11 Ways The Future Could Turn Out Differently Than You ExpectGeorge Dvorsky1/29/15 1:30pmFiled to: superlistfuturismpredictionsutopiasdystopiastrendsforesightriskstechnologyEDITOR'S PICKS14249EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkMany of us, owing to an intuitive sense of where technological and social progress are taking us, have a preconceived notion of what the future will look like. But as history has continually shown, the future doesn't always go according to plan. Here are 11 ways the world of tomorrow may not unfold the way we expect.AdvertisementIllustration by Tara Jacoby1. There Could Be a Resurgence in Authoritarian RuleMany of us believe that democratic values and institutions will still be around in the future. But as we head deeper into the 21st century, the continuing presence and increased accessibility of weapons of mass destruction could severely upset the political status quo. As I noted back in 2008 at the IEET's' Symposium on Global Catastrophic Risks, technologies that threaten human existence stand to significantly perturb contemporary sensibilities about social control and civil liberties. As we saw after the 9/11 attacks, our governments are more than willing and able to curtail our rights and impose restrictive laws in response to a crisis. Imagine what would happen in the event of something far worse.AdvertisementLooking ahead, institutions that have served for centuries to protect democratic values — and which we now take for granted — could be suppressed out of fear and desperation. As I noted at the Symposium:What makes these WMDs different [i.e. bioweapons (such as deliberately engineered pathogens), dirty bombs, weaponized nanotechnology, robotics, misused artificial intelligence, and so on] is the growing ease of acquisition and implementation by those who might actually use them. We live in an increasingly wired and globalized world where access to resources and information has never been easier. Compounding these problems is the rise and empowerment of non-traditional political forces, namely weak-states, non-state actors and disgruntled individuals. In the past, entire armadas were required to inflict catastrophic damage; today, all that's required are small groups of motivated individuals.