Demistifying the future

No matter where you live in the world most people agree 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 blog posts and news articles and talks around the world I help demystify the hundreds of 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 Matts Daily Blog View all
Scientists turned a living bacteria into the world’s first biological computer

Scientists turned a living bacteria into the world’s first biological computer

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF You could argue that DNA is actually the oldest programming language on Earth, and today we’re starting to learn how to write and program it in new ways to create new a completely new class of living, biological computers.   Hot on the heels of...

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Scientists stored a movie inside a living bacteria, then replayed it

Scientists stored a movie inside a living bacteria, then replayed it

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today our computing platforms are mechanical and non-organic, but tomorrow’s will be biological, and immensely powerful, this is just one of a host of breakthroughs in the space.   The bacteria E. coli might sometimes make us sick, but they have served as a workhorse in science...

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Injectable biological computers get closer with DNA logic gate breakthrough

Injectable biological computers get closer with DNA logic gate breakthrough

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Logic gates are a crucial component of today’s modern computing platforms, and creating ones using nothing more than DNA will help herald in a new era of immensely powerful biological computers.   DNA based logic gates, small computing devices which “perform logical operations on one...

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Futurist in Reading: Adapt or Die, Cherwell European Conference

Futurist in Reading: Adapt or Die, Cherwell European Conference

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The pace of change, and disruption, is accelerating. In this presentation I show just how fast, and how crazy, the world’s business environment is getting, it’s impact on every sector, and what you can do to future proof yourself.   Firstly, I’d like to thank...

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Futurist in Milton Keynes: The Future of Communities, Castleton European Summit

Futurist in Milton Keynes: The Future of Communities, Castleton European Summit

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The future will have a huge impact on the future of communities, both good and bad, but with proper foresight and planning tomorrow’s communities could be brighter and better for everyone.   Firstly, I’d like to thank Jay and Chantel for inviting me to present...

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Scientists successfully transferred memories between two snails

Scientists successfully transferred memories between two snails

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The brain still has many mysteries, memory formation being one of them, but breakthroughs in epigenetics and neuroscience are starting to unravel them and it could lead to new sci-fi like capabilities and revolutionary new healthcare treatments.   A lot has been going on in...

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One in a million enzyme that breaks down plastic found in Japanese dump

One in a million enzyme that breaks down plastic found in Japanese dump

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When they were developed plastics were a wonder material, but their environmental legacy is proving devastating, now a fluke discovery is giving people hope that today’s plastic scourge can efficiently be broken down and recycled.   We’re increasingly being told that plastic is a horrible,...

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This new algorithm will let tomorrow’s exascale supercomputers simulate an entire human brain

This new algorithm will let tomorrow’s exascale supercomputers simulate an entire human brain

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today we can simulate 10 percent of the human brain in a supercomputer, but a whole brain simulation would revolutionise neuroscience, unlock the secrets of the brain and lead to new breakthrough cognitive treatments.   The renowned physicist Dr. Richard Feynman once said “What I...

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Scientists steered nanomachines through living cells and wrote letters in cytoplasm

Scientists steered nanomachines through living cells and wrote letters in cytoplasm

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF In the future we will increasingly rely on tiny machines to help monitor our health, and diagnose and cure disease, and being able to control and direct them will be crucial.   It’s probably high time for you to forget your outdated belief that tomorrow’s nanomachines...

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Decentralised energy grids and renewables get a boost from Centrica

Decentralised energy grids and renewables get a boost from Centrica

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Renewable energy and local micro, and tied-storage, grids are transforming the way energy is produced, transmitted and sold, so Centrica is testing the waters to see whether or not blockchain could play a vital role i the future of energy.   Blockchain is increasingly being...

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World’s most advanced humanoid robot, ATLAS, goes for a run in the park

World’s most advanced humanoid robot, ATLAS, goes for a run in the park

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As the field of robotics continues to advance we’re beginning to witness the first signs of the emergence of robots that, outside of their traditional factory setting, could be truly useful.   With their advanced sensors, hiding from robots has never been an option, but...

