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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.

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Published on: 17 July 2014  
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Winner disqualified after evidence of cognitive enhancement revealed
Dateline: 14 March 2029
Tired, but healthy, students and professionals have been buying Ritalin and the brain enhancing drug Modafinil illegally for more than a decade, but this type of doping or cheating is going up a notch. Just ask Jack McCloskey. McCloskey, a 32-year-old male from Manhattan, has been disqualified from winning the Global Medical Science Expo, hosted by the World Health Organization every year. It has been established that he was making use of an implanted memory chip that gave him immediate access to ...
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Published on: 10 July 2014   4 Comments
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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 contracts!" Since open source, peer production of printed solar panels has made electric power almost zero cost, robots have taken over agriculture, mining and most manufacturing. With no jobs but plenty of creative spirit, the 'maker' movement has spawned millions of backyard factories, churning out low volume, low cost 3D printed products for ...
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Published on: 3 July 2014  
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China becomes Russia's biggest single customer as massive pipeline goes live
Dateline: 7 April 2018
Four years ago, Europe was Russia's largest energy importer, and the bulk of that business was pipeline gas from Gazprom. Then came the Crimea Crisis, and Russia's relations with Ukraine and Europe took a turn for the worse. By June 2014, Gazprom was turning off the taps to Ukraine, despite much of Europe's supply being routed through Ukraine territory. It was only a matter of time before the EU, with Germany in the lead, began to look for alternate sources, to avoid being held to ransom by ...
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Published on: 26 June 2014  
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Nervous system delivers virtual drugs to combat arthritis
Dateline: 21 September 2020
Inflammatory afflictions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease used to be treated with drugs - painkillers, steroids or genetically engineered proteins - expensive, hard to administer and with sometimes lethal side effects. Yesterday the US Federal Drug Administration approved a new procedure that sees chip-controlled electricity delivered to the vagus nerve to reproduce the drugs' anti-inflammatory reactions. Since late in the 1990s researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical ...
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Published on: 19 June 2014   2 Comments
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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 supplying service, the traditional black cabs that were so much a feature of London city life simply faded away. As one enthusiast remarked: "Who needs 'The Knowledge' when you've got Google Maps and great service?" Now other industries have been caught napping by upstarts who broke all the rules. The latest is banking, and dinosaurs like Barclays are ...
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Published on: 12 June 2014   1 Comment
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Whole-body simulation lets the computer prescribe the best treatment
Dateline: 23 June 2023
A UK team has announced it has completed building a fully computer-simulated human physiology for personalised healthcare. The Insigneo Institute at the University of Sheffield managed to engineer a simulation of the human body so true to life, that it can be used to test and optimize medical therapy. The Virtual Physiological Human dubbed "SimPhy" acts as a software defined virtual patient on which doctors and researchers can experiment with impunity. By entering the parameters of your medical ...
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Published on: 5 June 2014  
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Loss of 30 billion hectoliters blamed on biodynamic farmers
Dateline: April 2017
Emmanuel Giboulot remains unrepentant. "I do not see how refusing to use harmful pesticides is a bad thing. I refuse to support the profits of corporations when our health is at risk from these toxins." That was in February 2014, when he was found guilty of refusing to spray pesticides against the spread of leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus, believed to be responsible for the grapevine disease flavescence dorée. Three years later and the French wine industry is devastated. "Production yields ...
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Published on: 29 May 2014   1 Comment
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It's patents versus patients as biotech giants fight to dominate the stem cell industry
Dateline: 16 June 2023
In the world of biotech, genetic engineering and regenerative medicine there's a magic holy grail: stem cells on demand. And like the holy grail, stem cells promise to cure all ills, and grant indefinite life to the worthy, and wealthy. The best stem cells to enhance your health are your own, taken at the embryonic stage, or grown by transforming your adult cells with genetic programming. Stem cells can be programmed to clone a variety of tissues and organs, providing replacement parts for your ...
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Published on: 22 May 2014   2 Comments
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Modular devices open horizons to a new 'mofone' world
Dateline: 27 April 2017
How 'phones' have changed! Even the smart handsets of a few years ago look like toys by today's standards. Our mobile communicators are now completely modular, which enables us to customize them and turn them into an endless array of useful, interesting and often just plain bizarre mega-devices. Some people are jokingly calling it the "Legofone", or the "mofone" and that's exactly the idea. It's a basic smartphone 'skeleton' onto which you can simply clip hundreds of devices. Want a 3D scanner on ...
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Published on: 15 May 2014  
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Redundant workers cashing in on robot jobs
Dateline: 3 February 2024
Up until now, we have managed to survive recessions and every economic slump, but experts believe we are finally reaching a plateau, as the majority of jobs are being automated away. Income inequality is reaching levels never seen before. The world is increasingly run and ruled by tech-heavy companies who employ only a handful of people. The ten biggest multinationals of the '90s employed 12 times more people than the ten biggest corporations today. The business behemoths of the current age rely ...
