BUSINESS

BUSINESS

Monday, June 30, 2014

How the world will look in The Future Before Apocalypse (UPDATE)

 

 

How the world will look in 2083: A tunnel linking Europe and the U.S., £20 loaves of bread and £476.86 pints of lager (plus we'll all be millionaires)

  • Subjects living under the rule of future King George will witness teleportation, hyper-intelligent computers, deadly heat waves
  • The average wedding will cost a staggering £132,000 while raising a child to the age of 18 will set you back almost £5.6m.
  • Predictions have been made based on historical data and annual growth

Subjects living under the rule of future King George will all be millionaires, witness teleportation and pay £20 for a loaf of bread, according to experts.

With Royal baby fever gripping the nation over recent weeks, an investment firm has compiled the research to see what life would be like when the Royal newborn takes to the throne.

Using the year 2083 as a benchmark, researchers from the investment firm used historical data calculated with annual growth rates to compile an astonishing list of predictions.

Landlord, Pour Us a Few Pints

By 2083, a pint of lager is expected to cost £476.86 but the price of a Big Mac, which has remained remarkably stable for the past decade, will rise only slightly to £3.73

Everyday groceries including a pint of milk and a dozen eggs will cost £321.21 and £66.03 respectively while home owners can expect to pay an average of almost £7 million for new properties. A pint of lager is expected to cost £476.86 but the price of a Big Mac, which has remained remarkably stable for the past decade, will rise only slightly to £3.73.

Their findings revealed the average wedding will cost a staggering £132,000 while raising a child to the age of 18 will set you back almost £5.6m.

Cage Free Eggs and Bottle of Organic Milk

Couple looking at house for sale

Everyday groceries including a pint of milk and a dozen eggs will cost £321.21 and £66.03 respectively, while home owners can expect to pay an average of almost £7 million for new properties

The data projections also found that subjects of Prince Cambridge will live for much longer.

‘Many of our investors are parents of young children that will grow up to be the subjects of King George,’ said David Garner, Managing Director of DGCAssetManagement.com.

‘They want to know how to plan for their children's future and what that future might look like financially.

‘We used historical data to calculate compound annual growth rates, which we then applied over the next 70 years to 2083.

Teleportation

Subjects living under the rule of future King George will all be millionaires, witness teleportation and pay £20 for a loaf of bread, according to experts

‘We also adjusted for inflation, to provide a better comparison with today's prices.

‘Some of the numbers might seem outrageous at first but when you consider that a pint of milk cost 20p just 30 years ago, paying £320 in 2083 is not too difficult to imagine.’

Separate research at FutureTimeline.net predicts that hyper-intelligent computers will perform ‘the equivalent of all human thought over the last ten thousand years in less than ten microseconds.’

They also believe that by 2083, the average citizen will have access to a wide array of biotechnology implants and personal medical devices.

Humans becoming more technologically

Humans could have fully artificial organs that never fail, bionic eyes and ears providing superman-like senses and nanoscale brain interfaces which greatly augment the wearer's intelligence

These could include fully artificial organs that never fail, bionic eyes and ears providing superman-like senses, nanoscale brain interfaces which greatly augment the wearer's intelligence and synthetic.

The future experts predict our scientific achievements by 2083 will include a trans-Atlantic tunnel providing fast travel between the USA and Europe and five year survival rates for brain tumours close to 100 per cent.

The 2080s will not be so bright for many animal species though as lizards and polar bears will be extinct, whilst agriculture is set to suffer as a result of ‘deadly heat waves.’

In the peak of summer, temperatures in major cities such as London and Paris reach over 40°C.

In some of the more southerly parts of the continent, temperatures of over 50°C are reported. Thousands are dying of heat exhaustion.

Red umbrella in desert landscape

Jupiter

The 2080s will see temperatures in major cities such as London and Paris reach over 40°C and the first manned exploration to Jupiter

They believe that forest fires will rage in many places while prolonged, ongoing droughts will cause many rivers to run permanently dry. Spain, Italy and the Balkans, they believe, will turn into desert nations, with climates similar to North Africa. On a brighter note, experiments in quantum entanglement, made possible by artificial intelligence and picotechnology, will provide major breakthroughs in travel.

By 2083, the future experts claim it will be possible to teleport macro-scale objects from one location to another.

The future monarch is also expected to oversee the worldwide adoption of a common currency and the first manned expedition to orbit the planet Jupiter. This was a shiny, yet strange, future in which, by the Nineties at the very latest, we were all supposed to be going on holiday in orbit and living on the moon.

Movies set in a 'future' that was often not far away usually featured robots capable of satisfying our every whim, park-like cities with no traffic in which the leisured classes would stroll around in shiny jumpsuits, getting their meals in the form of a pill.

flying car

Many of us grew up with a future that promised exciting innovations, such as flying cars

That was one future, an optimistic tomorrow that looked a bit like Milton Keynes. But there was another, darker one running parallel to this fantasy.

This was the chilling world of the apocalypse. Here, we had book, movie and TV fantasies of a world ruined by atomic war, nightmare dictatorships, genetic meddling and over-population. Today, of course, we still fret about global warming and intercontinental plagues. And although the helpful robots, jetpacks and flying cars may never have materialised, our future is possibly even more pessimistic than the ones of my childhood. In a new book, I address two big questions facing us today: first, is it the case, as everyone assumes, that The End is nigh, with climate chaos, disease and famine round the corner?

And, if not, then what is our future going to be like? Could we, contrary to all popular wisdom, be facing a future that is dizzyingly long? But first, what happened to that old future, the one of flying cars and robot servants? In so many ways, the reality has been a letdown. Someone or other in California has been promising a flying car for the past 30 years  -  but it never seems to materialise. And the robots of reality turn out to consist of cute toys and automatic vacuum cleaners which almost, but not quite, work as promised. Manned space exploration  -  the staple of so many future fantasies  -  has also ground to a halt. I cannot fly to the moon; they are not even sending professionals to the moon any more.

Ten years ago, you could fly to New York in three hours, but with Concorde grounded even this is no longer possible.

Wall.E

Fictional robot Wall.E: The helpful robot servants we were expecting have never materialised

And yet, on a more subtle level, our world is extremely 'futuristic'.

No flying cars, but the average British schoolchild has access to more computing power in his bedroom than was available to the whole of Nasa in the early Sixties  -  in many ways, a more impressive achievement.

The contraceptive Pill has changed more lives than a Moonbase ever would have done. And a black man as the U.S. President and openly gay Cabinet ministers would have seemed like science fiction in the decade they sent men to the moon.

That's today, then, but what of tomorrow? It has become received wisdom, of course, that there will be no tomorrow. I have lost count of the

endless doomsday scenarios: nuclear war, global plagues, pesticides, a new Ice Age, rampant over-population and now, of course, global warming.

Without resorting to unrealistic optimism, I think a note of caution is needed here.

Ten years ago, the world got in a tizzy about a new threat, that of the Millennium Bug. This computer glitch, a consequence of the date changing to a two and three zeroes, was supposed to cause planes to fall from the sky, power stations to shut down and even trigger World War III.

In fact, the world spent between a third of a trillion and a trillion dollars combating the bug  -  money which ended up mostly in the pockets of computer consultants.

There was, of course, no Millennium Bug, at least not one which could destroy civilisation. It was all a fantasy, fuelled by our suspicions of technologies we do not understand and our peculiar desire to imagine Armageddon around the corner.

The story of the bug illustrates that we should always question the assertions of those who insist the world is on the verge of destruction.

Take climate change. It looks as though a compelling case can be made that human activity is warming the world and, furthermore, that we should do something about it.

But will it be the end of the world? I doubt it. My guess is that climate change will turn out to be an expensive and sometimes deadly nuisance, one of many problems which will accompany a century of spiralling population (there will be an extra two to three billion people to be fed, watered and housed by the time I reach retirement age) and pressure on resources. Say, just for argument, that I am right and we manage to survive global warming (as well as nuclear war, which is surely still the most plausible threat to our way of life and wellbeing); what then? Could we survive into countless millennia ahead, and what would this future really be like? We are the first generation able to make conscious choices which could limit the choices available to generations to come.

Do we remove the Amazon rainforest, or not? Do we wave goodbye to myriad species, which once gone will be lost for ever? All these choices are in our gift and make the present a good time to start thinking about the long-term tomorrow.

I believe our future will be quite unlike those futures we imagined in the Seventies and, indeed, unlike the futures we imagine today. One certainty is that, barring some truly catastrophic plague or war, our immediate future is going to be very crowded.