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Chinese workers are having their emotions monitored by “mind reading” tech

Chinese workers are having their emotions monitored by “mind reading” tech

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The future of work is an increasingly important topic, particularly as the spectre of AI driven automation looms, but the ability to read employees emotions and thoughts fundamentally changes the employer-employee relationship.   Today I have the tech to stream images, movies and sentences directly...

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Researchers record first ever HD movies of cells moving through the living body

Researchers record first ever HD movies of cells moving through the living body

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to watch cells move under the microscope isn’t the same as being able to observe them in their natural environment, and this breakthrough will lead to a better understanding of cell biology and help create new revolutionary medical treatments.   In 2016 we...

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Diagnose the onset of dementia using your voice and this smartphone app

Diagnose the onset of dementia using your voice and this smartphone app

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to diagnose cognitive conditions using just a smartphone, even if you have no formal access to healthcare, will help millions of people catch the signs of dementia earlier, meaning they can seek treatment sooner.   WinterLight Labs in the US have just announced...

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Revolutionary Nano-antenna is 100 times smaller than today’s state of the art

Revolutionary Nano-antenna is 100 times smaller than today’s state of the art

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF It’s not just our devices that are getting smaller and more powerful, the components that make our devices are also going through their own revolutions.   Recently I discussed how a new Metalense breakthrough from Harvard University will help us realise atomic sized camera lenses,...

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Scientists turn a Drangonfly into a controllable, living drone

Scientists turn a Drangonfly into a controllable, living drone

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF While many people are focused on traditional drones there are others who are trying to create bio-machine drone hybrids, and their uses could include surveillance and other nefarious purposes.   At a certain point it becomes really difficult to scale down machines, after all, a...

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Deadly new “Cyber RAT” turns any factory, power plant or oil rig into a bomb

Deadly new “Cyber RAT” turns any factory, power plant or oil rig into a bomb

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF One thing about the future is certain, all of our digital and physical systems are going to come under increasing attack, and it’ll be a war without end.   Hacks that can jump between and steal data from ultra-secure air gapped systems, fileless malware that...

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These nanomachines can drill into diseased cells and kill them

These nanomachines can drill into diseased cells and kill them

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Tomorrow’s medical treatments won’t necessarily just include new fancy drugs, nanomachines and nanobots will play an increasingly important role in helping us all stay fit, healthy, and alive…   Researchers in the UK and the US recently demonstrated single-molecule nanomachines that can independently target diseased...

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Suspicious nuclear power plants can now be monitored remotely using WATCHMAN

Suspicious nuclear power plants can now be monitored remotely using WATCHMAN

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Up until now it’s only been possible to assess the status of a sovereign states nuclear power program by physically inspecting the site, which is sometimes difficult, but now it can be done remotely from thousands of miles away.   A consortium led by UK...

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The US military is funding an AI that’s learning to write its own code

The US military is funding an AI that’s learning to write its own code

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF One day non-programmers will be able to instruct AI’s to create software on their behalf, this is one step in realising that goal and it has wide ranging ramifications for al of us, and AI development.   If you’re tired of writing your own boring...

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Hackers hack Faraday cages to steal data from air gapped systems

Hackers hack Faraday cages to steal data from air gapped systems

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Faraday cages are supposed to be the ultimate in stopping air gapped computer systems from being attacked and their data exfiltrated, but hackers in Israel have just proved that’s no longer the case.   Two common methods of physical cybersecurity, air gapping and Faraday cages,...

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Hackers use infra red CCTV cameras to steal data from air gapped systems

Hackers use infra red CCTV cameras to steal data from air gapped systems

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Air gapped computer systems that often hold highly sensitive data are generally thought to be secure, but more hackers are testing that theory than ever before.   Even the cleverest malware is stranded unless it can communicate with the people who sent it. This can...

