Demystifying and bringing the future to life

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 daily blog posts, international keynotes, and through the 311 Institute, I help bring the future to life and demystify the hundreds of emerging technologies that are helping visionaries and entrepreneurs build and shape the future. By providing audiences with the tools and critical thinking not only do I help people envision and navigate tomorrow’s threats and opportunities, I also help them lead it.

Futurist Keynote, Belgium: Investing in the Future, Infosys Fincale 2018. See more…

Straight From Matts Daily Blog View all
Evolving robots discover new ways to walk thanks to AI advances

Evolving robots discover new ways to walk thanks to AI advances

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF People often think of robots as static things, with fixed forms that don’t evolve, but scientists are creating robots that can evolve to suit different situations.   Evolution is a trip. On the one hand, it’s a seemingly simple mechanism -those best fitted to their environment have...

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Breakthrough process lets researchers turn Carbon Dioxide back into Coal

Breakthrough process lets researchers turn Carbon Dioxide back into Coal Hot

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Climate change is getting harder to solve, and the effects are getting more severe so we need new ways to tackle it.   Scientists from the Melbourne based RMIT University have announced they’ve developed a new technique using “a liquid metal electrolysis method to convert...

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Coffee without the coffee beans, “Molecular Coffee” has arrived

Coffee without the coffee beans, “Molecular Coffee” has arrived

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As we find new ways to produce food coffee isn’t immune, and now a company has found a way to make great tasting coffee but without using beans.   Food production is going through a revolution. Take the animal out of meat, and you’ve got...

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Scientists create a liquid fuel that can store the Sun’s energy for 18 years

Scientists create a liquid fuel that can store the Sun’s energy for 18 years Hot

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As the number of solar energy installations increase storing the energy they produce, so it can be released to the grid when the Sun goes in, is still holding the industry back from world domination.   Recently renewable energy became the cheapest form of energy...

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Microsoft have created an all in one desktop DNA storage device

Microsoft have created an all in one desktop DNA storage device Hot

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As our data volumes explode we need new ways to store it all, and DNA is a perfect solution – if we can get it to work.   By all reports the modern world is facing a tsunami of data as we produce exabtyes of the...

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MIT researchers have turned WiFi signals into electricity

MIT researchers have turned WiFi signals into electricity Hot

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Wireless charging is becoming more popular, which is why we’re seeing breakthrough after breakthrough in the space, and new innovations.   Noone likes having to shove a battery into things or plug everything they own into an electrical plug socket, whether it’s your phone, your...

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All new UK homes will be off the gas grid by 2025 says UK government

All new UK homes will be off the gas grid by 2025 says UK government

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As countries try to hit their emissions targets fossil fuels are under fire, now the UK government is calling time on domestic gas supplies.   Connecting new homes to the UK’s gas grid could be banned after 2025 as the UK government, just like many...

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Researchers unveil the world’s first programable DNA computer prototype

Researchers unveil the world’s first programable DNA computer prototype

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The future of computing isn’t silicon, it isn’t even quantum, it’s biological, and it’s coming.   We’ve already turned bacteria into computing and storage devices that we’ve used to re-play videos from, and perform basic calculations, but just like tomorrow’s Biological computers DNA too, it’s...

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Scientists create Nanobionic plants that detect chemicals and could grow on Mars

Scientists create Nanobionic plants that detect chemicals and could grow on Mars

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to bend nature to our will has its advantages, but it could also help us create plants that grow naturally on alien planets.   Plants are naturally amazing little machines so, naturally, scientists think that giving them a bionic leg up could unlock...

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New pre-crime tech detects shoplifters before they commit the crime

New pre-crime tech detects shoplifters before they commit the crime

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF AI’s that can predict outcomes from users behaviours are becoming increasingly common, and one of the biggest beneficiaries of that is the area of pre-crime detection.   It’s watching, and knows a crime is about to take place before it happens – this is the...

