Filtered by author: Doug Vining

The future death of Big Oil
Posted: 16 August 2017

This excellent analysis of how exponential technologies can flip an industry is well worth a read. The end of internal combustion engines spells the end of demand for gasoline. What isn't discussed in this article is that the sudden change will reverse the declining demand for electricity, but as we've discussed elsewhere, solar power is well positioned to take up the slack. Perhaps the best ...

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This is how Big Oil will die – NewCo Shift
16 August 2017
Self-driving cars will be electric because of cost. And the cost will be so low, oil will not survive.
Stocks crash as executive orders bite
Dateline: 5 February 2021
US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make ...
Computer virus transmitted by DNA
Posted: 15 August 2017

Years ago - 13 years to be specific, I wrote a MindBullet about a computer virus making the leap to a biological system, and infecting a human. Well, scientists have already demonstrated how one part of that loop could be accomplished. They edited a strand of DNA, coding it with malware that infected the machine designed to decode DNA!

DNA is just software, after all... ...

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Malicious code written into DNA infects the computer that reads it
15 August 2017
In a mind-boggling world first, a team of biologists and security researchers have successfully infected a computer with a strand of DNA. It sounds like..
SARS-22 outbreak linked to software bug
Dateline: 13 February 2022
Panic erupted in Hong Kong's Silicon Alley when it was discovered that the latest outbreak of SARS came from a computer virus. Thousands of people demanded ...
Making it in Space
Posted: 15 August 2017

Made In Space just took another step toward its goal of building telescopes and other large structures off Earth.
A 3D printer built by the California-based company churned out multiple polymer-alloy objects — the largest of which was a 33.5-inch-long (85 centimeters) beam — during a 24-day test inside a thermal vacuum chamber (TVAC) here in Silicon Valley at NASA's Ames Research Center in ...

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Space-Based 3-D Printing Reaches Milestone
15 August 2017
Successful test suggests “Archinaut” system could soon assemble huge structures in orbit
3D printing in space solves problem of launching huge rockets
Dateline: 3 November 2025
A decade ago the first 3D printer to go to space was sent to the International Space Station. It proved to be so useful, more, bigger printers soon ...
The infernal combustion engine's days are numbered
Posted: 11 August 2017

The Economist weighs in with an analysis of the future impact of the shift to electric cars, and says the death of the internal combustion engine will have many ramifications for industry and government in the future. As batteries become more efficient and cheaper, the advantages of electric propulsion accelerate, and cities will enjoy cleaner, healthier air.

But there are downsides, including ...

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The death of the internal combustion engine
11 August 2017
It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world.
But they're driving the Energy Internet and saving the city
Dateline: 2 June 2030
It's official. It's now cheaper, on average, to buy a new electric car than one that burns gasoline, without subsidies. But it's not having any effect on ...
Electric cars' economic problems
Posted: 8 August 2017

Electric cars are making quite a splash, and now several EU governments are moving to ban petrol and diesel cars in the future. But what are the economic ramifications of widespread electric car ownership? Where will all the charging capacity come from, and how will current fuel taxes be replaced? Here's an article that looks at the potential impact in the UK. Quite a daunting scenario!

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The economic black hole at the heart of the shift to electric vehicles
8 August 2017
One option to replace lost fuel duty might be a tax on electric vehicle charging
Power utilities caught by surprise as charging demand soars
Dateline: 18 July 2019
The sudden surge in the popularity of electric vehicles has taken everyone by surprise - and is causing unexpected problems. The late night hours, when ...
Cheap LIDAR not good enough for cars
Posted: 27 July 2017

This report from MIT says low-cost LIDAR isn't good enough for self-driving cars. But that may improve with time:

On the other hand, they're plenty accurate enough for slow-moving robots in the warehouse or home. Expect them to become commonplace, as this MindBullet suggests. ...

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Robotic vision has improved exponentially, and it's making them more 'human'
Dateline: 12 January 2020
In the last three years, laser-based optical radar, or LIDAR has come a long way. LIDAR became famous when Google started using it on their self-driving cars; but it was big, clumsy and slightly threatening. That spinning cylinder on top of a car or robot might help it navigate, but it looks so mechanical! Then along came digital 3D laser scanners. With a diamond-studded microchip at its ...
Fake food from solar power
Posted: 25 July 2017 1 Comment

Yes, creating edible protein from electricity just became a reality. Although this was done in the lab, it could be scaled up to produce food for livestock or say, refugees from a shipping container sized 'factory'.

