U.S. Intelligence Report Warns of Global Consequences of Social Fragmentation

Income inequality may develop worse, the report mentioned, tying it at instances to info inequality.

The “trust gap” between an knowledgeable public that has religion in a authorities resolution and a wider public with deep skepticism of establishments is rising, the report mentioned.

The drawback is made worse by expertise. Algorithms, social media and synthetic intelligence have changed experience in deciding what info spreads most generally, and that has made the general public extra susceptible to misinformation.

Still, constructive demographic adjustments in current many years, with individuals transferring out of poverty and into the center class, had creating “rising expectations,” mentioned Maria Langan-Riekhof, the director of the intelligence council’s strategic futures group. But fears of falling earnings throughout the globe are rising, a worrisome development when coupled with adjustments in how info is shared and social divisions have deepened.

“Those concerns are leading people to look for the security of trusted voices, but also of like-minded groups within their societies,” Ms. Langan-Riekhof mentioned. “Overlay those trends I’m describing, and you kind of see that recipe for greater divisions, increasing fracturing. We think that is likely to continue and probably worsen.”

Over time, the report mentioned, these developments may weaken democratic governments.

“At the same time that populations are increasingly empowered and demanding more, governments are coming under greater pressure from new challenges and more limited resources,” the report mentioned. “This widening gap portends more political volatility, erosion of democracy and expanding roles for alternative providers of governance. Over time, these dynamics might open the door to more significant shifts in how people govern.”

The international developments report has typically checked out attainable future conditions. In the 2017 report, one instance contemplated a pandemic plunging the world into financial chaos. It envisioned nationalistic politicians eroding alliances, a drop in oil costs inflicting calamity and extra isolationist commerce practices. It additionally forecast a pandemic (albeit in 2023, not 2020), which restricted journey, brought about financial misery and exacerbated current developments towards isolation.

The report has mentioned the chance of a pandemic for practically twenty years, mentioned Gregory F. Treverton, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council who helped lead the 2017 effort. The 2004 report mentioned some specialists believed it was “only a matter of time” earlier than a pandemic, he mentioned.

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