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: Robotics

IT'S GOING TO BE A COLD, DARK CHRISTMAS

Published on: 14 December 2017

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

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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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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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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THE INTEL(LIGENT) CHIP ARRIVES

Published on: 28 September 2017 2 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

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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IT'S AN INSIDE JOB

Published on: 7 September 2017

Black-market organ transplants performed by microbot

Dateline: 6 September 2027

The WHO (World Health Organization) predicts an increase in illegal surgeries and black-market organ transplants because of the increasing capability of medical microbots. They are designed for patients to swallow, as if it were a pill made out of digestible enzymes. Fitted with tiny microblades or needles, they quickly move to clean blocked arteries, detect disease and treat cancer. Microbots are also useful for delivering medication to specific parts of the body and addressing hormone or metabolic ...

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WAIT A SEC, I'VE ONLY GOT THREE HANDS

Published on: 24 August 2017 2 Comments

Third arms are a blessing and a curse

Dateline: 1 September 2023

Since scientists and doctors collaborated almost a decade ago to fit amputees with robotic arms controlled by their brains, bionic limbs have come a long way. Now it's possible to strap on a wearable robotic appendage, even if both your arms are fully functional. Connected wirelessly to your brain by a 'thinking cap', you can move your third arm and manipulate your extra limb, just by thought alone. With practice, you become quite dexterous. What's really interesting is that you can operate all ...

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BEAM ME UP A VIRUS, SCOTTY

Published on: 3 August 2017

Sending life to Mars in minutes

Dateline: 5 August 2024

I know we were promised the first humans on Mars by now, but it turns out, making the seven-month journey is pretty rough on people, and we're not ready to risk it yet. Our robots and rovers have been busy on Mars, building landing zones and habitats, and preparing the soil for the first plants. Now we're ready to send a small organism to be cultivated on Mars, to see if it will survive. Sending a mothership all that way, just for a microbe, would be a costly waste, if the experiment fails. But ...

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HEATHROW BANS ALL HUMAN PILOTS

Published on: 27 July 2017

Peak airspace capacity relies on fully autonomous aircraft for holiday season

Dateline: 26 July 2027

As we approach the UK summer holidays and air traffic rises to its seasonal peak over South East England, aviation authorities have announced that only autopiloted flights will be allowed at airports servicing London and surrounds. "Automated take-off and landing is just so much more efficient," says Juliet Kennedy, Ops chief for NATS. "Humans can't deal with the pressure of 14-second gaps between planes!" Without this blanket ban on human-piloted craft and reliance on digital systems, the area ...

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MAKING SCIENCE FICTION A DAILY REALITY

Published on: 6 July 2017

The 'Youth-Tech' factor is reinventing our world!

Dateline: 30 July 2019

FutureWorld started talking about the impact of the 'Youth-Tech' factor many years ago - that fearless, entrepreneurial and smart young people, empowered by easy access to radical technologies, were working to reinvent the world. In so many ways, the science fiction of our past is becoming a daily reality. Just a few weeks ago the first 'Willy Wonka' elevators were installed in a Dubai high-rise (much of which, incidentally, was 3D printed). Remember the movie based on the Roald Dahl story 'Charlie ...

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THE NEXT BIG THING IS A MASHUP

Published on: 25 May 2017 1 Comment

Combinatorial tech evolves to constant mashups

Dateline: 21 May 2020

A few years ago, all the tech gurus talked about amazing new technologies that would disrupt businesses in all industries. One common theme was that these technologies all relied on digital processing power, and the advances being made in computing and communications were behind the explosion of innovation on all fronts. Looking at internet-of-things, massive data analysis, deep learning and artificial intelligence, all the way through to 3D printing and self-driving cars; even blockchain and the ...

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GET ME TO THE GATE ON TIME

Published on: 30 March 2017 4 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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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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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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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 1 Comment

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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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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Filtered by tag: Robotics