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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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MOVING ON UP - TO THE COUNTRY
Published on: 21 May 2015   1 Comment
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Upgrading from city life to the rustic rural
Dateline: 1 February 2027
The world is definitely urbanizing at a rapid rate and by 2030 about 60% of the world's population will be sipping (or serving) Martinis on skyscraper rooftop bars. With all this talk about metropolises, it's no wonder that some of us got a bit carried away, moving all our business to the concrete jungles. However, the wise ones know that you should never put all your eggs in one basket and once again this has proven to be true. Tired of renting and never settling, sick of smog, congestion and the ...
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EMERGENT INTELLIGENCE IS A WEB OF DEMOCRATIC DEVICES
Published on: 14 May 2015   1 Comment
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Sensors and gadgets clamour to be heard
Dateline: 13 May 2024
After all these years, we're still stuck with basic artificial intelligence. AI has not matured to the 'general' level, where machines are as smart as humans. Which may be a good thing. There's no dark lord that's going to turn us all into paperclips! But intelligence is now embedded in so many local devices, cameras, sensors and drones, that we are surrounded by a cloud of things that can debate the state of the world around us. And come up with some pretty useful conclusions. You walk into a ...
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DASH BUTTONS GATHERING DUST
Published on: 7 May 2015  
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Shopping not so easy to revolutionize after all
Dateline: 7 December 2017
Amazon earnestly tried, but for the most part, they successfully failed. Their Dash Buttons were launched in early 2015 as the e-commerce giant tried to create a future where we buy specific grocery items by pressing physical, branded buttons stuck to surfaces in our homes. The efficiency built into the Dash Buttons has not been all that it's cracked up to be. People have deployed the odd button in their homes, but in general, Amazon has underestimated the ritual that is weekly or bi-weekly ...
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THE SECRET LIFE OF PAPER
Published on: 30 April 2015  
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Still here to haunt and help us
Dateline: 25 April 2025
Decades ago, we used to joke that the paperless office would arrive about the same time as the paperless toilet. And to be sure, we're still using paper centuries after it was invented in ancient China. For hundreds of years, paper has been used to communicate, to record information, to store it for the future, and to convey secrets. Paper was the earliest conveniently portable technology to become information-enabled, and one of the most versatile. Right from the start, paper was used for secure ...
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ONE CARD TO RULE THEM ALL
Published on: 23 April 2015   1 Comment
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From loyalty cards to real rewards in real-time
Dateline: 9 September 2018
We have all been there. Pondering the squandered minutes of our lives that we'll never get back. Dear person in front of me, please find the right loyalty card and pay already! It's a system that's been desperate for a redesign. The run-up to this moment was the coalition loyalty program launched by XEMA in 2015. One loyalty card served many stores and the points could be redeemed at all of the coalition stores as well. Problem was, consumers still needed a loyalty card as well as a payment ...
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SPACEX LAUNCHES MOON TAXI
Published on: 16 April 2015   2 Comments
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Fancy a walk on the dark side?
Dateline: 15 June 2029
It's fun to go away for a summer holiday, and what better, more exotic place than the moon? That's assuming you can afford the fare, of course. For the well-heeled, it has just become possible to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the moon, and back; courtesy of SpaceX. SpaceX has announced that it is opening bookings for round-trips to the moon, including landing on the surface and a short moon-walk. Following the successful powered landing of the Falcon 9 rocket in 2015, SpaceX was quick to ...
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DRIVERLESS CARS HURT INSURERS
Published on: 9 April 2015   1 Comment
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Collision claims have fallen to a record low
Dateline: 2 February 2027
The roads have never been safer - 12 years ago, more than one million people died in car accidents worldwide, every year. This number has shrunk to an astonishing 250,000. Road rage is history. Commuting is a pleasure as passengers are able to do what they please while waiting to arrive at their chosen point B. It's just that for the insurance industry, self-driving cars have become a real pain. Lower claims mean lower premiums, and that's bad for business. One of the first weak signals, that ...
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CHRONOCONDRIA OVERWHELMS HEALTH SERVICES
Published on: 2 April 2015   2 Comments
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Apple Watch sales fill doctors' surgeries with the worried-well
Dateline: 1 April 2017
There's a new disease plaguing the technoscenti, and it's overloading the doctors. It's called "smart-watch sickness" or even "Chronocondria." Over 200 million people now wear smart-watches packed with sensors measuring everything from pulse-rate, to blood-pressure, to body-temperature. Never in the course of human events have so many people had so much information about themselves. And they're responding as people do. In a blind panic. "It's madness out there," says one MD who prefers to ...
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STEM JOBS FUELLING INEQUALITY
Published on: 26 March 2015   2 Comments
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SySTEMic problems necessitate policy expansion on basic wages
Dateline: 4 February 2021
The world has gotten so 'skewed' towards STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as more and more of everyday life is ruled by these fields. Overall we're better off - STEM has helped to curb carbon emissions, we just saw the first drug-based therapies for reversing strokes and heart attacks and we're desalinating enough seawater to supply half of Australia. We rely on STEM and we want STEM, but as a result many other careers and people are falling by the wayside. STEM jobs and ...
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BLOCKCHAIN BUSINESSES THAT RUN THEMSELVES GO VIRAL
Published on: 19 March 2015   1 Comment
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The rise of the distributed autonomous company has disrupted markets and nations
Dateline: 17 February 2027
CarCoin has ubered Uber. AppCoin has upstaged Apple. And Africoin has made African countries irrelevant; fiscally and economically at least. Based on the cryptography that underpins BitCoin, the blockchain technology makes it possible for the value of these blockbuster businesses to be widely distributed over the internet. Unlike a listing on a stock exchange, there is no central registry, and the ledger of who owns what portion of the stock is self-contained in the blockchain itself. What's more, ...