1984

Chilling fantasy: The film 1984 depicted a darker future

The depressing possibility is that tomorrow will be a shabby, overcrowded version of today, with a few hyper-wealthy, high-tech enclaves surrounded by a growing sea of poverty, overpopulation, crime and squalor.

The most profound near-future changes will happen in the third world. Today, there are just less than a billion Africans; however, in a few decades, that number will double. Africa can barely feed itself now; with a billion or more extra mouths, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this continent faces a century of extreme misery.

As for those of us in the West, most of the houses our grandchildren will inhabit in the 2050s have been built already.

It is astonishing how durable much of the Victorian world remains, from the railway network and the London Underground to the sturdy redbrick of urban Britain. Much of the future will be reassuringly old-fashioned.

Equally, predictions about the death of the automobile have been exaggerated. Flying cars are absurdly impractical, as are many of the more down-to-earth alternatives to petrol and diesel that have been touted.

For most of the rest of this century, we will get around in much the same way we have been doing for decades. Hopefully, by the time oil runs out (or before it becomes too expensive to burn in car engines), we will have found an alternative, almost certainly electricity. On the human front, most of the social revolutions that will happen will take place in those parts of the world where attitudes to women's and minority rights are stuck in the Middle Ages. In the West, the life of leisure will, as ever, elude us (half a century ago it was widely predicted that we would all be working part-time by now). The truth is that we like work more than we care to think.

Guessing what precisely we will be doing to entertain ourselves a century or a millennium hence is pointless, but some things will never change; humans will remain the same gossipy apes we always have been. Wine, women and song will (figuratively) continue to drive social discourse until we go extinct.

orangutan

The orangutan could become a treasure of the past

But some parts of our lives are ripe for revolution. Education, even in the rich world, is failing millions of children. Sooner or later this scandal will have to be addressed, and my guess is we will need to rethink the way we educate our children rather than simply throwing more money at the problem.

Similarly, our attitude to crime, too, is confused and ineffective.

Crime costs Britain about 5pc of its GDP; worldwide, the figure is much higher. It is likely that we will face more profound questions. For example, it is likely we will discover that certain people's brains are hard-wired to make them act violently or commit sexual crimes.

This could lead to grave legal and moral ramifications. On the one hand, it would remove culpability from some of the worst offenders. On the other, society may conclude that some people are simply too dangerous ever to be freed, even if it is not, philosophically, their 'fault'.

Of course, in all the discussion about our future, we cannot discount the possibility of so-called wild cards.

For decades, we have been broadcasting our presence into space via radio and TV signals. If there are any intelligent aliens out there with radio telescopes like ours, they probably know we are here. It is just, remotely, possible that within my lifetime we may get the biggest shock in history and discover we are not alone. Then, nothing can be predicted as to what might happen. Tragically, the world of the coming millennium will also lose many treasures. Whole ecosystems will undoubtedly be swept away by the tide of humanity. We will probably have to say goodbye to the mountain gorilla and the orangutan, the snow leopard and the Bengal tiger, apart from those in protected reserves and zoos. We will undoubtedly change, too. The geneticist Steve Jones claimed earlier this month that human evolution has stopped. Maybe so, but the humans of a thousand, ten thousand, half a million years' time will surely not look exactly as we do. Racial mixing will mean the future is probably browner, and maybe healthier.

Dramatic advances in medicine may lead to 1,000-year lifespans and designer babies, but there still seems to be little appetite for these things. Predictions of a future full of perfect clones always ignore the fact that having babies the old-fashioned way is entertaining and cheap.

Equally, global warming may not kill us all (even nuclear war would not kill every human), but in 20 or 50 years' time we may perfect some ghastly new technology which could bring the great human project to an end. Biologists say most species go extinct naturally, but the rules probably don't apply to one in possession of antibiotics and the Bomb. Until our generation, thinking about the future always meant thinking, literally, about tomorrow. During my childhood in the Seventies, the Nineties seemed almost impossibly distant  -  paradoxically, far more so than the 2020s do today. Those three little zeroes of the Millennium were a barrier, a symbol of a new dawn  -  or a new nightmare. Although we have passed that milestone, more or less safely, never before has the future seemed so vast and unknowable. The past is gone, so is the present  -  that future is all we have left.

In our future we will start each day checking transport and weather reports on our interactive bathroom mirrors.

A smart car will then not only drive us to work, it will know the best route to take, how to avoid traffic lights, know what meetings we have, and show emails on its dashboard. What’s more, every car will ‘talk’ to each other to avoid a crash.

We'll then buy our lunch using our phones, and try on clothes using a 360-degree, 3D mirror in shop changing rooms.

The technologies and concepts were on display at the GSMA Connected City stand during this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, illustration pictured. These included smart bathroom mirrors, networks of self-driving cars, supermarkets replaced by posters, and clothes that detect illness

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The technologies and concepts were on display at the GSMA Connected City stand during this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, illustration pictured. These included smart bathroom mirrors, networks of self-driving cars, supermarkets replaced by posters, and clothes that detect illness

These are just a selection of technologies and concepts that were recently on display at the 'Connected City' during this year’s Mobile World Congress.

The connected mirror is a concept designed by Oral B.The firm added a motion sensor to a sink and when a person waves their hand in front of it, the interactive mirror is enabled.

By swiping their hand up or down, cards scroll through a menu in the same way they would on a smartphone. These cards could be customised to show traffic and transport routes, news, weather, videos, and more. Oral B also unveiled its SmartSeries electric toothbrush that links to a phone via Bluetooth. If the user brushes too hard, the phone receives signals from the brush and displays an alert.

BMW, Qualcomm, Audi and AT&T all had connected cars on display at the show in Barcelona, and each had slightly different features.

For example, Qualcomm's Mercedes was fitted with a touchscreen dashboard that showed directions, tyre pressure and other car diagnostics, speed and fuel consumption, and was connected to internet radio.

The connected mirror, pictured, is a concept designed by Oral B.The firm added a motion sensor to a sink and when a person waves their hand in front of it, the interactive mirror is enabled. By swiping their hand up or down, users can scroll through a menu in the same way they would on a smartphone

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The connected mirror, pictured, is a concept designed by Oral B.The firm added a motion sensor to a sink and when a person waves their hand in front of it, the interactive mirror is enabled. By swiping their hand up or down, users can scroll through a menu in the same way they would on a smartphone

BMW, Qualcomm, Audi and AT&T all had connected cars and systems on display at the show in Barcelona, and each had slightly different features. This AT&T demonstration shows smart traffic management

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BMW, Qualcomm, Audi and AT&T all had connected cars and systems on display at the show in Barcelona, and each had slightly different features. This AT&T demonstration shows smart traffic management

Deutsche Telekom demonstrated a parking system. pictured, that guides drivers to nearby parking spaces. The scheme is being trialled in Pisa. It maps the city for available spaces and guides drivers to the location using an app.<br />The fee can also be paid using the phone

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Deutsche Telekom demonstrated a parking system. pictured, that guides drivers to nearby parking spaces. The scheme is being trialled in Pisa. It maps the city for available spaces and guides drivers to the location using an app. The fee can also be paid using the phone

Currently in the testing phase with China Mobile, Huawei has developed a system for scooters, using AllJoyn technology, that automatically calls an insurance company following an accident

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Currently in the testing phase with China Mobile, Huawei has developed a system for scooters, using AllJoyn technology, that automatically calls an insurance company following an accident

Qualcomm also demonstrated a system where directions can be virtually laid on top of the road ahead using a Heads Up Display, as well as a collision avoidance system involving cars that 'talk' to each other to send data about speeds and routes.

In its model car, Qualcomm additionally showed off a touchscreen display that can link with a mobile phone and mirror whatever is on the phone's screen.

It has its own interface that shows the speed and rev counter, can be used to control in-car entertainment, and reveals any problems with the car.

For example, clicking the diagnostics button will show the pressure of each tyre as well as how that compares to the recommended Psi for that car.

BMW's ConnectedDrive vision took this a step further by turning the car into a personal concierge - driving its owner to their destination, showing emails on a display, connecting to the owner's calendar and automatically taking them to their next meeting - taking the fastest route possible avoiding traffic.

These systems are similar to CarPlay, announced by Apple last week. Apple has teamed up with a number of car manufacturers, including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Honda to fit cars with software that connects to iPhones running iOS 7 software.

Elsewhere in the Connected City, and currently in the testing phase with China Mobile, Huawei showcased a system for scooters, using AllJoyn technology, that automatically calls an insurance company following an accident.

