Sami Makelainen, Australia


Sami Makelainen has been involved in building the online and mobile worlds since 1990s. From building the early online commerce and banking platforms in North America and Europe, Sami then spent several years with various aspects of the mobile business, from applications development to network systems research for Nokia in Finland. 

Since 2009, Sami has been with Telstra Corporation in Australia, in roles spanning from a mobile platforms subject matter expert to CEO Communications and Innovation Program Management. Currently in charge of Technology Foresight, focusing on long-term technology and other trends and how they impact the business, industry and society. 

Sami holds an MSc degree in Computer Science from the University of Helsinki and lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia. His current research interests include complex systems and architecting for resilience.

Cyber War

Executive Overview


The threat of severe, debilitating cyberattacks is growing exponentially as the digital world envelops all facets of modern life.

China, Russia, and North Korea pose the biggest risks, with myriad attacks on Western governments and companies daily. The problem is expected to grow more menacing as  terrorists become involved. NATO, the US, EU, South Korea, and Israel are bearing the brunt of the damage, but it could spread easily to encompass entire global systems. Iran has already been the target of at least two cyberattacks on its nuclear program to steal data and sabotage operations, and North Korea disrupted a Sony film that was critical of its leader. 

Protective defenses are being developed, and authorities think the possibility of a “Cyber Armageddon” is less likely than a continuing wave of small assaults that wear away at infrastructure and morale.

Most  Likely Forecast

As shown below, myriad cyber assaults on corporations and governments occur daily. Most are not very damaging, but the global costs run in the US$ trillions. 

  •  Security Cost US$86B and rising  According to Gartner, global spending for information security products and services will reach US$80 billion in 2017 and US$93 billion in 2018. [i]
  •  Cybercrime Will Cost US$8T  Cybercrime is expected to cost global businesses over US$8 trillion over the five years to 2022. [ii]
  •  Cost per Attack Rising  The average cybercrime to US companies costs an average of US$21 million, with the global average being US$11.7 Billion. The costs continue to rise at a rate of over 20 percent year on year. [iii]


TechCast experts estimate a roughly 78-percent probability that a series of attacks launches a cyber war that severely damages the economy, defense, or other crucial sectors of major nations over the next few decades. Experts’ confidence is high (70%) and they think consequences of a major cyberattack could be devastating..


Constant Minor Assaults at Great Cost

The explosive growth of world-wide IT capabilities and antagonism from powerful nations is causing an ever-expanding growth in the scale, frequency, sophistication, and damage done by cyberattacks. A Ponemon Institute survey of 639 IT professionals in the US found that 35 percent had been the target of a nation-state cyberattack. 

  •  US Government Hacked  Thousands of cyber breaches occur at all levels of the US government annually, including stealing top-secret tools and material from the NSA and breaching the Securities and Exchange Commission. [iv] Research from Security Scorecard give government systems one of the lowest security ratings across all industries. [v] The US Government Accountability Office has also identified “consistent shortcomings” in the federal government’s approach to cybersecurity. [vi]
  •  Companies Not Ready  According to an IBM study, 68 percent of companies do not believe their organizations can remain resilient in the wake of a cyberattack, and 66 percent aren’t confident in their ability to recover from an attack. [vii]
  •  Infrastructure Can Be Brought Down  Cyberattacks have been shown to be able to bring down critical infrastructure, such as the malware that caused widespread electricity blackouts in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016. Lloyd’s estimates that a successful cyberattack on the Northeast US electricity grid could result in economic damage of more than a US$1 trillion. Transportation devices from connected vehicles to airplanes have been shown to be vulnerable to hacking, even remotely. [viii]
CyberWarfare Nations

At least 15 countries have been shown to launch cyberattacks; the most active countries are Russia, United States, North Korea and China. 

 Russia  Russian hackers have been very active on a number of fronts, ranging from penetrating Democratic National Committee servers  to hacking into the World AntiDoping Agency medical records. 