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Google’s lifelike sounding AI assistant, Duplex, blows past uncanny valley

Google’s lifelike sounding AI assistant, Duplex, blows past uncanny valley

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF I’ve been saying this for a long time, very soon you won’t know whether the content you’re consuming was generated by a human or a machine, and Google’s latest product, Duplex, moves us all one step closer to that time.   At Google’s I/O developer...

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The world’s first Quantum blockchain is a “quantum time machine”

The world’s first Quantum blockchain is a “quantum time machine”

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The introduction of Quantum computers threaten to undermine the encryption that supports all of today’s blockchain technologies so researchers are trying to develop blockchains that are immune from future attacks.   A newly proposed Quantum Blockchain, which at first glance loosely resembles the Quantum Safe...

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NIST scientists say they’ve created an “unhackable quantum machine”

NIST scientists say they’ve created an “unhackable quantum machine”

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT In the future one thing is certain, there will be a plethora of new cyber threats so we need new ways to secure our systems and defend against them.   New research published in the journal Nature by scientists at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in the...

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Hackers found a way to steal data from air gapped networks using powerlines

Hackers found a way to steal data from air gapped networks using powerlines

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Air gapped systems normally hold highly sensitive and secret data, and the number of ways to exfiltrate data from them, once compromised, is growing.   Hot on the heels of exploits that use fan noise, infra red cameras, heat, LED lights and drones, magnetic fields and...

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Uber’s fatal self-driving car crash reportedly mischaracterised pedestrian as a bag

Uber’s fatal self-driving car crash reportedly mischaracterised pedestrian as a bag

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Now that cars are more software than hardware bugs in the code, as well as how the software is tuned, will have a big impact on safety, and that’s before cybercriminals start targeting future fleets.   Uber has reportedly found that a software problem likely...

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UC Berkeley’s atom thin display paves the way for invisible displays

UC Berkeley’s atom thin display paves the way for invisible displays

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF We’re traditionally used to displays being bulky and stiff, but increasingly scientists are finding new ways to create new types of displays that break the status quo, and which will open up millions of new use cases, from health monitoring to way beyond.   We’ll...

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Rigetti combines Quantum computing with Machine Learning to boost AI

Rigetti combines Quantum computing with Machine Learning to boost AI

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Tomorrow’s ultra powerful Quantum Computers could revolutionise the direction and development of future AI’s, and companies are making some interesting breakthroughs.   While many of Quantum computing’s practical applications remain largely unknown, with, arguably, only our imagination being the limit of what we can do...

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Your next smartphone could be secured using sonar

Your next smartphone could be secured using sonar

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF With biometrics becoming an increasingly important way of authenticating people some of todays technologies still leave much to be desired, as a result teams around the world are continually looking to push the boundaries.   VoiceGesture is an app that could make phones far more...

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Basis creates a stable crypto currency, raises $133m from A-list investors

Basis creates a stable crypto currency, raises $133m from A-list investors

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies swing wildly by the day making them almost useless as a medium of exchange, Basis has designed a stable cryptocurrency and if it works it “could replace money”.   On its debut nearly a decade ago, one of...

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UPS bets on blockchain to transform the $1 Trillion shipping industry

UPS bets on blockchain to transform the $1 Trillion shipping industry

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today’s global supply chains are plagued by a multitude of challenges, both bureaucratic and logistical, blockchain technology used correctly reduces the friction and eliminates many of them.   The world is run by trade. Freight and logistics in the US alone account for nearly $1.5...

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Vertical farms edge closer to disrupting traditional agriculture

Vertical farms edge closer to disrupting traditional agriculture

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today’s modern agricultural practises favour countries with fertile land and the food they produce has a dramatic impact on the environment, but tomorrows farms could be stationed in deserts, or at sea, right next to their consumers, producing high quality, organic food at knock down...