Apple's CarPlay uses Siri voice commands to control entertainment and other in-car features. Researchers from Texas Transportation Institute recently found that using voice controls to send text messages while driving - on software including Apple's Siri - is just as dangerous as texting with fingers

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Apple's CarPlay uses Siri voice commands to control entertainment and other in-car features. Researchers from Texas Transportation Institute recently found that using voice controls to send text messages while driving - on software including Apple's Siri - is just as dangerous as texting with fingers

The agent can then geolocate the driver using GPS, assess the situation in real-time via video streaming, and send or receive any necessary insurance documents.

The AT&T and BMW demos additionally featured speech recognition and 4G-enabled systems, while Deutsche Telekom (DT) demonstrated a parking system that guides drivers to nearby parking spaces.

The DT scheme is being trialled in Pisa. It maps the city for available spaces and guides drivers to the location using an app. Sensors on parking spaces will check whether they are vacant or occupied and forward this information to the app.

The fee can also be paid using a phone.

In a mock-up shop in the Connected City, pictured, photos of products were placed on posters with NFC tags. Users could then hold their phones up to the tags to add those items to a shopping basket. They could then pay for their shopping and send their order to a warehouse for collection

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In a mock-up shop in the Connected City, pictured, photos of products were placed on posters with NFC tags. Users could then hold their phones up to the tags to add those items to a shopping basket. They could then pay for their shopping and send their order to a warehouse for collection

KT, formerly Korea Telecom, also demonstrated its augmented reality changing rooms at GSMA's Connected City. It lets shoppers try on clothes and accessories virtually. The 360-degree mirrors create a 3D image that can be viewed from every angle and sent to the shopper's phone as a photo

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KT, formerly Korea Telecom, also demonstrated its augmented reality changing rooms at GSMA's Connected City. It lets shoppers try on clothes and accessories virtually. The 360-degree mirrors create a 3D image that can be viewed from every angle and sent to the shopper's phone as a photo

PowaTag lets you shop by snapping photos on your mobile

Meanwhile in the retail section of the GSMA Connected City, companies including Weve and Aimia - which manages the Nectar card scheme - demonstrated smart shopping posters and voucher wallets.

In their mock-up shop, photos of products were placed on posters with NFC tags. Users then held their phones up to the tags to add those items to a shopping basket.

Smart: The world's first smartphone toothbrush tells its users where they have gone wrong

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Smart: The world's first smartphone toothbrush tells its users where they have gone wrong

They could then pay for their shopping and send their order to a warehouse for collection.

A real-world example could be ordering shopping at a bus stop before picking it up from a store near their home.

A company who has already developed a similar system is Powatag, which launched this week in New York.

PowaTag lets shoppers walk up to an item, billboard, screen advert or retail display and purchase the product with a touch of their smartphone screen.

Powatag can also be used with radio and TV adverts. When a advert plays, shoppers can buy the product being advertised through the Powatag app using the phone's built-in speakers.

In another area of the Connected City's retail section, KT (formerly Korea Telecom) demonstrated its augmented reality changing rooms. They lets shoppers try on clothes and accessories virtually.

The 360-degree mirrors create a 3D image that can be viewed from every angle, and this image can be sent to the shopper's phone as a photo. Shoppers will also be able to order products in different sizes, for example, while still in the shop.

KT additionally unveiled its g-manual - a medical app that gives tailored information about medicines, possible diseases and other health information based on a person's genome saved in their smartphone.

If there are two or more similar medicines to treat the same illness, KT's personalised service finds which medicine will have the greatest effect on that person's individual genome.

A company who has already developed a retail system similar to those on display in Barcelona is Powatag. PowaTag, pictured, lets shoppers walk up to an item, billboard, screen or print advert, or retail display and purchase the promoted product with a touch of their smartphone screen

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A company who has already developed a retail system similar to those on display in Barcelona is Powatag. PowaTag, pictured, lets shoppers walk up to an item, billboard, screen or print advert, or retail display and purchase the promoted product with a touch of their smartphone screen

In the sports arena, the 'D-Shirt', pictured, by French company Cityzen Sciences was demonstrated with a team of basketball players. It is made from a special fabric woven with sensors which record a wearer's heart rate, GPS location, route, speed and altitude

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In the sports arena, the 'D-Shirt', pictured, by French company Cityzen Sciences was demonstrated with a team of basketball players. It is made from a special fabric woven with sensors which record a wearer's heart rate, GPS location, route, speed and altitude

It means you can record your progress during the run and view a summary of your performance on your return. The product allows a friend or personal trainer to monitor you at a distance during a workout - a feature which may be attractive to marathon runners

The D-shirt connects up to an app, pictured, that monitors all aspects of your jog. Here the app is shown in French - listing a user's journey duration, distance, heart-rate, calories burned, speed and level of fatigue

In the sports arena, the ‘D-Shirt’ by French company Cityzen Sciences was demonstrated with a team of basketball players.

It is made from a special fabric woven with sensors which record a wearer's heart rate, GPS location, route, speed and altitude.

The shirt is made from a Smart Sensing fabric woven with integral micro-sensors which send information to a small detachable transmitter on the back of the shirt. This in turn sends transmissions to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

Transmissions can only be made up to 10 metres away from the phone, so if it is left at home the data will sync when the runner returns. If the runner or their personal trainer takes the phone with them, it means they can monitor the run in real-time.

In its model car at Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm demonstrated a touchscreen display that can link with a mobile phone and mirror whatever is on the phone's screen, pictured

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In its model car at Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm demonstrated a touchscreen display that can link with a mobile phone and mirror whatever is on the phone's screen, pictured

The Qualcomm car also has its own interface that shows the speed and rev counter, can be used to control in-car entertainment and will reveal any problems with the car. For example, clicking the diagnostics button will show the pressure of each tyre as well as how that compares to the recommended Psi for that car

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The Qualcomm car also has its own interface that shows the speed and rev counter, can be used to control in-car entertainment and will reveal any problems with the car. For example, clicking the diagnostics button will show the pressure of each tyre as well as how that compares to the recommended Psi for that car

The phone can store and analyse data from the fabric, showing the person’s route and how fast they are going. The app provides a summary at the end of each session, showing your route, time, speed, heart rate and number of calories burned.

It means you can record your progress during the run and view a summary of your performance on your return.

It allows a friend or personal trainer to monitor you at a distance during a workout - a feature which may be attractive to marathon runners.

Elsewhere in the sports area, Deutsche Telekom unveiled its plans for a Smart Stadium. The system takes information from all parts of a stadium, using seat sensors and cameras for example, to recognise trouble spots.

Elsewehre in the sports arena, Deutsche Telekom unveiled plans for a Smart Stadium. It takes information from seat sensors and cameras to recognise trouble spots. These plans follow last week's announcement that EE has partnered with Wembley Stadium, pictured, to give fans event details, stadium and travel information

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Elsewehre in the sports arena, Deutsche Telekom unveiled plans for a Smart Stadium. It takes information from seat sensors and cameras to recognise trouble spots. These plans follow last week's announcement that EE has partnered with Wembley Stadium, pictured, to give fans event details, stadium and travel information

This information can be used to manage traffic flow in and out of the stadium, and reduce the amount of time people have to wait to get a drink or food during breaks.

Fans can additionally use an app to get detailed information about the game or to find out about the current traffic situation around the stadium. Deutsche Telekom claimed the system can reduce energy costs by 10 percent.

These plans for a smart stadium follow last week's announcement that EE has partnered with Wembley Stadium to make the London venue 'fully connected.'

The partnership also includes a free app for Android and Apple handsets  that shows fans extra event details, as well as stadium and travel information.

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will the world look in 2025? A report says a pilot licence could be the new right-of-passage to adulthood, quantum teleportation will be possible and everything in daily life - from our homes to our newspapers - will be digital.

That’s according to the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, which has released 'The World in 2025: 10 Predictions of Innovation'.

The report predicts the landscape of science and technology in just one 10 years by mining global patent data and scientific literature.

A new paper by Thomson Reuters compiles 10 innovation predictions for the world in 2025, based on research done by analysts. In some cases, the analysts found a growing body of work that gave additional credence to the prediction. In others, the topic was still emerging

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A new paper by Thomson Reuters compiles 10 innovation predictions for the world in 2025, based on research done by analysts. In some cases, the analysts found a growing body of work that gave additional credence to the prediction. In others, the topic was still emerging

To conduct the study, researchers identified the top 10 emerging scientific areas based on an analysis of popular topics using Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

They looked at global patent data in the Derwent World Patents Index to identify the top 10 patent fields with the highest number of inventions containing a priority date of 2012 and beyond.

The resulting technology areas with the highest level of commercial and scientific research interest were then reviewed to identify hot spots of innovation that will lead to tomorrow’s biggest breakthroughs. ‘While we do not purport to own a crystal ball, we do have the next best thing: citations to scientific literature and patent content,’ said Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters IP and Science, in a press release.

