Edit ModuleShow Tags

Future crimes to attract a whole new breed of criminal

Criminal minds will work overtime to concoct new and unusual exploitations


Published:

The same technologies that enables us to 3D print our own guns, also give us the ability to create our own drones, intimidation engines, signal jammers, spyware, rockets and gene hacking equipment. Virtually every new technology, created with the best of intentions, can and will be used against us at some time in the future.

Suffice it to say, criminal minds are working overtime to concoct new and unusual opportunities for exploiting each of these emerging crime fields.

Drone offenses

Future drones will need to comply with thousands of new laws and regulations that are still in the process of being written.

1.) Transport of illegal substances – Bombs, poison, drugs, body parts, etc.

2.) Weaponized drones – Equipped with guns, lasers, tasers, flamethrowers and more.

3.) Voyeurism – Inappropriate spying on people

4.) Disruptive marketing – In-your-face messaging.

5.) Illegal shooting or destruction of drones – The anti-drone crowd is growing.

6.) Noise violations – Future drones with speakers and sound amplification systems attached (think flying concert speakers), can be turned into destructive weapons.

7.) Drone bullying – Acts of intimidation, threatening moves or displaying images to shame or embarrass someone.

8.) Drones killing other drones – Drones specifically designed to capture or destroy other drones.

Mixed reality distortions.

Imagine a game showing the world we live in, only with visual overlays that make people around us unwitting players and pawns that we attempt to influence from inside this altered reality adventure. Think of it as the game of life, operating with a completely different rule book.

9.) Mixed reality games designed to score points by injuring others – Users score points for physical bruises, verbal abuse, public shaming, and even physically disabling or killing someone.

10.) Purposefully distorted realities – Often people stand to profit when they can get clients or customers to think something is wrong. Whether it’s visually distorting the dental work needed, the amount of treatment required for a medical condition, or your role in a criminal activity, there is a special place in hell for those who perversely benefit from the suffering of others.

History distorters

We’ve long dealt with historical revisionists and blatant fabricationists, but as we move into the age of news-fakers, it will become increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction. Over time we will develop a technology that enables us to replay an unalterable visual representations of past events. But even technologies like that can be abused in new and unusual ways.

11.) Bald-faced character assassination – Piecing together snippets of anyone’s life can make them look like a fool. We all have the frailties of being human, and good judgment is everybody’s shortcoming at one time or another.  

12.) Blatant revisionists – For some, painting false realities, drawing false conclusions, and reimagining past events will become a new criminal art form.

13.) False memes – Perpetuators of false research, polls, and studies.

14.) Counterfeit conclusions – The fine art of reaching false conclusions. Since it’s an asymmetrical relationship between researchers and those consuming information, scientists need to be held to a higher standard.

Social blackmailers

In much the same way Google’s personalized marketing system delivers targeted ads, an intimidation engine can be invented for the sole purpose of delivering highly targeted threats. As cyber crime escalates, we run the risk of having our social structures deteriorate into invisible mafia-style communities with the blackmailers ruling the blackmailees. While most will be doing it for money, others for revenge, few, if any, will be capable of understanding the true behind-the-scenes turf wars taking place.

15.) Threatening children – With social media it will become easier to intimidate someone with the threat of harming their child, friend or loved one.

16.) Threat of isolation – We’re all social creatures by nature and the threat of alienating, and thereby isolating, us from our friends may be a fate worse than death.

Artificial intelligence plagues

It will become easy to rely on artificial intelligence to make most of our decisions for us - where to go, who to meet, what music to listen to, and even how to entertain our kids. But what happens when our A.I. goes bad or is co-opted by those with sinister motives?

17.) Traffic accidents – Since driverless cars and drones will be managed by A.I., corrupted software could disrupt the entire transportation grid through a series of crashes, accidents and massive traffic jams.

18.) Operating system amnesia – What happens when information losses, alterations and purposeful distortions take place.

19.) Power and data outages – Brownouts, blackouts and information sieges designed to cut certain people off from the utilities, help and services they need.

20.) Analysis paralysis – A.I. will soon become a crucial part of our daily decision-making processes, but system “overload” hacks, equivalent to “denial of service attacks,” will cause enormous problems.

Legacy revisionists

Few things in life are more disturbing than having a person’s legacy destroyed after death. Character assassination can be relatively easy, with living children being the primary subjects of this kind of attack.

21.) False motives, false intentions – If a person is no longer alive to defend their actions, it’s relatively simple to distort their motivations.

