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Fixing the system: dream of an open world

Fixing the system: dream of an open world

In today’s world, platforms like AirBnb and Uber are increasingly creating connections and exchanges. Platform co-ops want to go one step further to serve the communities who use them by offering a new model of ownership for a more democratic future, with peer-to-peer tech and ‘sensual’ social software. In this guest post by Oliver Sylvester-Bradley, co-founder of

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Africa’s Super Sunday: Power of open data

Africa’s Super Sunday:  Power of open data

Five African nations went to the polls this week in what has been dubbed Africa’s #SuperSunday. Voting on the same day as part of historic presidential and parliamentary elections – Congo, Niger, and Zanzibar’s elections were marred by violence and repression, Benin voted in a new president and Cape Verde swept the ruling party from

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It’s an economics puppet rap battle! (Yes, really)

It’s an economics puppet rap battle! (Yes, really)

“Not everybody wants to work for money on a platter. Sometimes we do things just because they matter.” An economist, a songwriter and a puppet-maker walked into a recording studio. What do you think came out?… We love a surprising collaboration, but didn’t see this one coming: animatronic-loving puppet designer Emma Powell, musician Simon Panrucker and renegade

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Get cooking! ► 5 recipes for a better world

Get cooking! ► 5 recipes for a better world

Did you know you don’t always have to cook with food? As part of our new CultureFutures project we’ve been digging deep into the imaginations of artists, chefs, designers and material makers as they help build a better world – in all its delicious glory. From precious plastics to seeds with stories, in this week’s Future 5 we’re

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8 Agricultural Mavericks

8 Agricultural Mavericks

Something special is happening inside an old school made from recycled salvage from a theatre company, decommissioned bio labs and art freight containers. As London’s first incubator workspace for urban farming entrepreneurs and ‘agritech’ startups, the Green Lab is creating a vibrant city community for creative sustainable food innovators. Having previously co-founded Fab Lab London, Ande Gregson was

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FutureHero Jessi Baker: Blockchain’s spies for good

FutureHero Jessi Baker: Blockchain’s spies for good

Blockchain isn’t just about finance and Bitcoin, but when Jessi Baker started Provenance that wasn’t the case. That’s why her idea was considered crazy at first. The software company uses technologies like the blockchain to help businesses share truths about the people, places and materials involved in their products. Labelled as one of the UK’s ‘coolest female startup

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AtlasChart Tomás Diez: A hands-on Top 9

AtlasChart Tomás Diez: A hands-on Top 9

“We either build the future we want, or become the victims of it.” As Director of Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Tomás Diez constantly breaks the rules when it comes to education, business, science, urbanism, farming, environmentalism, design, and housing… you name it. In this AtlasChart, the Venezuelan digital fabrication urbanist opens up about projects in

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► Ready Player One: the future is already here

► Ready Player One: the future is already here

In the 1980s, sci-fi prophet William Gibson coined the term ‘cyberspace’ to describe a consensual hallucination created by millions of computers that we can jack into. By 2003 the visionary had warned: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Even though we are optimists at the Atlas, we’re also big fans of dystopian

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The Future is Female: 11 kick ass role models

The Future is Female: 11 kick ass role models

As a women-led editorial team, we’re that happy to hear that female empowerment is firmly on the agenda in 2018. So we’re introducing you to 11 of our favourite female FutureHeroes who turn it up to 11 – starting with the real life inspiration for ‘Charlie’ in arguably one of the best films of the 80s… Top Gun (of

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FutureHero Kate Raworth breaks down Doughnut Economics

FutureHero Kate Raworth breaks down Doughnut Economics

In today’s world we are addicted to growth. That’s why renegade economist Kate Raworth wants to radically reframe the way we look at economics: “The goal of the 21st century economy should be to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.” It’s an exciting challenge to ensure that no one falls short on

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Feel the love! 20 reasons 2017 gave us so much joy

Feel the love! 20 reasons 2017 gave us so much joy

When you find yourselves somewhere between Gotham City Police HQ and Blade Runner’s Leon’s Hotel chatting to a Westworld sexbot you know that it’s been an interesting – and surprising – year. OK, it’s been relentless too, but there are so many reasons to feel hopeful. From Cameroon to Patagonia, 2017 has seen your projects make the

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AtlasChart: The women of Sónar+D 2017