‘By analysing current research and development activity and commercial pipelines, we are shining a spotlight on some of the most exciting developments that will emerge over the next decade.’

And, to MailOnline, Moftah added that the hardest thing was selecting the final 10 predictions from numerous citations and journals.

‘The main debate around the room was deciding what the ten would be,’ he tells MailOnline.

‘There’s a lot of investment going on in science and technology around the world, as always there is a broad range and field of research going on in universities and institutions.'

One prediction from the report is that solar power will become the largest source of energy on Earth by 2025.

According to the most highly-cited scientific research papers of the last two years, the process of harvesting and converting the sun’s energy is becoming much more advanced.

Ultimately they say it will be more than just a novelty for the environmentally conscious; solar power will be used by the majority of the world's population

2025 ACCORDING TO THOMSON REUTERS

1. Dementia declines

According to the report, 'Baby Boomers' will begin to reach their 80s, so more and more scientific research funds will be directed toward afflictions they may encounter.

2. Solar will be the largest source of energy on the planet

Methods for harvesting, storing and converting solar energy are so advanced and efficient that it becomes the primary source of energy on our planet.
3. Type I diabetes will be preventable

Modifying the human genome will become a reality, making the prevention of diseases such as type 1 diabetes a possibility.

4. The end of food shortages

Thanks to advancements in lighting technologies and imaging techniques, coupled with genetic crop modification, food shortages and food price fluctuations will become things of the past.

5. Electric air transportation will 'take off'

Lightweight aerospace engineering and new battery technologies will power electric vehicle transportation on land and in the air. Micro-commercial aircraft will fly the skies for short-hop journeys. As these new planes will be able to take off and land in much smaller spaces, getting a pilot license could be the new right-of-passage to adulthood in the 21st century.

6. Everything will be digital

From cars and homes that respond to your every wish and want, to appliances that think for themselves, to interconnected geographies, everyone will be digitally directed. 'Imagine the day when the entire continent of Africa is completely, digitally connected,' the researchers write. 'That day will happen in 2025.'

7. Petroleum-based packaging will be history

Cellulose-derived packaging, which is 100 per cent fully biodegradable, will become the norm. Petroleum-based packaging products will be no more.

8. Cancer treatments will have very few toxic side effects

Drug development will be so much more precise, binding to specific proteins and using antibodies to give exact mechanisms of action, that the debilitating effects of toxic chemicals on patients will be significantly reduced.

9. DNA mapping at birth is the norm

The evolution of nanotechnology, coupled with more widespread 'Big Data' technologies that incorporate data from many different people, make DNA-mapping at birth the norm, as well as part of one’s annual physician exam. This allows diseases to be identified.

10. Quantum teleportation will be commonplace

Although in 2025 humans won’t yet be able to teleport through space, a significant investment in and testing of quantum teleportation will be underway using other forms of 'exotic' matter, proving the concept to not only be possible but useful.

One of the predictions to come out of the report is that electric planes might be so commonplace that getting a pilot's licence will be the new right of passage to adulthood, like how a driver's licence is today. Other predictions include that food shortages might be a think of the past thanks to genetically modified crops

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One of the predictions to come out of the report is that electric planes might be so commonplace that getting a pilot's licence will be the new right of passage to adulthood, like how a driver's licence is today. Other predictions include that food shortages might be a think of the past thanks to genetically modified crops

‘Personally the DNA mapping one was probably the most tangible, in my opinion, and the one that’s the most promising,' Moftah said, revealing his favoured prediction.

‘In ten years time it will become routine for DNA mapping through birth.'

Elsewhere, the researchers also predict that teleportation testing will become common.

‘Thanks to the research that went into the Higgs Boson project, Scotty may soon be beaming things up,’ the analysts write.

Scientific literature has apparently exploded around the Higgs Boson, with over 400 citations of the 2012 study.

This, they say, is a key indicator that scientists will attempt more ambitious quantum teleportation techniques.

The report also says that everything will be digital: ‘From the smallest of personal items to the largest continents, everything, everywhere will be digitally connected,’ say the analysts.

This will be a result of improved semiconductors, graphene-carbon nanotube capacitors, cell-free networks and 5G technology.

The evolution of nanotechnology, coupled with more widespread 'Big Data' technologies that incorporate data from many different people, make DNA-mapping at birth the norm, according to the analysts as well as part of one's annual physician exam. This allows diseases to be identified and some to be prevented

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The evolution of nanotechnology, coupled with more widespread 'Big Data' technologies that incorporate data from many different people, make DNA-mapping at birth the norm, according to the analysts as well as part of one's annual physician exam. This allows diseases to be identified and some to be prevented

They also say type 1 diabetes might be be preventable.

Advancements in biological molecule engineering will advance to a point where it will be possible to modify humans to identify and treat diseases.

This field currently leads all areas of genetic-engineering patenting and has been identified as an emerging research front in the scientific literature.

How many of the predictions come to fruition remains to be seen, but the bold estimates of life in 2025 are interesting to say the least.

‘Our purpose is to provoke debate among the research community, the world at large, by showing them what is really happening and sometimes it is slightly opaque in research and science communities,' Moftah adds.

‘So we hope that this really drives the debate.’

Will solar energy be the largest source of power on the planet in 2025? The analysts say that methods for harvesting, storing and converting solar energy will become so advanced and efficient that it becomes the primary source of energy on our planet

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Will solar energy be the largest source of power on the planet in 2025? The analysts say that methods for harvesting, storing and converting solar energy will become so advanced and efficient that it becomes the primary source of energy on our planet

 

 

Your children will live to see man merge with machines. But will it save or destroy us?

Last week, historian Ian Morris revealed how, at the end of the last Ice Age, a simple accident of geography gave the West the advantages that led to it dominating the world for the past two centuries. His argument forces us to accept that our success was nothing to do with superior brains, leaders or culture – and that the East is on the brink of taking over. That idea may be hard to get used to, but Morris says it will be easy compared with the astounding changes in technology and health that are just around the corner...

The Matrix

Sci-fi future: Films like the Matrix have given a fictional depiction of the merging of man and machine. But could our planet have changed beyond all recognition by 2100? When we imagine what life will be like over the next century, many people worry how the rise of the East will affect our lives in the West. They need not bother: the reality is that by the year 2100 our planet will have changed out of all recognition and even the concept of East and West may be meaningless. In an interview in 2000, the economist Jeremy Rifkin suggested that: ‘Our way of life is likely to be more fundamentally transformed in the next several decades than in the previous thousand years.’ But this is, in fact, an understatement. By my calculations, social development will rise twice as much between now and 2050 as in the previous 15,000 years; and by 2100 it will double again. By 2100 we can anticipate cities of 140 million people – picture Tokyo, Mexico City, New York, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, New Delhi and Shanghai all rolled into one. We should imagine armies with five times the destructive power of today’s, which probably means not more nuclear arms but weapons that make our intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombs and guns as obsolete as the machine gun made the musket.

Robots will do our fighting. Cyber warfare will be decisive. Nanotechnology will turn everyday materials into deadly weapons.

Terminsator Salvation

Brave new world: Robots will do our fighting. Cyber warfare will be decisive. Nanotechnology will turn everyday materials into deadly weapons. The 20th Century took us from hand-cranked telephones to the internet; the 21st will probably see everyone (at least in rich nations) gain instant access to all the world’s information, their brains networked in the same way as – or into – a giant computer. All this, of course, sounds like science fiction. Cities of 140 million surely could not function. Nano-, cyber- and robot wars would annihilate us all. And merging our minds with machines – well, we would cease to be human. And that, I think, is the most important point. When I was a little boy, back in the warm glow of the West’s golden age, I used to love the television show Star Trek. Warp drive, phasers and Scotty beaming up Captain Kirk struck me as wonderful. It was a brilliant image of what the distant future might look like; if, that is, we could add technology while keeping everything else the same. But we now know that is not what is going to happen.

Another Seventies TV show, The Six Million Dollar Man, probably came closer to the mark. You may remember the voiceover in the opening credits: ‘We can rebuild him, we have the technology.’ Forty years on we really are rebuilding ourselves. We actually began the rebuilding a century ago, when science and industry gave us first chemical fertilisers and tractors, then electric pumps to bring water to dry fields, and finally genetically modified crops. More food changed what it meant to be human. Earth’s population quadrupled in the 20th Century, but the food supply grew even more. On average, all over the world, people are 50 per cent bigger than in 1900. We are 4ins taller, have more robust organs and carry more fat (in rich countries, too much fat).

