability, Virtual Reality Comes Into Its Own, The Internet of Things Becomes The Internet of Threats, Quantum Computing And Artificial Intelligence
Will Israel Conduct A Pre-Emptive Strike Against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities? If the Israeli election in March is as mixed as these authors foresee; and, PM Netanyahu has a “weak hand,” does that make him more, or less likely to authorize a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities? Probably less, on balance. There are those within the Israeli government who are opposed to a pre-emptive strike on Iran in almost any circumstance; and, the biggest issue Netanyahu might have is the concern that a high-level official within his own coalition will leak any such plans to the media — in an attempt to forestall or negate such a decision. If so, Iran achieves a nuclear breakout capability. FYI, the best time of the year to conduct long-range airstrikes in the Middle East is during the Feb/Mar/April timeframe.
Does Vladimir Putin Survive Politically — As The Russian Economy And The Ruble Implode? We may well see “indisputable visual evidence,” as the NFL might say, that Vladimir Putin has some domestic unrest to confront at home. The freefall in oil and the tanking of the ruble has reduced the average salary in Russia by over 50 percent. Russia’s economy is expected to contract by 4.8 percent in 2015, by their own estimates. Political and social instability likely rears its head.
Will A Major Cyber Attack Result In Major Damage, And/Or, Loss Of Life? The Internet of Things is likely to become the Internet of Threats. As we become more and more network dependent — as opposed to network enabled — our vulnerability to a major, catastrophic cyber attack escalates. we have already seen the rise of cyber “patriot” groups and/or, cyber militias, in addition to nation-states, criminal enterprises, “lone wolves,” and other cyber malcontents. The proliferation and sophistication of cyber malware makes such an event more probable. Industrial-grade stealth malware, sophisticated/insidious “zero-day” bugs that hide when under surveillance, stay-behinds, Trojan Horses, and other malicious malware has made the Internet the Digital Wild, Wild, West. An acceleration in the balkanization of the Internet will continue in 2015, as more and more encrypted sites emerge, resulting in the proliferation of “gated digital communities,” as well as a growing disconnected. off-the-net, genre.
The proliferation of armed airborne drones will continue, as the exception will be those countries who don’t have armed drones, as opposed to those who do. Dog-fighting drones, stealth drones, suicide drones, hijacking drones, etc. will begin to emerge Some country/countries will begin working on the idea that swarms of armed drones could temporarily render U.S. air superiority mute. Undersea armed drone research will also accelerate and underwater will start to become as “crowded” as the air — with armed/intelligence/logistics, etc. drones. Could swarms of undersea drones render submarines to the maritime boneyard ten years from now?
Identity management and biometrics may force intelligence agencies into single-use HUMINT missions, as the ability for operatives to stay undercover for very long is increasingly difficult. Iris scans, DNA-shedding, fingerprints, facial recognition technology, body scanning at airports, and digital exhaust renders someone’s ability to stay hidden nearly impossible. Anti-surveillance masks, synthetic, digital fingerprints, 3-D printing, and a proliferation in elegant and exquisite disguise techniques will surge.
Virtual reality, the use of avatars, etc. will bring us closer to Star Trek’s “holodeck,” as doctors, the military, law enforcement, the first-responder community, and leisure utilize virtual reality to rehearse missions and operations, to escaping the mundane realities of every-day life.
Quantum computing moves us closer to machines that are more intelligence than we are, and further down the road to artificial intelligence and Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity.
Someone born in 2015 — will live to be 125, as 3-D printing and replaceable organs extend the quality and longevity of life.
What do you think? V/R, RCP