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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Filtered by tag: Energy

THERE'S A NEW FOREST IN TOWN

Published on: 3 January 2019 1 Comment

Printed bio solar cells are greening the city

Dateline: 3 January 2028

We've had vertical gardens and basement farms for some time now, in our cities, but now landscaping has taken on a whole new dimension. With 3D printers and bio-engineered shrubs and trees, terraced gardens and leafy lanes can be laid out by the robots, straight from the architect's designs. What's more, genetically altered algae are used to construct bio solar cells that form part of the leaf structure, harvesting solar power from panels that look and act like, well, leaves - nature's very own ...

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CRUISING THE CROWDED SKIES

Published on: 18 October 2018 1 Comment

Everybody who's anybody is a frequent flyer

Dateline: 20 March 2038

In the last couple of decades, air traffic has rocketed. Annual air passenger numbers have shot up from less than 8 billion in 2018 to over 20 billion today. That's almost three times the world population, every year! Bearing in mind that hardly any flights exceed 24 hours, that means that, on average, 60 million people are boarding flights, somewhere, every day. And that doesn't include drone taxis and private planes. The only way major air terminals can cope with the hordes is increased reliance ...

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CHINA GOBBLES UP EUROPE

Published on: 7 June 2018 1 Comment

EU shareholders are selling out - to China

Dateline: 23 April 2023

If you want to exit from a large, EU-based, multinational concern, just sell it to the Chinese. They're buying. Everything. In the last five years, Chinese acquisitions and investments in Europe have tripled, compared to the previous decade. China's 'economic imperialism' in Africa and Latin America is widely recognized and well documented, but its forays into Europe have been more stealthy. Published details of deals to acquire or invest in power and logistics, property and football clubs, are ...

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DISRUPTION DÉJÀ VU

Published on: 24 May 2018

We've seen it all before, but this time it's different

Dateline: 6 June 2020

It's just like 20, or maybe 200 years ago, but it's completely different! Disruption has always plagued established markets and societies, throughout the ages. The first waterwheel or windmill for grinding wheat into flour was disruptive technology at work; nascent and naïve, but a foretaste of things to come, in a tumultuous tsunami of ever accelerating change. Steam power and traction engines, threshing machines and cotton gins; it seemed as though there was no end to our ability to employ ...

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INNOVATION IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

Published on: 22 March 2018 1 Comment

It's about working on a really great problem

Dateline: 5 April 2023

You might have a great idea, and be obsessed with it, to the extent that you can't sleep, can barely eat, and all your conscious hours are spent on thinking how you can improve on this idea, and share it with the world. Stop. This is not how innovation, truly great, disruptive innovation, works. It's all very well to be obsessed; but be obsessed with a problem, a real problem. Like how to feed the world, or solve water scarcity, or make a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon, and costs 1,000 ...

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WE WANTED TELEPORTATION

Published on: 1 March 2018

We got VR glasses instead

Dateline: 7 May 2024

We wanted flying cars. All we got were passenger drones, eventually. We were hoping for limitless fusion energy; instead we got solar panels. Everybody did. The future doesn't always deliver on our hopes and dreams. We dreamed about cheating death, an elixir from the fountain of youth, that would keep us forever young. Instead we have developed CRISPR and stem cells that keep us healthier in old age, but we still get old. That's the thing about the future. Our sci-fi fantasies and high tech ...

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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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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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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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IT'S GOING TO BE A COLD, DARK CHRISTMAS

Published on: 14 December 2017 4 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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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 1 Comment

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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THE INTEL(LIGENT) CHIP ARRIVES

Published on: 28 September 2017 4 Comments

Intel's new brain-like chip puts machine learning in the heart of your device

Dateline: 29 September 2018

AI is dead. Long live accelerated AI. Now deep learning by computers has been internalised in the CPU, the very heart of the machine. It's called self-learning. Cognitive computing required deep neural networks that had to be trained on extensive datasets, but Intel's neuromorphic chip combines training and inference for on-chip learning on the fly. That sounds like a mouthful, and it is. Simply put, AI systems required supercomputers and advanced software to learn how to deal with different ...

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ELECTRIC CAR GLUT THREATENS WORLD TRADE

Published on: 14 September 2017 4 Comments

China accused of dumping as prices plummet

Dateline: 5 March 2029

China's success as the biggest producer of cars - mainly electric cars - the world has ever seen, has led to a problem of massive over capacity. There are not enough adults in the world, with driving skills, to drive all the cars produced every year. Admittedly many of the latest vehicles are self-driving, but at the budget end of the scale, devoid of radar and software, basic cars are just dumb machines, even if they run on batteries rather than gasoline. The shift to autonomous cars has also ...

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THE CARBON BUBBLE BURSTS

Published on: 20 July 2017 4 Comments

Stocks crash as executive orders bite

Dateline: 5 February 2021

US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make fossil fuels way too costly to produce and consume, forcing emissions lower and a massive swing to nuclear and renewable power. On top of that, the plummeting cost of solar has convinced many consumers, even those skeptical about global warming, to switch to a system of distributed power generation and consumption. These micro-grids and rooftop panels ...

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SOLAR PAINT MAKES ITS DEBUT

Published on: 22 June 2017 3 Comments

Just paint that wall for instant solar fuel

Dateline: 23 June 2022

It's taken five years to come to fruition, but the magic of solar paint is finally something every building owner can benefit from. Why pay for costly 3D printed solar panels and film, when you can just slap it on like paint - literally. Discovered back in 2017, solar paint is a special mixture of synthetic molecules and titanium oxide, which has been used in paint for decades. It turns out the oxide helps the paint absorb the sun's energy, while the molybdenum molecules act as a catalyst, splitting ...

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ELECTRIC CARS CAN'T STEER THE CLIMATE

Published on: 1 June 2017 2 Comments

But they're driving the Energy Internet and saving the city

Dateline: 2 June 2030

It's official. It's now cheaper, on average, to buy a new electric car than one that burns gasoline, without subsidies. But it's not having any effect on climate change. It seems the global climate runs on its own largely unexplained clock, and nothing we do affects it much. Electric cars have become the vehicle of choice for two reasons; cheaper, more efficient batteries, and charging convenience. Now that the vast majority of electric power comes from renewable sources, it makes sense to put the ...

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Filtered by tag: Energy