The Six Million Dollar Man

A reality? Lee Majors in the television show The Six Million Dollar Man. The voiceover in the opening credits said: 'We can rebuild him, we have the technology.' Forty years on we really are rebuilding ourselves. Europeans and Americans live 30 years longer than their great-grandparents and enjoy an extra decade or two before their eyes and ears weaken and arthritis freezes their joints. And in most of the rest of the world, life spans have lengthened by closer to 40 years. Even in Africa, plagued by AIDS and malaria, people live 20 years longer in 2010 than they did in 1910. The human body has changed more in the past 100 years than it did in the previous 100,000 years. Our life spans and general health – not to mention our easily available augments such as hearing aids, artificial joints, Botox, and Viagra – would have seemed like magic to anyone who lived in an earlier age. But the changes over the next 100 years will be even greater. The cutting edge shows up in some unlikely areas, such as the sports field. When Tiger Woods needed eye surgery in 2005, he asked himself an obvious question: why be content with what Nature gave me? Instead of settling for merely perfect 20/20 vision, he upgraded to better-than-human 20/15. In 2008, the International Association of Athletics Federations faced an even more extraordinary question. It temporarily banned the sprinter Oscar Pistorius from the Beijing Olympics because his artificial legs seemed to give him an edge over runners hobbled by real legs.

In the end, Pistorius missed qualifying by 0.7 of a second.

Oscar Pistorius

Advantage? Sprinter Oscar Pistorius was temporarily banned from the Beijing Olympics because his artificial legs seemed to give him an edge over runners hobbled by real legs. By the 2020s, middle-aged people in rich countries might see farther, run faster and look better than they did as youngsters. But they will still not be as eagle-eyed, swift, and beautiful as the next generation.

Genetic testing already offers parents the option of aborting foetuses predisposed to undesirable shortcomings, and as we get better at switching specific genes on and off, ‘designer babies’ may become an option. Why take a chance on Nature’s lottery when a little tinkering can give you the baby you want? Because, some say, eugenics – whether driven by racist maniacs such as Hitler or by consumer choice – is wrong. All this talk of transcending biology is merely playing God. To that, Craig Venter (who this year justified his nickname Dr Frankencell by synthesizing JCVI-syn1.0, the world’s first artificial life) reportedly replies: ‘We’re not playing.’

Politicians can ban stem cell research, but outlawing therapeutic cloning, beauty for all (who can pay), and longer life spans does not sound workable. And banning the battlefield applications of tinkering with Nature is even less plausible.

The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA – the people who brought us the internet in the Seventies) is currently working on molecular-scale computers built from enzymes and DNA molecules rather than silicon.

These will be implanted in soldiers’ heads, giving post-biological infantrymen some of the advantages of machines by speeding up their thought processes, adding memory, and even providing wireless internet access.

In a similar vein, DARPA’s Silent Talk project is working on implants that will decode preverbal electrical signals within the brain and send them over the internet so troops can communicate without radios or email. One recent National Science Foundation report suggests that such ‘network-enhanced telepathy’ should become a reality in the 2020s.

As early as next year IBM expects to have an array of Blue Gene/Q supercomputers running that will take us a quarter of the way towards a functioning simulation of a human brain.

Some technologists, such as the inventor Ray Kurzweil, insist that in the 2030s neuron-by-neuron brain scanning will allow us to upload human minds on to machines.

Kurzweil calls this ‘the Singularity’ – a stage of history when change becomes so fast that it seems to be instantaneous.

I have suggested that while geography drives social development at different rates in different parts of the world, rising levels of development also drive what geography means.

DNS molecules

Future fighters: The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency is currently working on molecular-scale computers built from enzymes and DNA molecules

But if something such as Kurzweil’s Singularity comes to pass, development will not just change geography’s meaning: it will rob geography of meaning altogether. The merging of mortals and machines will mean new ways of living, fighting, working, thinking and loving; new ways of being born, growing old, and dying. It may mean the end of all these things and the dawn of a world beyond anything our unimproved, merely biological brains can imagine. All this will come to pass – unless, of course, it doesn’t. History shows us what trends have shaped the world, allowing us to project them into the future, but it also shows that these trends often generate the very forces that undermine them. The rise of the great ancient empires of Rome and Han China, for instance, set off migrations, wars, famines and plagues that brought them down. One thousand years later, the successes of medieval Chinese and Western states played a big part in starting the Mongol migrations and Black Death that devastated them in the 13th to 14th Centuries. We can trace the same pattern at least as far back as 2200 BC, when the expansion of Old Kingdom Egypt and the Akkadian Empire in what is now Iraq triggered another package of migration, state failure, famine and plague, ushering in collapse and a Dark Age. In each case, the upheavals coincided with rapid climate change, which complicated reactions to crisis. The surging social development of the 21st Century is generating an alarmingly similar pattern. Not a year goes by without the World Health Organisation warning of some new pandemic – flu, AIDS, SARS – spreading like wildfire and threatening to kill tens of millions.

Meanwhile, the climate is changing faster than at any time in the past 12,000 years. The worst effects are being felt along a great swathe from central Africa to central Asia.

Floods

Climate change: By 2050 there couldl be 200 million 'climate migrants' region, fleeing famine, disease and state failure

The Stern Review, a British report commissioned in 2006, predicted that by 2050 there will be 200 million ‘climate migrants’ in this region, fleeing famine, disease and state failure, and spreading even more famine, disease and state failure in their wake. As if this were not enough, this arc of instability is also the heartland of nuclear proliferation.

Israel has built up a large nuclear arsenal since 1970; India and Pakistan both tested weapons in 1998. Israeli intelligence expects Iran to get the bomb next year, which may drive half a dozen Muslim states (most likely Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and the UAE) to follow suit – if, that is, the Israelis let things go that far.

No American administration could remain neutral in a nuclear confrontation between its closest friend and bitterest enemy; nor, perhaps, could China or Russia, which still has the world’s biggest nuclear force.

Perhaps great statesmen will yank us back from precipice after precipice. Maybe we can avoid a nuclear version of 1914 for 50 years. But is it realistic to think we can keep the bomb out of the hands of terrorists and rogue states for ever? Or deter every leader from deciding that nuclear war is the least bad option?

It is painful to dwell on such possibilities for very long, but they force us to face an important fact. When political pundits talk about what the future will be like, they imagine it as being much like the present, but shinier, faster, and with a richer China. They are wrong.

This is Star Trek thinking, assuming that we can change some things about the world without changing everything.

The 21st Century is going to be a race between some kind of Singularity and Armageddon. This means the next few decades will be the most important in history.

If Singularity wins the race, we will experience technological change so extreme that biology will be transformed; if Armageddon outruns it, we face the destruction of the civilisation we have built up so painfully over the last 15,000 years.

Either way, our rising social development is going to change everything. By the time the East overtakes the West, neither East nor West may matter very much any more.

The real question for our age is not how long Western domination will last. It is whether humanity will break through to an entirely new kind of existence before disaster strikes us down – permanently.

Most people think living under a rock is something to avoid.But for one Mexican family, it's a dream come true. Farmer Benito Hernandez knew since the age of eight that he wanted to make a 131-foot rock formation in Coahuila, Mexico, his home.

Home: Benito Hernandez stands outside his home near San Jose de Las Piedras in Mexico's northern state of Coahuila

Home: Benito Hernandez stands outside his home near San Jose de Las Piedras in Mexico's northern state of Coahuila

Humble: Hernandez stands inside his family's bedroom at the home he has lived in for over 30 years

Humble: Hernandez stands inside his family's bedroom at the home he has lived in for over 30 years

Family: Lucero Hernandez, Benito's granddaughter, stands in the doorway of the family's unusual home with a 131-foot rock used as a roof

Family: Lucero Hernandez, Benito's granddaughter, stands in the doorway of the family's unusual home with a 131-foot rock used as a roof. It took him 20 years to buy the land but as soon as he was able, Hernandez and his wife Santa Martha constructed a sun-dried brick house beneath the awe-inspiring formation. Located about 50 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border near the remote community of San Jose de Piedras, the home is small. But it was large enough for the couple to raise seven children over the 30 years they've inhabited the cave-like property.