22.) Made-up involvements – With social media, our circle of loosely associated friends and acquaintances has expanded exponentially, so contriving intimate affairs with virtually any other person on the planet becomes a relatively easy hack.

23.) Fabricated consequences – Altering cause and effect relationships has become a common instrument used in political circles to twist people’s thinking to draw the wrong conclusion.

24.) Rewriting conclusions using incorrect assessments of impact – Most spin masters have a massive set of tools in their toolbox, including the ability to turn any tiny blip on the radar screen of life into the appearance of a full blown nuclear Holocaust.

Space crimes

Every military strategist knows the extraordinary advantage a destructive person could have directing an attack from a near earth vantage point, and it’s only a matter of time until amateur rocketeers are capable of exploiting this opportunity.

25.) Launch-from-space EMP blast – Capable of bombing a country’s financial systems into the stone ages.

26.) Launch-from-space pandemic – Deadly contagions and viral outbreaks will be easier than ever to fabricate, distribute, and infect over the coming decades.

27.) Launch-from-space communication blackouts – As we become more reliant upon data/voice communications, our key points of vulnerabilities become increasingly obvious.

28.) Launch-from-space incendiary bombs – One carefully directed blast could cause immeasurable damage.

Robot crimes

Black hat robots are coming. With our growing imbalance between the super rich and the super poor, a likely scenario will be a scaling up of techno-stealth warfare of clandestine nature, with black hat technologies used to disrupt our systems, industries, and government in new and unusual ways.

29.) Black hat drones, robots, car crashers and data manipulators – Terms like this will soon become a common part of every future criminal’s vocabulary.

30.) Hacker psycho-bots - One slightly deranged psycho-bot can easily be a thousand times more destructive than a single suicide bomber today.

Cryptocurrency miscreants

Cryptocurrencies have become the perfect tool for hiding transactions. As an example, Monero is a cryptocurrency launched in 2014 with enhanced privacy features. Monero leverages identity-obscuring ring signatures to paint a super-confusing picture of which funds have been sent by whom and to whom.

31.) Secret transactions – Cryptocurrencies open the door for truly secret communications and money transfers.

32.) Clandestine wealth storage – It becomes impossible to deter criminal activity when there’s no way to understand how the transactions are made and how the money is being stored.

CRISPR gene hacking

Genetic engineering has long promised cures for disease and general improvements for the human condition, and CRISPR has emerged as the gene designer’s tool of choice for making it happen. At the same time, gene manipulation is a tool that can be used in all the wrong ways.

33.) Creating destructive new life forms – We have no idea how harmful new life forms can and will be.

34.) Fabricating super contagious new diseases – This will include anything that compromises the health, security or long-term viability of people.

35.) Sadistic human editing – Without checks and balances we can expect fringe scientists to attempt risky schemes such as adding multiple sex organs, heightened levels of fear, anxiety, paranoia or self-destruction.

36.) Super-baby hackers – People wanting to make a name for themselves will test extreme theories by designing babes with four legs, five eyes, grotesquely large heads, super short or super tall, etc.

Brain hackers

We like to think of our own mind as a safe haven for our thoughts, but what if it isn’t? What happens when our own grey matter becomes hackable.

37.) Implanting false memories – As our understanding of the human brain improves, hacking memories or inducing memory blackouts may become a common occurrence.

38.) Merged memories – Without our knowing, our minds could simply become co-mingled with someone else’s. The voices in our head may be coming from an elderly French woman with no understanding of who we are.

39.) Using false directives to supersede our free will – Our highly valued free may not be so free after all. We may be forced to commit crimes even if we physically resist.

40.) Embedding dominant personalities – For domineering criminals, if we ever object to what they’re doing, an embedded dominant personality will overrule our objections and force us to conform.

Time crimes

Sitting needlessly at stoplights, or watching the minutes tick away as we wait in line, or being forced to fill out yet another form – our precious time is being coopted by everyone from inconsiderate corporations, to overbearing government, painful security checks at the airport.

Little by little, whatever tiny amount of control we thought we had over our day becomes infested with new life-sucking time-barnacles that congest our minds and add surface-scratching aggregate to the smooth day we had planned. Like a leaky sieve carrying our daily time supply, however much we started with is never even close to what we end up with.

If someone steals our money, it’s an obvious crime. So why isn’t it an equally obvious crime if someone needlessly squanders our time?

41.) Time scarcity laws – Needlessly wasting our time will soon become a crime.

42.) Lost time penalties – Since time is a scarce commodity we will soon see time penalties to reimburse for lost time.

