Every year we identify the signals that could show us the shape of things to come.
These signals can be data points, observations or insights from the field that carry significant, if uncertain, implications for the future. Whether specific data points that might be weak signals of emergent change, or multiple signals pointing to a wider trend, our authors discuss why they matter and what they mean for the year ahead.
This year’s Future Signals collection features two core themes. The first is the environment, as our authors explore the possibility of beaming solar power down from space, how pylons are sparking debate among environmentalists and what we might do with the soon-obsolete gas grid.
The second theme is digitisation, where we consider how mind reading technology may affect our freedom of thought, the potential of virtual wards as a lifeline for the NHS, why countries might want to follow Tuvalu and start backing themselves up and how artists are leading the fight against AI with data poisoning.
This year, as the applications of AI continue to expand into different and novel aspects of our private and professional lives, we're presenting Scout, our own AI chatbot, as a new way of engaging with the topics covered in this year’s articles. Scout will be happy to talk you through which Signals might be most interesting for you.