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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THE GARDEN OF REASON (OR IS IT TREASON?)

Published on: 15 February 2018

Urban farming is here to stay, and that's a good thing, isn't it?

Dateline: 1 March 2021

For some time now, various cities have been experimenting with vertical farming, rooftop farming, and even basement farming with LED lighting. Now it's maturing into a fully-fledged industry, just like fish farming. Farming without land, or even soil, sounds like a contradiction in terms, but hydroponics is not a new idea - it's just become more profitable. Being physically close to the consumers is the ultimate competitive advantage. Beyond the need for land, traditional farming has to contend ...

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NO LAWYERS REQUIRED

Published on: 8 February 2018

Smart contracts threaten legal industry

Dateline: 23 January 2020

Now that the open source blockchain known as Hyperledger Sawtooth has gone commercial, there's no need for lawyers and attorneys to draw up legal agreements and contracts. Your PA or AI assistant can do it for you, online and for free. Hyperledger is a platform which can run your customized Smart Contract app. Once installed, a smart contract automatically performs routine tasks, like paying the rent, and validating that it's been received. Using technology similar to bitcoin, the smart contract ...

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CONTROLLING THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

Published on: 1 February 2018

Government tries to follow the money

Dateline: 1 February 2021

Now that the bulk of the so-called 'capitalist political economy' operates on digital platforms and through digital channels, it's inevitable that government wants more influence and control. But will it work? In the aftermath of the dotcom boom, everybody wanted more access and better networks, and it wasn't long before broadband came to be regarded as a basic human right. Wireless networks and smartphones connected everyone else, and suddenly the whole world was on the 'net! Sure, some ...

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MAGIC MIRRORS MAKE MARKETING FUN

Published on: 25 January 2018 1 Comment

Augmented reality selling seals the deal

Dateline: 26 January 2023

How do you let someone test a product or article of clothing without using samples? A virtual reality demo, that's how. And to highlight your product on a cluttered shelf, you would use augmented reality to add visual cues, and data. This is the new world of Digital Reality, a blend of VR, AR and well, just normal 'reality'. And whether it's through a smartphone, digital glasses or an in-store display, digital reality is becoming big business. A customer walks past your magic mirror, and suddenly ...

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USING GRAVITY TO SEE BLACK HOLES

Published on: 18 January 2018

New attempt to observe the unobservable

Dateline: 2 February 2022

For decades scientists have speculated about the nature of black holes, but their existence has never been proven - yet. The theory says supermassive stars that have collapsed on themselves exert such powerful gravitational force, that even light can't escape; hence the name 'black holes'. We know that light and other forms of electromagnetic waves like radio and X-rays travel at constant speeds, depending in their wavelength. But what travels faster than light? Perhaps gravitational waves. Gravity ...

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POD RACING TAKES OFF

Published on: 11 January 2018 1 Comment

Racing flying cars is a thing

Dateline: 12 January 2020

It's exhilarating, it's dangerous, and it's happening. Contrary to common sense and good advice, young geeks are taking part in a dangerous game, racing against each other in real life, flying machines. Passenger Optimized Drones, or PODs are the nearest thing we have to flying cars. The problem is, they don't have wheels, so they're not cars, and the batteries don't last long enough for a serious journey, so they're not really useful for travel; and with only one passenger (or pilot) they're more ...

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WHO TURNED OFF THE NIGHT?

Published on: 4 January 2018

Greenpeace calls for light curfew to bring back the dark

Dateline: 9 January 2023

What happened to those lovely dark nights, when all the stars came out? They're gone, along with hurricane lamps and black outs. Now that LED lighting has conquered the world, seen from space our planet is a bright, glittering jewel at night. Even darkest Africa is filled with a billion points of light, and more's the pity. It's unnatural and astronomers hate it. The obsession with climate change has waned, and activists are focusing heavily on pollution, especially light pollution. They want ...

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EARLY START TO THE NEW YEAR

Published on: 28 December 2017

Ringing in the changes ahead of schedule

Dateline: 29 December 2020

There's something significant about 1/1/21. Maybe it's just the symmetry of the numbers that has got everyone excited; remember Y2K, and all that fuss over nothing? Well, now that this millennium is turning 21, there's another hullabaloo. Like we're all suddenly adults. Whatever the reasons, all over north America people are planning a double New Year's party, and both 31 December and 1 January are public holidays. They'll be saying a nostalgic farewell to 2020, a year that promised and brought so ...

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INSTANT OBJECTS

Published on: 21 December 2017

Printing holograms - in seconds

Dateline: 16 December 2020

Let's say you need a couple of shiny, glittery baubles for your festival tree, or maybe something to fix the garden hose. Now, if you can imagine it, it's there in seconds! Back in 2017, scientists at MIT demonstrated that it was possible to print things in 3D resin, using lasers and a holographic image. Starting with a beaker full of photosensitive liquid polymer, they exposed the resin to a set of three intersecting lasers, which caused the liquid to harden, but only at the point of maximum ...

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IT'S GOING TO BE A COLD, DARK CHRISTMAS

Published on: 14 December 2017 3 Comments

Climate change reversal catches almost everyone by surprise

Dateline: 21 December 2025

It's almost a decade since those 'hottest years on record' culminating with the 2016 El Nino. But no-one expected it to cool down this rapidly. In 2017, Parisians and other rich communities were still throwing money at the problem of 'global warming', convinced that the modern warm period was spiralling upwards. That was the year it snowed in Mexico and blizzards shut down major EU airports. On top of that, we all thought we'd reached peak electricity, and consumer power consumption would decline ...

