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The NBRIC Revolution and International Relations?

GCSP Policy Paper N°9


  • Herd - Prof. Graeme P. Herd
  • Till - Mr Dale A. Till

Release Date:

December 2010

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Key Points

  • The rapid advancement and application of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Robotics, and Information and Communications technology (NBRICs) raise many questions regarding human evolution, regime sustainability, the context of contemporary and future conflict and cooperation, as well as the nature of power and its distribution in the international system.
  • NBRIC technologies can generate new strategic challenges and sources of insecurity, enable a broader range of actors to address those challenges, and aid the design and implementation of strategic responses.
  • Their application can lower the human and political costs of war and pose challenges for arms control. As a result, such technologies will increasingly shape state and institutional strategic cultures.
  • Such technologies give rise to the notion of “cognitive power” and raise the possibility of global elites able to navigate the dense information networks and the disenfranchised remainder who may strike back through radical and super-nationalistic narratives.


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