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A new chapter has begun in the bloody war against poaching in Africa – with technology being used as a force for good by rangers such as Sanare Ololtele

CO NTE N TS 05.06 / 1 8


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p. 026 Star t JURASSIC FAUX PAS From feathers to supersizing, movies have been getting dinos wrong for years. WIRED revisits the beasts of Jurassic Park to see if the science still holds up

p. 0 47 Gear RATED AND REVIEWED Custom Rapha kit; the Mercedes AMG Project One; Husqvarna’s Vitpilen 701 2018; aquatic kit; electric rides; Spengle’s carbon wheel; the new McLaren Senna

p. 06 3 Health WIRED HEALTH 2018 Learnings from our annual Health event, held this year at the Crick Institute, from managing cancer therapies to VR surgical


procedures and smartphone eye tests

p. 072 Work Smar ter OFFICE ESSENTIALS Ready to take on the world with your next great idea? From plant life to lighting, and high-end computing to classy carafes, we collate the products that give you an edge

p. 086 Feature THINK DIFFERENT The most valuable firm on the planet is in serious danger of going stale – WIRED asked ten influencers for ideas on how Apple can recapture the innovation lead

p. 108 Feature GIGANTIC Once the destination of choice for pensioners, cruise liners are now engaged in an entertainment arms-race. WIRED goes on board the biggest ship yet built

Top-right: Fabiola Torres, in the Library of the Santo Domingo Convent, Lima Right: Ferrari’s assembly line in Maranello, Italy

CO NTE N TS 05.06 / 1 8

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Clair MacDougall Based in Monrovia, Liberia, MacDougall met the Kenyan rangers using tech to stop poachers. “Eric Becker is a brilliant engineer who worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and now designs anti-poaching tech,” she says. ”His vision for a wildlife reserve sounded like a cross between a Special Forces op and Jurassic Park .”



B RI NG I NG B ILLIE H OLID AY BACK Photographer Spencer Lowell got a spooky glimpse of the future of entertainment when he visited key players in the race to bring dead celebrities such as Billie Holiday (above) back to holographic life. “Alkiviades David from Hologram USA was quite the showman, while Jordan Fiksenbaum and John Textor from Pulse Evolution were much more interested in pushing the boundaries of CGI,” Lowell says. “I felt very lucky to get a private performance from Tupac at Hologram USA – but he was surprisingly difficult to photograph.”


A writer who has

Gore, the former US

travelled widely in

vice-president, and

South America, Emslie

Blood, a veteran

reports on the illegal

investor, explain how

trafficking of Peru’s

sustainability can

cultural heritage to

mean big profits for

buyers who may not

firms that embrace

realise many artefacts

this way of doing

are stolen. “I had no

business: “There is

idea of the extent of

plenty to be optimistic

the problem until I

about, but a lot of work

encountered Memoria

still to do,” they write.

Robada – Ojo Público´s

“The Sustainability

Big Data investigation,”

Revolution is, after

she says. “The scale

all, at an early stage.

of the thefts is huge.”

Change will require Liam Sharp headed into the Kenyan bush to follow park rangers

not just business

as they stopped poachers – and gave first aid to elephants.

leadership, but the

“A call came through to help an injured elephant that had been

involvement of other

speared by farmers. It needed guiding to a spot where it could

parts of society, too.”

be tranquillised and tended to. Our truck boxed it in so it could be shot with a dart, but the elephant began charging us. Luckily, it began to wobble, then it passed out just before it ran into us.”

Karen Emslie

David Blood

P H O T O G R A P H Y: L I A M S H A R P. I L LU S T R AT I O N : M AT T H E W G R E E N

Al Gore &

trĂŚ+buffalo horn

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“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” Professor Stephen Hawking. January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018



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Gluten-intolerant readers may want to look away – this image shows an almost pure glob of the chewy stuff, extracted from a dough ball by washing away the starch granules, and then photographed at 734x magnification. It’s from Nathan Myhrvold’s $625, five-part foodie megawork, Modernist Bread, in which he reveals the microscopic processes that go into a perfect loaf. Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of dough for a cook book… Joe Ray


Knead to know: gluten’s secrets Nathan Myhrvold’s labour of loaf reveals bread’s hidden depths





n Claire Novorol’s first day as a geneticist, she encountered an unknown illness. A baby was brought into Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, sufering from symptoms that matched no known disease. Novorol was shocked. “I had no background in Claire Novorol’s app helps millions of this area and, looking at the notes, patients in areas with limited access I didn’t know what this was,” she to healthcare check their symptoms says. The baby had been seeing doctors for over a year. By combining information from databases, symptoms and case studies, Novorol found the correct test, which led to a diagnosis. “Doctor Google” – but dedicated apps do a better (To this day, the case is so rare that she cannot name the disease, as it job at symptom checking, according to a study risks identifying the patient.) But that episode taught her the limita- published by the British Medical Journal in 2015. So how does Ada stack up against its competitors? tions of humans, especially when it comes to retaining information. “The knowledge just doesn’t fit inside the heads of doctors,” she says. “The questions are clear, and it translates free text Novorol, 39, is co-founder of Ada, a Berlin- and London-based startup into sensible suggestions for the user to choose,” whose app gives its users information about their symptoms. Answer says Hamish Fraser, senior lecturer in eHealth at a series of questions, and you’ll get guidance about your ailment, the University of Leeds. In our symptom-check- S TA RT including an assessment of what it might be. The app, which is available ing-apps test (WIRED 09.17), Ada’s deep knowledge on Android and iOS, can’t give a formal diagnosis – there are strict and conversational abilities made it the clear winner. regulations around diagnosing patients – but in the UK it connects “Ada was by far the best,” says David Wong, lecturer people directly to GPs via video. Since launching in the UK in April 2017, in health informatics at the University of Leeds. “There were issues with the others on test. It was Ada has been downloaded by two million people worldwide. Ada hasn’t always worked this way. When the company launched in surprising to be able to find things wrong in a few 2011, co-founders Daniel Nathrath and Martin Hirsch set out to help minutes, from a non-clinical perspective.” In October 2017, Ada raised €40 million (£35.2m) perplexed doctors diagnose rare and complex conditions. “They were focused on vertigo and then looking to extend out to neurology,” says in funding and plans to use the money to open Novorol, who joined a few months after the company launched. The a US office. But Novorol’s long-term ambition problem: overstretched doctors didn’t have enough time to enter the is to be more involved in people’s overall health. symptoms and medical histories of complex patient cases into yet She says most of us are generally aware of the need another system. So instead, Ada shifted its focus toward patients, to exercise regularly and eat healthily – we just find it difficult to act on that building a medical database to match symptoms and ailments. knowledge. But interrupting a “We moved from one speciality to multiple specialities, person’s routine with advice then to covering all of general practice,” explains Novorol. that’s based on their medical Ada’s database now contains more than 1,500 conditions, she ‘Ada moved history may be the answer. “The says, based on over 5,000 findings from scientific studies. But from one next step is really to tell people even once it had all this information, Ada was left with a speciality what to do,” Novorol adds. challenge. To draw information out of humans, the app needed to multiple “There’s a lot of great knowledge to talk to them – so Novorol and the team started to develop specialties and theory on how to nudge a conversational artificial intelligence engine. to covering someone in the right direction.” On launching the app, Ada’s “patients” are presented with all of general Matt Burgess a long list of questions based on the symptoms they have practice’ entered (“Have you lost your appetite?”, “Do you have any lumps under your abdominal skin?”). For each question – a typical test can involve more than 20 – the app presents an explanation of any medical complexities. Novorol says Ada’s WIRED TIRED EXPIRED AI has been built to be “friendly, but at the same time authoritative”. It’s not a doctor, but has the air of one. SEC ICO IPO Several startups, such as babylon and Your.MD, are attempting something similar – and the stakes are high for Crowd Surf Parabolic-lens drones Microsoft ICE the company that comes out on top. According to the World Health Organization’s 2017 Tracking Universal Health Cell watch Cell car Cell phone Coverage report, more than half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to health services. In India, poor access Neural-net fiction Emoji serials Olfactory novels to public healthcare forces people to turn to private services or forego basic analysis. (Ada has “several hundred thousand” Gochujang Sriracha Worcestershire users there, Novorol says). At present, lots of people turn to

The smartphone doctor that’s always on call

Left: Ada co-founder Claire Novorol: “The knowledge just doesn’t fit inside the heads of doctors”



Ferrari has handmade its vehicles in the same place for 70 years. WIRED tracks the 32 steps needed to create a supercar in 90 days

This is the factory where Ferraris are born. Housed in the location originally chosen by company founder Enzo Ferrari in 1947, the 165,000-square-metre plant, in Maranello, Italy, produces 8,400 cars a year and employs 1,300 workers. Every car that has ever borne the famous Prancing Horse was painstakingly assembled here – and Ferrari wouldn’t have it any other way. Every Ferrari takes three months to complete. The first and most critical stage is the casting of the engine, which takes place in the plant’s in-house foundry. The completed parts are then delivered to the assembly line, where 147 engines are hand-built every day. Once the engine is completed, two robots connect the Ferraris’ valve mechanics – this is the only part of the process not done by hand. “The robots work so closely together that we call them Romeo and Juliet,” says Vincenzo Regazzoni, the company’s chief manufacturing oicer. To mark its 70th anniversary, Ferrari invited WIRED inside to watch the key stages of the manufacturing process, from start to finish. EP >


ASSEMBLY LINE Technicians in the 21,000m2 Maranello line attach mechanical parts to the inside of each Ferrari, such as this 488 GTB, before adding wheels, bumpers and windscreens. Once the car reaches the end of the line, the interiors are installed and the engine is tested. 

< V8 ENGINE ASSEMBLY The V8 assembly line consists of 32 stations; employees each work on one phase of the process. Ferrari’s V8 engines are assembled separately to V12s – the latter are more complex and require additional human attention, so get their own line. > GTC4LUSSO T V8 ENGINE This is a V8 engine destined for a Ferrari GTC4Lusso T, a four-seater model that has


rear-wheel drive, as opposed to all-wheel drive. Aimed at urban drivers, the engine isn’t as loud as the larger V12, but it has been tuned to produce a similarly appealing sound.

‘The robots work so closely together that we call them Romeo and Juliet’

From peer-to-peer exchanges to smart insurance that spots problems before they happen, the next generation of connected buildings will look very different from the last, says Accenture’s Hugo Pinto


The smart home is dumb – at least in its present form. The first wave of Connected Home products has become synonymous with technology for its own sake: fridges that remind you to buy eggs; internet-enabled ovens; toothbrushes that connect to insecure servers – but not with customers. But that’s temporary. The coming wave of Connected Home innovation will enable far more than smart locks and security cameras – it will fundamentally change our relationship with the built environment. That means disruption for existing providers in fields such as energy, insurance and telecoms. In energy, the traditional supply models are under threat because of trends such as low-cost renewables (even IKEA now offers a solar panel and battery product) and the emergence of peer-to-peer microgrids. Then there are additional pressures such as the government-mandated rollout of Smart Meters and new EU data rules. The introduction of GDPR “means you need to either have a very strong value proposition, or you’re going to be under threat,” says Hugo Pinto, managing director at Accenture digital. “A big cultural transition needs to happen internally at the energy firms, with regards to what these companies think they are. What is the purpose of energy providers, once they’re not actually selling electricity or gas?” Pinto suggests opportunities will arise

in aggregation or in new business-tobusiness plays. “If you take care of boilers for your customers, why aren’t you taking care of the boilers for all the other companies?” he says. Take insurance as another example. “Home insurance is a grudge purchase: no one likes to spend money on it, but you have to have it,” says Rebecca Skiles, a managing director at Accenture Digital. Behind-the-wall innovations like leak detectors will let companies change that. “There’s an opportunity for insurers to alter the perception from ‘we’ll help you fix it

after it’s gone wrong’ to ‘we will use connected devices to protect your home so that bad things don’t happen.’” Incumbents, Pinto argues, need to be thinking radically. What if energy companies ran autonomous car fleets, to help manage electricity distribution? Or will there be end-to-end propositions like Tesla’s, which roll the whole home and service into one? Those might seem far off, but change is coming fast – and traditional industries have been slow to adapt. Apple, Google and Amazon already have your bank details and the capital to disrupt almost any market. “Communications service providers have been conservative in rolling out connected home products,” agrees Accenture’s Cian O’Hare. In the meantime, AI assistants are starting to assume the role of virtual butler – one that can provide access to services without the involvement of traditional providers. “One thing’s for certain,” says Pinto. “The first to create the platforms for these ecosystems are going to have a much better chance of surviving.”


The future of the connected home isn’t internet-linked toothbrushes – it’s entirely new business models


FACTORY MECHANICS Each car frame (this is a 488 Spider) is held by an individual mechanical lift, made from steel hooks. These are used to move the car from one station to another, rotating the chassis and automatically adjusting it to the height appropriate to the task.

<< 2 DOOR ASSEMBLY The doors of all Ferraris are made from aluminium, and are pressed and cut at the Scaglietti factory in nearby Modena, 22km from Ferrari’s main facility. The doors are only attached to a completed car body once it has reached the end of the production line. < PROPULSION UNIT This is where the engine, transmission and suspension systems are mounted on to the cars’ underbodies. The engine is removed from the automatic guided vehicle (AGV) that has transported it through the production line,


and attached to the car body.


< INTERNAL MECHANICS Two robots, Romeo and Juliet, fuse the valve seats that will go into the engines – a job too intricate for humans. Romeo picks up cylinder heads and warms them with compressed air; Juliet dips aluminium rings into liquid nitrogen. The


parts are then joined together.

Initially, all Ferraris were red. Today, the colour represents 45 per cent of Ferrari sales


MAY 24-25-26 PARIS FRANCE Get your pass now on




Ford’s helmet uses EEG to monitor a driver’s brain activity


Few people in high-pressure situations manage to stay as focused as pro racing drivers on the track. Absolute concentration can come in handy in situations other than professional races: in today’s distraction-filled society, being able to enter “the zone” during two subgroups: some performed mental preparation a demanding task – from delivering a keynote address and some did not. Results were noticeably different. “When normal people performed some simple mental to doing a job interview – can be an invaluable skill. Still, that high-performance mindset is so elusive exercises, they were also able to reach this higher that one is left wondering whether drivers’ brains work level of performance,” Mouchlianitis explained. We are not talking about complicated brainsomewhat differently from everyone else’s. It turns out that they do. New research from Ford teasers, or yogi-level mindfulness: exercises as and King’s College London broke new ground by using simple as breathing and meditation, and a visualisEEG (electroencephalography) headsets to track ation technique that leverages keywords to conjure the brain activity of pro auto-racers Sébastien Ogier up the task ahead, improved non-professional and Andy Priaulx as they were in a racing simulator. drivers’ focus by up to 50 per cent. “Racing drivers aren’t born with this skill; our experThey then used the kit on a group of everyday drivers, to assess how their brains performed in iment showed that mental training ahead of a task can similar high-octane situations. Unsurprisingly, what help anyone to improve focus and ignore distractions, goes on in racing aces’ heads is quite different from making them more successful at the task in hand,” said three-time FIA World Touring Car Championship what happens in the brain of Joe Schmo. “The study data revealed that when travelling at winner Priaulx, after taking part in the study. Building on this new insight, Ford is now working speed and in a state of high focus, racing drivers’ brains performed up to 40 per cent better when on an EEG-powered racing helmet (see above) able to it comes to ignoring distractions than yours or track professional drivers’ brain activity while they are mine,” explained Dr Elias Mouchlianitis, on the circuit, and transmit that data who is a neuroscience researcher at live to the team. Driver health is King’s College London. ‘When travelling at already monitored in real time – if The good news, though, is that this speed and in a state a Le Mans driver is overheating, gap is, in fact, far from insurmountable: of high focus, they are pulled into the pits. Ford’s if ordinary people engage in specific racing drivers’ brains helmet could add to that picture with mental preparation exercises before performed up to a live brain-activity feed, and the taking the wheel, their focus and their 40 per cent better technology developed for it might performance drastically improve. The than yours or mine’ find a place in a mix of health- and researchers demonstrated this by wellness-monitoring applications that dividing the everyday drivers’ group into look far beyond the racetrack.