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Department of Defense warns the US is falling behind China on 5G

Department of Defense warns the US is falling behind China on 5G

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF New 5G mobile networks will unleash a torrent of new innovation, and the US DOD fears that the country will be left behind if it doesn’t release new spectrum.   The US led the charge on 4G LTE, which gave US companies significant power in...

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NASA’s revolutionary metamaterial “morphing” wing mimics birds wings

NASA’s revolutionary metamaterial “morphing” wing mimics birds wings

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Aircraft wings are subject to different conditions during flight, but until now rigid wings weren’t optimal for any of them.   A team of researchers led by NASA and MIT in the US have come up with a radical new aeroplane wing design that is...

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Revolutionary polymorphic liquid metal paves the way for shape shifting robots

Revolutionary polymorphic liquid metal paves the way for shape shifting robots

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Our ability to create robots that can shape shift and change their shape is a matter of when, not if, and we’re getting closer.   Between the US Pentagon’s use of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to defend its critical systems from attack, DARPA’s proposal to...

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Nanoscale Metalenses put Virtual Reality in perfect focus, and eliminate headsets

Nanoscale Metalenses put Virtual Reality in perfect focus, and eliminate headsets

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Today’s VR headsets are still low resolution and big, this technology would reduce them to just millimeters thick and make UHD resolution the norm.   If wearing a Augmented Reality (AR) glasses or Virtual Reality (VR) headsets is ever to become commonplace then hardware manufacturers...

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Scientists have unlocked the secret to whole body regeneration

Scientists have unlocked the secret to whole body regeneration

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Humans genetic ability to regenerate body parts naturally was “turned off” millions of years ago, but now scientists have found a switch that turns it on – in worms.   When it comes to regeneration some animals are capable of amazing feats. For example, if...

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Pentagon demands satellites that can dodge incoming fire like an NBA all star

Pentagon demands satellites that can dodge incoming fire like an NBA all star

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Once satellites are in orbit they stay there, in the same position until they run out of fuel, then they fall back to Earth, but as the militarisation of space hots up satellites need to be able to move.   In the event of a...

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Revolutionary Bio-Compatible transistors will let AI’s interface with your brain

Revolutionary Bio-Compatible transistors will let AI’s interface with your brain

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Neural interfaces that let us communicate with each other and the machines around us, as well as stream our thoughts to TV, will revolutionise humanity, but we need bio-compatible hardware.   It’s a fact that silicon transistors and the brain don’t mix, and while you...

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Paper based bio-battery uses bacteria to power the internet of things

Paper based bio-battery uses bacteria to power the internet of things

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The Internet of Things relies of billions of sensors to work, but only a handful of these sensors can be powered with traditional batteries, so new alternatives are needed.   In remote parts of the world, access to batteries for diagnostic devices, medical equipment and...

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Simple paper blood test helps people in developing nations diagnose disease faster

Simple paper blood test helps people in developing nations diagnose disease faster

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Not everyone has access to a lab that can process blood tests, so this breakthrough will help people in developing nations diagnose disease faster.   Dutch and Japanese scientists have developed an inexpensive new paper-based blood test kit that quickly determines if patients have infectious...

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China shows off its first official neurosurgery robot

China shows off its first official neurosurgery robot

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As the technologies needed to construct sophisticated robot surgeons advances, so too are the type and complexity of surgeries they can take on.   Using robots in surgery isn’t new, and I’ve written about a bunch of them recently as the technology starts leaving the...

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Chinese researchers turned hard drives into covert listening devices

Chinese researchers turned hard drives into covert listening devices

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There are many ways people can spy on you, and now they can listen in on your conversations by monitoring your hard drives vibrations.   Everything can be hacked in order to spy on “stuff” it seems, whether it’s hacking ultra secure air gapped systems,...

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3D Printing with sound, new tech opens door to printed cosmetics, food, and drugs

3D Printing with sound, new tech opens door to printed cosmetics, food, and drugs

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As 3D printing becomes more popular the ability to control the size of droplets opens the door to 3D printing everything from cosmetics and materials, to pharmaceutical drugs.   Harvard University has announced that its researchers have developed a way to print objects using sound....

