MindBullets is a part of the global FutureWorld Network, constantly sensitive to changes in the technological, economic, social, political and business landscape. The MindBullets Contributors scan this rapidly changing environment for clues about possible future trends. The results of this synthesis are combined by our contributors into an on-going series of MindBullets: News from the Future - with a summary emailed to you every Thursday and the complete MindBullets data base available online to explore each scenario in more detail. Exciting scenarios of alternative futures based on breakthrough thinking today. A powerful tool to help you learn from the future - a new MindBullet every week!

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WATER IS NO LONGER THE NEW OIL

Published on: 27 April 2017

Water in plentiful supply as 'Star Wars' tech makes it out of fresh air

Dateline: 24 April 2020

The first Star Wars movie featured Vaporators on the planet Tatooine for water farming from the atmosphere. Now they are available on Earth, although they look slightly different in real life. It's been known for many decades that condensing water vapor from the air holds the key to water supplies in arid, inland areas; but getting that water from dry rather than humid air was the challenge. By the same token, desalination has offered a solution for coastal cities, but only at substantial energy ...

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THE NEW GOLD OF THE 21st CENTURY

Published on: 21 April 2017

Data drives massive profits for the new corporate titans

Dateline: 23 October 2026

It's certainly not oil, it's not even water. The new 'gold' of the 21st century is data. And a range of corporate giants are using it to drive massive profits. Yuval Noah Harari, author of the 2016 book 'Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow', was right on the mark when he wrote: "One of the most important questions in the world is who owns the data of humankind. Maybe the most important asset of the 21st Century is not land, and it's not money, it's really data." At the turn of the century, ...

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SEE THE WORLD THROUGH MY EYES

Published on: 13 April 2017

Sharing your real-time view of life is bigger than Twitter or Instagram

Dateline: 26 April 2019

We had blogs, then vlogs, then Twitter and Periscope; everything becomes more immediate, as the news cycle and attention spans shorten. Remember when, a couple of years ago, a passenger was dragged off a United plane? The video of the poor guy went viral in hours. Now, the latest social media phenomenon is to share what you see - in real time, using Samsung's video contact lenses, called Viddyize. People who subscribe to your feed can see what you see - as you see it. With Viddyize, we could have ...

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THE BATTLE FOR A FREE INTERNET

Published on: 6 April 2017

Citizens vs. governments as the next generation of the internet unfolds

Dateline: 11 March 2020

It's 31 years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web; and he is the first to admit that many things have gone wrong since his original dream. Sir Tim envisaged, in his own words, "an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries." Certainly the internet has achieved that - but increasingly it is a place where trolls attack with crude, vicious posts; where governments and political ...

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GET ME TO THE GATE ON TIME

Published on: 30 March 2017 3 Comments

Self-driving luggage, for the truly 'last yards'

Dateline: 1 April 2019

Anyone who travels regularly on business knows what a schlep it is to drag your roll-aboard cabin bag around with you for what seems like - and probably is - miles and miles of airport concourses. And terminals seem to get bigger every year. Putting wheels on luggage was an innovative idea; one wonders why it took decades before that caught on in a big way. Then it was just a matter of time before someone added a laptop battery and a tiny electric motor, so your smart luggage could follow you ...

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE DESERTS GONE?

Published on: 23 March 2017 1 Comment

Climate change is making the world greener

Dateline: 11 August 2028

Climate change is a reality that we've all come to accept, even though the debate surrounding the root cause of climate change rages on. Whether it's warming caused by carbon emissions, natural release of methane gasses, dimming caused by polluting aerosols, or just the cosmic cycle of the solar system, the fact is the climate has changed. The change has been quite dramatic in some regions, while barely noticeable in others; but the climate continues to change, despite the best efforts of activists ...

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HOORAY FOR THE MACHINES! THEY'VE CREATED MILLIONS OF NEW JOBS

Published on: 17 March 2017 3 Comments

Fears of jobless growth recede as markets demand new human skills

Dateline: 17 June 2023

The prophets of doom have been hard at work for the past decade, telling us that automation, robotics and machine learning are going to destroy jobs and leave millions of people unemployed and destitute. The reality has been somewhat different! Yes, some jobs have been taken over by the machines. But they're the dirty and dangerous jobs that most people did not want to do. Who wants to be a farm labourer or a production-line worker? It also true that many higher-level jobs have changed. AI systems ...

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ROSES ARE RED, BATTERIES ARE GREEN

Published on: 9 March 2017

A field of daffodils can power a town

Dateline: 8 March 2023

Once we thought that batteries were made of corrosive chemicals and heavy metals. But what happens when you can grow e-plants that store solar energy like super-capacitors? Back in 2017, scientists discovered they could grow nanowires inside a red rose, using the plant's own capillary system to create an internal network, and absorb electrolyte. It's a little like that old school lab experiment, where you run an LED off a potato - natural, organic electricity. Except that, in the case of e-plants, ...

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SMART DOLLS FROM CHINA HACK AMERICAN CONSUMER DATA

Published on: 2 March 2017

FBI issues warning to families to destroy robotic toys

Dateline: 3 March 2019

Why send spies to gather industrial espionage, when your products can do it for you? The artificially intelligent Cutie Pie doll which is such a hit with American children is connected to the internet, so that it can interact with its owners, and answer questions. But it can also ask questions, like "What's your favorite colour?" or "What car does your mommy drive?" Innocent questions, unless they are coming from China, where the dolls are manufactured. Aggregate all the answers to those questions, ...