AtlasChart: The women of Sónar+D 2017

Every year Sónar+D forms a key part of the stamina-pushing Sónar Festival, one of Europe’s biggest and most forward-thinking dance music events. If you have ever wondered what the D stands for, it all becomes clear when you look at it like this… SónaR+D. While festivalgoers rave outside, its lab space acts as a node between the innovation, creative and

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AtlasChart: A Maker Faire Top 5

AtlasChart: A Maker Faire Top 5

Makers are inventors, creators, engineers, students or grassroot innovators who enjoy play and exploration – but they can also be people who simply want to make the world a better place. And where better to innovate and experiment than in a city? Back in San Francisco in 2006, the Maker Movement arose out of the launch of MAKE: Magazine. Today, hundreds of thousands of people attend Maker Faire, the

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10 years of Fab Lab BCN: 10 projects that change everything

10 years of Fab Lab BCN: 10 projects that change everything

This week Fab Lab Barcelona celebrated ten years of innovation, participation, digital manufacturing, technology and creation with a big birthday fiesta on 21 March 2017 at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). Over the last decade, the centre has helped people around the world to locally conceptualise, design, develop and fabricate, with a focus on truly world-changing open and

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Tech For Good: 14 practical actions for 2017

Tech For Good: 14 practical actions for 2017

It is now more important than ever that communities of people take a stand for the things they believe, and protect things that they previously had taken for granted. That’s why Tech For Good Co-founder Cassie Robinson got in touch with a bunch of people working to make the world better to ask them they were personally going to commit to – and what

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14 ways you can make 2017 better

14 ways you can make 2017 better

As the world turns upside down and unhinged becomes the new normal, we want to provide some positivity from within the deep divisions of 2016. Take comfort. The world is better than you think. From Silicon Valley to Bulambuli Valley, social entrepreneurs are tackling the world’s most difficult problems. Technology is being democratised, access to education is causing global

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Best of the Atlas 2016… so far

Best of the Atlas 2016… so far

This year might have had its dark times, but there are many reasons to get excited. From the Faroe Islands to Patagonia, 2016 has seen the Atlas travel far and wide to bring you projects that democratise the future. Thanks to your suggestions and innovations, over the last six months we’ve explored sex hacks and exposed fast fashion; shone a light on projects bringing

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Bitcoin: Be your own bank

Bitcoin: Be your own bank

This week Australian computer scientist and businessman Craig Wright claimed that he is the man behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency of the internet. However, recent publicity brought this into question. Since it became the first decentralised digital currency released as open source software in 2009, the peer-to-peer system has been

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WhatsApp: Encryption for the masses?

WhatsApp: Encryption for the masses?

Described by some as the biggest news story of the year, last week WhatsApp added encryption to 1 billion people’s messages. But what is encryption and what does it mean for our everyday privacy? Hailed by Wired as “taking encryption to the masses”, WhatsApp’s decision could be a turning point in access to digital privacy

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The sex robots are coming

The sex robots are coming

In a global sex toy industry worth $15 billion, sex-tech is advancing at a fast pace as companies apply robotics to sex dolls. Geminoid-F’s looks have recently landed her the title ‘world’s sexiest robot’, RealDoll has a customisable ‘personality’ and the $7,000 Roxxxy talks and responds to touch. As more humans seek out mechanical companions, an article published in

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AtlasChart Mark Stevenson: An optimist’s tour of the future

AtlasChart Mark Stevenson: An optimist’s tour of the future

The author and futurologist transports us from India to Germany through his top 5 Atlas projects – from teeny, tiny 3D printing to the Airbnb of energy. He knows how to do things differently.   1. Open Source Drug Discovery “In New Delhi, OSDD takes the shamefully inefficient (5000:1) and expensive ($2.6 billion per drug) hit rate quoted by big pharma

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FutureHero Alastair Parvin: Property, plywood and power

FutureHero Alastair Parvin: Property, plywood and power

The lead founder behind the revolutionary WikiHouse – the digitally manufactured building system that anyone can download and make – on solving the housing crisis, YouTube kittens and why he wants to control time… Alastair Parvin: “Pulp’s ‘Mis-Shapes‘ is a song that I love. I studied Architecture at the University of Sheffield, so Jarvis Cocker was

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AtlasChart Alastair Parvin: The ‘accidental’ design economist’s Top 5

AtlasChart Alastair Parvin: The ‘accidental’ design economist’s Top 5

As co-founder of the open source building system WikiHouse, Alastair Parvin sees democracy as a design blueprint, has never shied away from provocation and likes people who are trying to be useful or doing seriously disruptive stuff. Take a journey through his favourite Atlas projects.   1. Ethereum This super-interesting project is looking at how you can use the