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Chinese researchers hack “Unhackable” quantum encryption, reveal method

Chinese researchers hack “Unhackable” quantum encryption, reveal method

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Quantum communications systems, and quantum encryption, are supposed to be unhackable, but they aren’t.   According to experts, and the pioneering companies looking to commercialise the technology, the greatest promise of quantum communications, such as the world’s first quantum video call that took place recently,...

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NASA to test revolutionary X-Ray communications system on the ISS soon

NASA to test revolutionary X-Ray communications system on the ISS soon

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Traditional RF communications in space are slow, and can be blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere during re-entry, X-Ray communications have no such problems.   Recently NASA tested the world’s first interplanetary space internet by sending a selfie from the Arctic to the International Space Station...

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Companies are building the tech to bring Star Trek’s Holodecks to life

Companies are building the tech to bring Star Trek’s Holodecks to life

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The ultimate sci-fi concept, Holodecks have been talked about since they were first shown on TV, and now several companies are building the tech to make them a reality.   San Jose holographic display start up Light Field Lab and Los Angeles graphics company OTOY, which focuses on cloud...

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Qualcomm releases its first WiGig chipsets to push WiFi to gigabit speeds

Qualcomm releases its first WiGig chipsets to push WiFi to gigabit speeds

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The combination of Gigabit WiFi and 5G now mean it’s possible to ditch your traditional fiber based broadband provider, and cut another chord.   Earlier this month, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that the next generation of Wi-Fi devices will be called “Wi-Fi 6,” all but...

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Two algorithms left to their own devices ended up accidentally colluding with one another

Two algorithms left to their own devices ended up accidentally colluding with one another

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF It’s nearly impossible to predict the impact that competing, or even collaborating, algorithms will have on business, and as our society depends on them more, that’s a problem.   Last year Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents made up their own language to talk to one...

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A decade after the first person was cured of HIV, another is in remission

A decade after the first person was cured of HIV, another is in remission

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The HIV and AIDS epidemics have claimed the lives of millions of people, and now there may be a cure, but there’s a big catch.   News has emerged from the UK that a man has been in remission from HIV for a year and...

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Dutch firm unveils the world’s first autonomous self-balancing energy grid for EV’s

Dutch firm unveils the world’s first autonomous self-balancing energy grid for EV’s

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF New powerful technologies are letting us revolutionise how we generate and deliver electricity, and autonomous, self-balancing energy grids are now a thing.   A little while ago I wrote about the US Department of Energy’s plans to create the world’s first autonomous energy grid, but...

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Scientists discovered a way to read information directly from black holes

Scientists discovered a way to read information directly from black holes

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The physics behind Quantum Mechanics mean scientists have discovered a way to read information directly from within blackholes, which is just awesome.   Black holes are gravitational monsters, squeezing gas and dust down to a microscopic point like great cosmic trash compactors, and they’re getting...

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Researchers have created a digital nose that can sniff out disease

Researchers have created a digital nose that can sniff out disease

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There are many ways to detect disease, and one of the most effective ways is using smell, so scientists have developed a digital nose.   An electronic nose typically identifies odours by detecting the “fingerprint” of a chemical compound across an array of sensors that are...

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JP Morgan becomes the first major US bank to roll its own crypto coins

JP Morgan becomes the first major US bank to roll its own crypto coins

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Bitcoin may have its critics, but noone can argue the impact that cryptocurrencies have had on the world, and now one of the US’ biggest banks is jumping on the bandwagon.   With talks of China creating the first blockchain based national cryptocurrency and Ohio...

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SK Telecom launches Quantum Encryption Gateway “to make self-driving cars unhackable”

SK Telecom launches Quantum Encryption Gateway “to make self-driving cars unhackable”

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Autonomous cars and vehicles present a clear opportunity for cyber criminals to wreak chaos on our roads, but first they’d have to break the vehicles’ unbreakable quantum encryption.   If you, like many people, have ever wondered how we’ll be able to stop cyber criminals...

