By Jason Hines on August 20, 2009
If you had a crystal ball and could look into the future the first thing you might do is head to Wall Street. After lining your pockets with cash you might turn your attention to more noble causes. You might use these predictive powers to avert disasters, mitigate threats, and quite literally save lives. Governments are tasked with protecting citizens and in many cases threats are unknown. If you could foretell destabilizing events or better understand emerging threats this information could help officials protect and improve the lives citizens around the world. Recorded Future may not be able to tell you exactly where the next terrorist attack will be but it can offer some very powerful clues to government analysts looking to better understand what the future may hold.
Environmental factors are often key contributors to destabilization
It has been reported, for example in New Scientist that food and water shortages may be precursors to civil unrest and ultimately war. The strongest data statement out of this article perhaps is “In a forthcoming paper, he [Marc Levy of Columbia University] and colleagues combine databases on civil wars and water availability to show that when rainfall is significantly below normal, the risk of a low-level conflict escalating to a full-scale civil war approximately doubles in the following year”. Just recently NYTimes published an article called Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security – on the same very topic. Likewise we could very recently read in the Financial Times about how water shortage leads to mass hunger in Kenya – in a recently very unstable part of world.
The idea is fairly simple: if the water runs out people may blame their government and/or migrate into the territories of other peoples. Either often leads to fighting in less stable areas of the world. So, the question becomes: where are the water shortages? In today’s modern age of satellites and senors scientist and analysts have numerous ways to spot drought, and other effects of climate change; that is if they happen to be looking in the right place, at the right time. A simpler or complimentary approach might be to listen for these signs in the daily interactions and conversations of people. Years ago this would have been done by wandering streets listening in on conversations or reading local news papers or interviewing individuals. However, today many of these conversations are conducted in public forums on the Internet.
As we’ve learned from the recent events in Iran, people around the world are Twittering, blogging and Facebook-ing about their situation. Recorded Future could be used to not only monitor these channels, but also to uncover people’s sentiment and thoughts on the future.
Exploring in Recorded Future
In it’s simplest form we can pose a query EnvironmentalIssue Next 30 Days to find places where near term Environmental issue of interest are “percolating” – such as this upcoming dry spell in Indonesia
Likewise looking at all Future environmental issue events on a Google Map allows us to find hot spots of upcoming environmental events
We look forward to allowing users to be alerted on future environmental issues in particular geographic areas and time periods – seemingly interesting to those in areas such as government analysis, NGOs, logistics, energy trading, energy exploration, etc.
As always, we welcome your comments below!