43.) Onerous time-limit laws – Very often people are forcing us to fail by creating situations with “far too little time to make something happen.” When situations fail a “reasonableness standard,” it will be considered a criminal act.

44.) Destructive deja vu – Will we soon have the power to cause someone’s life to happen in random order, shifting from childhood, to retirement, to teen dating, to job loss, to your deathbed? Time hackers can be a vicious lot.

Driverless terrorists

There will be little need for suicide bombers in the future as the hacking of driverless vehicles will open the door to a whole new set of perils.

45.) Destruction fanatics – Driverless vehicles equipped with bombs, dangerous animals, chemical agents, Saran gas, etc.

46.) Child abduction/kidnapping – With kids traveling unescorted to their schools, friends, or after-school activity, an abduction is only a hacker’s algorithm away.

47.) Communication jammers – Future communication jammers may be totally undetectable with their ability to block all forms of light, heat, sound along with virtually every fragment of the visible and invisible spectrum.

48.) Self-destructing fear generators – Think in terms of mobile land mines designed to intimidate people, blatantly obvious, casually driving through neighborhoods, but set to explode if anyone messes with them.

Megaproject manipulators

Gone are the days when people were impressed by projects costing $10 million to $50 million or even $100 million. We are witnessing an explosion in the number of $1 billion+ projects with some, like the artificial archipelago being built in Azerbaijan, Turkey’s massive Urban Renewal project in Istanbul, and the new construction of Masjid Al Haram in Saudi Arabia each exceeding $100 billion.

But along with these mega-investments comes a new breed of money manipulators and con artists hoping to capitalize on flaws in the implementation process.

49.) False job claims – Most countries will be heavily invested in keeping their people employed so most proposals will come with bogus job claims, something that is not easy to prove until after the fact.

50). Deceptive economic benefits – Claims of large-scale economic benefit are always attractive to politicians, but good intentions do not make viable business operations.

51.) Fabricated need – Infrastructure is usually an easy sell, especially when existing infrastructure is failing, but bogus “need” is a slippery slope that giant project con men will exploit.

52.) Fictitious accounting – The startup world has been a magnet for those who can make unattainable numbers look doable, and the world of megaprojects is creating an even stronger magnet.

Industrial genocide

All industries are a bell curve with a beginning, middle and end. Yes, industries can and likely will eventually end.

Along the path of our increasingly volatile business landscape will be many winners and losers. As a result, industries on the verge of gasping their last breath, will try to reinvent.

Invariably the demise of certain industries will benefit some nations more than others, turning industrial warfare into a new criminal battlefield sanctioned by governments.

53.) Manipulate global demand – When buyers are forced to go away, an industry will simply cease to exist.

54.) Remove financial backing – Refer to my comments on blackmail to understand how financiers can be manipulated into backing away from a deal.

55.) Hording parts or materials causing costs to skyrocket – Most successful products are formed around critical components that are often hard to make and hard to get. Arranged shortages become an easy pinch point in a manufacturer’s supply chain.

56.) Causing all stocks in a specific industry to tank – We’ve only scratched the surface on fake news. Well-crafted rumors, designed to spawn other rumors, can easily force even the best stocks to slide. In the future it won’t take much to remove the valuation floor altogether, sending stocks into a total freefall.

When the darknet goes super dark

The darknet has evolved into a place where less-scrupulous people offer less-scrupulous solutions. But the darknet has the potential to go even darker.

57.) Destroy the economy of an entire country – This is already happening on certain levels. By adding a few new tools, this will only get easier.

58.) Instigate a massive natural disaster – In the future, our ability to control hurricanes, earthquakes, hailstorms, or locust infestations will be within reach.

59.) Forcing a nuclear power plant to self-destruct – Every new technology gives master manipulators additional capabilities.

60.) Remove a world leader from office – Once the playground of secret government agencies, the super puppet-masters of the future need only make a down payment on the super darknet.

Edit Module
Thomas Frey

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

Get more content like this: Subscribe to the magazine | Sign up for our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Debunking Real Estate's Biggest Myths

Thanks to scant housing inventory, massive population growth and still-low interest rates, buying or selling a home in, or even near, the Mile High City means stepping into a fierce game with ever-changing rules.

SmashBurger and the War on Naming Rights

They believed the Triple Double name is too close and confusingly similar to one or both of the company’s registered trademarks, Double Double and Triple Triple, both also names for burgers. A lawsuit was filed and delivered to SmashBurger.

Rundles Wrap Up: Not Chipping In

I get technology, and I marvel at and use its many benefits both professionally and personally.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module