MINDFUL DRIVING: how Ford’s crash helmet could enhance focus behind the wheel

The team work within the Arctic Circle in northeast Greenland


Joseph Cook camps for months on the ice sheets of Greenland. It’s not very comfortable, but it’s the only way to accurately map the impact of climate change. Cook, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sheffield, studies how microscopic algae are causing glaciers to retreat. The theory: that a dark melting strip along the country’s west coast is being darkened further by a little-known ecosystem of biological growth. “Greenland has about seven metres of sea level locked away in it and it’s a giant reflector of solar radiation,” says Cook, 30. “If we lose it then we amplify climate warming and release a lot of water into the sea.” Cook wants to find out how much of an effect these growths are having on the speed of retreat. After spending two years mapping the ice sheets by flying drones over it in a grid pattern, he now knows what species of algae are growing and is modelling the impacts of different pigmentations, cell sizes and growth conditions – before finding out if these predictions are what happens in reality. To do that, Cook needs to bridge the gap between the small areas he’s studying on the ground and the 500-metre-scale satellite maps from the sky. So he added cameras and sensors to the drones to take images in specific light wavelengths. “That will give us a way to map life on ice,” he says. Once the mechanisms that cause the retreat are understood, Cooke says, the mapping methods can be rolled out elsewhere. “We can apply it to more sensitive and complex glaciers and ice streams that have more complicating factors.” Bonnie Christian sheffield.


Joseph Cook (top) and fellow researcher Francesco Sauro descending the Greenland ice sheet in 2017

Deep learnings from the Arctic Circle Researcher Joseph Cook uses drones and satellite imagery to research the role algae has on dramatic glacier retreat

Despite Steven Spielberg’s best eforts, the dinosaurs in the original 1993 Jurassic Park weren’t exactly scientifically accurate. By the mid-90s, for instance, it was established that most species at that time would have had feathers. But for Steve Brusatte, a palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh, the film’s portrayal of dinos was revolutionary. “It was the first time that dinosaurs were shown as intelligent, dynamic – not just sitting around waiting for an asteroid to take them out,” he says. “Sure, there were errors – but it brought dinosaurs back into the public consciousness big-time.” In his new book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, Brusatte showcases developments in palaeontology by comparing the Jurassic Park digi-dinos and their real-world equivalents. Ahead of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, he picks out some of the most memorable inaccuracies. Stephen Kelly



Jurassic faux pas From feathers to supersizing, movies have been getting dinos wrong for millions of years…



“The T. rex could definitely


Jurassic World is also notable

Standing totally

see you if you stood still,”


for the Indominus rex – a


Brusatte laughs. “CAT scans

modified super-

fictional, genetically-enhanced

won’t save you

of T. rex skulls have allowed us

dinos are a

hybrid dino. “They’re getting

from a T. rex

to visualise the brain cavity.

step too far

a bit loopy,” says Brusatte.

We’ve learned from this that

“There’s a danger that the

the T. rex had binocular vision

public will see dinosaurs as

– and a great sense of smell.

monsters and not as real

If a T. rex was after you, it was

animals that actually lived on

probably going to get you.”

this Earth before we did.”


“A raptor was only around


Jurassic’s biggest crime

The raptors

the size of a poodle,” says

The Mosasaur is

against palaeontology: the

were not the same

Brusatte. “They would have

cool, but it isn’t

enormous aquatic Mosasaur

size as humans

been covered in feathers, and

even a dinosaur

too big. I don’t know if a water

But could you train them,

predator is even capable of

as in 2015’s Jurassic World?

evolving that large. Plus, they

“These things would be trying

aren’t actually dinosaurs –

to gut you every second. But

they’re more closely related to

intelligence-wise, probably.”

things like Komodo dragons.”



in Jurassic World. “It was far

they were very agile and fast.”


Meet the robot that aims to autonomously build the first habitat on the Red Planet


Specs Justin is 190cm tall and weighs in at 200kg. Each arm can lift loads of 14kg – or make tea and coffee Eyes High-definition cameras and sensors in the head give a 3D view of Justin’s surroundings Base On-board storage of protocols means tasks can be finished and data saved, even if comms go down



The Martian powered by AI

When humans are ready to relocate to Mars, they won’t be able to do it alone. They’ll need specialists with knowledge, composure under pressure and extreme endurance – droids like Justin. Built by the German space agency DLR, such bots are being groomed to build the first human Martian habitats. Engineers have been refining Justin’s physical abilities for a decade; it can handle tools, shoot and upload photos, catch flying objects and navigate obstacles. Now, thanks to new AI upgrades, Justin can think for itself, autonomously performing complex tasks on a planet’s surface while supervised by astronauts in orbit. Objectrecognition and computer vision allows Justin to survey its environment and undertake jobs such as cleaning machinery, maintenance, inspecting equipment and carrying objects. In a recent test, Justin fixed a faulty solar panel in a Munich lab in minutes, directed via a tablet controlled by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. One small chore for Justin, one giant leap for future humankind. Anna Vlasits


No experience required

Rubik’s Cube® used by permission Rubik’s Brand Ltd

Are you a problem solver?

Copenhagen Suborbitals is a crowdfunded, volunteer-run rocket programme. It plans to launch a human into space within the decade




Above: Rune Henssel, one of Copenhagen Suborbitals’ team of volunteers, next to the tip of its latest rocket, the Nexø II

The plan sounds simple: at four o’clock on a mid-May morning, a small flotilla of ships will set sail from the Danish island of Bornholm for international waters in the Baltic Sea, from where – later that day – a 6.7-metre-tall rocket, weighing 178 kilograms, will be fired 12.6 kilometres into the air, then float back down to Earth with the help of a parachute. But given that the rocket is a mishmash of pre-existing components, repurposed for space travel, the task is gargantuan. The rocket isn’t part of a national military test or a major space programme supported by Nasa or the European Space Agency (ESA). It’s not even the latest test of Elon Musk’s multi-billion-dollar SpaceX project, or one of Virgin Galactic’s trial launches. It’s been cobbled together by a crowdfunded team of around 50 volunteers working in a Copenhagen warehouse who share a dream: of putting a human into space.

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wouldn’t say we’re competing with Nasa, per se,” says Mads Wilson, 41, a freelance IT consultant who joined the group, Copenhagen Suborbitals, in 2013, five years after a handful of enthusiasts first banded together with the goal of amateur manned spaceflight. For one thing, Copenhagen Suborbitals’ budget is around £10,000 per month – just 0.00084 per cent of the amount that Charles Bolden, the president of Nasa, requested from the US government in 2017. But they are still

Being outside the formal organisations of a national or supra-national space programme does have its benefits, however. Wilson doesn’t call Nasa or ESA conservative or boring, but does say their political ties through funding “make them very careful”. Currently, Copenhagen Suborbitals’ supporters are receiving missives about the Nexø II rocket, which will be able to push with a thrust of 5,000 Newtons thanks to its ethanol and liquid oxygen engine. But not all aspects of the rocket are cutting edge. Budgetary constraints mean the rocket, which will cost just £25,000 in total, is built using begged and borrowed components. The computer used in the engine control system is a repurposed cashier’s terminal from a Burger King; the pressure regulation system is based on a scuba




able to produce space-worthy vessels, stepping stones on the path to sending a human to space – something Wilson believes they can do within a decade. “If we had all the money we needed, we could do it in two to five years,” he says. But rather than a million-pound budget, Copenhagen Suborbitals subsists on the goodwill of around 700 supporters from around the world, who pay $10 or $20 per month to receive regular project updates from the allvolunteer staff, who tend to spend between five and 50 hours a week on the endeavour. “We have engineers, metal workers, electronics guys, software guys – all sorts of skills,” says Wilson. But their volunteer status is the main brake on progress. “We don’t have the money to pay people so they could work completely dedicated to the project.”

Launch remnants, including a 2012 TM65 engine, a 2016 Nexø I (with a 4 on its fin) and a 2012 Tycho Deep Space capsule

diving funnel; a previous rocket (the current Nexø II rocket is the fifth Copenhagen Suborbitals have built) used a brake cable from a Fiat car to synchronise the opening of crucial valves. Whereas Richard Branson and Elon Musk are breaking new scientific ground in their attempts to rekindle the Space Race, Copenhagen Suborbitals powers its spacecraft using principles and technologies developed during the Russia-US space rivalry of the 50s and 60s. “I used to think – as most of us perceive spaceflight – that you need loads of investment,” says Wilson, who will be taking the role of flight information dynamics officer, feeding back telemetry from the rocket’s GPS systems to the team during the Nexø II launch. “But there are two ways of doing this. We are using modern materials to do what they did, but far more cheaply.


What was a cutting edge component back in the 50s, you can buy of the shelf now.” This second way also requires having dedication that borders on obsession – and an understanding family. “I’d be lying if I said that sometimes they aren’t annoyed,” explains Wilson. “It’s a diicult balance: a lot of time goes from being spent with the family to doing this.” But like all those who give up their time to work on the project, Wilson holds a romantic view of space. “We all share the same story,” he says. “Most of us here grew up in the 70s and 80s, with Apollo and the Space Shuttle. We were glued to the television every time they broadcast something about the Space Shuttle launch. We all scoured the local libraries for whatever we could find on rocketry. All of us dreamt about rockets, spacecraft, and building these huge machines.”

Provided the May launch of the Nexø II goes well, the team at Copenhagen Suborbitals may eventually see their dreams become a reality. The group are currently designing the Spica, a one-metrediameter, 16-metre-tall rocket, about big enough for a human. “Just moving that baby around is going to be difficult,” admits Wilson, who adds that they’ll need to have plenty of unmanned test flights before they dare put a pilot inside. But they remain confident they’ll achieve their target – and within the decade. “We don’t want to stop,” he says. “Our goal is to be the first amateurs to put a human into space. But it’s also our goal to inspire people all over the world; to show that you can, if you want it badly enough and collect the right people, build a rocket.” Chris Stokel-Walker

Above: Team member Bianca Diana, wearing a protective welding jacket. Above right: Rune Henssel cutting a length of pipe in the workshop. Right: A Nexø I test launch





What does it take to change the world? To truly upend longheld assumptions and forge a new path? These are the questions all successful entrepreneurs ask of themselves – so Glenfiddich, through its Experimental Series, joined WIRED on a journey to rediscover the joy of fresh perspectives…

Experimental thinking has a transformative power â&#x20AC;&#x201C; from remixing food and drinks to solving the planetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest problems


Pioneers who capture the spirit of adventure and experimentation Disruption, reinvention, pushing the boundaries – these are the currency of modern business, but they’re traits you might not associate with a company that has deep roots in traditional skills and a heritage that is as rich and complex as the product it makes. Yet Glenfiddich has proved itself to be a taskmaster at embracing the future while preserving the timeless quality that makes its spirits loved the world over – its bold move in 1963 to introduce single-malt whisky to the world beyond Scotland created an entirely new category in the spirits industry, and its commitment to exploring new avenues continues today. Like the master distillers past and present, the Glenfiddich Experimental Series attempts to extract the insights and ideas of the select few challenging norms to bring creativity, inspiration and ideas to the fore – and perhaps give a clue as to the path to tomorrow. Tradition and respect for the past are values that have immense worth – they are the foundations for progress. But maintaining a sense of discovery is equally important – something that Alastair Humphreys, an adventurer and guest collaborator of the Experimental Series, epitomises. His passion for the outdoors is unparalleled, and Humphreys has famously cycled around the world, walked across India, and rowed the Atlantic. But it’s his work closest to home that caught Glenfiddich’s attention. Adventures – and adventurers – come in all shapes and sizes. Humphreys’ “micro-adventures” take people on trips into the unknown, in locations that are often right under their noses. An evangelist for the joys and perception-altering powers of a good adventure, big or small, he strives to make transformative experiences available to all.

The Glenfiddich Experimental Series celebrates the bold thinkers and doers exploring the possibilities of the future

Where Humphreys’ adventures are meticulously planned, another Glenfiddich Experimental Series contributor relies on serendipity and try-itand-see. Lily Cole, model, activist and co-founder of Impossible, was invited to share the lessons that have helped to shape the groundbreaking work she does with her company, harnessing innovation and technology to solve global problems. “For me, experimentation is everything,” explained Cole, whose main focus is environmental sustainability. “If you look at the past and what humanity’s achieved, and the kind of crazy, extraordinary things we’ve managed to do, often through accident and experimentation, I feel quite optimistic that we will come up with solutions.” This foresight to imagine the potential and the possibilities of the future is a reoccurring trait shared by leading innovators, as we saw when Chris Morton, co-founder of global fashion search platform Lyst, presented his views on what it takes to make a small dream a billion-dollar reality. When he co-founded Lyst back in 2010, only one per cent of branded fashion was being sold online. While



Alastair Humphreys


Adventurer and writer (opposite, top right)


“When I go over a bridge, I always look down and see if the river looks good for swimming or canoeing or camping. Once you start doing new things, the world gets infinitely large. I find that very exciting.”


Chris Morton CEO & founder, Lyst -

rose to the occasion with innovative combinations that upended assumptions of a typical Burns Night. Known for combining technical savvy with fresh, seasonal, sustainably sourced produce, Handling served up a sensationally imaginative four-course meal. Dishes including lamb and haggis wellingtons, and clootie dumplings with whisky parfait, infused a bold sense of surprise into a traditional celebration. Meanwhile, Whiley, who’s famous for his love of foraged ingredients, debuted four cocktails inspired by Burns, including “Haggis” – a mix of Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, burnt potatoes, swede wine, cacao butter and black ice – described by influencer and Scotsman Callum Watt as “Burn Night’s in a glass”. The feast wouldn’t be complete without the great man’s poetry, which was vividly brought to life by the Loud Poets collective. Through experimentation the old becomes new, happy accidents occur, and people come together in impactful new ways. The Glenfiddich Experimental Series has pushed boundaries, uniting a community around curiosity, creativity and the excitement of what’s possible – and what’s next. No matter the industry, this series is a great reminder to allow space for playfulness, contemplation, risk and possible failure today – because these are the necessary ingredients for the revelations, success and rewards of tomorrow.

“The world we understood and knew isn’t the world that we’re growing into. Testing, iterating, learning constantly is key to understanding the new world.”

Sven Rutherford Glenfiddich Ambassador “Experimentation is at the heart of Glenfiddich. By keeping an open mind, we continue to challenge the rules of single malt – a philosophy which led to the Glenfiddich Experimental Series.”

Matt Whiley Founder, Scout bar “Collaborating with others who share a deep understanding of their ingredients and craft allows experimentation to be taken to the next level.”

Adam Handling Chef-owner, The Frog Restaurant Group “It’s vital to experiment with food. Experimenting and making a classic dish, modernised with your interpretation – that’s fun.”

