The Wired World

The Wired World The Wired World 2019

From the creative minds behind WIRED, the recognised authority on the future, THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 is a new annual trend report that covers a broad range of topics across eight sections; from science to arts, politics to medicine and culture to the environment. With over 100 articles by associates from the far reaches of the WIRED network, this is an invaluable guide to the year ahead for the knowledge-hungry.

United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
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2 min.

DAVID BAKER “It’s become commonplace to be anxious about the rise of AI – as if we’re headed for some apocalyptic battle between us humans (fleshy, antiquated, hopelessly slow to evolve), and robots (opaque, lightning-fast and insouciant about our well-being),” says Baker, the editor of The WIRED World in 2019. “But, many of this year’s crop of predictions give us reasons to be optimistic: upgrading ourselves with new senses; finding smarter ways of managing energy use and production; even seeing the end of the open-plan office. It’s going to be a great 2019.” SIR RICHARD BRANSON “Hyperloop has gone from abstract idea to on-the-ground necessity,” says Branson of his latest venture. “It’s a pioneering technology with the power to create an industrial revolution.” DAME WENDY HALL The UK can take the lead in AI, says…

2 min.
the wired network’s guide to 2019

PREDICTIONS ARE EASY TO MAKE – THERE’S A multi-million pound consultancy industry seemingly dedicated to terrifying organisations about the prospect of a marketplace dictated to by millennials (pro tip: seems they’re keen on digital technology). But getting a prediction right demands expertise – something that is itself under threat in these febrile times. Every day, the WIRED team makes sense of a dizzying news cycle and a culture of transition that feels as if it’s accelerating by the day. Essentially, we must parse whether an individual, trend, organisation, or technology is worthy of our readers’ attention: is there a great story to be told, something fresh and urgent? What’s the long-term impact? As part of this mission, every year we approach some of the most accomplished people in the WIRED network with…

5 min.
we will leverage technology to create new senses

YOU ARE ABOUT TO DEVELOP SOME NEW SENSES. This idea requires a bit of unpacking, but stay with me. The first thing to appreciate is that the brain is locked in silence and darkness inside the vault of the skull. All it ever has are electrical and chemical signals racing around among its specialised cells – it doesn’t directly see or hear or touch anything. Whether the information stream coming in represents air-compression waves from a symphony, patterns of light from a snow-covered statue, molecules floating off a fresh apple pie or the pain of a wasp sting, it’s all represented by voltage spikes in brain cells. And to a first approximation, it all looks the same. But this prompts an as yet unanswered question in neuroscience: why does vision feel…

3 min.
we will need to re-secure the blockchain

IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, THERE WAS A BITTER war between the advocates of two competing forms of electricity – AC and DC – which became a heated rivalry full of misinformation. Today, that conflict has echoes in the fierce debate between advocates of blockchain who believe it is secure, and those who think it could be broken by new quantum computers. Thanks to the much-lauded tamper-proof construction of its ledger, Blockchain is being integrated into everything from insurance to immigration, and is, of course, the basis for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. But its open and versatile nature could be its undoing – in 2019, quantum computing could break the blockchain. Quantum computers can store more data using less energy than traditional computers, which means they can rapidly perform complex calculations. Where…

2 min.
neurostimulation will go mainstream

RECENT YEARS HAVE BROUGHT THE LAUNCH OF products from companies such as, Thync and my own Neurovalens, that use neurotechnology to relieve stress and anxiety, help weight-loss, improve sleep and boost learning. In 2019, neurostimulation will go mainstream. Neurostimulation involves using low currents to stimulate neurons in the brain, either directly or via nerves outside it. Khosla Ventures-funded startup Thync has created a wearable (a small plastic device sitting near the right temple) that targets the specific neural pathways involved in a number of important disease processes. The company has seen striking results in a trial involving psoriasis and is pursuing clinical studies that, if successful, will lead to treatments for tens of millions of patients with inflammatory disorders and skin conditions. UK-based’s technology was initially targeted at enhancing gamers’…

4 min.
technology will supercharge discovery

LAST YEAR, AS I RETURNED TO WORK AFTER maternity leave, I was trying to picture myself pre-pregnancy, and couldn’t imagine myself getting back into the high heels I loved wearing every day. Scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post describing a more comfortable alternative called Butterfly Twists, offering the same glamour as a high heel. As a mother, you ruthlessly prioritise, and these pretty, flat shoes made me feel able to get things done at speed, a psychological boost better than a tall shoe. Like Butterfly, many businesses today are disrupting their categories with a simple strategy – rather than targeting the 20 per cent of active shoppers already engaged with their product, they’re choosing to target the 80 per cent of passive shoppers who aren’t. From Birchbox’s parcels full of…