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Filtered by author: Doug Vining
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Portable nuclear power
Posted: 17 September 2014  
No this invention is not cold fusion, or even warm fusion. Rather it is a nuclear power cell, described as a water-based battery. Perhaps it should be called a fuel cell, as the radioactive material presumably gets used up. It's also unclear whether this device can be recharged and discharged, or if it's a one-time use. My guess is that it would be fairly expensive to use in place of a ...
First water-based nuclear battery can be used to generate electrical energy
17 September 2014
For the first time using a water-based solution, researchers have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used for many ...
It’s the start of a new low energy nuclear revolution
Dateline: 5 June 2014
Every once in a while we see the introduction of a technology that is so radically innovative that it seems magical, or impossible. The old clichés get ...
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SpaceX gets passengers
Posted: 17 September 2014  
We offer our hearty congratulations to Elon Musk and SpaceX. The final frontier is in sight!
NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to carry astronauts to space
17 September 2014
In the return of human space flight for the US, NASA awards both private aerospace companies a combined total of $6.8 billion.
Space tourism and satellite launches compete for profits
Dateline: 27 September 2015
The race to launch a successful private space business has been won - and the victor, surprisingly, is not Virgin's Sir Richard Branson, but a 40-year-old ...
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Could the energy industry be ubered?
Posted: 15 September 2014  
In this short video clip Jim Carroll asks whether the energy industry is prepared for disruption, in the same way that the recording industry was blindsided by MP3s. He asks: Could the energy industry be MP3'd? I prefer to ask if the energy industry could be ubered. Because the Uber model of creating a platform, connecting suppliers with customers, often prosumers sharing resources, is bound ...
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Upgrading your body
Posted: 15 September 2014  
Most futurists agree that technology is developing to the point where we can make serious upgrades to our physical bodies, create transhumans, or even alter the path of evolution itself. Where there's significant disagreement is in the affordability of such upgrades. Will it only be for the wealthy? Yuval Noah Harari says the trend to 'improved humans' will marginalise the poor even more than ...
Body upgrades may be nearing reality, but only for the rich
15 September 2014
Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari says expensive human enhancements will lead to a society more unequal than ever
It may already be too late to ask
Dateline: 17 May 2025
New technologies to 'reinvent and upgrade' the human species are causing widespread alarm around the globe. Scientists have perfected a number of ways to ...
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Car or driver; who to sue?
Posted: 12 September 2014  
If a Google Car bashes into you, can you sue Google? Or the human inside the car? What if there was no driver, just a passenger. Or how about a delivery drone that crashes into your house? The legal questions around autonomous vehicles will get vexing. Here's a legal paper that looks at this problem, and our MindBullet published a year ago, asking this question.
Sue My Car Not Me: Products Liability and Accidents Involving Autonomous Vehicles
12 September 2014
Autonomous vehicles will revolutionize society in the near future. Computers, however, are not perfect, and accidents will occur while the vehicle is in ...
MindBullet logo CAR KILLS 20: WHO'S TO BLAME?
Court rules driver not responsible if car has on-board computer
Dateline: 12 September 2017
Yesterday's court ruling shows two things - just how far technology has gone and why we should fear our kids! The driver of the car that crashed into a ...
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Robopocalypse now, soon or never?
Posted: 19 August 2014   2 Comments
Forget about the zombie apocalypse, the robots are going to be the real enemy. That's the message from trend watchers and futurists. Even technohero Elon Musk is warning of the nuclear winter that will result from Super AI. And there's a clue to the big issue, because the bots that will really make 2 billion jobs redundant, as suggested by Thomas Frey, are software agents and algorithms, not ...
Scary Smart Video Predicts Automation Will Make Human Work Obsolete
19 August 2014
If you've ever scoffed at the notion of robots one day taking your job, you probably shouldn't watch this very scary video.
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 ...
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Connecting enchanted objects
Posted: 11 September 2014  
As futurists, we confidently talk about the time when every device, every product, and even packaging components are all connected on the web of things. And when that future arrives, there will be trillions of items, sensors and objects with wireless connectivity. The problem is, how do we make a chip small enough and cheap enough to enable these connections? And how will we make these chips ...
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The end of ownership
Posted: 9 September 2014  
In the networked economy, it's increasingly not necessary own assets, if you have access to the services those assets provide. This is well understood in the consumer market, but also applies in the commercial space.