Jump: The Hernandez' son Omar jumps from rock to rock close to his family's home near San Jose de Las Piedras in Coahuila, Mexico

Jump: The Hernandez' son Omar jumps from rock to rock close to his family's home near San Jose de Las Piedras in Coahuila, Mexico

Struggle: Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, right, and her husband, Benito Hernandez said winters in the desert were hard

Struggle: Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, right, and her husband, Benito Hernandez said winters in the desert were hard

Spectacular: The starry sky above the mountain range of San Jose de Las Piedras is seen in Mexico's northern state of Coahuila close to midnight

Spectacular: The starry sky above the mountain range of San Jose de Las Piedras is seen in Mexico's northern state of Coahuila close to midnight. 'I started coming here when I was 8 years old to visit the Candelilla fields and I liked it here,' Hernandez said. 'I wasn't married and I didn't have a family yet, but I liked it and I had to keep coming to put my foot in because lands here are won through claiming them.'Though Hernandez installed a wood-burning stove, electricity is unreliable in the dwelling, which in located in the arid desert.

Red brick: The family live in an odd sun-dried brick home built under the rock

Red brick: The family live in an odd sun-dried brick home built under the rock

Little electricity: The home has unreliable electricity so Adan Hernandez, Benito's son, holds a flashlight inside the family's bedroom

Little electricity: The home has unreliable electricity so Adan Hernandez, Benito's son, holds a flashlight inside the family's bedroom

Parents: Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, pictured, and her husband have raised seven children in the humble rock home

Parents: Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, pictured, and her husband have raised seven children in the humble rock home. The unique home also lacks a sewage system but fortunately for the Hernandez clan, the rock is near a mountain spring, which supplies the family with water for cleaning and drinking. Hernandez makes a living by working off the land, planting and harvesting the Candelilla plant, which is used to make candle wax and medicine among other things. Hernandez, who is now a grandfather, said his family struggles to get by during the cold winter months, when their water supply freezes over.

Dream: Benito Hernandez dreamed of making the rock his home since he was 8 years old

Dream: Benito Hernandez dreamed of making the rock his home since he was 8 years old

Dwelling: The strange dwelling is found close to the town of San Jose de Piedras, a remote community located in the arid desert of Coahuila, some 49 miles from the Texas border

Dwelling: The strange dwelling is found close to the town of San Jose de Piedras, a remote community located in the arid desert of Coahuila, some 49 miles from the Texas border

Initials: The initials of the Family Hernandez de Cruz are seen over the door of their special home

Initials: The initials of the Family Hernandez de Cruz are seen over the door of their special home. 'It gets very cold here and we struggle to get food,' Hernandez said. 'We have to work hard here on the Candelilla fields. That's the only job we have. That's what we live from.' But he refuses to move to a more comfortable abode, preferring to tough it out, living at one with Mexico's spectacular landscape.

Residents and visitors to Israel will soon be able to take in the bustling city’s sights, from the comfort of a hovering sky car.

A 1,640ft (500 metre) monorail is being built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) next year, with a commercial network set to follow that will extend across Tel Aviv.

While monorails may seem like a retro creation, this futuristic version will use cutting edge technology to see two-person pods suspended from magnetic tracks, so they appear to hover.

The future? Residents and visitors to Tel Aviv, Israel, will soon be able to take in the bustling city's sights, from the comfort of a hovering sky car. An artist's impression of the system is pictured

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The future? Residents and visitors to Tel Aviv, Israel, will soon be able to take in the bustling city's sights, from the comfort of a hovering sky car. An artist's impression of the system is pictured

THE PILOT SKYTRAN

A 1,640ft (500 metre) monorail is being built on the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) next year. If it is successful, a larger skyTran system could be rolled out across Tel Aviv, Israel.

The new system will see two-person pods suspended from magnetic tracks so they appear to hover.

The network of computer-controlled ‘jet-like’ vehicles will use Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) technology to provide what the firm says is fast, safe, free and economical travel.

The computer-controlled pods will travel at up to 43mph (70km/h).

If the technology is rolled out commercially, the pods could travel at up to 150 mph (240 km/h).

It is estimated that tickets could cost around $5 (£2.90) per rider, but discounts and subscriptions are also planned.

The company behind the grand plan – California-based skyTran – claims its system is a clever alternative to congested roads, and that tracks could even travel through buildings as soon as 2016.

The network of computer-controlled ‘jet-like’ vehicles will use Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) technology to provide what the firm says is fast, safe, free and economical travel. ‘skyTran intends to revolutionise public transportation and, with it, urban and suburban commuting,’ the company, based at Nasa's Space Act company headquartered at the Ames Research Centre, said.

Like other magev trains, the system uses powerful electromagnets that let carriages float over – or in this case under – a track. The system uses the basic principle that opposite magnetic poles attract and repel each other.

Monorail concept for SkyTran to be installed in busy cities

Flying high: The network of computer-controlled 'jet-like' vehicles (illustrated) will use Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) technology to provide what the firm says is fast, safe, free and economical travel

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Flying high: The network of computer-controlled 'jet-like' vehicles (illustrated) will use Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) technology to provide what the firm says is fast, safe, free and economical travel

Jet-like: The transport system will use cutting edge technology to see two-person pods (illustrated) suspended from magnetic tracks, so they appear to hover

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Jet-like: The transport system will use cutting edge technology to see two-person pods (illustrated) suspended from magnetic tracks, so they appear to hover

Instead of an engine, the pods will use a magnetic field created by electrified coils in the track to allow them to hover and propel them along.

As well as looking cool, using magnetic levitation instead of wheels mean there is no physical contact between the vehicle and the ‘guideway’ or rail, so there is no wear and tear.

Because the vehicles are levitated a short distance away from the guideway, and both lift and thrust are produced by electromagnets, their speed can be easily controlled and the company said they could achieve reliable high speeds of up to 150 mph (240 km/h).

Luxurious: Unlike monorails at theme parks, the pods will be plush and private, similar to a a car (illustrated). They will also travel much faster at 43mph (70km/h) - although these speeds could rise if the system is rolled out across greater distances

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Luxurious: Unlike monorails at theme parks, the pods will be plush and private, similar to a a car (illustrated). They will also travel much faster at 43mph (70km/h) - although these speeds could rise if the system is rolled out across greater distances

Maglev technology is already used in high-speed railways, such as Shanghai's Maglev Train (pictured), which has a top operational speed of 268mph (431km/h). But the monorail is the ultimate refinement of the system

Maglev technology is already used in high-speed railways, such as Shanghai's Maglev Train (pictured), which has a top operational speed of 268mph (431km/h). But the monorail is the ultimate refinement of the system

MAGLEV TRAINS IN ACTION

Maglev uses magnetic levitation instead of wheels.

The idea is that because the system makes no physical contact between the vehicle and the guideway, there is nothing to wear out or fail.

The technology promises a smooth and quiet journey that is high speed and energy efficient.

It is already used in high-speed railways, but the monorail is the ultimate refinement of the system.

Railways like Shanghai's Maglev Train use large superconducting electromagnets in a special configuration to produce intense magnetic fields over long distances.

Opening in 2004, it was the first commercially operated high-speed magnetic levitation line in the world.

Trains have a top speed of 268mph (431km/h) and connect Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of Pudong with the Shanghai Metro.

This technology will ‘provide a platform for skyTran vehicles to travel at high speeds, with full payloads while levitating,’ the company said.

The electrified system could even be powered by solar or wind power.

The aim in building the test track is to convince town planners that the technology works so that in the near future, people could order a vehicle on their smartphone to collect them from a specified station, and then take them to their chosen destination.

Unlike monorails at theme parks, the pods will be plush and private. They will also travel much faster, at 43mph (70km/h) although these speeds could rise substantially if the system is rolled out across greater distances.

It is estimated that construction of the first commercial system will take two years at a cost of around $80 million (£47,000) and will extend to cover the whole ‘Gush Dan’ urban and suburban area.

Individual tickets are predicted to cost around $5 (£2.90 or 17 new Israel shekels) per rider, but discounts and subscriptions are also planned.

If the pilot and initial commercial rollout prove a success, other cites could look to the skies to provide local travel solutions too.

There are skyTran routes in ‘advanced planning’ for Toulouse, France, Kerala, India and San Francisco Bay in California.

