Demistifying the future

 

No matter where you live in the world the majority of people agree that the pace of change today is faster than it was a decade ago, and that in another decade it’ll be faster still. All of which is in no small part thanks to the fact that today we have not a handful, but hundreds of powerful, and increasingly democratised, emerging technologies materialising that when combined together, by a resurgent global culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, are spurring cultural, industrial and societal disruption on a scale, and pace, the world has never seen before.

 

Through my articles and talks around the world I help demystify the hundreds of emerging technologies that are helping visionaries and entrepreneurs build the future and disrupt the status quo, and I provide audiences with the tools and critical thinking that help them envision and navigate tomorrow’s threats and opportunities.

The Future of Disruption, Oxford University Lecture Series

Straight From the Newsdesk View all
Scientists create edible electronics using Graphene to improve food safety

Scientists create edible electronics using Graphene to improve food safety

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to quickly and easily tag foods and other products with sensors and other electronics that can be safely eaten could improve food safety and security.   James Tour believes anything can be turned into the wonder material, Graphene, a material so versatile it...

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Why the robots of the future might not have a brain

Why the robots of the future might not have a brain

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The classical view of an intelligent robot is one whose intelligence comes from a centralised location, such as a brain, or in their case, a centralised computing platform, but there’s no reason why this has to be the case.   The classical view of a...

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DARPA funds programs to get black box AI’s to explain their decisions

DARPA funds programs to get black box AI’s to explain their decisions

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As AI continues to be weaponised by military powers, getting it to explain its decision making, and actions, will be crucial, and it’s not going to be an easy task to achieve.   Intelligence agents and military operatives may come to rely heavily on Machine...

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Google reportedly mulls investing in a hypersonic tunnelling boring company

Google reportedly mulls investing in a hypersonic tunnelling boring company

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There is a race on to increase the speed of boring tunnels by at least ten fold, and if it can be achieved it will change the economics of energy generation and transportation.   Google announced recently, quietly, very quietly, that it’s carrying out research...

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Empatica’s smartwatch predicts Epileptic seizures

Empatica’s smartwatch predicts Epileptic seizures

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Epileptic seizures are debilitating, but they can also be fatal, this latest breakthrough pre-warns people before they have them.   Embrace is a smartwatch of a different kind. It’s able to tell time, analyse sleep patterns, and, more crucially, it’s also able to tell if you’re about...

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AI starts reading sentences directly from people’s brains

AI starts reading sentences directly from people’s brains

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As AI becomes increasingly adept at helping unlock the secrets of the brain it’s also becoming more adept at helping decode and visualise complex thoughts onto TV’s and other devices.   The capabilities and accuracy of Artificial Intelligence (AI) “mind reading” systems, as they are increasing...

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Nanoparticles help researchers accurately locate metastasising cancers

Nanoparticles help researchers accurately locate metastasising cancers

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Until now it has been hard, almost impossible, to identify how Cancer spreads around the body, and that’s made metastasising cancers harder to treat.   Following on from a recent announcement from another team that they’ve managed to use a simple blood test to detect...

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New polymer tears up anti-biotic resistant bacteria from the inside out

New polymer tears up anti-biotic resistant bacteria from the inside out

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As the number of superbugs and anti-biotic resistant bugs increase, we need to find new novel ways of fighting them.   A research team composed of scientists from the A*Star Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and IBM, have produced a new macromolecule that can target...

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Semi-synthetic cells could revolutionise everything from sensors to healthcare

Semi-synthetic cells could revolutionise everything from sensors to healthcare

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The ability to create semi-synthetic cells that have both organic and inorganic properties opens up a whole world of new use cases that span everything from biotech to new forms of manufacturing.   The more we study natural biological cells, the more we learn about...

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IBM wants to combine AI and blockchain to transform healthcare

IBM wants to combine AI and blockchain to transform healthcare

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF AI and blockchain are two incredibly powerful technologies, but for different reasons, however, when they’re combined their significance, and impact, becomes even greater.   The combination of Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) “could bring significant improvements to a healthcare sector plagued by interoperability problems and...

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Novoheart has grown real, miniature hearts in jars that beat like the real thing

Novoheart has grown real, miniature hearts in jars that beat like the real thing

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Trying to demonstrate that new drugs don’t have any negative impacts on a patients heart is difficult, but this new technology provides research organisations with a fast, cheap way to test their new drugs without the risks.   Beating rhythmically and suspended in a jar,...

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Experts believe AI will be used to hijack brain machine interfaces, form consortium

Experts believe AI will be used to hijack brain machine interfaces, form consortium

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As brain machine interfaces become more capable, and as their use cases and adoption broaden, experts are worried that regulators will leave it to late to protect people from bad actors and misuse.   Ever since Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk announced his plans...

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Lockheed Martin awarded contract to arm US Navy destroyers with lasers

Lockheed Martin awarded contract to arm US Navy destroyers with lasers

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF We are entering a new era of warfare, full of AI fuelled semi-autonomous weapons, hypersonic missiles and lasers.   The US military is increasingly ramping up its interest in, and spending on, new laser weapons, that will be positioned at forward operating bases, and on...

