Gamers against the clock: Speedrunning esports


Completing a game more quickly than opponents is the goal of the esport of speedrunning. It could be Super Mario, Doom or any other game. This week we’ll see which elite players can break the speed record playing Minecraft.

Speed is the name of the game

The Break the Record Live Series is a live-streamed event where elite gamers compete to be the fastest ever player. Next week, they’ll try to break the Minecraft speed-playing record. The brains behind Break the Record, Fredrik Lidholt (aka Edenal) chats about the future of esports with Marco Preuss and Rainer Bock in the latest episode of Unlocked.

Find out more about next week’s Minecraft event here!

Let us know on Facebook and Twitter if you’re tuning in and don’t forget to tag Tomorrow Unlocked and the European Speedrunner Assembly!

NFTs explained: Why pay $170,000 for digital art?


A non-fungible token (NFT) of digital kitten art sold for 170,000 US dollars. These tokens could change how we buy, sell and own digital media. What are they, and could they build a new creative economy? To start, check out the video above from CNBC!

Is this the art of true ownership in the digital age?

Most of us can make a GIF, take a picture or record a clip, but what if you could sell those and other digital media for hundreds of thousands of dollars? With the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), pictures, short clips of comedians, GIFs and every other form of digital art is now being tokenized and sold just like a physical painting.

What is an NFT?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a digital certificate of ownership of a piece of digital information that can be bought and sold. It works the same way as cryptocurrency: Secure transactions made between two parties recorded permanently through blockchain. The difference is, with bitcoin – a popular cryptocurrency using blockchain – you can trade one coin for the other and it has the same value, but NFTs are one-of-a-kind. Each NFT is unique and can have a different value.

You can make NFTs of almost anything digital, but the big news is they’re starting to be used to buy and sell digital art, known as cryptoart.

Why NFTs can benefit digital artists and art buyers

Uniqueness has always been central to the art market. Digital art is hard to sell, and for buyers, hard to ‘own’ because of the potential for an infinite number of copies. NFTs could solve that problem.

For creators, NFTs are super trendy and therefore add to your enigmatic status, and they have a handy sell-on feature. If you sell a GIF using NFTs, you get a percentage every time the NFT is sold to a new buyer. Imagine Van Gogh selling a painting, then getting a slice of every resale, forever.

And if you’re a buyer, you have a concrete claim of owning a piece of digital art. And speaking of buying, you might want to see this.

A world gone mad for NFTs

The best way to understand the NFT market explosion is to see some pieces that have fetched crazy sums. Brace yourself.

This Nyan Cat GIF sold for almost $600,000 US dollars.

Article in the NY Times

Grimes – The NFT goldrush continues

This 50-second video by Grimes sold for almost $390,000.

Watch the video here.

Beeple – Authenticated by blockchain

This video by Beeple sold for $6.6 million.

Watch the video here.

Crypto financial and environmental impacts

Many financial experts have warned that this could be an investment bubble that, if it bursts, could mean big losses.

And while NFTs are making the digital art world fairer, they come with a warning. The sale of a crypto art piece can use the same amount of energy in one transaction as an art studio uses in two years.

How  artists can benefit

If you’re an aspiring or established artist or content creator, no promises, but this could be big for you. First, prepare your work ready, whether it’s a GIF, picture or video. Then, when you’re happy with it, start on NIfty Gateway. On Nifty Gateway, you can apply to create a project for them to sell.

Will you get into the world of cryptoart? Share your favorite pieces with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Five best sci-fi TV shows predicting tech’s future


Technology could go anywhere in future. We ask you, which of these five sci-fi on-demand TV shows predicts it best?

Which sci-fi series gets our tech future right?

Predicting the future of tech is hard. These five on-demand sci-fi TV shows all predict different technological futures for humankind. Which do you think is closest to the truth?

Alphas (above)

Watch on Amazon Prime

In a new twist on the superhero saga, in Alphas, a select few humans have developed super senses, but they’re also plagued by harmful drawbacks. For the crime-fighting supergroup, their strengths and flaws act as both help and hindrance.

Altered Carbon

Watch on Netflix

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored in human spines, people can survive physical death by having their memories and consciousness “re-sleeved” into new bodies. What could go wrong?

Black Mirror

Watch on Netflix

Could technology alter memory and perception? Will AI be our friend or foe? Can we tell a digital human from a real one? This anthology of self-contained future worlds will satisfy the most curious minds, but is not for the faint-hearted.

Brave New World

Watch on Amazon Prime

This 2020 adaptation loosely based on Aldous Huxley’s influential 1932 novel envisions a perfect, happy society, where everyone knows their place. But, with advanced genetic technology, is it possible?

Devs

Watch on BBC iPlayer (UK only)

In a world where quantum computing can predict all human behavior (ouch,) humanity places its trust in a crack team of developers to restore their freedom.