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Russian researchers used a common inkjet printer to print advanced Nano-Sensors

Russian researchers used a common inkjet printer to print advanced Nano-Sensors

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As we develop more nanoscale things we need to be able to keep track of them and monitor them and now we have an inexpensive way to achieve that.   Researchers from ITMO University in Russia have created a new type of optical Nano-Sensor that...

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US Military puts the call out for autonomous AI’s that can defend its networks

US Military puts the call out for autonomous AI’s that can defend its networks

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF After the US Pentagon announced it can no longer keep up with the variety or voracity of cyber attacks the US DOD wants to develop autonomous AI’s that can.   After a damning admission from the Pentagon that warned that the US military can no...

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX capsule lands successfully in crucial step toward human spaceflight

Elon Musk’s SpaceX capsule lands successfully in crucial step toward human spaceflight

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF One of Elon Musk’s ambitions is to allow people to live off world, but first you have to get them there and this is the first step in a long journey.   SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, which Elon Musk first showed off a few months ago,...

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World first as Google DeepMind’s AI crushes the world’s top Starcraft players

World first as Google DeepMind’s AI crushes the world’s top Starcraft players

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Starcraft is a game of strategy, and as a result DeepMind’s AI had to learn an entirely new type of game play in order to thrash its opponents.   AI agents developed by Google’s DeepMind subsidiary have finally beaten human pros at Starcraft II — a first...

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Star Trek like Replicator manufacturing tech unveiled for first time

Star Trek like Replicator manufacturing tech unveiled for first time

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The way we manufacture products today is wasteful and unsustainable, so we’re developing new ways to make the things we love.   Recently I wrote an article about a new form of 3D Printing, called 3D Holographic Printing, printing with light not conventional materials, that...

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Facebook 3D photos sources depth information straight from your camera

Facebook 3D photos sources depth information straight from your camera

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The cameras in our gadgets can do alot more than take photos, and with just a minor tweak we can use them to create living 3D photos.   Leveraging the extra “depth” data found in some iPhone photographs, Facebook today announced the rollout of 3D Photos – images...

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India wants to turn its beaches into fuel for Thorium Reactors

India wants to turn its beaches into fuel for Thorium Reactors

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Thorium reactors produce thousands times less radioactive waste than their nuclear counterparts, and are much safer, but the technology is taking a long time to take off.   The tropical beaches of India probably bring to mind sun-dappled palms, fiery fish curries and dreadlocked backpackers,...

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A US start up has created the world’s first fully autonomous vertical farm

A US start up has created the world’s first fully autonomous vertical farm

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As global population grows we need new ways to produce affordable quality food, and vertical farms are increasingly the answer.   Vertical farms that can grow eight times the crops using no chemicals, herbicides or pesticides, and with 99 percent less water than traditional farms...

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SpaceX seeks FCC approval to bring space based internet to the entire US

SpaceX seeks FCC approval to bring space based internet to the entire US

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Laying down hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre optic cable has had its day as space based internet platforms compete with established telcos.   Private spaceflight firm SpaceX has been publicly planning to deploy a network of “Starlink” satellites to offer broadband internet for several years...

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China reveals plans to build a space based solar power plant by 2025

China reveals plans to build a space based solar power plant by 2025

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to collect solar energy in space and beam it back down to base stations on Earth is a very efficient way to harvest it, and we have the technology.   Let’s face it humanity uses a lot of energy, and while solar power here on...

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Batteries are passé as researchers use ambient sound to charge smartphones

Batteries are passé as researchers use ambient sound to charge smartphones

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to use sound to charge our gadgets is a revolutionary idea, and it’s made possible thanks to advances in Nanomanufacturing.   This could be the greatest power discovery for mobiles, ever. Apparently. So say researchers at Queen Mary University London (QMUL) in the...

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A new algorithm helps machines sense and respond to human trust

A new algorithm helps machines sense and respond to human trust

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As humans and machines start working closely together researchers think we need to create machines that we can trust, but simulating trust might not be the right answer.   As robots and other machines become more entwined with our daily lives, the field of improving...

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