Treverton and students
Director of the National Intelligence Council Gregory Treverton meeting students at UNM.

The director of the National Intelligence Council speaks in an open forum at UNM discussing future social trends his agency predicts nationally and internationally.

A UNM student provides a narrative in a video of what he sees at a panel discussion by the Muslim Student Association and posts an angry reaction on Facebook. Both events happen at the same time.

It was an interesting demonstration of the ability of the National Intelligence Council ability to predict the future. As the director of the NIC was talking about the increasing trend toward empowerment of the individual, an individual was seizing the discussion.

Members of the local news media aggressively followed a narrative that a UNM student posted online. No media outlet or member of the media covered the director’s speech.

“We’ve seen that individual power has good sides and bad sides. We’ve seen the harm that a single terrorist can do, or a single wayward banker can do,” said Gregory Treverton, director of the National Intelligence Council.”

Treverton was speaking at UNM as part of the National Security Symposium, an event featuring speakers and panels of experts on international security issues and trends. It is hosted by the National Security Studies Program. UNM has a minor in Security Studies and more than 100 students are involved in the program.

The NIC produces a major intelligence document that predicts trends and possible future security concerns. Their current predictions are available on their website. Among the megatrend predictions, empowerment of the individual tops the list.

Other megatrends include demographic patterns. NIC predicts economic growth may slow in aging countries, which include the United States, Europe and China. It also predicts that migration will increase and sixty percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030.

Diffusion of power will be another megatrend. Individual countries will be less powerful as the power shifts to networks and coalitions in a multipolar world. Treverton says a major unknown is the impact of new technologies. NIC is interested in technologies that address the growing world population, climate change and the rapid urbanization of populations.

Treverton says NIC is now visiting colleges and universities to look at current research as the agency prepares a new national intelligence trend document.

Links to local media coverage
Controversial video about UNM muslim student association goes viral
UNM Muslim Student Association defends Islamic Awareness Week panel