This article contributes to that thinking and concludes:

"Within the next decade, businesses will need to become much more open and collaborative to survive in an increasingly zero ...
The End of Ownership: The Zero-Marginal-Cost Economy
9 September 2014
Within industries like hospitality and transportation, entrants are succeeding not by optimizing production but by eliminating production cost altogether.
Free energy spawns hordes of wetbots and kills off big brands
Dateline: 13 July 2033
"We're closing up shop. Wetbots made us broke." The production chief of iRobot consumer products grins ruefully. "Luckily we've still got our military ...
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Pricing your data
Posted: 8 September 2014  
Never mind governments and secret agencies, now startups want to buy your data; and then on-sell the aggregated analytics to companies. Would you swap your personal data for money? Perhaps Datacoup read our MindBullet on this topic?
Why This Startup Wants Your Personal Data
8 September 2014
Datacoup will pay you $10 a month for access to your credit card and Facebook data.
America's biggest creditor wipes out massive debt for quantum data
Dateline: 15 March 2024
China has long been thought as 'owning' the United States because of the huge amount of US debt on its books. But now China will 'own' us in the data wars, ...
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Tools designed to be our friends
Posted: 8 September 2014  
As the internet of things becomes more entrenched in our lives, we will be faced with ethical questions about the behaviour of robots and connected devices. If a driverless car causes an accident, who is to blame? If your home security fails to recognise you, will you have a claim against the vendor? Here's a great quote from this article in the Guardian:

"The spam sending fridge from earlier ...
When fridges attack: the new ethics of the Internet of Things
8 September 2014
The presidential lecture of the Mathematical Sciences Section of the British Science Association, given by Peter McOwan at the 2014 British Science ...
Homeowner dies as home automation system goes haywire
Dateline: 14 August 2018
It's a dream gone horribly wrong. The automated, connected world was supposed to make our lives and our homes better, easier and safer. But now it's turned ...
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Japan shrinks and sinks
Posted: 5 September 2014  
On the current trajectory, Japan is set to become one huge retirement village. The only way to bring in new blood is to have a positive immigration policy. China is not a good source - they have demographic problems of their own. But what about Africa? That's getting younger and more skilled, and could be a good source of fresh talent for Japan.
Japan’s Population Shrinks for Third Year as Aging Increases
5 September 2014
Japan’s population slid for a third year with the proportion of people over the age of 65 at a global record, underscoring the challenge the world’s most- ...
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 ...
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China to abandon fossil fuels
Posted: 4 September 2014  
Beijing city is planning to dump coal as a fuel for electricity by 2020. That sounds uncannily like the MindBullet we published nine years ago!

Imagine if that scenario came to pass. It would certainly change the world in more ways than one. Personally I was never convinced that it was a workable scenario; after all, even natural gas is a fossil fuel. But if the gains from ever increasing ...
Beijing's coal ban may herald the end of the fuel
4 September 2014
It sounds unlikely, given that demand for the black stuff has surged in the past decade. But Beijing is planning to ban coal burning in its six central ...
Bold energy strategy targets pollution and leadership in world automotive industry
Dateline: 1 July 2008
Just four weeks before the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China has played a trump card in global politics. China has taken the pollution bull by ...
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Could Uber be ubered?
Posted: 2 September 2014   1 Comment
This article from Quartz is subtitled "A platform for your platforms" and that makes the point that, in the new world of social and platform economics, even the leaders can be upstaged by... another disruptor!

So once again I ask the question, even of Uber: Will you be ubered?

Maybe the next Uber will use autocars, autonomous automobiles, that don't need any phones, just a connection. ...
A picture that should keep Uber’s investors up at night - Quartz
2 September 2014
Look at all those phones! It's unlikely that every single one is running a different car-service app, but there are enough operating in San Francisco that ...
MindBullet logo WE'VE BEEN UBERED
Barclays Plc to close retail bank in the face of persistent decline and customer flight
Dateline: 11 June 2019
It was just five years ago that Uber upset the applecart in London's taxicab industry. Unable to compete with the smart app and its ride-sharing, car ...
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Gen Z starts to make an impact
Posted: 3 September 2014   1 Comment
Years ago, we speculated on what Generation Z would think and feel in the post digital world. One of our scenarios was that the next generation after Gen Y would rebel against the automation of everything and become new age 'hippies' who preferred face time with people and handwriting over instant messaging.