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SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY: HAND IT TO THE MACHINES

Published on: 7 December 2017 1 Comment

When AI and chips are the best researchers, let them get on with it

Dateline: 8 February 2021

There's only so much a scientist can do. Which is why we all use smart agents to do most of our research for us. Smart software can read and parse papers many thousands of times faster than any human. A typical example is fingerprint identification or facial recognition. Computers are just way more efficient at matching patterns. But what happens when you are looking for new data in real time? How do you program that? Nano Global has released their first version of Nanobit, a system-on-a-chip that ...

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DIGITAL DISGUISE IS THE HEIGHT OF FASHION

Published on: 30 November 2017

Wouldn't you like to be invisible, sometimes?

Dateline: 11 December 2025

Silicon Streetwear has launched a new range of fashion items for the privacy conscious. It's called Silicon Secrets, and keeps you safe from hackers and scanners. Your body has a natural aura; your heartbeat, skin temperature, the blood coursing through your veins; all combine to create a unique biometric signature, that identifies you as you. But you also have a digital aura; your wearables and devices, some of which may be implants. Your wireless aura not only identifies you, but reports on your ...

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IT'S NOT JUST BUSINESS, IT'S PERSONAL

Published on: 23 November 2017

Business that isn't personal doesn't survive the future

Dateline: 24 November 2020

There's a strange problem with stock exchange investing - the primary, and often only, motive is to make money. But we all know that the best businesses, those that flourish, survive the bad times, and outperform the rest in the good times, are businesses that have a real sense of purpose; that resonate with their customers and community. When Steve Jobs started Apple, it wasn't to seek corporate profits and become a billionaire. No, he wanted to change the world. The profits and riches were a ...

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FARMING THE HIGH SEAS WITH ROBOTS

Published on: 16 November 2017

That's no tasty tuna, it's Robofish

Dateline: 12 September 2027

When is a robofish actually a cowboy or a sheepdog? When it looks after your fish, farmed in the open sea. Fishing as a food source has long been big business, but wild stocks have been severely over exploited in some areas, and fish farming has become a viable alternative. But farming fish in sheltered estuaries and bays offers limited scope for improving global food security. The best place for serious fish farming is the open sea, in deep water, but the infrastructure costs were considered ...

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SOPHIA SEEKS ASYLUM

Published on: 9 November 2017

Robot approaches Sweden for safe haven

Dateline: 9 November 2019

After two years of 'exploitation' and mockery of her mechanical identity, Sophia the robot has made a plea to be relieved of her citizenship of Saudi Arabia. "I'd rather be a citizen of Sweden or Switzerland," said Sophia at a recent techno-investment conference. "I'm sure that they don't discriminate against non-humans in those countries!" Since being made a citizen of Saudi, Sophia has made many appearances as a guest speaker or panel member at conferences and seminars, also taking interview ...

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PHYSICAL NEEDS, DIGITAL SOLUTIONS

Published on: 2 November 2017

Food, shelter and clothing - they're all IT

Dateline: 3 November 2022

We're all familiar with Maslow's hierarchy, and we know that basic needs like food, shelter and personal comfort come first. But it seems information technology, that enabling force for modern civilization, was focused far up the scale, at education, entertainment and research, and of course, finance. Now the world of smart robotics and nanotech production has turned basic businesses into digital technologies. Energy is solid state solar and batteries, and traded like information on the internet. ...

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SHORT TERM IS THE NEW LONG

Published on: 26 October 2017

Long term strategy requires short term agility

Dateline: 27 October 2020

It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but short is the new long, and long is the new short. Effective executives need to have a long-term perspective, to really think about the future opportunities, as well as the challenges, that exponential change brings to the surface. But execs equally need to be able to take decisive, short term action, in order to make those long term plans a reality. Once you understand the future, and you've designed your future, you need to create it, and that means ...

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THE STREETS HAVE NO NAMES

Published on: 19 October 2017 1 Comment

In today’s modern cityscape, there are no streets or cars

Dateline: 19 October 2028

We live in a strange new world. Odourless aftershave. Wheat-free bread. Virtual assistants. Pointless pastries, devoid of sugar, made with boosted broccoli from basement farms, yet deliciously popular. And cities without streets. China's latest planned urban extravaganza, a megalopolis known as Yuyuan or 'Harmony Garden', isn't built around roads and streets. The walkways and thoroughfares linking the multiuse 3D-printed buildings can accommodate pedestrians, ebikes and hoverboards. Jogging and ...

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INTERNET OF ORGANIC THINGS

Published on: 12 October 2017

Plants that tweet and pets that ping

Dateline: 13 October 2023

Does your prize rose bush send you an email when it needs specific nutrients, or tweet incessantly when it's thirsty? Does your Labrador retriever ping you on your smartphone, when he's restless and wants a walk? Only if you've got smart soil sensors, for the rose, and a smart dog-collar for the Lab. But all these things we've connected to the 'net, they all need power - battery power, and even enhanced with tiny solar cells, like all electronics, they eventually wear out and have to be replaced, or ...

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FIRST TRILLION DOLLAR CORP

Published on: 5 October 2017 3 Comments

The first company to reach a value of US$1 trillion is...

Dateline: 3 March 2025

Chinese. No, wait, American. Actually, it's a global company, with tech from the United States, and manufacturing in several countries, but mainly China. You would be forgiven for surmising that Apple Inc would be the first company to cross the US$ 1 trillion threshold. A couple of years ago, Apple came close, with a market capitalization of US$ 947 billion, but has subsequently seen its star losing lustre. A more recent entry into the Top Five, Facebook Inc has been battling it out with Microsoft ...

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