The National Intelligence Council is the center for mid- and long-term strategic thinking within the US Intelligence Community. Every four years, it develops a Global Trends report with an approximate time horizon of fifteen years in order to provide the White House and the intelligence community with a framework for long-range strategic policy assessment. Its latest report - Global Trend 2030: Alternative Worlds (GT2030) - was released this past December.
“This report is intended to stimulate thinking about the rapid and vast geopolitical changes characterizing the world today and possible global trajectories during the next 15-20 years,” it states in the Executive Summary. “As with the NIC’s previous Global trends reports, we do not seek to predict the future - which would be an impossible feat - but instead provide a framework for thinking about possible futures and their implications.”
GT2030 has identified four overarching megatrends that are expected to shape and transform the world over the next couple of decades: individual empowerment; the diffusion of power; demographic patterns; and the growing nexus among food, water, energy and climate change. These megatrends are pretty knowable. They are well underway today.