 China  The People’s Republic has been responsible for a number of attacks, such as stealing sensitive information about the F-35 Lightning II fighter plane from US Defense Department computers. In 2017, the US National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center warned of an “emerging sophisticated campaign” from a group with suspected ties to the Chinese government, affecting a growing number of companies globally. [ix]

 North Korea  North Korean hackers have quickly gained global “respect” as they have become increasingly sophisticated since the Sony hack in 2014. North Korea was, for example, responsible for the widespread Wannacry malware in 2017. [x]

 Australia  While little is known of Australia’s ability to launch cyberattacks, the Signals Directorate has been publicly recruiting “offensive cyber specialists.”


Protection is Coming

Fortunately, some measures are underway to preclude cyberattacks:

 Funding for US Defenses on The Rise  The cybersecurity spending of US Government is rising rapidly, having risen from US$7.5 billion in 2007 to US$28 billion in 2016. President Trump’s first budget blueprint also proposes an additional US$1.5 billion for the Department of Homeland Security specifically to protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. [xi]

 US−China Cyberspace Agreement  The United States and China agreed on the first arms control accord for cyberspace. The agreement says that each country will not be the first to use cyberweapons to cripple the other’s critical infrastructure during peacetime. There is, however, growing doubt whether the agreement will have any practical effect on China’s behavior. [xii]

Strategic Implications

A major cyberattack could target a developed country’s vital civilian or military infrastructure, terrorizing the populace and making it much more vulnerable to conventional attack. A successful attack on infrastructure such on the US power grid has the potential to cause as much as US$1 trillion of economic damage and significant loss of life. Hiscox Insurance estimates cybercrime is already costing the global economy over US$450 billion annually. [xiii]  

Contrary to the common fear that cyber-attacks would be devastating, James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate, “Rather than a ‘Cyber Armageddon’ scenario that debilitates the entire US infrastructure, we … foresee an ongoing series of low-to-moderate level cyberattacks from a variety of sources over time.”  


[i] Gartner, Aug 16, 2017

[ii] Juniper Research, May 30, 2017

[iii] Accenture, 2017

[iv] New York Times, Nov 12, 2017

[v] Security Scorecard, 2017

[vi] GAO, Feb 14, 2017

[vii] IBM, Nov 16, 2016

[viii] Aviation Today, Nov 8, 2017

[ix] Department of Homeland Security, Apr 27, 2017

[x] New York Times, Oct 15, 2017

[xi] Hill, Mar 16, 2017

[xii] Diplomat, Jan 19, 2017

[xiii] CNBC, Feb 7, 2017

Space Comercialization

The commercialization of space has come into focus as a fact of life recently. Just a few years ago, space commercialization was limited to satellite production, launch, and maintenance. Since 2010 when the US signed the National Space Policy, there has been increasing support of commercial space, and this was boosted in 2013 with the National Space Transportation Policy. To create a true space era, however, two major breakthroughs are needed  — big advances in space technology and lower costs.

TechCast covers the six forecasts below on space. These forecasts suggest we should see dramatic gains during the next decade as space tourism and commercialization take off. 

 In the computer industry, and particularly in microchips and miniaturization, Moore’s law has been dramatically lowering the production costs of advancements in “silicone” based technology. A similar trend is underway in space commercialization. A first step in this direction was taken when NASA opened the space race to visionary entrepreneurs. The “Silicon Era” dominated the past 70 years. In space, the same trend is happening with major investments in scores of companies like Space X, Virgin Galactic, Orbital Sciences, and Boeing.

For example, the Space Angels Network has funded 23 companies pioneered by entrepreneurs in space technology, from manufacturing satellites to manufacturing better engines for space launches. Mars-One, the controversial enterprise committed to sending people on a one way trip to Mars, is funding its mission through a combination of reality show and crowd-funding. Other companies are planning trips to the Moon, building private space stations, and mining asteroids.

I can’t help but draw parallels and wonder — can the new technological innovations co-evolve to bring space commercialization closer to reality?


Anamaria Berea, PhD, is on the faculty at the Smith School of Business, U. Maryland and a TechCast Expert. 

Weed Is Back

One of TechCast’s Social Trends is quickly becoming the status quo.