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New eye drops use nanotech to fix faulty vision and eliminate eye glasses

New eye drops use nanotech to fix faulty vision and eliminate eye glasses

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Millions of people around the world have eye problems, whether they’re severe, or slight, but now a new nanoparticle solution looks like it could help users bin eye glasses for good.   Today there are a number of ways, from using bionic eyes, gene editing...

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Scientists get green light to test tech that stops the formation of hurricanes

Scientists get green light to test tech that stops the formation of hurricanes

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Sometimes you need crazy ideas because one day those crazy ideas change the world, in this case scientists think they can use a new approach to stop hurricanes from forming and wreaking havoc.   Recently I wrote an article about a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)...

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The Pentagon is making lasers that create voices out of thin air

The Pentagon is making lasers that create voices out of thin air

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to use lasers to create sound opens up a weird array of new use cases, from crowd control to just plain being able to freak people out…   Within three years, the US Pentagon’s non-lethal weapons lab hopes to have a direct energy...

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Creative AI’s generate video from plain text

Creative AI’s generate video from plain text

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Imagine not being able to program or code, but still being able to write a description or a script and have an AI create an HD image or video of it for you, this is the technology that’s now arriving.   In 2016 an Artificial...

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China wants to shape and lead global AI standards

China wants to shape and lead global AI standards

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF AI is, arguably, as transformational technology as the internet, and China wants to play its role in helping shape and lead the global standards for the technology.   It turns out that China isn’t just investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s also aiming to set...

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Scientists turn light into sound to create faster Photonic computers

Scientists turn light into sound to create faster Photonic computers

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Photonic computers will boost the speed of modern day computing by at least twenty fold, but while converting data into light is easy, getting it back again has proved a challenge.   So far in the past few years we’ve turned light into a superfluid...

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Ethereum falls after rumours of new powerful ASIC emerge

Ethereum falls after rumours of new powerful ASIC emerge

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The more centralised the mining of an individual cryptocurrency becomes, especially if it leverages new, more powerful technology, the greater the impact on a cryptocurrencies value.   Rumors of a new ASIC mining  rig from Bitmain have driven Ethereum prices well below their one week high of...

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New smartphone app lets users detect fatal heart conditions at home

New smartphone app lets users detect fatal heart conditions at home

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to detect fatal heart conditions before they kill you is a good thing… enough said.   The most common type of Arrhythmia, a form of atrial fibrillation, is an irregular beating of the heart that can lead to stroke, blood clots, or heart...

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World’s first stem cell bone tissue transplant is a success

World’s first stem cell bone tissue transplant is a success

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When patients loose part of a bone, for example, to Cancer, often there is no way to get the bones to grow or fuse together again resulting in amputation, this breakthrough will prevent that.   Medical history was made at Emek Medical Center in Afula...

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JPMorgan is automating the world of finance

JPMorgan is automating the world of finance

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The world of finance is being automated faster than almost any other industry and JPMorgan is leading the charge.   At JPMorgan Chase a learning machine is parsing financial deals that once kept legal teams busy for thousands of hours. The program, called COIN, for...

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IBM breaks the record for the world’s smallest computer

IBM breaks the record for the world’s smallest computer

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As computers continue to shrink it allows organisations to dream up new ways of using them, and in IBM’s case they want to use their new tech to help cryptographically secure the Internet of Things.   Each year IBM showcases “5 in 5” technologies coming...

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US DoE wants to use AI to build world’s first autonomous energy grid

US DoE wants to use AI to build world’s first autonomous energy grid

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to fully automate the American energy grid could reduce regulatory burden, improve resilience and reliability, and make it more efficient.   The US Department of Energy, whose supercomputers are already building their own AI’s, has announced it will explore a first of a...

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Crazy thinkers suggest beaming solar energy from space to end energy poverty

Crazy thinkers suggest beaming solar energy from space to end energy poverty

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF In 2050 there will be 10 billion people on the planet who need energy, and while renewable energy will help reduce energy poverty some think solar energy beamed from space, or satellites, could also help.   Infalling solar radiation constantly illuminates the Moon’s surface with...

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MIT and DeepMind’s new AI can’t be tricked with weird lighting

MIT and DeepMind’s new AI can’t be tricked with weird lighting

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As we produce more systems that rely on machine vision to do their jobs or keep people safe, systems that can’t see the world accurately pose both a danger and a risk.   Machine Vision has come a long way since Imagenet, a large repository of labelled...

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Daimler hires Soul Machine’s lifelike Avatar to answer customer queries

Daimler hires Soul Machine’s lifelike Avatar to answer customer queries

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Bots are evolving and increasingly it’s going to get more difficult to tell bots from real people, whether they’re just text bots or, in this case, life like looking avatars.   New Zealand based company Soul Machines, the company behind a sophisticated high definition digital...

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China bans people with bad “social credit” from planes and trains

China bans people with bad “social credit” from planes and trains

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Technology is a tool, it’s down to governments and individuals how they use and deploy it, and as such it can be used to do great good, or great harm.   In another nod to Black Mirror, and to show it isn’t just a sci-fi...

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New graphene filter turns filthy water into drinking water

New graphene filter turns filthy water into drinking water

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Millions of people around the world don’t have regular access to clean drinking water, and this breakthrough could help them.   Every year millions of people around the world die from diseases they’ve contracted from drinking unclean water but now researchers in Australia have developed...

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