Alastair Humphreys (top) harnesses adventure to change perspectives, while chef Adam Handling uses food to upend tradition


most didn’t even see our current influencer-led, on-demand marketplace on the horizon, Morton had the confidence to anticipate and embrace change, now crediting the high levels of testing, iteration and learning to Lyst’s success. “What worked in the past won’t necessarily work in the future,” advised Morton. “Experimentation is key.” Perhaps one of Glenfiddich’s most daring experiments in the series came last September, when it hosted more than 300 of Scotland’s leading bartenders at its distillery in Dufftown. The Glenfiddich Festival Experiment included performances by two popular Scottish bands, The Fratellis and Twin Atlantic, distillery tours, food, drink and more – all in the name of new discoveries. WIRED, meanwhile, hosted a pop-up Test-Lab showcasing some of the latest technologies having a tangible impact on the future. Attendees had the rare opportunity to get hands-on with a range of disruptive innovations and learn about new trends pertaining to their industry, from how we interact with products to mass personalisation, and even how synaesthesia – the jumbling of the senses – might open up new experiences in food and drink. Celebrating the experimental spirit is important to Glenfiddich, so it was only natural to toast Scottish poet and national icon Robert Burns by putting a truly modern twist on Burns Night. Challenged to reinvent the traditional supper, chef Adam Handling and mixologist Matt Whiley

Want an original design? Better ask a machine Free from preconceived bias, automated design software specialises in radical ideas

This coral-like form is a spinal implant. Created by Californian medical company NuVasive, it is made from titanium and fits precisely between two vertebrae. By mimicking the porousness and stifness of human bone, it can accelerate bone growth following back surgery. Spinal surgeons typically use implants made from high-performance plastic, because the material is less rigid than metal, yet also porous. But NuVasive’s research demonstrated that, with the right design, titanium could be moulded closer to the form and stifness of human bone – with the added benefit of being stronger than plastic. But how to make it as porous while keeping this strength? Put a computer in control of the design. The process is known as generative design: NuVasive sets constraints – such as the implant’s weight and porousness – into its software, and then asks the algorithm to spit out solutions that fit the brief. Humans have preconceived notions about the way something needs to look, but computers don’t – so it’s easier for them to ofer original ideas. “You describe your problem, and the computer creates a large set of potential solutions,” says Jeff Kowalski, chief technology officer at Autodesk, which designed the Dreamcatcher programme used to create the implant. “In the time it would have taken you to do one design, Dreamcatcher has done all of them.” Once the most suitable model has been selected by a human designer, NuVasive 3D prints the implant. The computer’s latticed, asymmetric design means it

can be made of titanium, a material that is strong and easy to detect in X-rays, yet still lightweight. “We’re able to tell it what load we’re putting on the implant and then the lattice is actually able to grow and shrink in thickness based on those loads, which leaves us with the least amount of material to meet strength requirements,” says NuVasive development engineer Jesse Unger. At present, the implant only comes in one size. But, as the 3D printing process becomes more efficient, each patient could get their own tailor-made implant that specifically matches the needs of their body and bone density. NuVasive’s director of product development, Jeremy Malik, says this will help overcome one of the big hurdles of spinal implant surgery: guaranteeing fusion between bone and implant, which can mean repeat surgeries if it doesn’t occur. “You can design the implant to load-share in a way that the bone has, theoretically, a better opportunity to grow – and potentially at a faster rate,” he says. Generative design is being applied across industries. Tyre manufacturer Michelin is developing concept treads that can be 3D printed on demand to meet any road condition, be it dry, wet, or icy; architecture firm Herzog de Meuron used the process to optimise the acoustic spaces for music performances at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. But these projects tend to be expensive one-ofs. The promised land of generative design is products and devices created specially for each individual.

After all, at present, as 3D-printing pioneer Francis Bitonti explains: “You never get something that’s a perfect fit for your behaviour, you always get something that matches maybe 80 per cent of the public’s behaviour. What we can do now is have flexible designs.” Bitonti’s New York studio uses generative design to create complex, geometric fashion items, but one of his first commissions was a scoliosis brace. Thanks to generative design, it could be tailored to the nuances of the patient’s spine, while also containing 75 per cent less material than conventional alternatives. “You can’t scale these braces as they are, because you go to an orthotist who has what’s like a wood shop – it’s medieval,” says Bitonti. “Now there’s the ability to bring about that idea of mass customisation.” Bitonti imagines that eventually consumers will be given the option of buying subscriptions to brands – a design version of software as a service. Subscribe to a sportswear label that learns your athletic behaviour, and when you come to replace your training shoes, the next version is customised to suit or enhance your running style. For human designers, this means change: once creators, they will have to become curators, using algorithms to come up with customised solutions for design problems. “It’s going to shift from this idea of the producer of ambiguity to somebody who’s building systems and algorithms that are responsive and adaptive,” Bitonti says. “That’s the goal of generative design.” Bonnie Christian



The NuVasive spinal implantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s porous design means it should merge with new bone growth

The Sustainability Revolution has taken off Former US vice-president Al Gore and veteran investor David Blood champion thoughtful firms


There is a growing perception in the markets of developed nations that our current economic model is no longer fit for purpose. For a number of reasons related to economic performance, social and political divisions have grown wider than ever and large swathes of the population feel excluded from mainstream society. Meanwhile, the global climate crisis is worsening faster than solutions are being deployed, and environmental damage continues. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. Extreme weather events are now discussed as “the new normal”, though they may be but a preview of what scientists tell us is worse to come. It does not have to be this way. In fact, as Generation Investment Management’s (GIM) recent – and first annual – “Sustainability Trends Report” shows, the world is at the beginning of a seismic shift. More firms are employing a sustainable approach to business, as it can benefit the planet and society as much as their bottom line. Based on our analysis, there are clear indicators we are in the early stages of a global “Sustainability Revolution” that has the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution and the speed of the Digital Revolution. Empowered by new digital tools, including the internet of things and machine learning, this Sustainability Revolution is giving many businesses the ability to manipulate electrons, atoms and molecules with the same precision used by computer and networking firms to manipulate bits of information.

In the report, we identify three trends: first, companies are embracing technology in order to produce the same – or better – end products and services more sustainably. People are familiar with the cost eiciency gains caused by the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power. Renewables enjoyed record levels of installations in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency. Other industries have made large strides. Electric vehicles are greener than those running on gas; now with longer ranges, they are just as practical. There is similar progress in the food industry. Companies are producing high-quality plant-based “milk” products – cutting out cows results in lower emissions. The second takeaway shows that firms are encouraging consumers to use products in a more sustainable way. Many – especially in the Millennial generation – have little interest in owning assets outright, preferring to rent them for short intervals, or share them with others. A decade ago, fewer than half a million people were members of car-sharing schemes. Now there are six milion. Bike-sharing schemes are also climbing. The sharing economy does not just mean that resources get used more eiciently: it has improved access to products and services for people who in the past have found them too expensive to use at all. The third and final trend is the growing investment by businesses in entirely new types of products. For example, for the first time ever consumers are being given tools to monitor their own health with the use of new technology. In September 2017, a government-run pilot launched in America, enlisting the help of nine tech

Al Gore is a former vice president of the United States and chairman of Generation Investment Management. David Blood is GIM senior partner

companies to introduce more innovative health features on smart devices. As this phenomenon takes of, it should reduce acute pressure on health-care systems. Meanwhile, with an explosion in the number of micro-satellites, sensors and drones, companies are increasingly able to monitor and react to real-time data on the environment. This is of particular benefit to the agricultural sector, whose businesses can apply water and treatment to crops more sustainably. These are not isolated trends. Both public and private companies are committing resources to sustainability: the number of “Certified-B Corporations”, which accept a duty to have a positive impact on society and the environment while they pursue profit, has grown to over 2,000 in the past decade. Similarly, the number of firms using an internal price on carbon as a tool to reduce emissions has risen eightfold since 2014, according to CDP, a non-profit. There is plenty to be optimistic about, but a lot of work still to do. The Sustainability Revolution is, after all, at an early stage. Much greater levels of investment are required, and many products and services still need to be redesigned in a more sustainable way. Change will require not just business leadership, but the involvement of other parts of society too. Nonetheless, there is great momentum behind sustainability. A new generation of consumers is demanding greener and more ethical products. Businesses and investors alert to this shift will reap the benefits, and will be engines of change.


The future of health From remote surgery to personal genomics, medical technology is transforming lives


The healthcare sector is in the middle of a technological sea change. New advances in medical research could transform such techniques as gene therapy and liquid biopsy from futuristic hypotheses to everyday procedures; robot-assisted surgery is now a reality, and becoming more sophisticated by the day. While existing technologies are evolving at a breakneck pace, new trends and tools are appearing that have the potential to reshape healthcare in radical ways. Take the rise of personal genomics: as technologies to sequence DNA become cheaper and more accessible to the wider public, patients are going to be increasingly empowered. “The top-down approach to diagnosis, disease risk or best treatments could be replaced by personal, even socialised decision-making,” says Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore, which produces a portable DNA sequencer. “Specific groups of people with a shared health interest could choose to share certain data to further group or individual goals.” Data will be at the core of another key trend: artificial intelligence. AI researchers have already developed computer-vision algorithms that can be trained to spot signs of cancer in medical images. Some companies are also planning to use AI to find new drugs or repurpose known drugs for treating different conditions. Juha Anjala, co-head of EMEA healthcare at J.P. Morgan, explains that AI is one of the most relevant trends

shaping the future of healthcare. “We are excited about real-world AI-driven solutions, pushing innovation in both the therapeutic value chain, and just as importantly, in frontline delivery of healthcare,” he says. “We see exciting step changes emerging not only in diagnostics and treatment, but in the efficiency of the system, changes that are required for us to be able to cope with the ever-increasing strains on the system posed by the rapid ageing of the population.” AI could even change the way patients and doctors interact: chatbots harnessing natural language processing can provide quick answers to users concerned about their health. “Medical chatbots, built using sophisticated natural language processing techniques, are being used to understand not just the complexities of medicine, but also the idiosyncratic way that users express their health concerns,” explains a spokesperson for British healthcare app Babylon Health, whose chatbot has been sanctioned by the NHS as an alternative to the non-emergency 111 number. Patients


can start a conversation on the app to describe their limbs able to outperform “natural” arms and legs; symptoms in order to receive an assessment of their and hearing aids able to filter out noise or to condition and related recommendations, or to be redirected improve the comprehensibility of a conversation thanks to voice recognition algorithms could to medical professionals for more detailed answers. The company is also exploring another significant paradoxically be preferable to ears. While most technology trend: wearable devices. Babylon recently bionics-focused efforts – such as the research launched a new feature enabling its app to be paired with carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of a wearable fitness tracker to gather a user’s physiological Technology’s Center for Extreme Bionics – data and – after crunching it with AI – predict whether primarily aim at treating disability or other health conditions, the same technology could they will develop a health condition. one day be used to enhance our bodies “Today, personal health-tracking beyond their biological boundaries. devices allow users to monitor and analyse “When the disabled consistently run their health in real-time. By integrating an 800m faster in the Paralympics than multiple sources of physiological data into the ‘able bodied’ Olympians, when our models, AI systems will be able to a person born deaf ends up with better predict a patient’s’ future health state with The most exciting hearing and pitch than most of us, we exceptional accuracy,” says the company. development is have to rethink the notion of handi“The most exciting development is in in providing doctors capped,” says Juan Enriquez, managing providing doctors with more accurate and with more accurate director of life-science-focused VC rapid access to clinical data, enabling more and rapid access firm Excel Venture. “What used to accurate and efficient clinical diagnoses,” to clinical data mitigate a disability can now provide adds J.P. Morgan’s Anjala. “The human touch a doctor brings to difficult judgments, as well as the ever more enhancement. And as the benefits of personal interface they can provide to a patient, are not various enhancements become clear, more people easily replaceable with AI. However, nothing is more will voluntarily want to alter their bodies.” So, is the future with us already? Not quite. The frustrating for a patient, or more wasteful for the healthcare system, than having patients bounced around to different road to innovation can be bumpy, and there are some challenges we cannot overlook. “In Europe, specialists based on incomplete diagnoses. “By increasing the efficiency of diagnosis using AI, we we still have too many barriers between the can streamline the patient pathway, eliminate unnecessary efficiencies and funding provided by the private costs and ask highly trained medical professionals to focus sector, and a public healthcare infrastructure that in many countries thinks of the profit motive their time on patients and treatment.” When it comes to wearable devices, their applications go as fundamentally suspect. Innovation requires beyond tracking our health: they could also become tools seamless transfer of ideas, which in turn requires for treatment, or for connecting patients with healthcare open minds and open communication,” says professionals. New Jersey-based company ThirdEye has Anjala. “It is not surprising that markets in China designed a pair of smart glasses that combine augmented or parts of Central and Eastern Europe, or some of the initiatives of the Gates Foundation in Africa, reality and AI to improve the lives of dementia patients. “Patients with Alzheimer’s can look at a family member exciting new treatment models are emerging at and ThirdEye can use image recognition to identify that a much more rapid pace, and without the same person and show a label with their information next to their amount of systemic resistance to change we face,” explains ThirdEye founder Nick Cherukuri. “This see in many western European countries.” technology also has huge applications for visually impaired people, helping them recognise what they are looking at.” The device also has a streaming application that allows doctors to remotely visit patients in far locations, and one day it could be used in the operating room, too. These developments do not necessarily mean we will stop going to see our GP when we feel unwell, explains Anjala, although things will necessarily evolve. “I think technology will continue to reduce the number of physical visits needed by patients to hospitals and outpatient surgeries,” says Anjala. “However, there will always be the need for physical hospital infrastructure for a very simple reason: there will always be a subset of medical conditions that require physical intervention at a dedicated healthcare facility. Hospitals will continue to get smaller, more efficient and smarter, but they will always be around.” In addition, when it comes to augmenting our capabilities, wearables could be only the first step. Bionics, once the stuff of sci-fi, is now making strides, aided by advances in computer modelling and AI. What we now call prosthetics could soon be replaced by high-tech, AI-powered artificial

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This is the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hypercar. “One” is the operative word here, as there is only a single prototype currently in existence. When it goes into full production in 2019, just 275 models will be built – and yes, they are all already spoken for. Those lucky customers will receive a car that makes the most credible claim yet of translating Formula 1 technology to the road: its hybrid drivetrain is derived from the last three iterations of Mercedes F1 power units, and uses the same combination of 1.6-litre V6 hybrid petrol engine and electrically assisted turbocharging that Lewis Hamilton drives on the track. Chris Hall

H Y P E R C A R _____ M E R C E D E S A M G P R O J E C T O N E


It wouldn’t be a hypercar without a headlinegrabbing performance claim, so here it is: Mercedes-AMG has announced that the Project One can reach 200kph in under six seconds and top out at more than 350kph. Making this feat possible is a 500kW F1-derived V6 engine – retuned to idle at a more manageable 1,100rpm rather than a racer’s 4,500rpm, and estimated to have a 48,000-kilometre lifespan – as well as four additional electric motors. Two 120kW motors drive the front wheels, a third is connected to the turbocharger to reduce lag and there’s a fourth mounted on to the driveshaft. Together they attain thermal efficiency – the amount of energy in the fuel that is actually converted into motion – of 40 per cent, something Mercedes claims is unmatched in production cars. An eight-speed transmission has been developed (which, unlike in F1, will be either fully automatic or paddle-shift controlled), and the car can be driven under electric power alone for 25 kilometres. Easing off on the accelerator cuts out the petrol engine, devolving all drive to the electric motors, and Mercedes says regenerative braking will capture up to 80 per cent of available energy. Airflow is managed as seriously as possible: starting from the automatically extending front splitter, hot air is channelled down the sides of the car by the bonnet vents, leaving colder air to enter the roof-mounted air intake – another F1-originated feature, and a necessity when the engine is operating at full pelt. Inside the cockpit, the Project One’s seating position is more forgiving than a racing car’s – but not much. The seats are fixed, bolted directly to the carbon composite monocoque chassis; adjustments are instead made to the steering wheel and pedals. The oblong steering wheel houses an airbag and controls to adjust driving

modes and suspension setup, and has an LED readout along the top to display the engine’s revs. In a rare interior nod to visual theatre, the start/stop button gets its own red-rimmed housing on the central console. The dashboard – itself a functional component, providing rigidity to the chassis – is equipped with two ten-inch flat-screen high-definition displays designed to provide vital on-track information to the driver – but, since this is a road car, they also host Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system. Expect voice recognition, 3D maps and Apple CarPlay and Android compatibility. A third, aluminium-edged screen, is integrated into the roof, replacing the traditional driver’s mirror with a feed from a rear-facing camera. Elsewhere, there’s a lightweight aluminium air vent system and, straying slightly from the stripped-back F1 spec, a storage unit with a transparent lid. From €2,275,000

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4_ Ultralight 403 outboard motor

The PowerRay drone can

A phosphorescent layer

The Wet & Dry has a

If you require a little extra thrust while on the water,

dive up to 30 metres deep

allows this jacket to

detachable waterproof

this electric outboard motor is just the ticket.

and stream 4K video. The

absorb light and glow in

pocket, taped seams

Attachable via a universal mounting ball, it’s a

PowerSeeker, meanwhile,

the dark. Weighing in at

to keep its contents

lightweight 8.9kg (including a 320Wh lithium

monitors water for fish and

just 230g, it has three

protected and a yellow

battery), has a 40km range and a maximum speed

sends notifications when

fabric layers to keep

inner to help you locate

of 10kph. In-built GPS enables it to calculate its

they’re nearby. From

ocean spray at bay.

items with ease.

