This analytical model is intended to help researchers around the world increase collective understanding of risk/reward trade-offs imparted by specific policy approaches.
The world is witnessing an unprecedented period of technological innovation being spurred by the synergistic combination of converging technologies, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, information technology, and cognitive sciences (the so-called NBRICs).
Such convergence is producing a wide range of disruptive innovations that may contribute to a “tremendous improvement in human abilities, societal outcomes, the nation's productivity, and the quality of life.” At the same time, these emerging technologies are introducing new challenges that threaten to undermine all levels of security and inequitably transform the world we live in.
The question then is how should policymakers tackle these challenges. The best response would be to develop effective policy approaches that maximize the potential benefits of the adoption of emerging technologies while at the same time minimize the detrimental effects. This requires that policymakers properly understand the absolute risk/reward trade-offs imparted by the various policy approaches under consideration.