FREE ARTICLES

Wild Cards

Contact Us

We welcome comments on all aspects of our editorial content and coverage. If you have any questions about our service, or want to know more, please e-mail us or complete our enquiry form:

Submit an Enquiry

Already a Member?

Wild cards are major ‘known’ events or developments that can emerge, paradoxically as shocks, at any time.  They are the ultimate ‘high impact, high uncertainty’ events, but typically their systemic impacts are ill-defined.  Sometimes they are seen as so unlikely that they can be ignored.   Or not even registered in risk calculations.  Often they are seen fatalistically, along the lines of ‘nothing we can do about that’.

They can also be missed because their relevance to interconnected systems is missed.  While in some ways networks make us more resilient to moderate disruptions, in an interconnected world an extreme event in one system when interlinked with other critical systems can create catastrophic, synchronised chains of events.  Even small wild card events can tip fragile systems into chaos.  For example, the complex ‘inter-systemic’ relationships between climate, water, energy, food and political stability are only now becoming clear.  Mapping connections and simulating potential wild card trigger events is one of the grand challenges of complexity science.

Guest Membership
FREE
Summaries of Long Read and Briefings essays and full access to curated links
Selected original essays in full
Full Membership
£600+vat per year
Full and unlimited access to an unique, authoritative resource
Extensive archives of essays from previous issues
The Rome Scenarios exploring future worlds to 2035
The full range of dozens of Wild Cards, updated each month
The Futures Library – a continually updated, curated and summarised selection of more than 150 important long-form reports by third parties – covering systems-critical factors ranging from bio-nanoscience and artificial intelligence to geo-politics and climate change
Top