Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator

Remarks to the UN Security Council by Ms. Henrietta H. Fore, Member of GESDA Board of Directors

Science and technology are evolving fast. They are changing the ways in which we live, think, and behave.

These advances are like two sides of a coin: whilst they carry enormous potential for international development and prosperity, they are also transforming how wars are being fought – and will be key in defining the future of conflict, peace, and global security.

Let me illustrate this with three concrete examples: Advanced Artificial Intelligence; Quantum Computing; and Neurotechnology.

– In the next five years, Advanced AI’s military applications have the potential to radically alter conventional, nuclear, and cyber weapons strategies; to increase the pace and complexity of warfare; and to exacerbate risks of unintended conflict escalation. On the other hand, AI-enhanced mediation will advance peaceful outcomes by helping
facilitators learn from the past, identify areas of convergence, and simulate scenarios.

– Ten to twenty years from now, Quantum computing capable of breaking even the most advanced encryption algorithms currently in use could deeply disrupt global cybersecurity. Other quantum technologies carry enormous potential to save lives – by identifying tiny amounts of chemical and biological agents, for instance, or detecting and neutralizing land and sea mines. Quantum computing will likely also dramatically improve logistics, mission planning, and long-range communication – for military, peacekeeping and humanitarian actors alike.

– In less then twenty five years, maybe even more swiftly, experts anticipate that developments in Neurotechnology will augment soldiers’ capabilities by improving their precision, response to pain, and ability to overcome sleep deprivation. Braincomputer interfaces such as implants and non-invasive sensors will open the door to reading opponents’ thoughts and altering their senses and movements, in other words:
brain hacking. At the same time, vast improvements in the understanding and treatment of trauma (PTSD) could help break cycles of violence.

These examples are no science fiction.

This is the knowledge you gain when asking scientists from all over the world about what is cooking in their labs, now. Doing it again and again is the best way to increase our preparedness for such emerging breakthroughs.

Anticipating these trends in turn allows us to create the space for preventive action and guidance: by gaining a better understanding of what the future holds, we can act more effectively and wisely in the present. Unfortunately, developments in science and technology have also become the objects of speculation and polarization. Without a
sound knowledge base, anticipation and action are ineffective at best, and counterproductive at worst.

The GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar® aims precisely at tackling this challenge of anticipation in a fast evolving, science-driven world. It was coined to serve as a trusted foundation for effective anticipatory action.

Drawing on the views of roughly 2000 leading scientists hailing from 73 countries across every continent, the GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar® offers a running, objective, unique global overview on the upcoming developments in 5-10-25 years. It currently covers five fields of science: Advanced AI and Quantum Revolution, Human Augmentation, Eco-regeneration and Geoengineering, Science and Diplomacy as well as Knowledge Foundations.

The first three editions of the Radar identified 37 emerging topics and 336 possible breakthroughs. Step-by-step, we are including not only how science is evolving, but also how it is being used in diplomacy, business and civil society – creating a new kind of Situation Room.

On this basis, GESDA incubates solutions and develops concrete tools.
In 2023, we started harnessing the unprecedented precision and speed of quantum computing to tackle global challenges such as fragile food supply chains, pandemics and climate change.

Today, we stand ready to embed GESDA’s data in new toolkits for conflict prevention and resolution. We are exploring applications of advanced AI to support the peaceful settlement of disputes as per Chapter 6 of the UN Charter. These include:
– Analyzing past peace practice, identifying patterns and drawing lessons-learned;
– Anticipating new conflicts by detecting weak signals or early warning signs, and;
– Opening options to strengthen current conflict resolution avenues – based on best cases for prevention, mediation and results.

Excellencies and Friends,
As the pace of science and technology accelerates, so must our science literacy and our collective efforts to use it to promote peace and prevent conflict.

Together with our partners, GESDA Foundation is striving to contribute to a more peaceful and secure future.

We welcome your inputs and suggestions and would be honored to support you in these areas.

Our value proposition is: let us utilize the future of science to build a present of peaceful prosperity for all.

Thank you very much