Changing Risk and Technological Change

15th July 2013

I am rather cynical about most articles I read on Horizon Scanning and business continuity so I quite understand if you regard this article in a similar way. However, having written recently about the transformative power of technology and how this is accelerating (see earlier blog titled Thinking Ahead), we started to think about what this means in terms of new risks.

So, just to get you thinking, here are 3 developing risks:

    1. Self-drive cars are already being actively tested and are being driven on our roads.  I wonder if anyone has considered the possibilities from the point of view of a terrorist? Take one “Google Car” and ask it to transport your suitcase full of explosives to Canary Wharf and wait for someone. Of course the someone does not come and the remotely transported bomb explodes.  I am sure that you can think of many variations on this theme.
    2. Drones can be used for peaceful purposes such as delivering goods in remote areas.  However these could also be asked to carry explosives or smuggle drugs. Indeed, it does not take much imagination to envisage flying a small drone into a high office window where it explodes to kill its target.
    3. Space weather has received a great deal of coverage recently. How about space junk?  The early space exploration has left a great deal of material orbiting the Earth where it occasionally causes problems, such as when an operational US satellite collided with an older and defunct Russian unit. The prospect of losing key weather satellites which provide the early warning for Hurricanes and other severe weather is not trivial, any more than losing communications or GPS satellites. We on the ground increasingly rely on the services provided from space and it would be disappointing indeed to lose such services owing to a collision with space junk.

    Risks continue to evolve and whilst these new issues present themselves, we should remember that other risks decline too. As technological change accelerates the real challenge is to direct our attention to the risks that can really threaten our business and to distinguish these signals from the increasing amount of noise.