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Published on: 8 May 2014  
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The war between agribusiness and artisanal farming threatens food security for the poor
Dateline: 1 May 2024
It seems that voices in the pastoral wilderness have been shouting contradictory messages at each other for decades. Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have been warned of an approaching 'perfect storm' of crop failures, droughts and overpopulation by doomsayers and alarmists. John Beddington predicted that world population growth beyond 9 billion alone would be enough to create shortages of food, water and energy. Climate change alarmists had even more apocalyptic visions of famine and ...
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Published on: 1 May 2014   1 Comment
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Google acquires Tesla to produce electric robocars
Dateline: 3 November 2017
Looking to expand into seriously big markets and build on its experience with robots and driverless cars, Google has announced that it is acquiring Tesla. Combining Google Technology with Tesla makes so much sense, and will see Google poised to seize top spot in the emerging electric auto market. What's not so apparent, is that Google is actually saving Tesla, the leading electric car maker, from an early demise. Tesla grew from a Silicon Valley startup on a shoestring to US$ 50 billion market value ...
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Published on: 24 April 2014   4 Comments
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10m small businesses but 5m have no employees
Dateline: 12 January 2019
The UK has developed into an increasingly polarized workplace. Unemployment has fallen and formal employment has grown, but conversely there has been an absolute boom in a new kind of work. The number of sole traders have exploded and 'zero-hour' contracts has boomed. The fact that the number of small UK firms has now reached 10m, from just 4.9m five years ago is testimony to the success of economic policies that have given a knees-up to commerce. The self-employed now represent double the number of ...
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Published on: 17 April 2014   2 Comments
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Germany first to put health before economy
Dateline: 12 July 2017
Germany's Berliner Zeitung put it succinctly: Diesel Backfires - Decades of government support can't hide the ugly truth. It was only three years ago that government researchers began to admit that irritating private research may just be correct - the nitrogen dioxide emissions generated by diesel engines have increased substantially over the past two decades and there was no sign of a reversal. Tiny toxic particulates emitted by diesel engines, have been shown to pass through the lungs and enter ...
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Published on: 10 April 2014  
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Radical plan after Great Space Crash of 2020
Dateline: 20 March 2022
Forget bonfire night! This year the heavens are lit up like fireworks as five companies race to blast dangerous space debris from the skies with powerful lasers. It all started back in 2010 when various scientists proposed ambitious plans to clear the skies of space junk that was threatening low orbiting satellites. And in 2014 Australian scientists came up with a concrete plan to track, map and zap the debris. But progress was slow as conservative space agencies weighed up possible risks, while ...
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Published on: 3 April 2014   3 Comments
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New wearable tech is making (some of) us happier and healthier people
Dateline: 2 September 2015
Google Glass started it all, and now the viral spread of the Quantified Self meme is showing us the good, the bad and the ugly on the screens of our high tech bracelets and necklaces. With the demand for wearable technology far outstripping supply, there's no denying it; no one likes average - everyone wants to be awesome. And how do you become an A-list version of yourself? You self-improve... or you try to, at least. Self-help books are rotting away on the shelf, because wearable tech is ...
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Published on: 27 March 2014   2 Comments
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China beats the odds and the analysts and doubles its economy in a decade
Dateline: 8 August 2025
China has proven all its detractors wrong - again. Despite predictions of economic collapse by global doomsayers, China has doubled its GDP in ten years, rising from the second most important economy to top spot, eclipsing even the United States, although not by much. How did the 'Middle Kingdom' do it? China faced down its biggest demographic crisis, with the population segment that provides the workforce declining by 70 million people since 2010. Many feared this would precipitate a collapse, as ...
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Published on: 20 March 2014   2 Comments
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Merkel declares Germany free of Russian gas
Dateline: 5 April 2019
Yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany had achieved a new level of energy security and independence. "It has taken us five years to wean ourselves from Russian gas but today I can announce that the last Gazprom supplies are being officially switched off." In March 2014, Russia claimed Crimea as their own. In the diplomatic crisis that ensued, Russia held an economic weapon - Europe's dependence on gas supplies from the east. The crisis was a catalyst for EU leaders to rethink ...
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Published on: 13 March 2014   4 Comments
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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 limited flying time before they had to land to recharge. But what if you could charge them in mid-air? When Artemis Networks launched their revolutionary bandwidth breaking wireless data technology in 2014, few people suspected they had another, related invention up their sleeves. Their unique algorithms for creating powerful radio bubbles from ...
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Published on: 6 March 2014   5 Comments
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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 planned, part accident, but always recorded. Most of us like to let a bit of randomness enter our lives - it's often how the best things are discovered, how the best experiences happen. Serendipitous joy is a treasure. But if we're honest, there's a lot less spontaneity driving our actions and transactions, our travels and connections. And ...
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