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WALLS GO UP, TRADE COMES DOWN

Published on: 23 February 2017

Global downturn follows isolationist resurgence

Dateline: 7 March 2021

Brexit, Trump and now Le Pen. As the old, established economies turn inward and nationalist, global trade and co-operation suffer. It's been left to the new, New World, what used to be called Emerging Markets, to carry the torch of free trade. As Tim Harford notes: "The first and most fundamental insight is that all human civilisation is built on some sort of trade." ALL human civilisation. Productivity and progress rely on exploiting comparative advantages with trade, to everyone's gain. But the ...

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EMERGING MARKETS RACE FOR DIGITAL CURRENCY FIRST PLACE

Published on: 16 February 2017 2 Comments

Who will lead the global chaincash system?

Dateline: 13 March 2019

Several emerging economies are in a desperate tech race to be the first to establish a blockchain based fiat currency with global acceptance. The contenders, perhaps surprisingly, are the new giants, China and India, and little-known South Africa. Rich countries are too rigid in their financial structures and too protective of their established reserve currency status to risk a game changing innovation like this. An upsurge in nationalism and rejection of globalisation by America, Britain and Europe ...

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MERGED REALITY IS THE REAL DEAL

Published on: 9 February 2017 2 Comments

Direct to brain video brings virtual reality to life

Dateline: 17 February 2027

Now that we are able to stream data, images and live action video directly into the neocortex, it's becoming difficult to tell what's really real, and what's just our current reality. The line between the two is becoming increasingly blurry, and we're not sure on which side of that line we are standing. It's like the Matrix, reloaded and recharged. But without the wires. You can hook into someone else's consciousness, thoughts and experiences, or merge with an AI for a while. Now sharing your ...

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NOW THIS IS REAL PEOPLE POWER!

Published on: 2 February 2017

Under-skin solar powers mobile devices and saves lives

Dateline: 26 August 2023

Remember the days when batteries in mobile phones and other device ran flat every day? A major irritation to be sure, but for critical implanted devices like pacemakers, failing battery power was nothing short of life-threatening. That's what prompted the idea that under-skin solar power-packs could drive such medical devices. Researchers in Switzerland proved the theory after extensive testing, showing that even in low-sunlight areas, and regardless of the season. these power cells could generate ...

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SUMMER'S SUN WILL KEEP YOU WARM IN WINTER

Published on: 26 January 2017

New energy storage system saves summer's heat for winter's chill

Dateline: 25 January 2021

We humans like our comforts, and temperature is one of the most important. In summer, we want our homes and offices to be pleasantly cool, and warm and cozy in winter. We run air conditioners to beat the summer sweat, and light roaring fires to warm our homes in winter. What a waste! What if we could save summer's heat, and release it in winter? Swiss scientists began playing with technology to do just that, back in 2017, and now it's being commercialized. The SunBank system uses summer's sun and ...

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THE END OF CITIES BUILT FOR CARS

Published on: 19 January 2017

Small fleets of autonomous vehicles reinvent urban transport - and humanize our cities

Dateline: 14 April 2023

I took my son to the Taxi Museum today - you know, that seedy warehouse in downtown New York with a collection of those old vehicles we used to use to travel around the city, with drivers - usually rude - slouched in front and clutching the steering wheel. It seems such a quaint idea today, as ride-sharing in silent, driverless electric vehicles (EVs) has dramatically reinvented urban transport, bringing to an end the horrific traffic jams of yesteryear - not to mention effectively eliminating road ...

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WHAT BEAUTIFUL LASER EYES YOU HAVE, MR ROBOT!

Published on: 12 January 2017

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 core, the invisible light beam is manipulated electronically; no moving parts. The LIDAR chip is the size of a ...

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NO MORE FAKE NEWS TO SWAY YOUR VIEWS

Published on: 5 January 2017 2 Comments

'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 pages. How clearly did we see the consequences in 2016, when the US election results baffled, well, basically everyone! In a world where 'Reality Hacking' is now a thing, we need all the help we can get. Fake news and targeted propaganda are altering peoples' perception of reality. Now, the latest innovation in real-time speech processing ...

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ANOTHER EXTRA, NEW YEAR

Published on: 29 December 2016 1 Comment

Every year your life increases by another year

Dateline: 1 January 2033

If you're young enough, you may never die. Seriously. Think about it: If average lifespan keeps increasing, every year, then as long as you are younger than that, you have an excellent chance of living another year. And next year, the same, and so on. Eventually there will be diminishing returns to medical science and optimal nutrition, but if you live in a highly developed economy, you may live indefinitely. Unless you get killed in an aircar crash or earthquake, of course. But for most of us, ...

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SMART NANOBOTS FOR CHRISTMAS

Published on: 22 December 2016

Keeping you healthy - from the inside

Dateline: 21 December 2023

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, an ingestible nanobot called 'Nanoboy', which I found wrapped up under the tree. It used to be that an apple a day kept the doctor away, but now it will be Nanoboy who keeps me out of the GP's office (or off his iPhone screen, if you're a fan of telehealth). This little wonder is so intelligent, it will alert me on my phone if my organs need help or any cells are going mad. Instead of having to go for my annual check-up, I will be pinged the ...

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ENGLAND AND WALES KEPT OUT OF EUROPE FOR A SECOND TIME

Published on: 15 December 2016

Scotland's veto ensures their old British colleagues are refused

Dateline: 18 January 2044

In a blow for the aspirations of citizens of England and Wales, the island nation's hopes of joining the EEU (Extended EU) have once again been crushed. "It's a tragedy. Why can't the Scottish recognize that we have changed. The old generation that hated membership and never understood its benefits have died out. We're the generation that were stripped of a future," says Denis Franks, International Secretary in the Liberal government. "Nothing has changed," says Humphrey Dalfries, the Scottish ...

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