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Food From Electricity project bears its first protein-rich "fruit"
25 July 2017
A Finnish research project has created a batch of protein using electricity, water, carbon dioxide and microbes, in a small portable lab. The stuff is ...
Synthetic proteins and carbohydrates essential to safely feed burgeoning world population
Dateline: 1 May 2017
Manufactured and processed food is the healthy alternative these days. It's also more economically viable, and the only way to feed a global population ...
China's nuclear future
Posted: 25 July 2017

In China, everything is done at huge scale. They've got three big reactor units coming online soon, and a bunch more under construction and planned. And more and more home-grown tech like the digital control systems are being integrated into these power units. Eventually China intends to have almost 23% of their power from nuclear and a sizeable portion from renewables. Coal is still a big ...

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Three 1000 MWe nuclear reactors are nearing completion |
25 July 2017
Three 1000 MWe nuclear reactors are nearing completion in China
Stocks crash as executive orders bite
Dateline: 5 February 2021
US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make ...
Never charge your phone
Posted: 4 July 2017 2 Comments

A dozen years ago, we wrote a MindBullet about developments with nano materials that would make charging your phone unnecessary. Well, here's a story about new material that could require your phone to be charged only every three months. And with wireless charging also improving - in the lab at least - you might never have to consciously 'charge' your phone in the future.

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New Material Could Lead to Devices That You Only Need to Charge Once Every Three Months
4 July 2017
Researchers developed a new magnetoelectric multiferroic material which allowed processors to work with 100 times less energy.
New nanotechnologies set to scramble battery makers
Dateline: 15 August 2011
From a consumer point of view Motorola's new technology announcements may just mean more convenience. For battery manufacturers this could be the ...
Fibre reinforced hydrogel
Posted: 21 July 2017

From Japan comes this discovery of a new soft, flexible but extremely strong material. It's made from hydrogel and glass fibres, and could be useful for repairing damaged joints and for protective gear like bullet-proof vests. I wonder if they could try reinforcing hydrogel with carbon fibres - that should be even stronger, but might be too stiff.

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Revolutionary gel is five times stronger than steel
21 July 2017
Researchers have developed a new gel they say is as durable as metal, has the flexibility of jello, and could revolutionize how our bodies heal and age.
A flock of space doves
Posted: 20 July 2017

Here's a fascinating look at Planet Labs' mission to establish a constellation of hundreds of nanosatellites that scan the planet on a daily basis. The largest constellation of satellites in history - now operating since February of this year. That's the promise of UBER FOR SPACE, and it's just beginning!

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The Tiny Satellites Ushering in the New Space Revolution
20 July 2017
Planet Labs and other companies are sending hundreds of low-cost satellites into orbit.
Now anyone can put a sputnik into orbit
Dateline: 5 October 2020
Rocket Lab has gone fully commercial, offering launches for small satellites at a tenth of the cost of SpaceX. The 3D printed rockets are less than three ...
Electricity demand peaks
Posted: 20 July 2017

American demand for electricity has peaked, and continues to decline on a per capita basis. Futurist Thomas Frey takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon and how it might play out in the future. While the future remains uncertain, and emerging economies are still rapidly growing their power requirements, exponential technologies will shake up the energy sector in all regions of the world.

If ...

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Peak electricity and 17 seismic forces of change that will make you want to shift careers
20 July 2017
It happened in 2007. Ten years ago the trajectory for electrical use in America peaked and started down a different course, declining for reasons we don’t ...
Stocks crash as executive orders bite
Dateline: 5 February 2021
US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make ...
Solar leapfrogging the grid
Posted: 17 July 2017

If you want a closer look at how solar power is going viral in Africa, bringing lighting to off-grid communities in innovative ways, read this article in the New Yorker. Just like cellphones leapfrogged landlines in Africa, solar power is leapfrogging the grid. Power to the people!

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The Race to Solar-Power Africa
17 July 2017
American startups are competing to bring electricity to communities that remain off the grid.
Rooftop, backyard and portable solar is the new meme
Dateline: 15 March 2022
The biggest energy revolution in 150 years has arrived gradually, then suddenly. Now it's here. Personal solar power has displaced central utilities ...
Asking "What if?"
Posted: 14 July 2017

At FutureWorld we spend most of our time considering the question "What if?" In fact all our MindBullets scenarios are precisely designed to stretch people's thinking, and get them to ask the question of their own businesses and personal goals.

