Washington, DC—Most of us can recall a time before mobile phones, or at least the days before Netflix. But as devices facilitating inter-connectivity infuse the corners of our lives, being online is as natural as breathing. We have always breathed, we have always had the Internet, right? The advent of new technologies, whether artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big Data, genomics, and stem cells (to name a few), is changing everything, from setting an alarm clock to increasing your life expectancy. In this newsletter, we explore cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and what technology means for the future, however close that may be.

The good news? We are on the cusp of witnessing the biggest breakthroughs humanity has ever seen. And everyone is in on it.

By 2020, more than 50 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally—that's more than 4 devices for every human on earth. The Internet of Things first came to us on PCs. Then it moved to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and TVs. But now it's coming to all of our everyday devices that fall under the IoT umbrella. This IoT revolution has the potential to change our homes, transportation, work, even our cities. But how will we arrive in this new era?

This year our World in 2050 series took us from the future of jobs and education to wellbeing and health and war and peace. Our last installment in the series this year concerns how cyber and IoT are shaping the future. And there’s perhaps no better time than now to take a look at how these security concerns affect every aspect of our lives. As we launch this edition on the eve of one of the most historic presidential elections in the United States, we can’t help but think how much of the fate of this coveted presidential seat rests on the very essence of cybersecurity.

How will cyberspace evolve? What does that mean for cybersecurity? And what can we do to ensure that security gets better not worse? In a series of new as well as archived articles, interviews, and essays, we explore a diverse range of topics looking at cybersecurity of the future. How will we secure growing networks of cars, health devices and other "things"? What can we do to ensure that our cyber workforce is more diverse and representative? How can complex networks of actors work together to mitigate the next Heartbleed-scale software vulnerability? How will global trends affect the cybersecurity challenges that will threaten the United States?

Businesses and entire governments are under relentless attack from cyber fraudsters, industrial spies and saboteurs, terrorists, foreign states, politicized hacking groups and others. The ingenuity, ruthlessness and sophistication of the perpetrators know no bounds.

Leaders need to rise to the challenge but many are failing to do so. Even those who have implemented cyber defense strategies incorporating the latest procedures and technology are discovering they are often inadequate. Security is still being breached. Federal, state and other public sector initiatives designed to protect businesses in cyberspace are struggling to make an impact.

Article by

Ana C. Rold

Ana C. Rold is the Founder and Publisher of Diplomatic Courier. Rold teaches political science courses at Northeastern University and is the Host of The World in 2050–A Forum About Our Future. To engage with her on this article follow her on Twitter @ACRold.