After centuries of euphoria and medical use, marijuana in early 20th-century America entered decades of “just say no” and mass imprisonment for its use. Today, legal pot finally seems to have returned.

As of 2019, 30 states in the US now accept some form of legal use. Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Columbia, and the Netherlands have legalized or decriminalized possession of marijuana. The Czech Republic, Portugal, and Uruguay have extended legalization to “hard” drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Much like the ending of alcohol prohibition in the 1930s, it nally became evident that laws against marijuana failed to discourage consumption, and the harm resulting from them was overwhelming. Criminalization of pot and other drugs created a global black market worth US$300 billion/year and cost about US$1 trillion in police activity over four decades. American prisons are home to 1.6 million people, half of whom have been convicted of either selling or using drugs. And, despite frequent suggestions that legalization would cause rampant drug abuse, only 6.5 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds now use marijuana, the lowest proportion since 1994. 

In a letter to the UN, more than 1,000 world leaders including 27 US Congressmen and six Senators said the global war on drugs has been a “disaster” and called for change.                                                                                 

They have been joined by the United Methodist, the World Health Organization, the New York Times; countless physicians, judges, and police o  cials; and the majority of citizens in modern nations.

TechCast’s Social Trends forecast roughly 30 strategic movements in politics, business, medicine, lifestyles, and almost anything else leaders and planners should be thinking of, and we have forecast the arrival of Legal Pot for some years. Our latest results suggest that a third of G20 nations are likely to legalize marijuana use shortly after 2020, creating a global market of about US$30 billion per year; this seems modest compared to the black market of US$300 billion.

This signals that more lenient drug policies could become the norm. Our experts believe the social impact is likely to be moderately positive, although this will require new policies in most institutions. Social hostesses now plan their dinner parties to accommodate vape pens with more than fruity avors or infuse a little Pineapple Express in the hors d’oeuvres.

The result should be a significant improvement in medical treatment of drug use, reduced crime, fewer prisoners, saved cost of police work, tax income for states, and greater tolerance of lifestyle differences. Who knows? Legal pot might do a lot to improve everybody’s mood, and maybe even ease today’s dismal world situation.

Success Stories


TechCast does extensive consulting to leverage our knowledge base and employ our experts to address strategic problems. Click on the titles below to see summaries of typical projects we have conducted.


IPOS Singapore  TechCast conducted training and created a customized website  — TechCast-Singapore.


US Director of National Intelligence  TechCast conducted a study to forecast technological and commercial capabilities in the field of Human Intelligence. 


MIMOS, Ministry of Science, Malaysia  MIMOS is a leading research center for emerging technologies, and central to Malaysia’s development plan. A TechCast team conducted a 3-day workshop to help anticipate breakthroughs and guide applications.
US Federal Drug Administration   The FDA engaged TechCast in planning a national forecasts and strategy program on medical technologies using participants from the NIH, NSF, and other agencies as well as health care corporations.   
US Environmental Protection Agency  The EPA asked us to forecast the use of energy-intensive tehcnologies for the National Energy Model. Results showed close agreement in among 2 groups of experts, highlighting the robustness of our rearch method. 
Other projects include the Asian Development Bank, Academy of Science Malaysia, King Saud University, Blue Cross-Blue  Shield, AMD, Corning, and other corporations. 

What Clients Say

What Clients Say About TechCast



”We are so impressed with TechCast we are considering increasing the number of personnel that can access the site!” U.S. Department of Homeland Security
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Business Executive Robert Chernow
“Professor Halal and his associates have charted the emergence of 85 crucial technologies, complete with the dates when we will feel their impact.” Baltimore Sun
“We found your study on emerging technologies extremely interesting.” Hon. David Watson, Minister of Public Works, Australia


“TechCast is fascinating.” Captain R.B. Laning, US Navy


“I agree with your conclusion that the Technology Revolution will transform civilization.” Wink Sutton, New Zealand Forestry Service


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“We have followed with interest your emerging technologies forecast and are incorporating the findings into our strategic planning.” Dr. Aviva Brecher, U.S. DOT


“TechCast is comprehensive and organized in a very useful fashion.” Betsy Irwin, US Federal Reserve


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