What if one of these crazy scenarios actually transpired? How would that affect my industry and business success? What if we did something today to ...

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The joy of hypotheticals
14 July 2017
An introduction to The Economist’s latest collection of essays that ask: “What if?”
Planting trees in the desert
Posted: 12 July 2017 1 Comment

Seven years ago, we published a MindBullet about how low-tech solutions to reforestation could alter the size of deserts. Now a Dutch engineer is putting that idea into practice.

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How to Plant a Tree in the Desert
12 July 2017
A Dutch engineer has developed a cheap and easy way to restore vegetation to barren landscapes, and a for-profit business to go with it.
Hydroscopic fungus turns deserts into bushland and forests
Dateline: 14 March 2017
The simple application of a fungal cocktail to arid soils in Southern Africa has enabled small shrubs and trees to take root where no plants have grown for ...
Artificial photosynthesis gets Bill Gates's backing
Posted: 10 July 2017

Artificial leaves are back in the spotlight. Using sunlight to convert natural compounds like water and air into useful fuels like hydrogen or methanol would be the ultimate energy solution. I'm sure it's ultimately achievable, but I think it's a long way off from being commercialised. Investment from Bill Gates and friends will help accelerate the research.

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Artificial leaves could power tomorrow’s cars – and China may be best placed to lead the way
10 July 2017
It’s been described as one of the “holy grails” of 21st century chemistry.
Nano-machines do photosynthesis better than leaves
Dateline: 12 June 2030
What started as a bold project at Imperial College London in 2009, has now reached its first stage of commercialization in the deserts of north ...
The beginning of the end for internal combustion
Posted: 6 July 2017 1 Comment

Via MIT Technology Review:
"Volvo is killing the internal combustion engine. Kind of.
The automaker has announced that from 2019 every car it sells will have an electric motor. It’s not quite the revolution it sounds: while it will launch five new all-electric cars by 2021, for now the bulk of its vehicles will be hybrids. And of those, many will be so-called mild-hybrids, which swap out ...

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Geely's Volvo to go all electric with new models from 2019
6 July 2017
All Volvo car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids, the Chinese-owned company said on Wednesday, making it the first major traditional ...
Like vinyl records of old, retro automobiles are suddenly back in fashion
Dateline: 28 April 2029
It's been a while since manually driven, gasoline automobiles gave way to electric vehicles with autopilot. Just as horses and buggies gave way to motor ...
Artificially intelligent art
Posted: 7 July 2017

Paintings created by an AI system have received the thumbs up from the public.

"The idea is to make art that is “novel, but not too novel”, says Marian Mazzone, an art historian at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, who worked on the system.

Mazzone and her colleagues at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Facebook’s AI lab in California modified what’s known as a generative ...

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Artificially intelligent painters invent new styles of art
7 July 2017
Big stylistic shifts in art usually come from genius painters like Picasso – but an AI is being trained to create unconventional pictures of its own
Machines that think for themselves are taking over the world
Dateline: 22 February 2022
In our quest to develop smarter, more powerful, less power-hungry computers and devices, we have created artificial intelligence that rivals that of the ...
Global population implosion possible by 2076
Posted: 6 July 2017

From New Scientist:
"Could the population bomb be about to go off in the most unexpected way? Rather than a Malthusian meltdown, could we instead be on the verge of a demographic implosion?

To find out how and why, go to Japan, where a recent survey found that people are giving up on sex. Despite a life expectancy of 85 and rising, the number of Japanese is falling thanks to a fertility rate of ...

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The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded
6 July 2017
Fears of massive overpopulation proved unfounded but now we live in a world where children are rare and most people are old
No sex please, we're Japanese
Dateline: 8 August 2026
Celibacy syndrome in Japan is causing the population to plummet, and now it's going into free fall. Most young women of the marrying age would rather go ...
Computers learning to deceive
Posted: 20 February 2017 1 Comment

With software built on deep learning platforms, you can make someone say exactly what you want in a way that is nearly indistinguishable from reality - in a video. In essence, the computer learns how that person speaks, and how they move their face while speaking, from actual video footage. Then you instruct the software to re-enact something you've written and performed, and it will be ...

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AI and the End of Truth
20 February 2017
Think the current fake news issue is bad? It won’t get any better with AI.
'Pants-on-fire' detector comes to the rescue
Dateline: 29 May 2021
The Internet and globalization brought hordes of information with it, but unfortunately no easy way of verifying the truth or validity of all those search ...

Filtered by author: Doug Vining