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Behind the scenes: stand up for Common Wealth’s theatrical activism

Behind the scenes: stand up for Common Wealth’s theatrical activism

“We want to drive political action with our work, and I don’t think you can do that sitting down.” – Rhiannon White, Common Wealth Co-founder At a Common Wealth Theatre performance, there’s no sitting back and letting it happen. Wandering through living rooms, factory floors and boxing rings, theatre-goers are invited into the story – as

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Enter the magical, curious world of Beakerhead

Enter the magical, curious world of Beakerhead

“It’s in the freely shared ideas that collisions, oddities and thrills emerge.” – Mary Anne Moser, Beakerhead Co-founder Widely known as ‘the world’s greatest arts-science smash-up’, Beakerhead makes breaking down the complex look effortless – but it takes a collective effort to make STEAM this fun. A fire-breathing serpent mother, inflatable octopus, trash robot, giant

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Videos ► What is ‘cleantech’? – and other LA stories

Videos ► What is ‘cleantech’? – and other LA stories

In an era of rising environmental awareness, cleantech has become the fastest-growing technology sector in the world. And sunny California loves it. That’s why they buy more electric cars and do more recycling than any place else. So what is ‘cleantech’? At its simplest, it’s any technology that helps a more efficient use of natural resources. We travelled

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FutureHero Steve Rader: NASA, Mars – and you

FutureHero Steve Rader: NASA, Mars – and you

The things NASA want to do next are “really, really hard”. That’s why Steve Rader – NASA’s Deputy Manager for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation – appreciates the way the space agency harnesses people power and diversity. We circumnavigated the mighty Saturn V rocket with the crowdsourcing evangelist to find out about NASA’s current challenges – and The Martian.

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Vegan Top 9 AtlasChart: Look again! Nothing is what it seems

Vegan Top 9 AtlasChart: Look again! Nothing is what it seems

Plant curious? The flexitarian, vegan, vegetarian and sustainable food movements are growing in sexiness every day. Veganism is moving away from being seen as a cult, and being recognised as a good thing for your health, the environment – and animals. Ready to join the plant-based revolution? This week we’re celebrating vegan answers in the most surprising

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Aquawoman: Fishy FutureHero

Aquawoman: Fishy FutureHero

In the sprawling high plains of the Free State province of South Africa, Conchita Milburn is playing a key part in freshwater aquaculture projects – sharing knowledge and implementing sustainable practices. Aquaculture is exactly what it sounds like – farming fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae and other organisms – under controlled conditions. Combined with agriculture,

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Culture for good ► High five to these 5 creative collaborations

Culture for good ► High five to these 5 creative collaborations

Hip hop and politics. Blind photographers. Crayons and big ideas. In this week’s CultureFutures special we’re exploring creativity in surprising areas. In Rwanda, teenage girls have created its biggest media brand. In Spain, a photojournalist has set up the world’s first ‘special photographer’ agency for people with intellectual disabilities. And in Senegal, they’re rapping the news.

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AtlasQ&A Dan Barber ► 6 questions for a food FutureHero

AtlasQ&A Dan Barber ► 6 questions for a food FutureHero

From culinary creativity and food fads to a dystopian future soil crisis, friends of the Atlas ask Dan Barber – Blue Hill chef and co-founder of Row 7 Seed Company – their burning questions…    1. Ande Gregson, founder of GreenLab, an experimental space in London for urban agriculture: “Is urban agriculture future or fad?

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FutureHero Dougie McMaster: Ethical Jedi chef

FutureHero Dougie McMaster: Ethical Jedi chef

Britain’s most ethical restaurant doesn’t have a bin. Founded by ex-St John chef Dougie McMaster, the team at Silo brews its own booze, mills its own flour, churns its own butter and even has chairs made from jeans and plates formed from plastic bags.  At the UK’s first ever zero waste restaurant, all materials are digestible by

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Atlas of the Future presents ► Event videos with Meaning

Atlas of the Future presents ► Event videos with Meaning

It takes a special combo of people and ideas to make an event what it is, not just on stage, but everyone involved. Having just caught our breath after our first event Fixing the future, we have newfound appreciation for those of you putting on some of our favourite congresses, like Maker Faire, Vevolution, OFFF

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Fixing the future: Adventures in a better tomorrow

Fixing the future: Adventures in a better tomorrow

Are you ready for the good, the bad and the ugly? Here’s the bad news: the world is broken. The good? This lot can help us fix it. And now for the ugly: it’s going to get messy. Luckily there are plenty of people who are happy to get stuck in. Having now mapped over

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Fixing the future: Introducing the event line up!