remaining range, and additional solar chargers mean



From £50

it can be topped up mid-trip. £1,399

5_ Nikon Coolpix W300

6_ Hydro Flask

7_ Bragi Dash Pro

8_ BOTE Rover

This 16MP camera is water

Made from stainless steel,

These earphones comprise

Modular connections

9_ Fanatic Bamboo Carbon 50

resistant to 30 metres,

this scratch-proof bottle

IPX7 water-resistant

mean the Rover can be

This 165cm paddle

making it ideal for paddle

keeps drinks cool for up to

wireless buds with in-ear

configured for multiple

combines a 50 per cent

boarders. Built-in GPS

24 hours and warm for up

biometric sensors to track

activities, whether fishing,

carbon-fibre shaft with a

means you can track

to 12. There’s a sports cap

running, swimming and

paddle boarding or using an

bamboo finish. It weighs

where – or how deep –

for drinking on the move,

cycling. And 4GB of internal

electric motor. It supports

just 720g and breaks

you are shooting, via the

and a range of colours to

storage means you can

up to 227kg and its whole

down into three parts for

camera’s 75mm screen.

help you match it to your

listen to music while on the

length can be walked on.

easy transportation.


board. $36

water. €349




To find out more visit or call 0333 222 0436


OFF-ROAD BUGGY_ Nikola NZT The Nikola NZT is an exceptionally powerful and fun all-electric off-roader capable of 0-100kph in 3.5 seconds over a range of up to 240km. The 400V AC motor, powered by your choice of 75kWh, 100kWh or 125kWh Li-ion battery pack, can hit 590hp (that’s the same as a Ferrari Portofino) and charge within three hours. The 33-inch Kevlar-reinforced tyres consign punctures to the past and, with all four wheels having 51cm of travel from the FOX Podium Internal Bypass shocks and 37cm of ground clearance, the NZT is good to go just about anywhere. The chassis and military-grade steel roll-cage have been engineered to take serious abuse and cleverly house the buggy’s IP67rated battery pack. It’s not without luxuries, either: there’s a 12.2in colour touchscreen display, keyless ignition, ultra-soft seats, multiple power outlets, LED lighting and full Bluetooth audio. From $28,900

MICRO SCOOTER_ Smacircle S1 


Weighing in at a mere 6.8kg and capable of collapsing down to 19.5cm x 29cm x 49cm, the Smacircle S1 is the world’s tiniest folding electric scooter. Comprising a carbon-fibre frame, shock-absorbing wheels, flip-down foot platforms and a padded tube seat, it can transport riders of up to 100kg. Range is an estimated 19km on a single charge, with a top speed of 20kph, powered by a 240W brushless front-wheel-drive motor and 36V, 5,800mAh Samsung battery hidden in the seat. Riders can connect via Bluetooth to the obligatory companion app to track battery level, monitor journeys and activate the security lock. The folding mechanism owes a debt to Brompton, but by tucking the wheels inside the frame – and having no pedals – Smacircle has done a smart job of disappearing its design. $649

SURF_ Fliteboard eFoil Graceful and virtually silent as it skims across the water, this elegant electric hydrofoil is a smart reworking of the calm-


shattering jet ski. It’s made from strongyet-light Paulownia wood, stainless steel,


aluminium and carbon, and its unibody design doesn’t generate a wake, so you can ride


without disrupting other humans or wildlife. A high-torque brushless electric motor has a top speed of 36kph with a running time of around an hour before recharging. Velocity control comes via a waterproof Bluetooth WORDS: CHRIS HASLAM

remote with a colour screen, but direction control is down to the rider. Instructional videos on Fliteboard’s YouTube channel suggest you’ll need surfing skills to get standing up, and a snowboarding brain to remain there. £tbc


Spengleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wheels are specced to accept boost and non-boost thru axles, and give you the option of centrelock or six-


bolt disc-brake rotors


Spengle claims it has reinvented the wheel with the tri-spoke Carbon Monocoque. Doing away with the three traditional elements of rim, spokes and hub, the company used a custom carbon lay-up and proprietary bonding method for its retro-futurist aesthetic. The thinking behind the one-piece design is that stress and forces to the wheel are absorbed across the entire carbon structure, eliminating the risk of a single area failing. Right now, the wheel only comes in 27.5-inch size (and off-road “trail” build) – although a lighter, less indestructible version for “roadies” is in development. From €1,490




Taking you a step closer to Nemo, Sublue’s WhiteShark MIX is an affordable, compact and extremely capable underwater scooter that can drag you through the depths at a stately 5.6kph. Weighing 2.8kg, it can run for up to 60 minutes per charge and dive to depths of 40 metres, making it an ideal accessory for lazy swimmers or inexperienced divers looking to get the most from their oxygen tanks. Cleverly, the MIX also comes with a universal GoPro mount on the underside, so you can record your POV adventures, as well as mesh guards to protect inquisitive fingers from the propellers. Operation is safe and simple, requiring the swimmer to grip the bars, press both triggers to start the propellers, and then just hanging on, steering as you might do a bicycle. The motor will cut out if you release either hand – and if you let go completely, its zero buoyancy means the MIX won’t sink like a stone, or shoot back to the surface. To compare your aquatic performance to the competition, the average swimmer will manage a top speed of around 3kph – while 23-time Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps has been clocked at 9.6kph. You won’t outrun many aquatic predators on the MIX, but, with a thrust of 23.95Nm from the 110Wh Li-ion battery, you’ll get a good head start without kicking your feet. $329

With a mid-engine, carbon-fibre design described by its creators as “brutal”

used warm air is forced over the roof and away from

and “unforgiving”, the Senna is McLaren’s most excessive road-going

the engine cooling intake. Further intakes along the

vehicle to date. All of the team’s efforts have been focused into creating a

flanks suck air into the engine bay and out through

hypercar with unprecedented levels of downforce, designed to deliver the

the louvres on the engine cover, while the hydrau-

most intensive track experience possible.

lically controlled twin-plane rear wing constantly

McLaren’s lightest road car since 1998’s F1, the Senna weighs in at 1,198kg

moves – it can rotate nearly 90° when needed as an

– 220kg lighter than the 720S. It has a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine

airbrake, and also helps to minimise drag. McLaren

producing 800hp, resulting in a barely comprehensible power-to-weight

has announced a top speed of 340kph, with accel-

ratio of 688hp/tonne. There’s nothing organic or fluid about the design of

eration a toupee-troubling 0-200kph in 6.8 seconds.

the Senna: this is a car crafted purely by aerodynamics.

The real story here is really one of fanatical de-

Built around McLaren’s featherweight Monocage III chassis, the one-

votion to weight loss: a new carbon-fibre recipe has

piece carbon-fibre intakes at the front flanks epitomise the car’s barbarous

enabled engineers to slash the weight of the front

design. Active flaps direct air for aerodynamics or cooling as required, and

wing from 2.2kg to just 650g; the engine has been



lowered to help further reduce heft; and the 8.8kg

incorporates a kinetic roll system called a K-damper.

doors are half the weight of those on the 720S. As a

While you can leave the RCC II to tweak performance

final flourish, McLaren’s carbon-ceramic brakes have

automatically according to road conditions – choose

been re-engineered to reach peak operating tempera-

from Comfort, Sport and Track modes – you can also

ture 50°C lower than before, while – you’ve guessed it

configure everything manually as required.

– weighing significantly less than their predecessors.

If you’re looking for storage capacity, you’re going to

Even the front number-plate is quick-release to help

be disappointed: it’s limited to a rear bulkhead cavity

maintain airflow and keep the weight down.

that’s just large enough for a couple of spare helmets.

The suspension is an enhanced version of the

Limited to a run of 500 – and yes, it’s already sold

existing double-wishbone layout, with hydraulically

out – the McLaren Senna is a hypercar designed for

interconnected dampeners and a separate hydraulic

racing. Built without compromise, frippery or frills, it

system working as an anti-roll bar. It’s all controlled

may technically be road legal, but zero concession has

using RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II), which

been made for the school run. £750,000


Below: Even the rear lights have been reconfigured as single-blade designs to minimise airflow interruption

At the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, intelligent systems, luxury design and connected green energy combined to shape a future global energy system that is powered by 100 per cent renewables

When design meets clean energy, the future looks beautiful

For Lei Zhang, a car is no longer simply a car. “We see them as intelligent and connected machines,” explains the founder and CEO of smart energy management firm Envision. His mission? To contribute to a world powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. At the Geneva International Motor Show, Zhang unveiled a product that will make this possible: Sibylla, an electric, intelligent, connected concept car that shows what can be achieved when beautiful design is paired with beautiful energy.

Designed by future-thinking luxury automotive design firm GFG Style in Turin, connected to Envision’s global clean energy ecosystem and powered by German energy storage company sonnen, the car is a global effort. The classic, elegant shape of a sedan is blended with comfort levels usually achieved with a bigger SUV. The gullwing doors combine with the world’s first sliding windscreen front section, so even the initial interaction with the car – stepping into it – is a seamless experience. The driver has access to a full-dash-width smart interface, providing information on the car’s performance and the environment it is driving through. “It is a new vision: to think about the future of the car business and the luxury sedan, is to think about the world on full electric,” says Fabrizio Giugiaro, co-founder with his father, Giorgetto, of GFG Style.

This is the vision for the auto industry, and powering it is the largest energy Internet of Things (IoT) platform in the world: Envision’s EnOS. The system manages 100GW of energy assets globally, equalling about the same of the UK’s entire generating capacity. Through 50 million sensors, it connects supply, demand and storage of sustainable energy. Because it is an open-source platform – it is the IoT platform used by sonnen – its applications span industry and infrastructure, from wind to solar PV, storage batteries, smart grids and buildings, intelligent electrical terminals – and electric vehicles and charging networks. Envision’s new focus on e-mobility stems from its considerable heritage in the renewable energy sector. Founded in 2007 with a vision of a different concept of software for wind turbines, today the company provides software for OEMs and is China’s second-largest wind turbine company – and the eighth largest in the world. “We created the largest IoT platform for energy globally, bringing together wind, solar and charging,” says Zhang. “This new energy world will be decentralised and fragmented, so with EnOS we’re orchestrating all the elements in the ecosystem to get everything synchronized and working together.”

Zhang sees e-mobility as key to sustainably stabilising the electricity grid and turning consumers into prosumers of renewable energy. But getting to this point has meant dealing with a few key challenges. First, is the level cost of energy, which is overcome with continued innovation in green energy technology, where Envision is at the forefront. “The cost of energy will continue to fall, enabling renewable energy to become more competitive versus other energy sources,” says Zhang. The other cost is that of synergy - addressing the growing penetration and integration of renewables into the market. “Right now, our automotive sector – from electrical vehicles to trucks and vessels – is being electrified,” he says. “What is very important is that the auto industry is being integrated into our ecosystem and the new global energy system; one that is affordable, sustainable, abundant, secure, resilient and robust.” For the auto industry as a whole, but particularly electric vehicles, integrating into the energy system is one of the biggest challenges. Zhang says this is due to two factors. First, building charging stations that fit into the current infrastructure. Second is charging the cars. “If all electric vehicles are charging at the same time, the system can’t handle this usage,” says Zhang.


The EnOS Sibylla car is 5m long and 1.48m tall. The swooping one-piece glass roof slides forward to allow entry

Creating renewable energy with Envison’s smart turbines has abated 19,662,834 tonnes of CO2 from being released

WIND POWER EN115-2.3 turbine Envision makes six types of wind turbine to operate in different environments all over the world. To date, they have generated 19,722,001,078kWh of clean energy.

Envision’s solution? To turn the driver of the car from a consumer into a prosumer, who can store and sell energy back to the grid. Having this synergy powered by EnOS means the car is intelligent within its environment and the wider energy ecosystem. Using connectivity and big data, EnOS creates a seamless efficiency between energy assets to balance supply and demand, capturing energy lost in the current fragmented system. This not only enables drivers to take and share electricity from the community pool of clean and affordable energy, but the virtual battery system allows them to access excess solar and wind energy. This means the car becomes part of the energy solution, intelligently supplying the clean electricity it needs to run, smartly storing and, when it’s not being used, transacting surplus energy between the driver’s home and their community.

For this to work and for e-mobility to be available to the masses, it needs to be powered with intelligent systems. This concept car unveiled in Geneva goes beyond the standard thinking, integrating harmoniously with its surrounding energy systems. Envision has also partnered with, and invested in, sonnen, Europe’s largest residential storage company. They are the creators behind the sonnenCharger, a universal electric vehicle charger that connects tens of thousands of solar and wind generators, and is one of the first in many applications using Envision’s technology to progress the transition towards a sustainable energy and transport ecosystem. The charger provides as much as 8,000 kWh of free electricity per year per car, depending on the tariff, while also helping to stabilise the public electricity grid. Philip Schroder, sonnen’s global chief marketing officer, says the partnership with Envision was a natural one. “Not only is Envision one of our major shareholders, they are enabling us to grow globally – and the key is EnOS. We are using EnOS as the software platform to enable our services,” he said, adding that, “Our concept for consumers

EnOS Sibylla concept GFG Style/Envision Combining sleek lines and clean, smart energy consumption, the Sibylla car is named for the ancient oracles endowed with the power to see the future.

ENVISION WIRED PARTNERSHIP is that they no longer have to depend on the large utilities – in Germany today, they can now supply themselves with 100 per cent renewable electricity in a convenient and automated way.” The significance of this becomes clear when looking at how much renewable energy was produced in Germany last year. The surplus amount resulted in one billion Euros worth of renewable energy being thrown away. “There was simply nobody needing it on a windy Sunday for example, or in the middle of the night when nobody’s at work,” explains Schroder. So what to do with all this extra energy? Find the best solution for when to charge the car. If all electric vehicles in a city are being charged overnight the grid would buckle. Powered with EnOS, the solution is to charge the car battery when there is surplus wind or solar energy, making it free for their customers. Translate this on to the global stage, and this provides a glimpse at Lei Zhang’s future vision and the potential impact of EnOS. To discover more about Envision’s plans for a smarter, more connected energy future – and the Sibylla car – visit

Now the first steps have been taken, it’s a clear signpost for designers to be focused on how an individual can contribute to the global community. For the auto-industry, this means looking beyond the traditional electric vehicle. “We have to ask ourselves: What can we do to inspire the auto industry? We don’t want to join a commodity game. We have a strong desire to transform the industry,” says Zhang. This mass marketisation of electric vehicles will have a fundamental impact on the global energy system. As renewable energy becomes more dominant, this concept car leads the way in the bottom-up revolution of the sector. For Envision, this means they are ramping up their efforts, rather than slowing down. “We are already taking action,” says Zhang. “We think the challenges are outside of the car, in the ecosystem. This intelligent green power plant is about to connect to the largest renewable energy network with 100 per cent clean renewable energy. And at the same time, the car can connect to other cars and buildings to create a very flexible system. What we consider to be the future energy system is very flexible, robust, intelligent and digital.” In other words, it will be beautiful.

LIFE SCIENCES 4.0: a data-driven upgrade


‘Life sciences companies have to shift their business models away from specialty products to personalised outcomes, fuelled by unlocking the power of data’

But in the life sciences sector, transformation isn’t focused on a single type of change. There are numerous interlinked drivers at play: technology has become more sophisticated; scientific resources and understanding have improved significantly; and customer demands have sky-rocketed because of the way the retail, banking and transportation industries have been disrupted. Consumers are now accustomed to on-demand features and access to information anywhere, at any time, on any device. In addition, they want products tailored for them – and in the life sciences sector, that means customised to individuals’ genomes, microbiomes and metabolomes. To be able to meet these growing expectations, life sciences companies have to shift their business models away from speciality products. Instead, they need to create shared value focused on personalised outcomes and fuelled by unlocking the power of data. This requires the ability to collect the right sources of data, combine them, and analyse them to create insight and enable improved experiences for patients and physicians. To exploit the likes of AI and the internet of things (IoT), the quality and quantity of data gathered is crucial, as this will enable algorithms to maximise health outcomes. Imagine being able to predict when a patient may need urgent care in real time, by using the results of a blood test, IoT sensors that track the environment that they’re living in, and a heart-rate application on a smartwatch. Organisations will need platforms that can store and process data in real time, fusing the digital, biological and physical aspects of care. These care platforms will have to be built and developed with existing and new partners, and must be continuously updated and improved. In other words, biopharmas and medtechs will need to adopt data-centric platform-based models – Life Sciences 4.0. The platforms that emerge out of this endeavour provide value based on collaborative innovation to drive further value creation. Companies need to respond to a new, demanddriven economy, where customers expect affordable personalised interventions. Data is the critical component of this revolution. The only way to succeed in this next phase is to work with partners, listen to customers and to innovate to create a future-proof, data-sharing system. Life sciences firms need to ensure they’re taking care of patients by offering affordable, personalised interventions that maximise health. By doing so, life sciences companies can ensure they don’t become a casualty.


