The Art Of The Future Project


A world in which artists — writers, illustrators, directors, videographers — and creativity enjoy a valued place in the international security establishment’s planning and preparation for the future of technological, social, political and economic change; in which unconventional, imaginative thinking and expression contribute meaningfully to the study and professional conduct of diplomacy, the creation of technology and domestic policy and national engagement abroad; in which future-oriented fiction, film and games hold a regular place on official reading lists.


The Art of the Future Project is driven by the Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center on International Security’s mandate to advance thinking and planning for the future international security environment. The project’s core mission is to cultivate a community of interest in works and ideas arising from the intersection of creativity and expectations about how emerging heroes and antagonists, disruptive technologies, and novel cultural and economic concepts may animate tomorrow’s world. The online platform for this community is The Art of the Future website. The project will curate artistic renderings of the future through crowd-sourced creative challenges, and will publish  these works to inform official perspectives on emerging international security issues. The project also will cultivate an audience within the traditional international security community for this creative approach to understanding, and preparing for, an increasingly uncertain future.


During its second year, the project will:

  • Reinvigorate Washington’s relationship with the Los Angeles entertainment community.
  • Support official initiatives exploring the long-term future through Atlantic Council and other programs.
  • Assist the Council’s Global Trends 2035 report through narrative development and an artist’s red team.
  • Host live events in Washington and LA to connect policymakers and creative professionals.
  • Moderate a website and engage in ongoing social media outreach with new audiences.
  • Employ regular crowd-sourcing initiatives for creative visual art and writing contests.


Atlantic Council Non-Resident Senior Fellow August Cole directs The Art of the Future project. He is a writer, consultant and analyst. His first novel, GHOST FLEET, co-written with Peter W. Singer, was published in 2015. He is a former journalist who covered the defense industry for The Wall Street Journal. See full bio.

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