Fixing the future: Introducing the event line up!

Future curious? On 13 March a future-‘supergroup’ will gather for the first time in Barcelona. Brought to you by Atlas of the Future and Ara, ‘Fixing the future: adventures in a better tomorrow’ will explore the talent solving the audacious goals of our planet with radical methods. Join us at the CCCB to meet the innovators

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FutureHero Richard Ballard: Growing greens in bomb shelters

FutureHero Richard Ballard: Growing greens in bomb shelters

A microgreen-fingered hydroponic hero is proving that ‘zero km’ is possible – in London’s disused bomb shelters. With his groundbreaking subterranean farm Growing Underground, Richard Ballard demonstrates how plants don’t need sunlight and that urban agriculture can help tackle food scarcity. Located 100 feet (33 metres) under the streets of London in a disused World War II air raid shelter,

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FutureHero Tony Lovell: 5 billion hectares of hope

FutureHero Tony Lovell: 5 billion hectares of hope

Cows are often the scape-goats (or scape-cows) for climate change; the methane-burping livestock animals have become confused with our management of them. By giving the animals a more holistic hook, carbon-canny cattle rancher Tony Lovell, co-founder of SLM Australia Livestock Fund, has raised a whopping $100 million to help to regenerate the billions of hectares of damaged

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FutureHero Christine Fox: The Pentagon’s real Top Gun

FutureHero Christine Fox: The Pentagon’s real Top Gun

Blazing a trail for other women, Christine Fox has held the highest rank ever for a woman at the Pentagon and was the inspiration for the Kelly McGillis character ‘Charlie’ in arguably the best film of the 80s… Top Gun (of course). The first female Deputy Secretary of Defense (Acting) in American history has flown in B-52s, escaped submerged

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Introducing our first AtlasEvent

Introducing our first AtlasEvent

In news unrelated to monkey clones, last night’s super blue blood moon or the adorable ‘shower rat’ (sorry to burst your soap bubble, but it’s a Peruvian pacarana), we’ve got big news of our own! Our first major AtlasEvent will take place on Tuesday 13 March. We’re excited to announce that ‘Fixing the future: Adventures in a

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Happy text-day! 9 ways your phone makes life better 

Happy text-day! 9 ways your phone makes life better 

We’re big fans of simple tech that makes things better. While mobile Internet rapidly becomes a primary source of knowledge, not everyone is connected. But SMS, the default messaging tool in parts of the developing world, still only requires simple feature phones. Last weekend the millennial ‘Short Message Service’ (it used to be very short!) turned

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Video ► Do you speak carbon?

Video ► Do you speak carbon?

Today carbon is considered a dirty word; consigned to dirt, dust, something that’s in the air, something that is dark. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking many forms, from diamonds to exhalation of CO2 as a gas, carbon can be used for good. And that’s the idea behind Carbon Productivity. As we struggle with climate catastrophe, this remarkable

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FutureHero Adam Clarke: The wonderful Wizard of Minecraft

FutureHero Adam Clarke: The wonderful Wizard of Minecraft

Move over Harry Potter, there’s a cooler wizard around, and he’s got blocks and pigments up his sleeves. Wizard Keen (AKA Adam Clarke) teaches people how to experience art, culture and politics like never before. Through Wonder Quest and the creation of some of the most innovative Minecraft maps out there, the artist and digital producer proves video games are the perfect tool to

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FutureRead: We Do Things Differently – Mark Stevenson

FutureRead: We Do Things Differently – Mark Stevenson

There is no better time to reboot our world than right now – which means there is no better time to read this book. At the Atlas, we love people who speak ‘human’. Anyone who tells stories that help everyone understand the super-cool stuff making the world better is alright in our book. In his latest slice of

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► Francesco Starace: The star of green power

► Francesco Starace: The star of green power

“Carbon is risky, it’s bad for the world. How can we continue to invest in something that’s increasingly dangerous, risky and therefore a bad idea? Let’s stop that and let’s do something else!” Francesco Starace is the CEO of Enel Group, one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the world. His vision for the

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The future is bright: AtlasChart Top 3