There you have it – our five favorite sci-fi shows predicting a technological future. Which stands out for you, and why? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook and see what others say. And at Tomorrow Unlocked, we have our own predictions for the future of tech. Strap in – this is Imagine Beyond.

Five of the most insightful COVID-19 documentaries


How much will our lives change after COVID-19? We look at five of the most powerful documentaries made during the pandemic.

How did filmmakers see COVID-19?

The global community meets an invisible enemy, and must race against the clock to save humanity – COVID-19 is a compelling story. How was it seen by filmmakers around the world? These five must-see documentaries from creatives worldwide exploring different sides of the pandemic.

76 Days (above)

Directed by Hao Wu and Weixi Chen

China

What was Wuhan like in the pandemic’s early days? Wonder no more. This acclaimed documentary is a poignant snapshot of struggle and resilience in the battle to survive the coronavirus.

Watch the full 76 Days documentary

hacker:HUNTER Ha(ck)c1ne

Directed by Didi Mae Hand

UK/Switzerland

The pandemic stretched hospital resources more than ever. Among the first to take advantage of the struggle was a wave of deadly hackers. Follow as the healthcare system fights the virus on two fronts.

Part of a series commissioned by Tomorrow Unlocked.

Coronation

Coronation from Ai Weiwei Films on Vimeo.

Directed by Ai WeiWei

China

Each country responded differently to the outbreak. China’s was one of military and extreme efficiency. But what impact did that response have on their people? Behind the scenes of China’s battle against a silent killer, directed by acclaimed artist Ai WeiWei.

Eight countries, one global pandemic

Directed by Great Big Story

USA

This heartwarming documentary follows eight households from across the globe every day through the pandemic, to see how different families coped with lockdown.

The Curve

THE CURVE | Full Movie | COVID-19 Documentary Thriller from Oscar®-Nominee Adam Benzine from Jet Black Iris on Vimeo.

Directed by Adam Benzine

USA

The Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 receives an insightful, highly emotional look from Academy Award-nominated director Adam Benzine.

It wasn’t just professionals capturing the pandemic through a lens. During lockdown, we asked creatives worldwide to capture one hour from their pandemic experience. Watch the playlist we made from these moments – TWELVE.

What have we missed? Share your pick of COVID-19 documentaries with us on Facebook and Twitter, or let us know which of these you found most insightful.

Human augmentation: Wonderful and unusual stories


Human augmentation means altering the human body, for medical, disability or any other reason. Think bionic eyes or Wi-Fi legs. These stories of human augmentation feature the most impressive cyber upgrades you could ever want. Welcome to the future.

Where are the best human augmentation stories?

We love a good human augmentation story at Tomorrow Unlocked. From bionic eyes to Wi-Fi legs, we’ve picked our favorite cyborg videos from across the web. Which cyber upgrade would you want?

Viva la bionic revolution

Bionics isn’t just about prosthetic limbs – we can use our thoughts to communicate with computers.

Eight cyber upgrades you might consider

Thinking about augmenting yourself? These cyber upgrades are essential viewing for future bionic folks.

For more on human augmentation, our Imagine Beyond series covers the latest and most incredible advancements – but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Check out Imagine Beyond episode 3: The mind.

Can you hear color? You can now

Neil Harbisson was born color blind. Now, with the help of this cyber upgrade, he hears colors through bone conduction.

Store data in your leg

Store data, stream music and power a Wi-Fi hotspot through this 512Gb leg implant. Want one?

Bionic arms for those with disabilities, cyber upgrades to experiment with biology’s boundaries, even augmentation for athletics – it’s clear this technology could play a big part in our future. But what do the augmented think? Watch our recent Tomorrow Unlocked human augmentation live event.

The real reason behind our AI skepticism


Did Will Smith in I, Robot do such a convincing job that we can’t bear the thought of AI friends? Sci-fi author Ken MacLeod on the real reason for our AI skepticism, and how it could do us a favor.

Has science fiction changed the way we look at AI?

If sci-fi films like Frankenstein or i-Robot are anything to go by, you’d be forgiven for being skeptical about the future of AI. Both feature creations of technology that eventually rebel. Cult movies aside, AI could improve lives, from autonomous healthcare to robotic relationships. But how do we make it safe?

AI and the future of robotics

The ‘rebellious robot’ narrative has been around in film and TV for decades, says sci-fi author Ken MacLeod. As AI and robotics have advanced and evolved, so too have our fears. Speaking for Big Think, MacLeod dissects our subconscious AI skepticisms, how they might help us build safer robots and what to keep in mind as technology evolves.

A full week wearing a VR headset: What happened?


One man spent 168 hours – a full week – in a VR headset. He came out with these insights. Crazy experiment or timely voyage?

Seven days in a VR headset

However you normally spend your week, there’s probably a large chunk of it eating and sleeping. You may spend some time in nature, or maybe not. What if you could do it all in virtual reality? (Including the nature part.)

One man has gone to extreme lengths to show the possibilities of VR. Brought to you by ‘off-world’ YouTubers Disrupt, here’s what happens when you live in the future for a week.