When an industry changes, it is inevitable that there are casualties along the way – those organisations that don’t modernise and keep up with the latest trends are left in the wake of companies that are open to new ideas, and which continue to disrupt themselves.


06 3


Ten lessons from WIRED Health. From AI doctors to 3D X-rays.

A health check of the world today may seem gloomy – antibiotics are failing, people are dying of easily treatable diseases because they’re poor, and conditions such as dementia are on the rise. The scientists, researchers, investors and startups at the Francis Crick Institute in London were only too aware of the challenges – here’s what we learned.


ments around the world has been a public health success story. Today, it is estimated that nearly 21 million people living with HIV are accessing antiretroviral therapy globally, with the majority living in low and middle-income countries. According to Sarah Fidler, professor of HIV medicine at Imperial College London, this progress is thanks to a combination of international co-operation and dedicated funding from organisations such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR. Most important, she says, is to continue to sustain that strong political will, in order to bring treatment to the many millions still in need.

Why research into new HIV therapies is still a key priority Innovations in HIV treatment will enable more people to live longer, healthier lives, and also prevent new infections

From a research perspective, the ultimate aim is to find a way to remove the virus from the body altogether. The challenge is that while HIV typically hijacks the cellular machinery in a person’s immune system in order to copy itself, the virus may also lay dormant inside certain cells as well. These reservoirs of latent HIV can linger for the lifetime of a patient and they are extremely difficult to detect. At any time, cells in the latent reservoir can become active again and start making more HIV. “Getting rid of these viral reservoirs is the central issue,” explains Geleziunas. “If we could eradicate these, we could potentially achieve a cure.” The most promising approach, according to both Geleziunas and Fidler, is what is known as “kick and kill.” “The ‘kick’ is a compound that reactivates the latent virus to make it show itself,” Geleziunas explains. “And the ‘kill’, for example, are antibodies that engage the exposed infected cells and attract immune cells to kill them.” In research supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and presented at a recent scientific meeting, scientists from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center showed that 45 per cent of monkeys infected with a virus very similar to HIV, and treated with two of Gilead’s investigational agents, a TLR7 agonist and an antibody, were able to ‘Nowadays, HIV is a prevent the virus from rebounding in treatable and their blood once antiretroviral therapy manageable disease. was withdrawn. Gilead will test these As long as I take my in clinical trials and is funding research treatment properly, at Aarhus University in Denmark to I should not have to test similar agents in human trials. worry about While a search for a cure continues, spreading the disease’ scientists are also focused on longeracting antiretroviral therapies which could be injectable. “The next frontier,” Geleziunas says, “is to get to a point where patients could have an injection just two, maybe four times a year, rather than daily treatments.” “Nowadays, HIV is a treatable and manageable disease for many like me,” says Winnie Ssanyu-Sseruma, an international development consultant who has lived with the disease for 30 years. “As long as I take my treatment properly, I should not have to worry about spreading the disease to other people. However, the epidemic is not over and there is still a need for this continuing research.” @GileadSciences


Romas Geleziunas has been working in HIV research since the mid-80s, when HIV infection invariably led to AIDS and death, and he believes the development of effective HIV treatment is one of the standout achievements of modern medicine. “Technologically it’s an amazing story,” says the senior director of biology at Gilead Sciences – a biopharmaceutical company – and world leading developer of HIV therapies. “HIV was identified in 1982. By the mid-80s, the first antiretroviral drugs had already started to materialise. Then in the 90s the combination therapies arrived and by the mid-2000’s, HIV could be treated with one tablet once a day. We’ve moved from the virus being a death sentence, to a situation where for the vast majority of people who can access treatment, they can wake up in the morning and manage their condition effectively.” While a single tablet is a far less demanding regime to follow than the multiple doses a day required of the first HIV patients back in the 90s, antiretroviral therapies only prevent an active virus from copying itself and spreading throughout the body. They do not cure the infection altogether, and patients must continue to take those medicines. “Adherence is the number one mission in HIV treatment,” Geleziunas explains. “If patients do not take their medication every day, they can develop viral resistance, which can basically render that regimen useless. As a result, potential treatment options begin to diminish.” At the same time, providing access to these treat-



Femtech is revolutionising healthcare

Governments need to see healthcare as an investment

Tania Boler Founder, Elvie, London

Women account for almost 50 per cent of the world’s population, but women’s health technology hasn’t updated for years – however, Tania Boler, CEO of London- and Berlin-based start-up Elvie, argued that’s about to change. “We are witnessing three big trends,” she told the room. “The big feminist surge, the tech revolution i n c o n n e c te d d e v i c e s a n d t h e paradigm shift towards individuals taking charge of their own health.” Two years ago Boler launched a discrete, mobile-connected, medical-grade silicone pod that helps new mothers – half of whom suffer post-natal pelvic prolapses – strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Boler has just signed an agreement to supply the devices to the NHS – “Investors finally realise femtech is a huge opportunity,” she said.

Dorcas Makgato Minister for health and wellness, Botswana

Governments need to look at healthcare spending in economic not just social terms, Botswana’s minister for health and wellness Dorcas Makgato told the room. The huge African country with a tiny population (2.3m) provided free treatment for every citizen with HIV/ AIDS. As a result, Botswana is on course to be free of HIV/AIDS deaths by 2030. “Twenty five per cent of our people had the virus,” she explained. “We had to divert most of our resources to HIV – it was the best investment we ever made.”




Nature already has the best defences against disease – let’s use them

Simba Gill CEO, Evelo Biosciences, Cambridge MA Bruce Levine Deputy director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, University of Philadelphia

Medicines are of limited use and have too many side effects, Bruce Levine from the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies argued – so it’s time to use nature to treat disease. Levine uses chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells – a patient’s own white blood cells modified by a disabled form of the HIV virus – to identify and attack cancer cells. “Three patients we treated in 2010 had between 1.3 and 3.5 kg of leukaemia killed by their own T cells,” he told delegates. “We’re seeing patients given three to nine months to live being free of cancer six years later.” With FDA approval for his “bag of cells” granted last August, the next step is tackling solid cancers – a much harder target. Simba Gill, CEO of Evelo Biosciences, is using

gut microbes instead of T cells. “We’ve spent hundreds of years trying to destroy microbes and only now realised they are part of us,” he explained. Gill converts microbes into a white powder that’s taken orally – where they interact with the immune system through the gut-body network, shutting down inflammation. He has isolated different microbes to treat different diseases and is running ten trials on diseases such as melanoma, colorectal and renal cancer, arthritis and inflamed bowel disease. He expects clinical results in the next 12-18 months. Both have work ahead but, Levine pointed out, “There are three stages to a scientific revolution: 1) You’re crazy; 2) It’s possible but not worth it; 3) I knew it was a good idea all along.”



Cancer treatment is a matter of privilege – that needs to change

This app allows every school teacher to become an optician

Jess Mills Co-founder, Adaptive Collaborative Treatments, London

Urgent action is needed to address national and global inequalities in cancer treatments, said Jess Mills, co-founder of new cancer organisation Adaptive Collaborative Treatments and daughter of Labour peer Tessa Jowell, who’s battling brain cancer. “We were lucky,” she explained. “The surgeon flash-froze Mum’s tumour after surgery, which helped us find the right treatments – chasing down the chief medical officers of big pharma for off-label drugs.” What Mills’ mother finds hardest is the fate of hundreds of fellow s u f f e re r s w h o d o n ’ t h av e h e r connections. “Privilege should never decide patient access,” argued Mills, “so Adaptive Collaborative Treatments is pushing for everyone to have new treatments irrespective of their income.”

Andrew Bastawrous Co-founder and CEO, Peek Vision, London

Curing blindness is easy and cheap, according to Andrew Bastawrous, co-founder and CEO of Peek Vision, a social enterprise owned by registe re d c h a r i t y Th e Pe e k Vi s i o n Foundation. “It’s diagnosing that’s hard and expensive,” he says. Smartphones may have the answer. “In schools in the developing world, three children in every 40 are dealing with poor vision and blindness,” he told the crowd of investors, scientists and CEOs. “But no one knows which kids sufer from it, and it’s costly to test everyone in distant rural schools.” Peek’s smartphone app aims to overcome that problem – ofering an optician-style eye test and back-ofthe-eye scan that’s so simple that teachers can use it. He’s working on a hearing test – but, he warned, governments need to step up and join in to keep this sustainable.


06 6


The AI doctor will see you now…

Claire Novorol Co-founder, Ada Health, London Andrew Steele Research fellow in computational biology, Francis Crick Institute, London

The world needs high-quality healthcare just as it’s running out of doctors, warned Ada Health co-founder Claire Novorol – but AI can help. “In India and China, doctors have two minutes per patient,” she told delegates. “In Bangladesh it’s 43 seconds.” Her solution is Ada – a diagnostic AI built with GPs. It’s human plus machine, she explained. “Doctors are better at patient relationships, but AI has less bias and a better memory.” Francis Crick Institute researcher Andrew Steele argued that AI’s lack of bias means it’s ideal to answer the dreaded question – how long have I got, doctor? Steele analysed the electronic health records of more than 100,000 patients, checking for diagnosis, prescription and results to arrive at strong prediction models.

“Doctors can just press a button, the AI looks at the patient’s health record then spits out immediately – a ten per cent chance of dying in next five years, for instance,” he explained. The next step? Letting AI help prescribe treatment.

Harnessing brain power in the fight for fitness and fat loss, the Modius headset uses neurostimulation to influence the body – effectively hacking fat storage and the metabolism


How a weight-loss wearable could transform our health What is the secret to successful weight loss? In the case of wearable headset Modius, it is the application of neurostimulation (electrical pulses), and it goes straight to the source. Created by Neurovalens, a health tech startup founded by Dr Jason McKeown and Dr Paul McGeoch, the science behind Modius is based on research that has its origins in work undertaken in a Nasa laboratory 50 years ago. “The scientists discovered that stimulation of the vestibular system – which runs into the brain from just behind the ear – is interpreted by the brain as the body being more physically active, which in turn influences how the hypothalamus regulates body weight,” says McKeown. The headset adds to the formidable arsenal of weight loss tools already available, but it goes beyond exercise and diet by harnessing neuroscience. Worn like a headset for one hour a day, two electrodes that sit behind the ear send a small electrical pulse directly to the vestibular system. Already, results are encouraging. When McKeown tried the prototype, he lost an impressive 44 per cent of his body fat within a year, while also putting on two kilograms of muscle mass. While those results are not typical, the company now has more than 100,000 hours of data from users in the real world, and results are very encouraging: out of the first wave of users, 80 per cent experienced significant weight loss – an average of three kilograms in three months, with the top ten per cent losing an average of eight kilograms. Additionally, many users reported a decrease in appetite, more energy – and even that they slept better at night. The success behind the headset is boosted when the user joins the online community Modius Life. Thousands of people who now have the headset can get support online so they feel motivated and encouraged as they


The Modius is designed for use in an easy daily routine

start losing weight. They can access meal plans, workouts, recipe ideas, headset FAQs, or simply connect with other users to congratulate them on their progress and get advice, which helps turn the use of the Modius into a habit. “We want users to incorporate Modius into their lives and use it every day,” says McKeown. “Just as you would brush your teeth in the morning, you switch on your Modius for an hour a day.”



Cardiovascular surgery is broken – here’s how to fix it

Gaming is shaking up mental health

Katerina Spranger Enterprise fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering, and founder, Oxford Heartbeat, London

Vascular surgery is so primitive it’s like a mechanic merely guessing which brake pads are worn out on a car, Oxford Heartbeat founder Katerina Spranger told the room. The most common cardiovascular treatment is a stent. While researching her PhD, Spranger watched a surgeon trying to work out which device to use from a 2D X-ray. “It was like they were watching a silent black and white movie,” she explained. Her solution? An image processing 3D visualisation of a patient’s arteries to help choose and deploy the best stent.

Tej Tadi Founder, MindMaze, San Francisco Michael Hornberger Creator, Sea Hero Quest, Norwich

Virtual reality is moving into healthcare – and gaming with it can diagnose dementia and help stroke patients recover, said Tej Tadi, founder of Switzerland’s f irst unicorn, MindMaze. For stroke patients, playing VR games makes physical therapy fun and something they do for themselves, he explained. Michael Hornberger, co-creator of the Sea Hero Quest game, showed how players’ spatial perception was measured while playing – with poor spatial perception an early indicator for dementia, it allows diagnosis long before memory loss. Tadi foresees simple electrodes to decode face movements under headset cameras treating autism, Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy. “It’s time for braintech to take centre stage,” he told the room.


06 8



Science’s elitism hurts We’ll cure ageing with our mental health drugs we already have

Robin Carhart-Harris Head of psychedelic research, Imperial College London

Mental illness affects one in four people in the UK, yet mental health makes up just five per cent of research spending, according to Robin Carhart-Harris. He researches psychedelics as a possible alternative to antidepressants and the results are promising – after a single dose, patients who experienced an emotional breakthrough report benefits for days, weeks and even years. This autumn, Carhart-Harris is crowdfunding a new charity – Global Psychedelic Research – to tackle science elites and fund new studies.

Nir Barzilai Director, Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NYC

We could all live until we’re 115 if we start treating the symptoms of ageing, according to Nir Barzilai. “Ageing is the strongest risk factor in heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes,” he explained. Barzilai has identified genes that help cardiovascular health and proteins that may protect against ageing. He’s testing 30 drugs – including rapamycin, which increased mice lifespan by 24 per cent in trials. Increasing life expectancy by 2.2 years could save $7.1 trillion (£5.1 billion) in healthcare costs, he argued.

What does it take to be the UK’s next tech unicorn, valued at more than $1 billion?


Industry experts predict Clinova’s commitment to innovation will soon see it join this exclusive club

Arsalan Karim wants to help make the world a healthier place. To do this, his WHY CLINOVA healthtech company Clinova, co-founded with Charles Ebubedike, has launched WILL BE THE Caidr. The digital healthcare app helps users assess common medical issues – NEXT UNICORN like an ear infection or cold – that can be self-treated. Its aim is to help people distinguish these minor ailments from more serious illnesses to decrease unnec- “We’re excited to essary visits to the GP. A November 2017 self-care survey estimated 57 million GP work with Karim appointments and 3.7 million A&E visits each year for self-treatable conditions. and Charles A lack of information is driving people to seek advice from doctors unnecessarily. on creating Caidr is the most recent product for Clinova, which counts O.R.S hydration great consumer tablets, Wayk alertness tablets, Repelsect insect repellent patches and healthcare brands.” Magastic digestive tablets among its innovative, natural products made to fill - Patrick Brindle, the gap of unmet medical needs. The market size of these products in the 20 Global Category countries Clinova operates in – including the UK, Canada, the US and Thailand – Director, Havas is £14 billion, with this success attributed to their focus on modern healthcare, prevention and natural ingredients, and in providing a market leading direct “Leveraging appto consumer model. “As digital technology becomes central to our lives, we based decision are harnessing digital opportunities to improve consumer health,” says Karim. support, Clinova This innovation has attracted some of the biggest names in healthcare. Clinova’s will accelerate backers include the former head of sales at P&G, the former head of Novartis US, its integration the former head of over-the-counter products at Reckitt Benckiser, and the former into everyday head of consumer healthcare at Asia’s largest healthcare company DKSH. “Seven of management of the ten biggest consumer healthcare companies are in discussions to license our wellbeing.” - Dr Joe products or technology,” says John Honey, Chief Strategy Officer of Clinova. “We are Taylor, Lecturer of at the forefront of changes in the global consumer healthcare marketplace.” Where Medicine at Oxford will those changes lead them next? That’s the billion dollar question. University

“Clinova has and is part of an interesting, fast growing, consumer healthcare sector in the UK.” - John Honey, Chief Strategy Officer, Clinova “Clinova is a great innovation company with great relationships with their customers.” - John Molter, former Head of Worldwide Customer Sales, P&G “Clinova is a patient centric company; creating and delivering products and services that meet the needs of the population in the 21st century.”