Well, guess what, this article suggests that some of those ideas were not so ...
Flower children of the twenties look for analogue bullet
Dateline: 12 January 2021
In what might be considered a typical anti-establishment rebellion of youth, teenagers of the 2020s seem to be disenchanted by their parents' excessive pre-occupation with all manner of digital gadgets and lifestyles. Instead of iPods and smart phones, today's emerging adults prefer acoustic guitars and personal conversations. "I don't know what to do with him," says media blogger Lucinda ...
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Data, the disease
Posted: 3 September 2014   2 Comments
Yes, even retail is being shaped by data and algorithms. Is that a good thing? Yes and no. When data confines us to a grey world of ever-repeated relevance, self-fulfilling recommendations and predictable patterns of behaviour, then perhaps it has become a disease. For which we obviously need an 'analogue bullet'.
Discovery Is Dying And Data Is The Disease
3 September 2014
I, like you, don’t actually see everything my friends are posting on Facebook.  Instead, I see only what Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm deems should be most ...
Cloud-based algorithms determine our daily routine and schedule - and our love lives
Dateline: 27 April 2017
We can't predict the future, but the clues are all around us. We're all connected, to each other, to everything, in so many ways. Our daily lives are part ...
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Limits to growth exist in the mind
Posted: 2 September 2014  
"Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon." I don't think so.

As we wrote in our MindBullet STOP THE WORLD, WE'RE HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS, the hypothesis around global collapse usually extrapolates current trends into the future, and forgets to consider that in the future, everything will be different, VERY different.

Having read the accompanying article, I don't ...
Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse
2 September 2014
Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander: Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. ...
The West deflates, China stagnates, and the rest of the world watches and worries
Dateline: 1 May 2040
As the 21st Century approaches middle age, prices are falling alarmingly. In real terms, everything from coal to electronics is cheaper than it was four ...
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Augmented ice cream
Posted: 2 September 2014  
Can you make ice cream more entertaining? What if you could bring it to life, using augmented reality?

Let's hope this animated graphic displays correctly:

via themetapicture.com ...
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Design fiction
Posted: 2 September 2014  
Here's a fascinating look at the products and services of the future, when they are commonplace and no longer brilliant innovations. There are some intriguing items like child-minding and dog-walking drones, and some more obscure ones like artisanal APIs and 'dataflage' (which is camouflaged data).

It's a different view of the world, and makes for interesting reading. Who knows, some of these ...
The catalog of the near future’s normal ordinary everyday
2 September 2014
Imagine a print distribution network with cloud-connected street vending/printer boxes. Overnight, algorithms API-shazam content for those boxes to print. Printed stuff piles up every night in those boxes, including cheap copies of a location-specific, regionally tuned catalog selling stuff for your normal, ordinary everyday life. This is TBD Catalog.
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Rockets are tricky
Posted: 1 September 2014  
A week ago, a SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket self-destructed 38 seconds after launch. That's not as bad as it sounds - it was a test prototype and no one was injured, no satellites lost. Elon Musk tweeted: "Rockets are tricky."

They sure are. Ariane Space, with lots of experience, had a worse result recently, when two Galileo satellites failed to reach the intended orbit. That's a pretty ...
Space X rocket explodes after launch; Musk Tweets rockets are 'tricky' - Dallas Business Journal
1 September 2014
Space X issued a statement saying there was an anomaly detected after launch and that the rocket self destructed, as it was supposed to do. No injuries were reported but falling debris did start a few grass fires.
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Winging it
Posted: 29 August 2014  
It seems that Google might beat Amazon and DHL to the punch when it comes to delivery drones. Look at this concept just made public!
Project Wing: Google's Secret Delivery Drone Program
29 August 2014
The Atlantic reports that Google's skunkworks Google X team has spent the last two years working on a secret program. More than a loosely sketched concept ...
No batteries needed for these delivery drones
Dateline: 7 March 2017
The biggest hurdle for electric aircraft has always been the weight of the batteries, and as nimble as they are, quadrotors and octocopters typically had ...
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