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About the Digital Futures Project

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In 1964, Isaac Asimov imagined the 2014 World’s Fair for The New York Times. He hit the mark on the smartphone, the self-driving car and the Keurig machine; he missed widely on battery technology and space colonization. Foresight is hard, and foresight is only getting harder.

The rate of technological innovation has soared since. “Disruption” has been the watchword of the last decade; “move fast and break things” is the defining slogan of the first fifteen years of the third millennium. The legacy concepts broken to bits have included traditional understandings of privacy, identity, violence and surveillance. Confronting that context, the Wilson Center’s Digital Futures Project is dedicated to understanding the ways in which emerging technologies shape policymaking. Less and less of life, war and business takes place offline. More and more, policy is transacted in a space little noticed and poorly understood by traditional legal and political authorities. The Digital Futures Project is a map to the constraints and opportunities generated by innovations around the corner - a resource for policymakers navigating a world they didn’t build.