By helping users with basic healthcare advice, Caidr aims to alleviate pressure on NHS services – saving it money and freeing up resources


grown rapidly

- Sachin Patel, Pharmacist, Boots


Living in one of Nigeria’s rural communities – 63 per cent of which have no access to the energy grid system – Ngozi Deborah Atalor needed to find a reliable way to charge her phone. Her solution? To build a solar panel. But she didn’t limit herself to just powering her phone: “My idea was to ensure every home in Nigeria enjoys uninterrupted power supply”

POWERING THE FUTURE: ideas for connecting off-grid Nigeria

With her bright idea to manufacture, install and maintain solar panels while also training engineers, Atalor is working to provide access to water, light and power to the millions of Nigerians who live without access to reliable energy. Her contribution has not gone unnoticed. In 2017, she won a pitching competition for young Nigerian entrepreneurs in alternative energy business, the Shell #makethefuture Accelerator event, held in Port Harcourt. She took home NGN 1 million prize money – and an expanded support network to grow her company, De-rahbs Energy Services. This is at the core of the Shell #makethefuture Accelerator: the idea that through collaboration, human progress can thrive and bright ideas can transform lives by bringing more and cleaner energy to communities in need. The programme has toured the world since launching in Rio de Janeiro in 2015. Nigeria was the sixth, following similar, inspiring events in India, Singapore and London. Since 2003, more than 6,500 young people have benefited from access to LiveWIRE, Shell’s flagship entrepreneurial programme in Nigeria. In 2017, four other local businesses pitched alongside Atalor. Two runners-up won NGN 500,000 each to scale up their businesses. First was Prince Ledee Basi, CEO of renewable energy and safety wear company Basiled Energy Ventures. Basi trained as an engineer but remained unemployed before coming


The Shell LiveWIRE programme has helped thousands of entrepreneurs to scale up their ideas in Nigeria

across Shell LiveWIRE and the support needed to pursue his idea. Now, his low cost products are providing access to energy to those who may not have been able to afford it. The second was Ibiere Gilbert David, CEO of Ibdav Resources – its bio-fuel-powered cleaner cookstoves combat domestic fires in the Niger Delta area. CEO of Alternate Integrated Energy Services, Henry Chukwubueze Chikogu, pitched his renewable energy solutions business, which was a beneficiary of the Shell LiveWIRE enterprise programme in 2016. He says the high costs of energy products is a challenge, but the mentorship helped him develop solutions, such as introducing payment plans. Similarly, CEO of Zapelebi General Services, Zifegha Alpheaus Peletiri, saw the benefit of installing solar panels to deliver uninterrupted energy to the community as well as training for the young people of Niger Delta. These big ideas solving the dilemma between affordable energy and the environment are propelled by the Shell #makethefuture Accelerator. Gloria Udoh, Shell Nigeria’s social performance manager, says collaboration is key. “We can support with training and startup capital to turn an idea into a sustainable business,” she says. This encouragement comes from industry leaders such as Dr Wiebe Boer, a speaker at the Accelerator event and CEO of All On, which invests in off-grid energy businesses. He says most feel the problem of power in Nigeria. “The Nigerian power sector has been driven from the top down,” he says. “What entrepreneurs can do is start powering homes, businesses, communities, villages and towns – it’s a bottom-up approach to transform the power sector.” Shell LiveWIRE encapsulates the spirit of Nigeria’s entrepreneurs and the desire to learn, collaborate and deliver a brighter future. Sola Abulu, Shell Nigeria’s communications manager, says these businesses are just the start of what can be achieved. “Nigerians are people who naturally have a global view,” she says. “We do not want to be constricted or constrained by our environment.” For pitch winner Atalor, a better future for the next generation is her biggest driver. “It ‘These entrepreneurs is an encouragement towards the can start powering visions and goals of De-rahbs Energy homes, businesses, Services,” she says. “All human and communities’ activity depends on energy, and this Dr Wiebe Boer, means a bright future for my son.” CEO of All On







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W H AT I ’ V E L E A R N E D

Leave your comfort zone: Sarah Kauss Founder, CEO of S’well





Sarah Kauss founded S’well in 2010 after ten years as an accountant – a mid-career leap from running spreadsheets for startups to setting up her own business selling steel water bottles. Inspired by the idea of keeping plastic containers out of landfill, she self-funded S’well with just $30,000 (£22,000) in savings, bootstrapping her way to success. By 2016, the company’s revenue had topped $100 million (£74 million), and Kauss has gone from being the sole employee to managing a team of more than 100 people. Here, Kauss shares what she learned while creating a fast-growing firm – one in which she still retains a 100 per cent stake. Nicole Kobie




“In Arizona, hiking

“At the University of Colorado Boulder,

are entrepreneurs,

with my mum, I

students are issued a big mug, and you

made, not born.

I wasn’t confident

so I grew up

was in a reflective

pledge to try to not use foam cups or plastic

I’ve accepted more

enough to ask

around business.

mood. My mum

bottles. It’s fine in Colorado to use a bottle

imperfection than

mentors for help.

It got into my

asked me,

that looks like a camping accessory, but

the risk-averse

Now I realise

blood. I didn’t know

‘What would you

then at Harvard and New York and working

accountant inside

there are so many

I’d grow up to be an

do if you could

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me was born with.

formal and

entrepreneur, but

do anything?’

suit were getting nicer, but my water bottle

You can convince

informal networks

I don’t think that

It all just came

still looked like I was an undergraduate.”

yourself that

and opportunities

I was shocked

out of me at once:

you have the

for entrepreneurs

when I did start

I would create a

disposition to be

to learn from

my own business.”

better water

an entrepreneur,

each other. If only

even if it’s really

I could go back

“Both my parents

“Entrepreneurs are


bottle that looked


“In the early days,

good and actually

“I was tired of accounting, but luckily, I’d


and tell myself not

kept things cold.

worked with entrepreneurs, and my clients

to begin with.”

to hold it all in.”

It was that day the

were people, not companies. I was trying

idea was born.”

to understand, as a junior accountant, how I could become one of my clients.”

“There are benefits and challenges to self-funding.

K A U S S ’ S





I didn’t want to be pushed on


numbers until we


had built the brand – but because I


didn’t have the capital, I didn’t


have the budget to


market the brand.


So, up until now it’s really been


word-of-mouth. There was something special


about building a brand in an authentic way.


Born in Florida Gets handed a reusable mug as an undergraduate Joins EY as a junior accountant Heads to Harvard to get an MBA Launches S’well, wins its first major customer O, The Oprah Magazine features S’well, inspiring a wider range of colours S’well included in TED Talk delegate gift bags S’ip bottle is launched and sold in Target stores

“Take yourself out of your

“A professor at

comfort zone with reckless

Harvard University

testing. Get a little closer to

convinced me to

the line, and you’ll realise

do this. My journal

you’re OK, so the next day you

covers five years

get a little closer again – until

on one page, so it

you realise there is no line.”

shows progress and helps me log the highs – and to realise that challenges aren’t insurmountable, as I’ve managed them in the past. It’s a little pep talk to my future self, and

It’s been fun to


helps me put one

grow slow and

Sarah Kauss, 42, who

foot in front of the

steady, and now be

self-funded and launched

other, even on days

fast and strong.”

S’well bottles in 2010

when it’s difficult.”

3. Jean-Claude Biver, watch magnate


Jean-Claude Biver is head of the watches division at luxury conglomerate LVMH, where he oversees the Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith brands. He has spent his entire working life in the Swiss watch industry and has been credited with playing a primary role in saving it from the threat posed by the so-called “quartz crisis” of the 70s, when the new technology almost put an end to mechanical watchmaking.

Now in his late sixties, Biver started his career at Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet and then at multinational brand Omega. In 1982, he and his friend, watchmaker Jacques Piguet, bought the rights to the Blancpain brand and started producing watches using traditional methods. They sold the company ten years later, and Biver returned to work at Omega, before joining Hublot as CEO in 2004. Here, he recalls a few of the highs and lows of his career – and some timely lessons he learned along the way. Tim Hulse

Jean-Claude Biver, photographed by WIRED at LVMH’s Paris HQ

Q&A How do you

What is your

What’s your


sleep routine?

secret to public

your time?

Sleeping is like


My management

dying. Sleep takes

I don’t do it for

style is through

your life away. I get

long and I talk in

email – I never call.

up at 3am or 4am.

a way a baby can

On the phone,

I only need four or

understand. The

you speak for too

five hours of sleep.

important thing is only to speak

long, and nobody remembers what

What are your tips

about what

you say. I tell my

for coping with an

you truly know.

employees to


email me and not

travel schedule?

What is your

to write more

Jet lag is my

advice for people

than a quarter of a

biggest enemy. It’s

just starting

page. If it’s any

why I never stay

their career?

longer, I won’t

more than one

My advice is

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night – maybe two

always the same:

to be concise.

– wherever I go.

try never to work.

As soon as jet

And the only way

lag starts to

not to work is to

affect me, I say

make money

to myself, “I’m

from your passion.

leaving, bye!” – and I’m on the plane. I leave the jet lag behind in my hotel room.

Identify your passion “In the late 70s I was a hippie and I lived in a commune in Lausanne, Switzerland. I knew that I would not go and work for a big corporation; it really wasn’t my style. As a young boy, I’d been passionate about steam engines, but of course, they didn’t exist any more. Then a friend of mine, who was a watchmaker, said to me, ‘A steam engine is just like a watch: look at all the wheels and cogs. If your passion as a boy was steam engines, your passion as an adult can be watches.’”





Take time to learn the trade “My friend introduced me to the boss of Audemars Piguet. He said, ‘I can give you a job in the sales department. But before that, I will give you an internship on half-salary for a year, because you need to understand the art of making watches.’ So for one year I worked with watchmakers every day. Slowly I understood their mentality, and I learned a lot about the history of watchmaking.” Don’t let ambition make you impatient “I left Audemars Piguet after five years because, when I asked the CEO about my future, he told me I would be the boss in 14 years after he retired. I was 29. That meant waiting until I was 43, which seemed old. I didn’t leave for a good reason, but because I was in a hurry.” Dare to go against the grain “[At Blancpain] we took advantage of the quartz revolution. The idea was to take the oldest watch brand in the world and make watches like in the past – not in a factory, but one man sitting at home on his own, making the watch from A to Z. By going back to the old way of working, we could create art again. And we had huge success. Our advertising claim was that since 1735, the year Blancpain was born, there had never been a Blancpain quartz watch – and there never would be. Everybody believed quartz was the future, but we said no.” Prioritise your personal life “I sold Blancpain because my wife left me. I’d never failed at anything before – and that was a weakness, because you must fail to get strong. Gradually, I lost motivation, and after two years I sold the company because I believed – wrongly – that it was the reason for the failure of my marriage. So I went back to my wife and said, ‘I’ve sold it, let’s start again.’ She replied, ‘I don’t love you any more.’ Without family life we can achieve very little. Family life means internal peace.” Disrupt with purpose “At Hublot, whatever we disrupt must make sense and must fit with our message. Take gold. What’s the weakness of gold? It’s soft, it scratches. But what about an alloy? I asked that question to professor Andreas Mortensen, a big guy in metallurgy. And a few years later he found an alloy that makes our gold unscratchable. We still have the patent. Our disruption is productive. We don’t disrupt for the pleasure of disrupting; there must always be a result, and it must always be coherent with our brand.”


4. What advice would you give to someone working in the creative industries? Elizabeth Varley

Rafe Offer

Founder and CEO,



Sofar Sounds

“‘Don’t get it right,

“There’s nothing better than getting

get it written!’ My mother would tell

Alex Ward

out of the office

Otegha Uwagba

me this when I’d


and connecting to


be meticulously

Three Fields

people who engage

Women Who

wording a


with your product.

“‘Not everyone’s

paragraph of an

“A passion for

For Sofar, it meant

gonna clap for you’

essay due the next

gaming often


– some tough love,

day in school. It’s

begins as a hobby,

frustrations in

courtesy of my

important to get

and converting

the events space

mum. If you do

things right,

it into your work is

and removing

creative work,

but sometimes

something many

those barriers.”

you’re going to

if a vision of

people find hard.

perfection stops

Playing games can

Yana Peel

everyone’s going

you delegating

be individual and

CEO, Serpentine

to like, appreciate,

or accepting an

solitary, whereas


or be into whatever

option that’s

making them

“Rather than taking

it is you’re doing

perfectly good,

requires working

jobs in the arts, I

– and that’s OK.

it might mean

as part of a team,

find it exciting to

Learn not to take

something doesn’t


make them.

it personally, and

get done at all.”


Resources can be

to move on.” EP

and stepping in

sparse, but there is

to lend a hand

plenty of innovation

in different areas.”

and ambition.

hear ‘no’ a lot. Not

Presenting great proposals for partnership is the best way to engage with artistic leaders.”



When Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin asked neuroscientist Bill Maris to set up the company’s venture capital arm, Maris had two conditions: his team alone would decide who to work with, and they would ignore Google’s strategic interests. “If we invested for Google’s strategic goals, which are always shifting anyway, that would be a bar no investor could pass without dumb luck,” Maris explained at the time. Launched as Google Ventures in 2009 and subsequently rebranded as GV in 2015, the firm is an independent fund with Google’s parent company Alphabet as its sole limited partner. This arrangement gives the team a great deal more freedom than many VCs, explains general partner Tom Hulme. “It’s not demanding returns to deadline, so we can fit our investment timeline to the startup,” he says. “If companies are acquired by Alphabet, then we recuse ourselves from the conversation – as they will want to minimise the price, while we want to maximise it. We don’t want conflict.” GV now has $2.4 billion (£1.7bn) in assets under management and aims

From left: Tom Hulme, Krishna Yeshwant,

to invest about $500 million (£360m) per year. Companies in its portfolio include big names such as Uber, Periscope, Slack, Medium and Jet, and it invested in more than 75 startups in 2017. The fund has an operations team that helps founders with everything from product design to marketing. “It’s all added value,” says Hulme. Strategically, healthcare is key. GV was one of the largest investors in digital health last year, thanks to its participation in a $65m Series A round for cancer detection specialist Freenome, a $50m Series B round for stem cell transplant platform Magenta Therapeutics, and a $29m Series C round for clinical trials startup Science 37. But it says that its most important “investment” was its support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the wake of the Trump administration’s immigration restrictions. Europe has proved trickier – a European fund founded in 2014 was rolled back into the main fund a year later, and only two of GV’s general partners are currently based in the UK office. “But I don’t think there are that many VCs investing as heavily and as aggressively in Europe as we are,” says general partner Krishna Yeshwant, who leads GV’s Life Science team and still practises medicine for two days a week in Boston. “It’s got great people, good infrastructure and a collaborative culture – which makes a breeding ground for legendary companies.” Stephen Armstrong



Tom Hulme

Krishna Yeshwant

General partner

General partner

“I’m interested in

“The hottest thing

computer vision,

in biotech is

whether for training



– ways of using the

vehicles or digital

immune system

pathology. Quantum

to cure cancer.

computing is also a

There’s single-cell

very exciting

RNA drop-

prospect – but if

sequencing, which

you ask the experts

gives us the ability

when they think

to precisely break

breakthroughs will

apart cell biology.

come, you will get

Venture funds

varied responses.

rarely invest in

The same is true of

behavioural health,

artificial super-

but palliative care

intelligence. Right

and primary care

now, I’m interested

demands will grow.

in how you apply

Also, I’m looking

machine learning

for back-pain

and AI to traditional

therapies – it’s so

industries, such

common, but we

as insurance.”

don’t have a cure.”



