Many factors make wars in the future increasingly likely and dangerous. Among them are the other systemic risks presented on this website. The website of the media company "The bulletin of atomic scientists", which also published the famous "Doomsday clock", publishes articles on various threats to human existence, focusing on nuclear risks, climate change and breakthrough technologies. The common link between these systemic risks, according to their website, is the belief that they are all man-made and therefore, in turn, within our control.
Climate change is likely to make very hot and dry areas uninhabitable in the future. Many of the affected areas are home to large numbers of people who are already suffering from poverty and hunger. The prospect that these countries themselves will be able to develop and implement appropriate protective measures to protect their societies from rising average temperatures and drought is uncertain and unlikely. An unprecedented mass movement of refugees from the affected areas is to be expected. The widely differing willingness of different people, groups and countries to take in refugees is already causing great tension and can be classified as a risk of war as the situation continues to deteriorate. The book "Climate wars" by Gwynne Dyer, a renowned historian, author, professor and geopolitical analyst, paints a realistic picture of the near future, in which a global struggle for survival will break out due to the consequences of climate change. Future pandemics can also be classified as a risk of war. Here, too, the different ways in which different countries deal with pandemics, for example in terms of their security policy and different management of the health system, represent a strong potential for aggression. Here, too, a strong aggravation of the situation is to be expected, since pandemics are becoming more and more likely due to the steady advance of humans into untouched natural areas. However, artificial intelligence should be classified as the greatest risk. This can be justified above all with regard to the many known and still unknown and inestimable risks to global security that emanate from AI technologies. Highly engineered and unmanned weapons systems are only a fraction of the many possibilities offered by artificial intelligence in modern warfare. The advancement of other technologies, such as quantum technology, anti-satellite weapons (ASAT), hypersonic and energy weapons, synthetic biology, physical and cognitive human design, also increase the likelihood of war. In a study by the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH), the future impact of these and several other technologies on international stability and human security was discussed. (1) Although the experts interviewed for this study had the opportunity "to highlight the potentially positive effects of new technologies, they assumed that all technologies will either weaken international stability or human security, and sometimes both". (1)
More and more dangerous technologies are being developed at different rates in different countries, resulting in an ever greater and more rapidly changing redistribution of power. But individuals also have ever greater destructive power, for example through experiments with synthetic biology in the basement. In Germany, there are strict regulations on the handling of genetically modified organisms. In the USA, you can order biohacking kits on the internet for a few dollars, with which you can produce your own transgenic bacteria, for example. (2,3) In fact, growing transgenic organisms is quite easy even without such a kit from the internet, and useful information for this is freely available on the internet for everyone. Future wars will not even require entire nations, but perhaps only two hostile communities or one destructive person.
In order to reduce the likelihood of wars or at least to greatly reduce their extent, a portfolio of versatile solution methods and an increased global interest in putting them into practice is once again needed. In the following, some local and global solutions are presented and discussed.
1. Marina Favaro, Dr. Neil Renic, Dr. Ulrich Kühn. Negative Multiplicity: Forecasting the Future Impact of Emerging Technologies on International Stability and Human Security. Institut für Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik an der Universität Hamburg, 26.09.2022 last accessed on: 15.03.23
2. Deustchlandfunk: Gentechnik-Spaß für zu Hause. 14. September 2017. last accessed on: 17.03.23
3. Ärztezeitung: Sind Gentech-Baukästen für Zuhause eine Gesundheitsgefahr? 14.09.2017. last accessed on: 17.03.23
First of all, it is important to understand that war, no matter where in the world it is waged, is becoming more and more important for everyone in the world. Increasingly rapid redistributions of power and wealth around the world are steadily increasing tensions between countries. This is due to the rapid development of highly modern and dangerous technologies, which, however, also offer individuals more and more destructive power. The world is facing unprecedented change, which offers great potential for escalation if it does not take place in a controlled and peaceful global framework.