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Honoured to give a keynote speech on "Transhumanism and Global Security" at the Finland Defence Forces annual Round Table, Helsinki, Finland, November 2017





Beware the dangers of disruptive technologies

Posted on 8 May 2015 by geofftansey

Yesterday, in what turned out to be a very disruptive day for many in British politics as the results of the UK general election today made clear, it now seems fitting that I went to a talk on disruptive technologies and the ethical implications and threats and opportunities they pose.

Thanks to an invitation from Prof Graham Dutfield at Leeds University’s School of Law, I heard philosopher, neuroscientist and geostrategist Prof Nayef Al-Rodhan, Senior Fellow and Programme Director of the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland.

He highlighted his concerns about a wide range of emerging technologies, ranging from Artificial intelligence to synthetic biology to precision genetic engineering, to quantum computing, to neuromorphic chip technology. The way many of these were converging together, their potential for contamination of the biosphere and three in particular were of concern as he explained in a brief interview after his talk. He also outlined his view of human nature as emotional, amoral egoism.

He called for precautionary-based regulation now before it was too late to manage these emerging technologies. You can find much more about his work and numerous publications in this area on his website Sustainable History.

May 2015, Chapter on Glocal Trends and Their Impact on Space in the European Space Policy Institute Yearbook on Space Policy 2012/2013.

Chapter 3

Global Trends and Their Impact on Space


Nayef Al-Rodhan









This article addresses global trends and their impact on outer space issues from three main perspectives: (1) current and future challenges in outer Space, (2) developments in the international system over the past two decades, and (3) how these changes in the international system reflect on space issues, policies, challenges and opportunities.


3.1  What Challenges Exist in Outer Space?

Currently, there are three main issues and challenges that can be identified in outer space. First, the Outer Space environment belongs to everyone, which means that it is a modern day “Global Commons”. Second, humanity is now at a juncture where it is increasingly and irreversibly dependent on Space. This has caused outer space to become more and more congested. Third, geopolitical competition and stakes in Space and on Earth are intertwined and interdependent, thus it has become contested.


3.2  What Has Changed in the International System Over the Past Two Decades?

The information/communications revolution over the past two decades has made the world increasingly globalised. The effects of this are manifold, yet two main consequences can be identified: instant connectivity and deepening interdependence. This has the potential to alter the global game for all of humanity, affecting actors and interactions at all levels. As suggested in a previous work, The Five Dimensions of Global Security: Proposal for a multi-Sum Security Principle, while the state remains the most pivotal unitary actor in the global system, global security is much more complex than the collection of the national securities of various states. Thinking of global security thus implies taking into account five dimensions: (1) National Security; (2) Transnational Security; (3) Human Security; (4) Environmental Security; and (5) Transcultural Security.[1]

Security issues and policies therefore need to be reconsidered in our globalised world, no longer fitting the simple classic scenario of a competition between weak and strong states. Therefore, rather than employing the paradigm of zero-sum security, and the so-called “Security Dilemma” which are no longer useful and may even be counter-productive, it is now more useful to advance the notion of what I have called the Multi-Sum Security Principle (MSSP), which states that:

“In a globalized world, security can no longer be thought of as a zero-sum game involving states alone. Global security, instead, has five dimensions that include human, environmental, national, transnational and transcultural security and, therefore, global security and the security of any state or culture cannot be achieved without good governance at all levels that guarantees security through justice for all individuals, states and cultures.”[2]

Therefore, global justice, irrespective of how we choose to define it, is a pre-requisite for the sustainable security of individual states as well as that of the global system.[3]   Geopolitical issues today, including in the outer space domain, need to be rethought and expanded to a definition that accounts for geopolitics in a more comprehensive way. A “Meta-Geopolitics Framework” is thus more appropriate, incorporating both traditional and new dimensions of geopolitics.[4] The Meta- Geopolitics framework includes seven state capacities which are: (1) Social and health issues, (2) Domestic politics, (3) Economy, (4) the environment, (5) Science and human potential, (6) Military and security issues and, (7) International diplomacy.

To better understand and explain our contemporary international system at large, as well as cooperation or antagonism over space issues in particular, realist interpretations of the international system prove inadequate. In a globally-anarchic world of instant connectivity and deepening interdependence, realism needs to be amended. A better way to make sense of this evolving global context is through what I called Symbiotic Realism, a theory of International Relations that explains



[1] Al-Rodhan N (2007) The Five Dimensions of Global Security. Proposals for a Multi-sum

Security Principle. LIT, Berlin, 35.

[2] Al-Rodhan N (2007) The Five Dimensions of Global Security. LIT, Berlin, 31.

[3] Al-Rodhan, Nayef “Sustainable Power is Just Power” 5 Dec. 2013 e-IR 18 Jan. 2014. http://www.¼twitterfeed&utm_medium¼


[4] Al-Rodhan N (2012) Meta-Geopolitics of Outer Space. An Analysis of Space Power, Security

and Governance. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 19.

March 2015, Podcast from the lecture on "Neuroscience, Identities, and Global Security" at the Zurich University Neuroscience and Human Rights Conference.

         Guides Humanitaires           Journalist Guy Mettan discusses humanitarian challenges, citing Professor Al- Rodhan's views on Big Data.  Read More                      

       Guides Humanitaires

       Journalist Guy Mettan discusses humanitarian challenges, citing Professor Al- Rodhan's views on Big Data. Read More


January 2015 Interview for Conflits Magazine

Photos and Videos

Feedback and Reviews

Estropico, Letture
Come il potenziamento umano e altre tecnologie emergenti cambieranno la geopolitica, posted on 6th of February 2012. 
Massimo Benocci,
International security, could we also call it emotions?", L'Occidentale, posted 3rd July 2011.
Top 3 books reviewed by Tel Asiado on Suite 101
Other links: - Wikiquotes