Kate Aronowitz

Blake Byers

Design partner

General partner

“Founders are

“Cell therapy

often technical but

and genetic

haven’t thought

engineering will

through user

allow us to

experience, brand,

harness a few

design and

billion years of

strategy. We run

evolution – that’ll

sprint sessions –

be the most

from idea to

exciting biotech

user-testing in one

investment area.

week. In areas

In fintech, helping

such as robotics

the underbanked

and health, that’s

is the long-term

key – we’ve worked

vision, and while

with one founder

flying cars are

on the design of a

almost a sci-fi

delivery robot

joke, battery tech

to see what level

has reached the

of personality

stage where

customers might

eight rotors on

respond to, and

a drone will carry

helped a company

four people.”

Kate Aronowitz

working on

and Blake Byers,

an external


defibrillator make

at GV HQ, London

it user-friendly.”



Google’s GV on why money isn’t the most important part of an investment




How BrewDog built its £1 billion craft-beer empire Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie recall their journey in brewing up a global success story





Live the WIRED life

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“User forgiveness has its limits.” Rachel Botsman, p88


ESSAYS BY Leander Ka Gadi Amit, CURATION:

Rachel Botsman, Azeem Azhar, Sarah Lacy, hney, Tony Fadell, Carl Miller, Connie Chan, Dan Ariely and Scott Galloway Amit Katwala ILLUSTRATION: Bo Lundberg

THINK DIFFERENT How Apple can change the world again




1.3 BILLION ______ ______

CUSTOMERS The saga began with a simple post – and ended with a rare Apple admission. On December 9, 2017, reddit user TeckFire posted a note titled “iPhone slow? Try replacing your battery!” It sparked a flurry of comments from iPhone 6 owners. On December 20, a few days after a damaging test report was released by developer John Pooler, Apple admitted its iOS software intentionally slowed down the performance of older iPhones. “Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” stated Apple. It wasn’t the best start to the unfolding trust crisis: ofering some wale rather than a direct apology, and only after being publicly “outed” by a third party. The company claimed it was just a technical issue to do with ageing batteries, and not a devious marketing ploy designed to encourage frustrated users to upgrade to a new phone. Critically, the company had failed to tell people that a simple battery replacement would solve the slowdown problem. Apple has a history of responding to customer complaints by laying blame at anyone’s door but its own. For instance, in June 2010, iPhone 4 customers grumbled about reception issues. Apple’s response? It was the customers’ fault for gripping the phone in such a way that it reduced reception. In September 2014, when hackers broke into the iCloud accounts of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities, stealing nude photos and posting them online, Apple dismissed the breach as “low-tech”. The hackers merely guessed weak passwords. Apple could take a little paraphrased advice from Shakespeare: “The fault lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.” A barrage of damaging accusations followed the reddit post and Apple’s initial response. Among them that the admission of the slowdown was proof of suspicions about “planned obsolescence”. So, Apple tried dousing the flames again, formally apologising on December 28, 2017 for what it called a “misunderstanding about the issue”. It also promised to replace the batteries of iPhone 6 or later in stores for £25 – a £54 discount. It was an efort to “regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions”, the company said. Apple was right to focus on intentions. Intentions are powerful when it comes to trust. It doesn’t matter whether we’re deciding to trust a bank with our money, a babysitter with our kids, or Apple for its smartphones, the four traits of trustworthiness are the same: competence, reliability, benevolence,

integrity. The last trait is often the hardest to get right. It’s the ultimate trust test for companies: whether their words match their actions. As Dr Seuss put it, “Be who you are and say what you mean.” Companies with integrity don’t waiver. They are consistently straight with their customers. The bargain-priced battery, and the public profession it would never manipulate a product like that, were an attempt by Apple to show that their interests were aligned with those of the customer. During Apple’s Q1 2018 earnings call, held in early February, Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, was asked by an investor whether he expects iPhone upgrade rates to decrease now that customers are aware they can replace their batteries to jump performance. “I don’t know how it will impact upgrades,” Cook replied. “We did it because we saw it as the right thing to do for our customers.” And, he might have added, because a gesture of goodwill is a powerful builder of trust, even if it’s well overdue. Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones in its first quarter, down 1.24 per cent year-on-year from 2017 (78.3 million). Was the slump due to the battery debacle? It’s possible. However, despite a media backlash and intense legal scrutiny (Apple now faces more than 45 class-action lawsuits about the software update), total sales are up 13 per cent year over year. It may be that the entire Apple ecosystem of products have become so indispensable to users that brand loyalty can take a few knocks before they switch to Android. For consumers, convenience can trump issues of trust, to a point. User forgiveness has its limits. When Apple is not upfront with customers, suspicion starts to brew. What other shortcomings we don’t yet know about might lurk in the system? Simple goodwill solutions lie in the design of their products, right down to little things such as, on the battery front, they could notify users that their batteries have passed their peak performance. Apple, and others, can no longer behave as if we are in an era of unbridled enthusiasm for all things digital. With the growing backlash against the tech titans, PR pufery won’t be enough to cover up closed-door antics. Apple will need to crack open the “black boxes” of its products, to lift the veil on the operations of systems with which we interact daily and yet know very little about – and may trust too much. It’s not enough merely to tell us, after the fact, that its intentions were good. It needs to give us reason to believe its claims of good intention.

RACHEL BOTSMAN is the author of Who Can You Trust?: How Technology Brought Us Together – and Why it Could Drive Us Apart











Apple is still a hardware company. Despite the success of the App Store and iTunes, it’s always been driven by hardware, and our relationship with hardware. It’s had two significant waves – the computing wave, and the mobile wave. Next, the combination of device miniaturisation and the improvement in user interface, both in terms of voice and gesture control, will take us to a point of ubiquitous, invisible computing. You’re still going to access your computing resources, but you’re going to worry much less about the interface or form factor. You’re starting to see this with the Apple Watch and the HomePod. The Watch has sold more units than the Mac this year, and is closing in on the iPad. It’s a natural extension of what Apple has done since the Apple II, the Mac and the iPhone, with multi-touch and Siri. It’s about giving you access to the beauty and power of computing, by pushing its engineering further and further away, and bringing its design and human factors closer. With that in mind, the three obvious places for Apple to put itself are going to be transport, health, and this pervasive computing layer that lives within our homes. As personal computing becomes embedded in our environment, it’s hard to believe that Apple is going to sit on the sidelines.

Tim Cook can’t build and grow Apple the same way that Steve Jobs did. Yes, the company should continue to work on new hardware, but it should also go all-in on media. Jobs had also been the CEO of Pixar, and so the media industry should have been Apple’s for the taking. But Netflix and Amazon have destroyed them in the television space, Spotify has done better on music and the Roku box is, arguably, better than the Apple TV as a piece of living-room technology. Apple has said that it is going to start spending on content to try and compete on streaming. One prediction has it spending as much as $4.2 billion (£3bn) a year on content by 2022, nearly twice as much as HBO spent in 2016, while others put the annual figure at a more modest $1 billion. But, Apple spent $3 billion on Beats in 2014, and that didn’t help it to win against Spotify. At this point, Apple needs to seriously change its game plan. To keep growing, it should do what worked for Google and Facebook: it should grow by buying aggressively, and by buying the right things – and not another Beats.

AZEEM AZHAR Curator, Exponential View; board of directors, Cronycle

SARAH LACY CEO of Chairman Mom; founder of Pando

36 PER MINUTE ______ ______





$88.3 BILLION ______ ______


APPLE WILL TURN THE WATCH INTO A LIFESAVING TOOL Apple is looking for a big industry to disrupt, and it doesn’t get any bigger than healthcare. It is already deep in the medical space with ResearchKit and HealthKit, two platforms for distributed digital healthcare and monitoring. These have been taken up by the research community in a big way, along with the Apple Watch. Healthcare is moving much more towards prevention – and health monitoring is a big part of that. An ongoing pilot in the US allows people to download their medical history to their iPhones, and the Apple Watch is being used in a nationwide heart study conducted by Stanford University. The Apple Watch can already detect Parkinson’s tremors and dodgy heart rhythms. With the addition of more sensors, it could become a life-saving platform for remote health monitoring and disease prevention. Last year, a 28-year-old man in New York had a pulmonary embolism – reaching the hospital in time to save his life due to his Apple Watch detecting that his heart was racing. It’s rumoured that the next Watch will have an electrocardiogram reader to give more detailed information about heart rhythms.

It’s obviously going to be very important to get the software right: it’s not going to be much fun if your Watch tells you that you’re about to have a heart attack and it turns out to be a glitch. Next, Apple should put a non-invasive bloodsugar monitor in the Watch. Apple’s health-conscious CEO Tim Cook has been wearing a glucose monitor, and the company reportedly has a team devoted to developing ways of measuring it continuously without puncturing the skin. It would be useful for diabetics, but it would also be a powerful tool for weight loss if, ten minutes after you ate a doughnut, you could see how your blood had been flooded with sugar. Apple should use the Watch to give its wearers immediate feedback about what they eat and the impact of exercise. It would transform eating and dieting – and could potentially save lives.

LEANDER KAHNEY Editor and publisher,




the platform level, by empowering users to understand more about how they use their devices. To do this, it should let people track their digital activity in detail and across all devices. You should be able to see exactly how you spend your time and, if you wish, moderate your behaviour accordingly. We need a “scale” for our digital weight, like we have for our physical weight. Our digital consumption data could look like a calendar with our historical activity. It should be itemised like a credit-card bill, so people can easily see how much time they spend each day on email, for example, or scrolling through posts. Imagine it’s like a health app which tracks metrics such as step count, heart rate and sleep quality.


TONY FADELL Co-inventor of the iPod; co-founder of Nest Labs

2 BILLION ______ ______

With this usage information, people could then set their own targets – like they might have a goal for steps to walk each day. Apple could also let users set their device to a “listen-only” or “readonly” mode, without having to crawl through a settings menu, so that you can enjoy reading an e-book without a constant buzz of notifications. Apple is particularly well-placed to tackle this problem, with system-level control across devices. With access to this information, I think many of us would be astonished at what we found and would probably choose to change our behaviour. I already do this with my family – we try things like “tech-free Sundays”, no devices at meals, and a parental control product called Circle. Designing and building a tool like this won’t be difficult: the pieces are already in place, and it would be far easier and cheaper than building a self-driving car. Unlike that of many tech companies, Apple’s business model revolves around people buying more devices, not necessarily spending more time on them. I believe Apple will sell more devices if it makes this kind of digital activity tracking available, as people will feel more comfortable buying them for themselves and their children if they have that extra control. If Apple does the right thing, the industry will follow.


In 1976, Steve Jobs dreamed of a “computer for the rest of us”. Forty years later, his dream has been realised, and more than a third of the world’s population now uses a smartphone. But the success of these devices has also brought unintended consequences, including concerns around addiction and overuse. Many people say “this is a Facebook problem.” Yes, some app providers that rely on advertising or in-app purchases are incentivised to distract us and take advantage of the fact that we now have these always-on devices with us. I strongly believe this is not just a “Facebook problem” or just a “kids’ issue”. All of us, adults and children, have had our lives transformed in the decade since the iPhone was unveiled. Now we have always-connected email, messaging, shopping, banking and so on, in addition to social, gaming and entertainment apps. Many of these seem benign, but we use them more than we know. There is no consensus on what constitutes healthy device usage. We need more data so that we can establish useful recommendations. Take healthy eating as an analogy: we have advice from scientists and nutritionists on how much protein and carbohydrate we should include in our diet; we have standardised scales to measure our weight against; and we have norms for how much we should exercise. But when it comes to digital “nourishment”, we don’t know what a “vegetable”, a “protein” or a “fat” is. What is “overweight” or “underweight”? What does a healthy, moderate digital life look like? I think that manufacturers and app developers need to take on this responsibility, before government regulators decide to step in – as with nutritional labelling. Interestingly, we already have digital-detox clinics in the US. I have friends who have sent their children to them. But we need basic tools to help us before it comes to that. I believe that for Apple to maintain and even grow its customer base it can solve this problem at



123,000 ______ ______


7. M E S S A G I N G











We’re at a tipping point in the way large tech companies leverage user data, in terms of whether people feel that it’s something that is being done to them, or something they are actually part of. Apple can be the decisive voice, by giving its users control over their own data. There are two good reasons why it can only be Apple that does this. Firstly, although it collects an enormous amount of valuable data about its users – on transactions, locations, health – its business model is not as heavily predicated on data as are Google and Facebook’s. Secondly, it’s large enough to actually move a market. It could find ways to share the data it collects from each of its users, with its users, and then find ways for those users to get more value from that data if they want to. Apple could enable new software, apps and spin-off companies as a data broker. Instead of companies profiting from the sale of personal data, it would be the users themselves. You could have a data-brokering service that you centralise all your data within, and then it can go of and negotiate the best deal for you according to a series of stipulations about how exactly you want your data to be shared. It might even make commercial sense. This is a service that has value for customers. You use Apple, and on average you make, say, £500 a year by selling your data through “iData”, a service that Apple provides. It’s another selling point. Apple giving its users data sovereignty could create a really powerful precedent, moving the market a bit further away from the surveillance capitalism model that is causing anxiety among a great many consumers, and further towards something that really puts the user in control.

Later this year, Apple is set to launch Business Chat, a way for companies to connect with consumers directly via Messages. It’s a development that clearly takes inspiration from WeChat, the app from Chinese web giant Tencent. WeChat started as a messaging service, but has grown into an “app for everything” that includes transportation and payment services. If the western world continues to follow the same tech trends as Asia, then our future will be one where mobile is the new normal and the desktop experience becomes an afterthought. Already, developers are skipping websites altogether and only making apps – one day they could forego apps to make Messages apps. However, messaging and communication is already fragmented in the west, so to help Business Chat take off, Apple should give Messages an “unfair” advantage, by allowing it to interact with other preloaded apps (such as Wallet, Calendar and Files) in a much deeper way. Business Chat’s other major advantage is Apple Pay. In China, WeChat has shown that adding payments to a messaging platform can produce near-frictionless transactions and high efficiency. Business Chat might be the carrot that convinces offline merchants to promote Apple Pay. Consumers are used to giving businesses their phone numbers or email addresses for loyalty points and discounts. Merchants could give promotions to users that pay for goods via Apple Pay – if they agree it also triggers a Business Chat. Apple has been studying the success of WeChat and LINE, and it hasn’t given up on the consumer wallet opportunity. The messaging wars in the west are about to heat up.

CARL MILLER Research director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos

CONNIE CHAN Partner, head of consumer sector, Andreessen Horowitz





the iPhone’s impact on the mobile-phone market. Services attached to these home devices will be accessed as simply as the App Store and third parties will have a clear technology road map to follow, with a single powerful operating system to rely upon. The connected home is a mega-challenge suitable for a mega-company such as Apple. It should recapture its leadership by addressing a neglected market with its ingenuity and talent.