A new architectural feature: The company behind the grand plan - California-based skyTran - claims its system is a clever alternative to congested roads and that tracks could even travel through buildings (illustrated) as soon as 2016

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A new architectural feature: The company behind the grand plan - California-based skyTran - claims its system is a clever alternative to congested roads and that tracks could even travel through buildings (illustrated) as soon as 2016

Magnetic appeal? Instead of an engine, the pods (an illustration of the possible interior is pictured) will use a magnetic field created by electrified coils in the track to allow them to hover and propel them along

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Magnetic appeal? Instead of an engine, the pods (an illustration of the possible interior is pictured) will use a magnetic field created by electrified coils in the track to allow them to hover and propel them along

Coming soon? If the pilot and initial commercial rollout prove a success, other cites could look to the skies to provide local travel solutions too. There are skyTran routes in 'advanced planning' for Toulouse, France, Kerala in India and San Francisco Bay in California. A mock-up of a skyTran station is pictured

Coming soon? If the pilot and initial commercial rollout prove a success, other cites could look to the skies to provide local travel solutions too. There are skyTran routes in 'advanced planning' for Toulouse, France, Kerala in India and San Francisco Bay in California. A mock-up of a skyTran station is pictured

 

 

 

 


Hundreds of cave formations decorate the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park near Carlsbad, New Mexico, seen on Dec. 18, 2010. Adventurous visitors can opt for several "off-trail" tours guided by park rangers through narrow passage ways, across slick flow stone and down ropes and ladders. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

Puhung Subway station, situated more than 100M below the surface, viewed on April 2, 2011 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Puhung Station also serves as an atomic fallout shelter.

Israeli Antiquity Authority archeologist Annete Nagar shows the 2,000-year-old Second Temple period drainage tunnel under Jerusalem's Old City at the west side of the Jewish Wailing Wall on January 25, 2011. Israeli archaeologists have finished work, which started in 2004, on the tunnel that starts at a site near the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound inside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, officials said.

Hospital beds are placed in a parking lot set up for the media as an underground emergency hospital, at Rambam Hospital in the northern Israeli city of Haifa May 31, 2011. The lot, equipped with unique filters and air-conditioning systems for protection from biological and chemical warfare, can accommodate 2,000 beds and will be inaugurated in August 2012. According to the hospital's spokesperson, it will be the world's largest underground emergency hospital.

Pakistani soldiers examine the wreckage of a twin truck bombing inside a tunnel in Kohat on January 29, 2011. The attacks took place late night on January 28 in and outside the tunnel which connects the main city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to the city of Kohat.

Employees pose in a cavern with test drills in a pilot mine which is being tested for potential use as a permanent nuclear waste storage facility, at the salt dome near the northern German village of Gorleben, on July 2, 2010. The mine is some 840 meters deep and 6.5 kilometer long.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy look at cave paintings as they visit the Lascaux caves for the 70th anniversary of their discovery in Montignac, South-Western France, on September 12, 2010.

 

Apocalypse Britain: Terrifying images show Parliament wrecked by flooding and Edinburgh Castle hit by swarm of tornadoes

  • Poll for TV channel Yesterday revealed that one in five Britons live in fear they will lose everything in a natural disaster
  • Also found that half of Britons are scared their homes could be wrecked by rising water if there was a flood
  • 38% are scared of extremely cold weather for fear their loved ones would freeze to death

More than one in five Britons live in fear they will lose everything in a natural disaster - seen here in five stunning images of what could happen if the UK was hit by extreme forces of nature.

A poll of 2,000 people for the UK Natural Disaster Report - put together by TV channel Yesterday - found that 21 per cent were worried their lives would be devastated by some form of natural disaster.

The report, released to coincide with the premiere of Yesterday's show Perfect Storms: Disasters that change the World, asked the 2,000 people to rate the events they were 'most worried about'.

 More than one in five Britons live in fear they will lose everything in a natural disaster. The image shows how the Houses of Parliament might look if there was a catastrophic flood in London

More than one in five Britons live in fear they will lose everything in a natural disaster. The image shows how the Houses of Parliament might look if there was a catastrophic flood in London

The poll compiled a list of the top 10 natural disasters people worried about, with flooding coming top, with 52 per cent saying they were scared their homes could be wrecked by rising water.

In second place was severe cold, with 38 per cent saying they were concerned about their loved ones perishing in freezing weather.

In third place were earthquakes - which although rare in the UK, notched up 21 per cent of the vote. To accompany the poll, the channel released five images showing stunning 'disaster scenarios' which could occur in the UK, including the Houses of Parliament ravaged by a flood, and Edinburgh Castle hit by a tornado. Other images include the Angel of the North after an earthquake, Trafalgar Square frozen over, and a meteor shower hitting London Embankment. The Top 10 list was analysed by Dr Bruce Malamud, a professor of Natural and Environmental Hazards at King's College London, who assessed the risks using data from the Government's recent National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies (NRR report).

More than one in five Britons live in fear they will lose everything in a natural disaster

Some 52 per cent of people say they are scared their homes could be wrecked by rising water if there was a flood. Image shows what Trafalgar Square might look like if Britain was suddenly plunged into an ice age

The poll revealed that 21 per cent of Britons are afraid that they could lose everything in an earthquake. However, earthquakes are not believed to pose a serious risk to the British public

The poll revealed that 21 per cent of Britons are afraid that they could lose everything in an earthquake. However, earthquakes are not believed to pose a serious risk to the British public. Image shows how the Angel of the North could look following an earthquake

The NNR report states that the 'highest priority risks' are pandemic influenza, flooding, terrorist attacks and gas-rich volcanic eruptions from abroad, such as the 2010 eruption in Iceland which affected the UK.

Other risks, categorised as 'newly assessed risks' include wildfires, infectious diseases, severe space weather such as radiation storms, severe weather and droughts.

The poll for Yesterday found that 21 per cent of people believe they would be affected by a natural disaster in their lifetime - with just four per cent worried they would be affected by war or military action and 21 per cent also worried of total economic collapse in the UK.

The government considers the 'highest priority risks' to the British public to be pandemic influenza, flooding, terrorist attacks and gas-rich volcanic eruptions from abroad

The government considers the 'highest priority risks' to the British public to be pandemic influenza, flooding, terrorist attacks and gas-rich volcanic eruptions from abroad. Image shows how London might look during a meteorite shower

Some 21 per cent of Britons believe that they will experience a natural disaster during their lifetime

Some 21 per cent of Britons believe that they will experience a natural disaster during their lifetime. Image shows how Edinburgh Castle might look during a tornado. There are an average of 30 tornadoes a year in the UK but they tend to be quite weak

Professor Malamud said: ‘In my opinion, public education about our environment is very important, so people have a good awareness of the threat posed by natural hazards.

‘Increasing population, climate change, movement of people from rural to urban areas and an ageing population are all contributing to the potential increased severity and frequency of natural disasters in certain places around the world.’

The show, Perfect Storms: Disasters That Change The World, will explore the biggest and most significant natural disasters of all time, especially those which have shaped the course of history.

It will and air tonight at 9pm on Yesterday.

WHAT ARE THE TEN NATURAL DISASTERS THAT SCARE BRITONS THE MOST?

1.    Flooding - 52 per cent of Britons fear their house could be destroyed in a flood. Experts say that there is only a medium likelihood of it happening

2.    Severe cold - 38 per cent of Britons are worried about severe cold. Experts say that severe cold is the most likely natural disaster to hit the UK

3.    Earthquakes - 21 per cent of Britons worry about earthquakes. Experts say there is a very low likelihood of a damaging earthquake hitting the UK

4.    Droughts - 21 per cent of Britons worry the UK could run out of water. The Government's NNR Report lists droughts as being of medium likelihood

5.    Asteroid showers - 20 per cent of Britons worry about meteorite and asteroid showers. They are listed as being a very unlikely danger to the UK

6.    Heat wave - 17 per cent of Britons fear the UK will be hit by a dangerous heat wave. Experts believe heat waves are a 'genuine concern'

7.    Tsunamis - 15 per cent of Britons worry that the UK could be hit by a killer wave. Experts say the risk of low

8.    Landslides - 12 per cent of the UK population worry about landslides. They pose a localised threat, with a medium-high likelihood, but low impact

9.    Tornadoes - 11 per cent of people worry about tornadoes.There are an average of 30 tornadoes in the UK each year but they tend to be weak

10.  Volcanic eruptions - seven per cent of Britons worry about the impact of volcanoes. Experts say the danger rating of volcanic eruptions should be on the same level as flooding and drought. Volcanoes are listed as having a medium likelihood with a medium-high impact .

 

Following reports London is set to get a staggering 250 new high rises and skyscrapers over the next decade, a British architect has created his own vision of the capital’s future.

In David Edwards’ concept designs, wind turbines are built on the Thames, Waterloo Bridge is transformed into a garden, and The Shard is upstaged by a series of pointed skyscrapers all over the city.

Edwards developed the concepts to promote the sci-fi film The Machine, released in cinemas next week.

