Responsible Nanotechnology - from a post on June 12, 2006 - has stated that:
'We're approaching a critical period in the history of humankind. The choices we make -- or don't make -- over the next five to fifteen years could have consequences that will be felt for centuries to come'
Here are some scenarios of potential geopolitical instability:
when weapons of mass destruction will be more varied, more deadly, more available, cheaper to obtain, and easier to hide;
when the strength (and the ambitions) of regional powers will increase rapidly while the stabilizing might of the U.S. could be in decline;
when new technologies such as genetic engineering, robotics, nanotechnology, and possibly artificial intelligence could enable radical shifts in the balance of power;
and when global climatic conditions -- including increased frequency and severity of killer storms, droughts, infrastructure damage, crop failures, and even whole ecosystem collapses -- will contribute to growing tensions.
And these are only some of the more overt ones...