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Two great uncertainties of future war are who will be fighting and how they will fight. With the cost of killing one person with a biological weapon at just US$1, some experts fear the worst - customised viruses, induced paranoia or obliterated memory. Optimists, however, say that most wars have used conventional weapons and there is no reason this would change, as outcomes are easier to manipulate. Yet, the possibilities are always there.

The last few decades have seen the civilianisation of conflict, as intrastate wars decrease and conflict within internal boundaries - such as Rwanda and Sudan - grow in number and size. What changes are we likely to expect in the future? Robots are expected to play a substantial role in fighting wars in the future. There is speculation that the US has already sent robot spies disguised as moths to Pakistan and the UK's Ministry of Defence cites the possibility of 'super humans' with greater strength and sensory perceptions. War tests the boundaries of imagination and potential outcomes may seem far-fetched. Yet, if they transpire, all aspects of our lives will be affected.

This is part of Outsights 21 Drivers for the 21st Century ™, a future-orientated scan of the 21 key forces shaping this century.


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