TED Conversations

Marc Goodman

INTERPOL-International Criminal Police Organization


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What is the greatest security challenge facing humanity today?

What do you see as the most pressing global security challenges of the 21st century? The broad themes are crime, terrorism, warfare and corruption.

Of course security is a theme which transcends many of the biggest issues facing our planet today, including environment change, access to clean water, poverty and disease/pandemic, to name but a few.

In your opinion, what do you view as the greatest security challenge facing mankind?

What steps can we take now to positively impact the greatest number of people from a global security perspective?

How might an innovative emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotech, biology, ubiquitous computing, genomics, synthetic biology, etc help resolve this challenge?

Thanks in advance for your input.


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  • Apr 15 2011: It's hard to gauge, given new, unprecedented dangers that arise over the period of a few years. A lot of people give general answers here because of this, and I will do this as well; however, it is imperative to do some radical brainstorming because tomorrow's greatest danger will be something we would never imagine today; therefore, I'll also add something specific.

    General: people quickly forget the lessons of yesteryear. How many people born today will truly understand the horrors of World War II? Eighty years down the road, a full lifetime after the rapid loss of 75 million lives, will anybody? Similar signs leading to worldwide conflict will be more difficult to appreciate for what they are.

    Specific: a world that finally abandons carbon heavy fuels widely adopts nuclear energy as the next best alternative. While hard to predict at this time, a problem arises from the massive use of fossil fuels with planetary changes (similar to global warming) that cannot be identified with the limited use nuclear energy sees at the moment. [note: I'm a proponent and very well versed in nuclear energy; I still think, however, that it needs to be adopted carefully, analyzed every step of the way for similar problems.]

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