Income inequality could get worse, the report said, sometimes linking it to information inequality.
The "trust gap" between an informed public trusting a government solution and a wider public with deep skepticism of institutions is widening, the report said.
The problem is exacerbated by technology. Algorithms, social media and artificial intelligence have replaced the expertise to decide what information to disseminate the most, leaving the public more vulnerable to misinformation.
Yet positive demographic changes in recent decades, with people moving out of poverty and into the middle class, have "rising expectations". created, said Maria Langan-Riekhof, the director of the intelligence council's strategic futures group. But fears of declining incomes around the world are on the rise, a worrying trend coupled with changes in the way information is shared and social divisions deepening.
"These ensure that people look for the safety of trusted voices, but also of like-minded groups within their societies," said Ms. Langan-Riekhof. "Overlay those trends that I describe, and you see that recipe for greater division, increasing fracture. We think this is likely to continue and likely to worsen."
Over time, the report says these trends could weaken democratic governments.
"As the population becomes increasingly empowered and demanding more, governments are coming under greater pressure from new challenges and more limited resources," the report said. “This growing gap predicts greater political volatility, democracy erosion and growing roles for alternative providers of governance. Over time, this dynamic can open the door to more significant shifts in the way people govern. "
The report on global trends often looked at possible future situations. In the Report 2017An example was a pandemic that plunged the world into economic chaos. It envisioned that nationalist politicians would erode alliances, a drop in oil prices would lead to disasters and more isolationist trade practices. It also predicted a pandemic (albeit in 2023, not 2020), limiting travel, causing economic problems and exacerbating existing trends towards isolation.
The report has discussed the risk of a pandemic for nearly two decades, said Gregory F. Treverton, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council who helped lead the 2017 effort. 2004 report said some experts thought it was "only a matter of time" before a pandemic came, he said.