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ENGINEERING THE PERFECT LIFE
Published on: 12 March 2015  
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Let happiness and contentment find you
Dateline: 5 May 2019
Remember the outcry a few years ago, when Facebook deliberately filtered its newsfeed to see how specific stories influenced your mood and emotions? Nowadays people are choosing to opt-in to this type of modification. With more than enough bad news going around, like terror attacks, resource shortages or natural disasters, some consumers are desperate to optimize their experiences and their life in general. Choosing to allow emotion measurement technology to track their facial expressions while ...
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IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS
Published on: 5 March 2015  
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Neuro-implants to control our devices become the gift of the year
Dateline: 26 March 2018
It's my birthday soon, and I know just what I am going to buy myself this year. The brand-new iThink, Apple's brain sensor that enables me to control all my electronic devices by thought alone! Sure, there's a little bit of surgery involved. The tiny transmitter sits just below the skin at the base of my skull, connected to electrodes implanted into my brain. But it's safe technology now; pioneered in hundreds of thousands of experiments and procedures, first aimed at helping disabled people to ...
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ROBOEARTH TAXES THE MACHINES
Published on: 26 February 2015   1 Comment
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With robots paying labour tax, the 99% can be as idle and as comfortable as the elites
Dateline: 4 July 2025
We're living in the age of abundance. The age of the algorithm. The age of... well, automated utopia. Who would have thought that this soon, with machines doing all the work, we would also have found the solution to technological unemployment? The point is, just as horses became unemployable with the invention of engines, so humans became unemployable in the age of seriously smart machines. We call it "Roboearth." When a robot arrives from the factory, it's essentially lifeless; it can't do ...
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VIRTUAL REALITY IS THE REAL DEAL
Published on: 19 February 2015   4 Comments
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Augmented reality builds business - but creates a new global addiction
Dateline: 18 October 2018
It seems that there's good and bad in everything. Dramatic improvements in virtual reality systems have led to massive productivity improvements - but have spawned a new addiction afflicting millions around the world. The last few years have seen VR (virtual reality) and augmented reality move into the mainstream. Systems like Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens have become so immersive, and so realistic, that a new generation of designers, engineers, doctors, mechanics and virtually all ...
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CHOCOLATE DEFICIT LEAVES A BAD TASTE IN THE MOUTH
Published on: 12 February 2015  
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A not so happy Valentine's Day
Dateline: 14 February 2019
For the last couple of years the world has been running a chocolate deficit and it's probably not going to change anytime soon. At the moment, the global cacao sector is already in need of one million tons of cacao and the current projection is that we will have a shortfall of 2.2 million metric tons of ebony goodness by 2030. It's a real multi-faceted challenge. Ivory Coast and Ghana, which produce more than 70% of the world's cacao, have been suffering from climate change-induced droughts and to ...
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SOMETHING NEW IS FOR DINNER
Published on: 5 February 2015  
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Tempura crickets and locust mince are leaving diners bug-eyed
Dateline: 14 March 2024
For years, insect enthusiasts have been trying to get more people to join the bug buffet, but to no avail. In 2014 only about two billion people indulged in entomophagy, or insect eating; but that number has doubled within a decade. A culmination of events brought about the change in behaviour. Brazil and India, the biggest exporters of beef globally, have been struck by disaster simultaneously. Severe droughts in Brazil and an unidentified pest reminiscent of foot-and-mouth disease in India have ...
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UN DECLARES POVERTY ILLEGAL
Published on: 29 January 2015  
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Inequality next in the firing line
Dateline: 12 January 2021
The first resolution to come out of the United Nations for the new year is somewhat startling. Poverty has been declared 'illegal'. "A minimum living standard should be regarded as a basic human right," said the secretary general. "In this day and age, governments must ensure that for all their citizens, or step aside and let more competent people govern!" Another item on the agenda is to reduce global inequality, not only within nation states, an increasingly archaic concept, but also between top ...
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COLLAPSE OF RUBLE THWARTS RUSSIA’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS
Published on: 22 January 2015   1 Comment
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Putin blames oil price for Russia's cash crunch
Dateline: 5 January 2017
The oil price plunge could not have come at a worse time for Russia. Just as Putin was flexing his muscles, taking back Crimea and calling the shots over gas deliveries, the value of Russia's major export commodities collapsed. As oil more than halved in value, demand for Russia's inexhaustible natural gas also dried up. Sanctions against Russia's involvement in Ukraine were helping EU states to turn to cheap Saudi oil instead. The ruble took an immediate pounding as Russian oligarchs sought to ...
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EXERCISE GENIE IN A BOTTLE
Published on: 15 January 2015  
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Beating obesity one drink at a time
Dateline: 15 March 2026
In the race for the perfect health and energy drink, Eltsen will go down in history as the ultimate winner. Eltsen has figured out how to stimulate the main enzyme that regulates the human metabolism, which in effect means that people can burn fat without having to engage in strenuous exercise. A 30-minute jog can be replaced by one glass of EGIAB (Exercise Genie In A Bottle) and 10 minutes of YouTube aerobics. About 10 years ago we saw people hydrating themselves with smart drinks which boosted ...
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WHEN TECHNOLOGY FAILS TO FAIL
Published on: 8 January 2015   3 Comments
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Critical system failures that don't trigger corrective action cause disasters
Dateline: 21 March 2016
Yet another airliner has fallen out of the sky without warning. And the reason is fail-safe systems that fail to alert the pilots to the real problem when they fail. If that sounds a little confusing, that's exactly what human operators experience, when autonomous systems default to manual control - the ultimate fallback when there are critical failures. Even double-redundant systems can be completely taken out by say, a solar flare, or a massive electromagnetic pulse; something as simple as a ...
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