Futures studies are of utmost importance in our contemporary world, having become indispensable for both countries and institutions. Unprecedentedly rapid developments in all fields necessitate continuous efforts from countries and people to explore the future and draw the necessary plans to keep up with such developments. Moreover, countries that aspire to strengthen their economic position, uplift their people, and achieve the highest standards of welfare should look forward to the future based on rational, objective studies. Using research methods to analyze future developments is in fact key to strategic planning and informed decision-making processes. It presents a realistic reading of what would probably happen in the future and provides multiple scenarios and an array of possible alternatives and options, which help decision-makers face challenges while avoiding crises before they hit or at least minimize their effects.
In this context, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research’s (ECSSR) 23rd Annual Conference “Futures Studies” merits special attention as it tackles a critical subject that is of great interest for strategic planners and decision makers, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is especially significant as the UAE pursues future plans in accordance with its ambitious visions and aspirations to become the best country in the world by its 100th anniversary. By choosing futures studies as this year’s theme, the ECSSR reinforces its full awareness of the subject’s importance. Since its establishment in 1994, the Center has paid exceptional attention to these studies in its pursuit to keep up with regional and international developments and its effort to explore their future trajectories, ultimately serving the UAE’s development process and future ambitions.
The first panel, “The Future of the Economy,” will discuss the future of energy and its global demand, regional economic blocs and the future of global economic power, and innovation and the future of the creative economy. The second panel, “Futures Studies and Medical Advances,” will shed light on the genetic revolution and the emergence of personalized medicine, aging communities and the need to redesign healthcare systems, and the post-antibiotic era. The third panel, “The Future of Politics and International Relations,” will focus on the future of political stability in the era of Fourth- and Fifth-Generation Warfare, international relations in the post-globalization era, and future security threats, mainly Cybersecurity. The fourth panel, “Future Technology,” will focus on artificial intelligence, more specifically robots and the fate of the human race, social networking technology and the media of the future, and nanotechnology.