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It is both the best and the worst of times for democracy – or at least for voting. Although a record-breaking four billion people across 76 countries will have cast ballots in elections this year, democratic institutions are increasingly under strain, and leading watchdogs warn of a broad-based global trend toward “autocratization.”

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  1. “It is better to ask forgiveness than permission” has been the mantra of the digital revolution so far, and one should not expect that to change with artificial intelligence. For those already in a position to dominate this potentially groundbreaking sector, the opportunities are too enticing to miss.

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  2. Around the world, foreign-policy strategists are grappling with new international dynamics, from the Sino-American rivalry and ongoing hot wars to the broader breakdown in multilateral global governance. However, there is much debate about whether global power and alignments are truly shifting, and in what ways.

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  3. Despite global emissions continuing to rise, scientists and some climate leaders insist that we can still keep the Paris climate agreement alive and limit global warming to 1.5°C. Doing so, however, will require an unprecedented deployment of new technologies, infrastructure, and financing on a global scale – starting immediately.

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  4. There can be little doubt that the world is heading in a more violent, hair-trigger direction. As multilateralism continues to break down, more countries are arming and shoring up their defense alliances, creating a self-fulfilling dynamic. A new age of insecurity may be upon us.

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  5. Global ructions have put an end to the long era of price stability and low interest rates, forcing a reconsideration of many business models and economic growth strategies. Whether old orthodoxies can be replaced by something genuinely new and better is now the trillion-dollar question.

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  6. The year 2022 was one of grim and grisly returns: the return of major war – and nuclear brinkmanship – to Europe; the return of high inflation and the threat of stagflation globally; and the return of famine, dire poverty, and other problems against which the developing world had been making steady progress. With all these developments poised to continue, the question now is whether solutions will be found to counter the forces of discord and disintegration.

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  7. Anticipations of a hotter world have brought the issues of adaptation and climate justice to the fore. How can public policy, finance, and technology be leveraged to protect vulnerable communities in a dangerously warmer world?

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  8. Over the past decade, a mix of global shocks and more subtle, creeping trends has exposed the fragility of twenty-first century progress. It remains to be seen whether we are witnessing a new Great Game, a Cold War 2.0, or merely a continuation of past trends. But it is already clear that the international community will need to set some new ground rules, lest it cease being a community at all.

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  9. In 2021, governments around the world united behind the exhortation to “build back better” from the COVID-19 crisis. But sloganeering will offer little respite for a world that has only just begun to reckon with the systemic challenges posed by recrudescent nationalism, rising debt levels, cyber warfare, new technologies, and other distinctly twenty-first-century challenges.

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  10. In a world that is finally waking up to the climate crisis, everyone has new summits to reach. The COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow this November will be a crucial test. Stronger decarbonization and climate-financing commitments must be made to keep the world on a sustainable path. But even then, the real work will have only just begun.

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