Following reports London is set to get a staggering 250 new high rises and skyscrapers over the next decade, a British architect has created his own vision of the capital's future, pictured. In David Edwards' concept designs, wind turbines are built on the Thames, Waterloo Bridge is transformed into a garden and The Shard is upstaged by a series of pointed skyscrapers all over the city

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Following reports London is set to get a staggering 250 new high rises and skyscrapers over the next decade, a British architect has created his own vision of the capital's future, pictured. In David Edwards' concept designs, wind turbines are built on the Thames, Waterloo Bridge is transformed into a garden and The Shard is upstaged by a series of pointed skyscrapers all over the city

In one image a transparent tunnel is shown weaving through east London, passed Tower Bridge and in front of City Hall that could be used as a new transport line for commuters, or to transport items across the capital.

In another, a large military helicopter hovers above Westminster and towards the Houses of Parliament.

 

Producer of the Machine, John Giwa-Amu told MailOnline: '[Director] Caradog [W James] and myself were keen to represent a future that felt both real and relevant. We wanted an image of a flooded London with a skyline on steroids to capture audience's imaginations as it captured ours.'

Edwards’ vision, taken from the plot of the film, is set in the near future when the world is in the depths of another Cold War.

It depicts a city where the Ministry of Defence is working on keeping a close eye on its residents as it develops a robotic soldier.

In this image the banks of the River Thames are almost at bursting point. A transparent tunnel, pictured left, is shown weaving through east London, passed Tower Bridge and in front of City Hall that could be used as a new transport line for commuters, and to transport items across the capital

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In this image the banks of the River Thames are almost at bursting point. A transparent tunnel, pictured left, is shown weaving through east London, passed Tower Bridge and in front of City Hall that could be used as a new transport line for commuters, and to transport items across the capital

To power all the extra skyscrapers littered across London's skyline, pictured centre, Edward placed wind turbines in the River Thames near the Houses of Parliament. This image shows how London could look from a pod on the London Eye, pictured left

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To power all the extra skyscrapers littered across London's skyline, pictured centre, Edward placed wind turbines in the River Thames near the Houses of Parliament. This image shows how London could look from a pod on the London Eye, pictured left

In the film, this soldier, called The Machine, has been designed to look like a human, but with superhuman strength, speed and fighting skills.

However, a bug in its programming causes it to take over and destroy the lab, threatening the city.

Although the concept images were commissioned especially for the film, they bear a striking resemblance to the proposed plans unveiled this morning.

An architectural think-tank has identified 236 buildings of more than 20 storeys in London that could be on the way, four fifths of them intended as high-rise blocks of flats.

In this image, St Paul's Cathedral is pictured in the background, while Waterloo Bridge in the foreground has been transformed into a garden. Edwards' vision, taken from the plot of the film, is set in the near future when the world is in the depths of another Cold War. It depicts a city where the Ministry of Defence is working on keeping a close eye on its residents as it develops a robotic soldier

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In this image, St Paul's Cathedral is pictured in the background, while Waterloo Bridge in the foreground has been transformed into a garden. Edwards' vision, taken from the plot of the film, is set in the near future when the world is in the depths of another Cold War. It depicts a city where the Ministry of Defence is working on keeping a close eye on its residents as it develops a robotic soldier

Producer of the Machine, John Giwa-Amu told MailOnline: '[Director] Caradog [W James] and myself were keen to represent a future that felt both real and relevant. We wanted an image of a flooded London with a skyline on steroids to capture audience's imaginations as it captured ours'

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Producer of the Machine, John Giwa-Amu told MailOnline: '[Director] Caradog [W James] and myself were keen to represent a future that felt both real and relevant. We wanted an image of a flooded London with a skyline on steroids to capture audience's imaginations as it captured ours'

A further 18 will be offices, eight will be hotels, 13 are mixed use, and one is to be an educational institute, according to New London Architecture.

Work has already begun on U.S. insurance firm WR Berkley's new European headquarters, dubbed the 'Scalpel'.

Other approved schemes including the so-called 'Can of Ham', and The Pinnacle, which was dubbed 'Helter-Skelter, have been put on hold.

In the case of The Pinnacle, developers went back to the drawing board to try to make the scheme more cost efficient.

Although the concept images were commissioned especially  for the film, they bear a striking resemblance to the proposed plans unveiled this morning, pictured. An architectural think-tank has identified 236 buildings of more than 20 storeys in London that could be on the way, four fifths of them intended as high-rise blocks of flats. This concept shows a view of the proposed towers as seen along the Thames at night

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Although the concept images were commissioned especially for the film, they bear a striking resemblance to the proposed plans unveiled this morning, pictured. An architectural think-tank has identified 236 buildings of more than 20 storeys in London that could be on the way, four fifths of them intended as high-rise blocks of flats. This concept shows a view of the proposed towers as seen along the Thames at night

A schematic showing London's 10 tallest building, including those built (blue), under construction (green) and approved (yellow). The Mayor's office is trying to strike a balance between protection of the city's historic skyline and the need to house a million more people

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A schematic showing London's 10 tallest building, including those built (blue), under construction (green) and approved (yellow). The Mayor's office is trying to strike a balance between protection of the city's historic skyline and the need to house a million more people

Nearly half have already been approved and about a fifth are now being built, according to a study by the think tank based on local authority figures, and they are set to drastically reshape the London skyline, with 33 of them between 40 and 49 floors, and 22 with 50 or more.

The building boom is concentrated in London's centre and it’s hitherto dilapidated east, which together account for 77 per cent of the new skyscrapers. Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Greenwich, Newham and Southwark will between them have 140 of the 236 towers.

       

Imagine living in a sustainable city with legs that could move anywhere in search of better jobs and resources.

Your postcode would constantly change as you’re taken around the world on board a gigantic caterpillar-like metropolis.

It might seem like an absurd concept, but this is exactly what is being proposed by Madrid-based architectural student Manuel Dominguez.

Walking City

Architectural student Manuel Dominguez has proposed the development of a sustainable city with legs that could move anywhere in search of a better resources

In his vision, the nomadic city would use caterpillar tracks – similar to the ones used for tanks – to move to areas were work for residents is easily available.

'I wanted to built territorial management between matter and energy, that will bring several positive effects,' Mr Dominguez told MailOnline.

'These include re-equilibrating the population between rural and cities, environment renewal and offering new employment,' 

Named the ‘Very Large Structure’, the walking metropolis would have everything you’d expect from a city, including sports facilities, restaurants, universities, hospitals and libraries.

Manuel Dominguez

The nomadic city would use caterpillar tracks - similar to the ones used for tanks - to move to areas were work for residents is easily available

Manuel Dominguez

Named the 'Very Large Structure', the walking metropolis would have everything you'd expect from a city, including sports facilities, restaurants and universities

VLS-Very Large Structure

This basic structure, built on caterpillar tracks, could provide one way of moving an entire city around the world in search of resources

This isn’t the first time someone has come up with the idea of a moving city. British architect Ron Herron’s ‘Walking City’ was first proposed in the 1960s.

In the architecture journal Archigram, Mr Herron suggested building huge intelligent robotic structures that could freely roam the world.

He proposed that various walking cities could interconnect with each other to form larger 'walking metropolises' when needed, and then disperse.

The ‘Very Large Structure’ develops Herron’s vision by proposing clean energy generation on board using wind turbines, solar panels and hydrogen energy plants.

Mr Dominguez said that the fact that the city moves around could be a way to encourage reforestation rather than destroying the surrounding environment.

Manuel Dominguez

Mr Dominguez said that the fact that the city moves around could be a way to encourage reforestation rather than destroying the surrounding environment

Manuel Dominguez

The design may look like a bizarre concept, but with a number of the world's major cities in the midst of a slowdown, it may not be as futuristic as you might think

It can be easy to dismiss the design as yet another student project. But according to Mr Dominguez, the Very Large Structure is theoretically possible to build.

'Even though I am very attracted to science fiction and utopical and distopical architecture, I was more interested in investigating real life technology,'  Mr Dominguez told MailOnline.

'These included open-air mining machinery, shipyard installations, logistic and management in super-ports and super vessels, space technology and  eco-villages.'

The design may look like a bizarre concept, but with a number of the world’s major cities in the midst of a slowdown, it may not be as futuristic as you might think.

'I think it could exist some day maybe at other scale,' added Mr Dominguez.

'Maybe in the way it relates and deals with territory, maybe the way in which we built and think about architecture and urbanism, maybe in the way we manage energy and waste.'

The left image shows the city's supporting 'foundations grid slab' where architecture can be built and connected with the installations floor below. On the right is the depiction of the Very Large Structure passing over a village

Manuel Dominguez

The left image shows the city's supporting 'foundations grid slab' where architecture can be built and connected with the installations floor below. On the right is the depiction of the Very Large Structure passing over a village

VLS-Very Large Structure

The 'Very Large Structure' develops Ron Herron's vision of a Walking City by proposing clean energy generation on board using wind turbines, solar panels and hydrogen energy plants