The future is bright: AtlasChart Top 3

Nearly one quarter of the world’s population live in off-grid communities. Without access to electricity, households grind to a halt after sunset. Work is limited, medical care is dangerous to provide and education levels drop where children cannot study in the dark. Right now, many of those households use ‘dirty’ kerosene lamps after the sun has gone down. Known for

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Soft Robotics Top 5: AtlasChart Cecilia Laschi

Soft Robotics Top 5: AtlasChart Cecilia Laschi

Nearly ten years ago, in the Tuscan seaside town of Livorno, a robotics researcher asked her father to catch her an octopus. Cecilia Laschi knew that a different bodyware was needed in robotics. The Professor of Biorobotics at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies went on to create a rob-octopus as a model for a project researching the new generation

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7 ways to map optimism

7 ways to map optimism

Parag Khanna loves maps. Born in India, his parents took him everywhere on their travels while growing up in the United Arab Emirates, New York and Germany: “Whether finding maps in the glove compartment or flipping through the maps in airline seat pockets, maps always kept me busy,” the bestselling geopolitical author tells us. “They gave me a

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Here comes the sun: Solar Impulse touches down

Here comes the sun: Solar Impulse touches down

On Sunday, Solar Impulse 2 became the first solar powered plane to cross the Pacific. After completing the latest leg and landing in California, the pioneering team is on a mission to make the first around the world solar flight without any fuel. 2016 is a big year for solar. As instability around oil continues and

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Tesla Model 3: An electric car to change the world

Tesla Model 3: An electric car to change the world

This is the big one. The Tesla Model 3, unveiled today, could bring electric cars to the masses and provide a solution to climate change. Heralded as the car to change the future of transportation, the petrol-free vehicle has been hailed by some as the end of oil and the beginning of a new era

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Vicente Guallart: Top 10 cities

Vicente Guallart: Top 10 cities

If you asked Vicente Guallart, former Chief Architect of Barcelona City Council, what his favourite city in the world was in the 90s, he would have said Barcelona. In the 00s he preferred Colombia’s Medellín.  As he works to invent the city of the future using the principles of global connectivity and local self-sufficiency, we challenged the director of

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VR, kind robots and refugee tech

VR, kind robots and refugee tech

A lot of staring at screens happens at Mobile World Congress – whether tapping away at your own rapidly depreciating handset, ogling smarter ones, deciphering the agenda, or (in my case) simply trying to download the app that gets you a free coffee. ‘Mobile Is Everything’. The clue is in the slogan, but Barcelona’s MWC isn’t just about mobiles. Amid

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Are you the future? The Atlas is hiring!

Are you the future? The Atlas is hiring!

Atlas of the Future is looking for a dynamic and results-driven Community Manager based in Barcelona to develop and execute an exciting social media strategy. We map innovative, future-focused, socially impactful projects and people around the world and our mission is to ‘democratise the future’. This means making sure developments are understandable and entertaining – not

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The Wild West of battery power: Tesla v Arpa-E

The Wild West of battery power: Tesla v Arpa-E

Last week, Arpa-E Director Dr Ellen Williams announced that her department had developed an energy storage device to rival Elon Musk’s Tesla battery. The research arm of the US Department of Energy (DoE) claims the discovery of game-changing energy storage technologies could open the uptake of clean energy to everyone. In an interview with the Guardian,

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Mesh networks: A parallel internet

Mesh networks: A parallel internet

Connectivity has been top of the agenda at Mobile World Congress this year and Facebook’s new project, announced at the Congress, aims to bring millions more people online. While Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Elon Musk might be scrambling to connect the world using balloons, drones and satellites, people living in underserved areas are already building their own networks without the help

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Best of the Atlas 2015

Best of the Atlas 2015

From a Noah’s Ark of seeds and American Idol for rural farmers to 3D printing prosthetics in conflict zones and igloo orphanages on skis, this year has seen hundreds of projects mapped on the Atlas from Syria to the North Pole. We’re celebrating the end of 2015 and looking to the future by ranking our favourite 16.  So get your

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Hello world: FutureHeroes, virtual reality and the Pope

Hello world: FutureHeroes, virtual reality and the Pope

I’m thrilled to introduce myself as editor-in-chief of Atlas of the Future, the new international Barcelona-London venture from Oriol Soler, Cathy Runciman and Arnau Grinyó. Launching September, this will provide a home and hangout for all those committed to long-term thinking, and take you on a journey through the technology and advances shaping our world in every way

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