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New Quantum ML algorithm could revolutionise Quantum AI before it even begins

New Quantum ML algorithm could revolutionise Quantum AI before it even begins

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Artificial Intelligence, whether it’s Artificial General Intelligence or even Artificial Super Intelligence, could be completely eclipsed by the power of new Quantum AI models.   One of the ways that intelligent computers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms “think” is by analysing the relationships between and...

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A new form of “Master algorithm” could pave the way for super intelligent machines

A new form of “Master algorithm” could pave the way for super intelligent machines

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF One day we will create super intelligent machines that far surpass our own level of intellect, and experts believe this new form of calculus might help get us there sooner rather than later.   You can be excused for not noticing that a scientist named...

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Elon Musk warns that AI could “become an immortal dictator”

Elon Musk warns that AI could “become an immortal dictator”

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Musk has a point that an all controlling AI could become the embodiment of an immortal dictator, but hopefully it’s a vision that won’t come to pass.   By definition Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI), is a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that isn’t just smarter...

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Biased AI’s are becoming a problem, this startup is fighting back

Biased AI’s are becoming a problem, this startup is fighting back

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The rise of the “Algorithmic society” coupled with biased AI’s and machines means that increasingly bias, if left unchecked, can change the course of people’s lives, as well as viewpoints,  both with potentially life changing and harmful consequences.   Today there is a huge amount...

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DP World and Virgin unveil Cargospeed Hyperloop

DP World and Virgin unveil Cargospeed Hyperloop

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The way we transport goods around the planet will change more in the next thirty years than it has in the last two hundred, and this is simply the latest announcement in a long line of transportation modernisation initiatives.   DP World has launched Cargospeed,...

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European Space Agency’s new Ion thruster runs on thin air

European Space Agency’s new Ion thruster runs on thin air

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When satellites and rockets burn all their fuel they inevitably fall back to Earth and crash, but what if they didn’t need to carry fuel in the first place? That would change the economics of space flight…   While ion thrusters are a promising propulsion...

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China looks to re-create DARPA to create next generation weapons systems

China looks to re-create DARPA to create next generation weapons systems

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF DARPA’s public-private model of collaboration has been wildly succesful in helping the US military remain dominant over the years, now China wants its own version.   China, who over the past year has announced new military breakthroughs in everything from Quantum Communications, Quantum Radar and...

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Las Vegas goes high tech with cocktail mixing robots

Las Vegas goes high tech with cocktail mixing robots

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The resent resurgence in interest in the field of robotics means we are now seeing more robots appearing in more places taking on more tasks.   Las Vegas who recently met its goal to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy is full of dazzling...

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Futurist in London: The Future of Artificial Intelligence, British Museum

Futurist in London: The Future of Artificial Intelligence, British Museum

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There is a risk that humanity is under estimating the impact that AI will have on the world, particularly in the criminal underworld, but if I could give you a single take away it would be this – AI’s capabilities are evolving at a furious...

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Memtransistor breakthrough brings Neuromorphic computers a step closer

Memtransistor breakthrough brings Neuromorphic computers a step closer

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF While many people are taking about the advent of Quantum computers noone should loose sight of the fact that equally powerful Neuromorphic computers aren’t far behind.   Computers that operate more like the human brain than computers, a field sometimes referred to as Neuromorphic Computing, which...

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AI can now restore your corrupted photos to its pristine original condition

AI can now restore your corrupted photos to its pristine original condition

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Lots of us have old or crappy photos that are in bad condition and in the past the only place you could put them was in the bin, but now new AI image restoration technology could restore them to better than the originals.   There’s...

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New Placenta-on-a-Chip technology could prevent birth defects and save lives

New Placenta-on-a-Chip technology could prevent birth defects and save lives

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Studying the effects that different drugs that pregnant women take during their pregnancies on their unborn children is complex, difficult and expensive, this technology could help save lives and reduce the likelihood of unwelcome birth defects.   Recently we’ve seen the creation of Brain in...

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