GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

The Global Innovation Sweepstakes: A Quest to Win the Future


How the United States and other major actors position themselves as innovators and adaptors of emerging technologies will determine their economic fate and geostrategic standing. And while the United States remains at the top of the global tech-innovation hierarchy, its position is in real jeopardy. Several nations are fast approaching. In this century, the world’s most advanced countries will be those best positioned to create and adapt to new and disruptive technologies. Whoever ends up on top will reap tremendous gains. Those who do not will fall behind. The authors of this report believe that countries fall into one of three general categories: those countries on the cutting edge of tech-based innovation, those that easily adapt to and absorb new technologies, and those that are lagging. These categories are not mutually exclusive—some countries straddle categories—but the gaps between leaders and those on the bottom rungs will grow larger. The key recommendations in this report deal not just with the potential problems between states, but also address some of the inequities that are growing within societies due in part to emerging technologies. The entire world has become more prosperous than ever before; the digital revolution has played a key part in this development, accelerating the rise of China and other emerging markets. However, technology has increased income inequalities. Women and minorities are grossly underrepresented in tech firms and jobs. Will emerging technologies, such as AI, be different? Will inequalities widen further? How will the geopolitical landscape, indeed the global order writ large, change if China replaces the United States as the world’s innovation leader?