What do we do when AI becomes too powerful?


As AI amplifies everything humans have achieved, taking us further into the unknown, one question hangs in the balance.

How do we govern AI?

Since the dawn of time, human intelligence has led to crazy, cool and useful achievements. Now, as AI begins to play a critical role in our lives, Freethink is talking about why governance matters in the AI age.

Why is AI such a risk?

AI will bring immense benefits, from autonomous vehicles to robotic surgeons, but as with any groundbreaking tech, there are risks. In the wrong hands, AI could have fatal consequences. What if self-driving cars were hacked? Or if cybercriminals set off autonomous weapons? In this video, Freethink explores how we could use AI regulations to let this groundbreaking technology evolve safely.

If you like this, you’ll enjoy Coded: A Freethink and Tomorrow Unlocked collaboration following pioneering hackers, from farmers to state-backed crypto geniuses. Watch Coded season three.

How COVID’s changed living and working in cities


After a year of working from home, which urban trends in how we work will stick around? In the face of bad Zoom signal and limited contact, we’re adapting to the biggest challenge in recent human history.

Business as unusual: City trends for the new normal

Adjusting to life in lockdown has been hard, but a glimmer of hope is on the horizon. COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work. What will our jobs and living spaces be like when we return to the ‘new normal?’ Here are the trends that could shape the future of work, technologies empowering these shifts and how we can make this new tech-forward way of life safe from cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity crucial for homes of the future

Working at home has meant a rise in intelligent buildings and smart homes. From keyless entry to voice-activated elevators, the demand for hands-off tech is up. And as you’d expect, the numbers using laptops at home has increased. As we’re becoming more reliant on home technology, we need to secure our homes against hackers – like securely configuring home Wi-Fi and using strong unique passwords to protect devices and control panels.

Recent Kaspersky research shows 58 percent use internet security software beyond what’s built in, most (65 percent) agree antivirus software is a must-have for good ‘digital hygiene,’ but only 48 percent password-protect their Wi-Fi.

Pop-up workspaces mean less time in the office

As we plan for life after the pandemic, most workers will likely head to the office just two or three days a week. This has a huge impact on how employers will use their properties, if they keep using them at all. Low-cost alternatives are small private offices, hot desks and co-working spaces.

Pop-up workspaces mean virtual work will be available to anyone who wants it. But without the protection of business cybersecurity, individuals need to protect themselves and their employers. A simple tip: Turn on your virtual private network (VPN) at home or on public Wi-Fi – to protect your and your employer’s data.

Rise of Zoom towns and 15-minute cities

COVID-19 has seen many turn and look outward – living outside cities. Millions are changing small apartments for bigger properties further from city centers and closer to green spaces. Meanwhile, Zoom towns have arisen: Vacation destinations turned virtual working hotspots by those escaping the city.

The 15-minute city, where everything from shops to parks are within 15 minutes from home, is now a reality for many. Huge malls are making way for grocery stores, only a bike ride away. All this means people spending more time in their neighborhoods and prioritizing lifestyle, based on affordability, commercial infrastructure, parks or whatever they value most.

As the digital world evolves, society benefits from the multiple uses of technology. But as tech continues to play an increasing part of our lives, we need the right cybersecurity solutions and defences to keep us safe from hackers and cybercriminals. The question remains: What do you think of all this?

Will we accept a cyborg future? What people think


Are you optimistic or worried about the impact of human augmentation? A recent Kaspersky study reveals interesting statistics on how we feel about human augmentation, and why these views might be holding us back.

Would you befriend a cyborg?

Rubbing mechanical shoulders with cyborgs, shaking bionic hands over a coffee or befriending people with implants – as human augmentation capabilities grow, a future with augmented people looks likely. Are we ready for that?

What do we mean by human augmentation? Put simply, it’s the natural, artificial or technological alteration of the human body. It’s either used for disability or health reasons, like bionic limbs for those who need them, or for convenience, like walletmor’s cashless chip implant.

Recent Kaspersky research, Our bionic future: What do Europeans think about an augmented world, involved interviewing 6,500 people about their hopes and fears for the future of human augmentation, with mixed results. While nearly half of European adults think people should be free to enhance their own bodies, many were concerned about augmentation technology’s impact on society.

Human augmentation – help or hinderance?

39 percent of European adults felt human augmentation could lead to social inequality or conflict. At the same time, 12 percent said they wouldn’t work with augmented humans because of potential unfair advantages.

And there’s another side to the bionic coin. More than a third said they’ve ‘always been accepting’ of augmented humans, while half of European men (compared to 40 percent of women) say they’re either “excited” or “optimistic” about a future with human augmentation.

The future of human augmentation gets mixed reactions across Europe. While some are excited, others feel unsafe with never-before-seen developments. It’s down to governments, industry leaders and the augmented to shape a future where human augmentation technology can develop freely and safely.