Canada’s emerging technologies metascan Robert Hickson Apr 09

The Canadian Government’s just released a report on emerging technologies. It looks out over the next 15 years and focuses on digital technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies and neuroscience technologies, which they consider have the potential for disruptive rather than incremental innovation. As you’d expect they consider biological enhancements, nanofactories, robots, wired-up everything. There are no major surprises in [...]

Influential futures reports from the past Robert Hickson Mar 18

It was, apparently, “Future Day” on the first of March. I didn’t see that coming, and Google didn’t have a Doodle commemorating it so it can’t be that big a deal yet. The School of International Futures celebrated it, after a fashion, by listing five important futures publications in the last half century. Their criteria [...]

Mythical magic munitions Robert Hickson Mar 11

There may be still a few discoveries and technologies out there, or yet to see the light of day, that will be “magic bullets” which will solve a pressing problem. As, for example, penicillin once did. In parts of Silicon Valley that hope probably still springs eternal, at least if you can develop an app [...]

Brain zapping Robert Hickson Mar 04

It could be that the Tin foil hat brigade are right after all. Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have played around with fly mating behaviour by shooting a laser at their brain. This follows on from work implanting false memories in mice using the same technique – optogenetics. Since optogenetics currently relies on genetically modifying [...]

Energy Darwinism Robert Hickson Feb 20

If fossil fuels are the figurative dinosaurs in the energy landscape, are renewables the agile rodents poised to take over the world? That’s an on-going and often intense debate. Will new technologies enable the fossil fuel industry to adapt and provide us all the oil (and gas) that we could possibly ever need? Will renewable [...]

Caveat artifex Robert Hickson Feb 09

The title is my pig latin for let the worker beware. In the US The Atlantic picked up on the US Bureau of Labor Statistic’s projections of the fastest growing jobs over the next decade. The latter conclude that the fastest growing jobs will be in healthcare, office administration, retail sales, and the food workers. [...]

Electronic bodies Robert Hickson Jan 30

Why go through the pain and expense of getting neural implants if you just want to get cyber-wild for an evening. Katia Vega is developing make-up applications to enable your skin to “act as an interface”. Better than glow sticks and those shoes that flash when you walk. But she isn’t all frivolity, as this [...]

Fantasy Futures Feast Robert Hickson Jan 21

In the spirit of summertime “light” content, where people imagine ideal dinner parties (or voyages to Mars), I’ve drawn up my own futures soiree. It’s not a gathering of all the great and good futurists to come up with a prediction of what the future loos like. Rather it’s a gathering of  knowledgeable and hopefully [...]

MINTies media moments Robert Hickson Jan 15

This week Radio NZ National has been running a BBC series on the MINT economies – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. Jim O’Neill, the economist who coined the term BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India & China), visits each country to look at the opportunities and challenges facing these countries as they attempt to become leading economic [...]

An interactive futures table of elements Robert Hickson Dec 17

Last year I developed a Futures Periodic Table. Since then I’ve been wondering how to make it interactive, so you can drill down to find more information on each “element” and playing around with combinations. I may have a solution to that now. Last week I was at a presentation given by Paul Duignan about a [...]

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