GADI AMIT President, New Deal Design, designer of the Fitbit

$894.9 BILLION ______ ______

hardware and networking. Combined with a broad ecosystem of content delivery, services and user-interface standards, the company could pull together a game-changing iPhone-style moment for this mundane market segment. This will mean flawless integration and installation of your security system, TV, kitchen appliances and innovative new devices. It will provide a common ground for new innovation and startups, much like


Apple is a phenomenal technology giant that brought us the truly personal computer, the iPod and the iPhone. It is amazingly successful, a brand with strength like no other, that’s making a lot of money. But, Apple is perceived to be trailing behind Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook in areas such as voice control, autonomous cars and virtual reality. Apple is clearly making eforts in these areas, but I don’t think any of them present the company with its best chance of making a big impact. Instead, Apple should focus its attention on the fragmented connected-home market, an opportunity that is optimal for its DNA. This giant market has a trillion-dollar potential, but it’s currently broken and dysfunctional, with bad user experience, poor technology integration and a lack of business cohesion. Interacting with all these devices and services is a complete mess, as each has its own app, business arrangement and, generally, entrenched poor design heritage. This mediocrity is reminiscent of the mobile phone scene just over a decade ago, before the iPhone arrived. It is ripe for Apple’s design and powers of execution. The company already has some notable networking (Apple TV), entertainment (Beats), and interface and computing (Mac, iPad, iPhone) devices at home. It has recently introduced the HomePod, a smart speaker with a somewhat unclear focus – between voice control and an audio device. It also has notable credentials in the music and content markets. With its massive economic power and brand cachet, Apple will have the power to reframe the service and business models currently held by more traditional service providers. The introduction of 5G will bypass them all together as mobile technology makes cable or phone lines obsolete. But above all, Apple has the humanistic design discipline and ability to execute a grand master plan. This is exactly what the dysfunctional connected-home market lacks – and needs. Apple’s connected home will ofer a seamlessly integrated and well-designed system of software,

9. P R O D U C T I V I T Y



27 MILLION ______ ______

PRODUCTIVITY AND STOP DISTRACTING US We all get distracted. But while we recognise the cost of the initial distraction, we fail to understand the deep effects that distraction has. Even when we get back to our work, we’re not fully at work. Yes, we might just respond to a quick text message or Facebook post and then return to the document we have open, but we’re not truly engaged in the task. Our mind has wandered on to something else, and it can take up to 15 minutes for us to get back to the previous depth of focus. There are some studies that show that even just having our phone on the table while we’re at work distracts us. The mere presence of this device changes our ability to focus. Why is the phone so tempting? Psychologist BF Skinner showed us that random reinforcements are incredibly powerful. If you give a rat a piece of food every 100 times it presses a lever, that’s exciting. But what if it’s a random number, between one and 200? You might think that the rat would press less, because it’s not clear when they’ll get a reward. But the reality is the rat presses much harder, and for longer. Even if the reward goes away, the rat keeps on pressing. To some degree, the electronic world around us is random reinforcement. Take email, for example. It’s mostly uninteresting, not that important and rarely urgent. But from time to time, something is useful or important, and that’s what keeps us coming back to check our phones again and again. Apple could help us break this cycle. When we get distracted, it’s not at the moments we’ve chosen to be sidetracked: it’s when other people

think about us and want to contact us, or when an app we have thinks it’s the right time to pipe up. Apple’s iOS could figure out which notifications are truly urgent and which are not. We’ve done some experiments that show that just batching notifications and delivering them every three hours gets people to be more productive, sleep better and suffer less from stress. The second thing Apple could do is try and understand how productive we are, and only interrupt when it’s the right moment for us. It could try and track what we call “flow”, this rare state when we’re really into something and we are excited and concentrated. Apple could measure our productivity using a combination of how we type and move the mouse, and only send us notifications when we’re not in a state of flow. If you’re writing something continuously at a certain speed and you don’t stop too much, you’re more likely to be in a flow. If you type and stop after every word, you’re probably not. If we’re in an app that doesn’t require focus, such as Facebook, then it can stop us at any time. It’s only if we’re using an app where we’re producing something then it should wait until we switch to another app, or find a better moment when we’re not in this state of flow. To me, taking this state away from us is a crime. It’s something that’s so rare that we should try and preserve it. These suggestions aren’t easy to implement, and I don’t think any company is actually that proactive in helping us improve our productivity. But given the importance of the topic, and how much energy and attention we are losing, I can think of very few things that Apple could do at this point in time that would be more useful to mankind.

DAN ARIELY James B Duke professor of psychology and behavioural economics, Duke University


APPLE SHOULD L AUNCH THE WORLD’S L ARGEST FREE UNIVERSIT Y Apple’s ability to create low-cost products and sell them at premium luxury prices has landed them with a cash pile greater than the Russian stock market and the market capitalisation of Boeing and Nike combined. The big question is whether Apple has an obligation to spend this enormous pile of cash? And, if so, how? My suggestion: Apple should launch the world’s largest tuition-free university. The company has roots in academia and its brand foots really well with creative services and education. But, ultimately, I also think this idea is an enormous profit opportunity. How can Apple make it tuition-free as well as profitable? It needs to “flip” the current funding model, by making it tuition-free for students and by charging companies to recruit there. At the moment, companies go to universities and think of them as their giant HR departments. The reasons are obvious. Universities are great at screening applicants, picking smart people, ensuring they can work in groups and that they are emotionally stable. Universities aren’t in the business of educating, as much as they are in the business of granting credentials to its students. Apple would be very good at attracting the best candidates. And in exchange for access to those students, corporates would be willing to pay a lot of money. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Student debt is at an all-time high. So we need to flip the model and put the costs of education on to the corporation. Apple could also deploy a bidding system, similar to what Google and Facebook do in advertising, where corporations bid to have first access to the very best students. Apple is already 60 to 70 per cent there. It has the brand and it would attract incredible applicants. What makes a quality school? Sure, it’s the faculty, but mostly it’s the brand’s ability to attract the best and brightest. As long as the best and brightest apply to your programme, you’re going to have the best and brightest faculty. As long as you have the best and brightest faculty, you will have the best recruiters showing up, who will pay the most. And as long as you have the recruiters who will pay the most showing up, you get the best and brightest applying. Apple would immediately get several million applications. Or enough applications where they can have an outstanding faculty. And then, by ofering free tuition, they can place competitive

pressure on my colleagues to start ofering tuition at a lower price. This is desperately needed because currently we have this cartel that makes OPEC look cuddly and socially conscious. I work with one of the best faculties in the world – and I think two-thirds could leave and not be missed. Now, does that mean they should be fired? No. But does it mean that they should be making as much money as they do, without the same competitive pressures that everyone faces in the marketplace? Of course not. This just translates into outrageous tuition fees which kids finance with debt. Which means they get houses later; which means they start families later; which means they take fewer risks – it’s a drain on the economy. So, I think a healthy dose of this tech-inspired eiciency and competition would be a great thing for academia. Today, we currently have the wrong attitude. We turn away people and take pride in our exclusivity. It’s like a homeless shelter bragging about the people it doesn’t let through the door. The whole mentality is screwed up. Apple Stores could be used as campuses for the Apple University. The stores are in highly dense,


populated areas; they’re not used after hours and they’re already starting to give some classes. Alternatively, what if Apple had taken their space ship and turned it into a university? What if they said it was a university from the hours of 6pm to 10pm? And what if they said that three per cent of its 150,000 employees that have credentials as being the best and brightest in the company become the adjunct professors in this university? With Apple’s profits, I believe it could start the equivalent of the University of Texas, the University of California or the Michigan state system – but ultimately, I think it could start the largest freetuition system in America. It would be good for society, it foots to their brand and I think it would be wildly profitable. What it would really come down to, to make all of this work, is execution. As told to Tom Upchurch

SCOTT GALLOWAY Professor of marketing, New York University Stern School of Business

A new chapter has begun in the bloody war against poaching in Africa â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with technology being used as a force for good

( Protect and survive ) By Clair MacDougall Photography: Liam Sharp



As day bleeds into night in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Ntayia Lema Langas, the deputy warden of the Mara Conservancy, barrels across the landscape in a Land Rover flanked by rangers, crossing an invisible border into neighbouring Tanzania.

A pickup full of Tanzanian rangers heading back across the border stops and the vehicles’ occupants greet each other. A senior officer shows photographs of poachers they had arrested earlier in the day at a makeshift camp. He flicks through photographs on his smartphone of hacked zebra meat, spread out on the dry grassland. After the brief meeting, 30-year-old Langas continues the journey with his troops. They park behind shrubs at two strategic points facing an escarpment. A tiny sliver of Moon smiles high in the black sky while flashes of torchlight twinkle in the distance. Sylvia Nashipai, a 24-year-old ranger who joined the conservancy in 2016, stands in front of the car, the other rangers scanning the escarpment for torchlight and movement. The expanse of savannah breathes gently as crickets chirp, the calm broken by the occasional crackle from the radio followed by directives from Langas. He scans the area through a forward-looking infrared camera (FLIR) strapped on to his car, and a monitor used to follow the images and direct the camera. Before, the rangers used

torches, radios and their naked eyes and ears. Now they use the infrared camera and handheld thermal cameras that can detect the body heat of poachers and animals up to three kilometres away. Armed with this information, Langas’s rangers can chase and apprehend them in under an hour. “It’s difficult to ambush poachers without this camera,” Langas tells me the following day. “A lot of arrests have been made – I think more than 100 now, I don’t have the exact figures.” Recently, Langas has caught dozens of poachers who have been turned over and prosecuted. In this area, most of them kill for bush meat, but rangers also have to chase elephant poachers who roam the Maasai Mara, a vast stretch of savannah that is also home to populations of lions, leopards and cheetahs. On this occasion, no arrests are made. As the rangers set out to leave, one of the four-wheel drives fails to start. A handful of them gather behind and push the vehicle until the engine splutters back to life. The headlights flood the landscape ahead and the two vehicles full of tired workers rumble of into the distance. Despite the eforts of Kenyan rangers, elephant and rhino poaching numbers remain at alarming levels. Conservationists estimate that, currently, more elephants in Africa are being killed than born. Despite an increase in ivory seizures and a declining number of elephants being killed for their tusks over the past five years, at least 20,000 elephants were killed in 2015 alone, according to data collected by the Convention on the Trade in Endan-

Previous page: Mara Conservancy deputy warden Ntayia Lema Langas. Right: Kenya Wildlife Trust commander Peter Lokitela

gered Species. The black rhino remains critically endangered; in countries such as Kenya, they have been gathered in sanctuaries and are guarded by armed wildlife rangers. China, one of the world’s biggest markets for ivory and rhino horn, began enforcing an ivory ban on January 1, 2018, but new frontiers for the illicit trade in Asia continue to emerge. In 2012, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched the Wildlife Crime Technology Project, an initiative focused on using technology to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable species. Initially supported by Google and in collaboration with companies such as FLIR and hardware giant CISCO, the project has the ambitious mission of achieving through technology what conservation groups and national wildlife services have failed to do so far: to make wildlife reserves poacher-proof. I meet conservation engineer Eric Becker in November 2017 on the edge of an airstrip scratched into the vast green plains of the Maasai Mara, one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife reserves bordering Tanzania.   Becker, a tall, dark-haired and bespectacled man who describes himself as a “nerd” is reserved, often retreating to the sidelines, bowing his head to inhale from a silver box-shaped e-cigarette. He initially seems uncertain as to how much


Below: Conservation engineer Eric Becker checks a jeep-mounted FLIR camera while on patrol

to divulge to me. Born into a family of military engineers who have worked on fighter jets and weaponry, he is used to dealing with highly classified information. He has worked as an engineer for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Special Forces. At DARPA, where he worked as a contractor, he developed technologies the public doesn’t know exist: prototypes which, according to Becker, are 50 years ahead of commercial technology. “Everything they did was science fiction,” Becker says about DARPA at our camp. He mentions synthetic blood they invented, and a pod with robotic hands that can be placed over wounded soldiers for doctors to treat remotely. Becker talks sparingly about his inventions for the US military, but when he talks about his experiments with anti-poaching technology his words soon flow. A natural inventor, he is perpetually weighing up the precision and possibilities of diferent technologies and how they can be combined, stretched and shaped in diferent ways. Becker was contracted by the WWF in 2014 because of his background in drone R&D. A wildlife organisation deploying in remote parts of Africa surveillance and tactical communications technology traditionally used by the US military, has raised concerns over privacy, human rights and data collection among conservationists. In some countries, legal frameworks for the use of surveillance technology may be lax or ill-defined. Although Becker is proud of some of the combat technology he developed, “Making it like a video game to kill people just wasn’t my thing,” he tells me. He soon found that developing low-cost surveillance and tactical

Left: Sylvia Nashipai, a ranger at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, patrols the 1,510m 2 savannah for poaching activity armed with a rifle and a FLIR camera

technology that could survive the rugged terrain of national parks in Africa and Asia came with a specific set of challenges. For example, with a lack of consistent power supply and basic infrastructure in many of the parks the WWF works in, battery life is an important consideration. Another early project, involving the use of drones as a deterrent for poaching in Namibia, had to be shut down in 2017 as drones became unpopular with African governments concerned about external surveillance. Becker began experimenting with thermal cameras, repackaging the sensors within FLIR units that have been used by the US military for years for night operations. He then developed algorithms that could help them identify human silhouettes and vehicles, and trigger alerts in a control room. He mounted the cameras around a stretch of fence line in Lake Nakuru, a government-run rhino sanctuary. In the national park located in the city of Nakuru, Kenya’s third-largest city, poachers were known to enter through a 20-kilometre stretch of fence line, kill rhinos, saw their horns of and disappear into the bright lights and congested streets in the distance.

In 2016, Becker approached Brian Heath, the conservationist who runs the Mara Conservancy. Heath, who witnessed some of the most brutal days of elephant poaching in Kenya, was “sceptical” of Becker’s technological approach. His rangers were equipped with .303 calibre rifles from the first and second world wars, a handful of old radios and a small fleet of Nato-green Land Rovers. Unlike other parts of Kenya and East Africa, there were few sophisticated armed poaching rings operating in his stretch of the Maasai Mara National Reserve known as the Mara Triangle. Bush-meat poachers from Tanzania would walk down a steep escarpment that acted as a natural frontier between the two countries. They would lay hundreds of snares during the day before returning at night to collect their kill. The snares would injure and sometimes kill dozens of animals every year – leopards, lions, elephants, zebras and girafes – even if the poachers never intended to catch them. Most poachers would use bow and arrows and spears, and rarely fought with rangers or resist arrest. The main problem for Heath and his team of rangers was that they simply couldn’t see the poachers in the dark.


After visiting the Mara Conservancy, where he shadowed the rangers on day and night foot patrols, Becker decided to mount a FLIR camera on to a car. He wanted to operate it like a ground-level drone. The camera would be monitored by a commander, who then directed rangers using handheld cameras. Unlike night-vision cameras, which rely on moonlight and starlight to function, heat-detecting thermal cameras can operate during the daytime and in the pitch-black night, helping rangers scan areas up to three kilometres away. Around the same time, in March 2016, Becker installed static thermal cameras capable of identifying human forms and vehicles near a fence line often used by poachers in the national park of Lake Nukuru, around 300 kilometres north of Heath’s conservancy. “In the past, we would never have found these people,” Heath says. “Now the poachers are saying it’s just not worth going out, because the chance of getting caught is getting higher and higher. It has been a big deterrent.” Heath says the technology could be useful in ivory-poaching hotspots, where the H&K G3s and Kalashnikovs of national rangers are often matched by skilled gangs, who are typically armed with similar weaponry. In January 2018, Colby Loucks, the head of the WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology project, met senior oicials from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Jef Frank, vice president of global product strategy at FLIR, to discuss the possibility of rolling out the technology in the country’s national parks. They told WIRED that they are planning to deploy the technology in rhino sanctuaries and reserves throughout the country. After the cameras were deployed at Lake Nukuru, Becker received a request from the Kenyan government: “They wanted this system on the Somali border to monitor the Somalis coming in.” He turned it down. “We need to make sure they’re focused on the parks,” he says.

Previous page: An injured bull elephant, treated by veterinary surgeon Campaign Limo, walks unsteadily back to the bush. The blue marks are antiseptic clay to help prevent infection

Below: Armed Kenya Wildlife Service rangers on patrol during the day

W hile in the Maasai Mara with Becker I met Marc Goss, manager of the Mara Elephant Project, which also works to combat poaching in the reserve. Dressed in a brown ranger’s uniform with tortoiseshell aviator glasses, Goss stands next to his parked helicopter smoking and talking on his phone in Swahili. Adults and barefoot children gather to marvel at the helicopter. Born in Kenya, Goss is one of a cast of “Kenya cowboys” or white Kenyans, who are key figures in the conservation movement. He met Becker through George Powell, a conservation biologist who works with Becker on the Wildlife Crime Technology Project. Goss befriended

Becker and introduced him to Heath in 2015, while Becker and Powell were touring Kenya looking for potential sites to experiment with their drones. Goss had been using them to scare elephants away from farms they often raided for food. While Goss’s work has focused on breaking down poaching rings, in recent years his organisation The Mara Elephant Project has become more concerned with the escalating conflict between humans and elephants. Farmers are fencing of land and planting and grazing cattle closer to national parks and the rangelands between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. “As people continue to spread, farm and herd more livestock, the area for elephants to live in gets smaller and smaller,” Goss explains over a cup of cofee at our camp. Goss and his team fitted elephants with collars containing electronic GPS trackers, and monitored their movements through a smartphone with the STE Tracking App, developed by Vulcan, a private company owned

Below: …and how rangers – and poachers – are seen at night through FLIR cameras

drone to locate the animal and circled the helicopter low to push it out into a clearing where he could be treated by a vet. As Goss edges closer towards the striken elephant in the helicopter, Campaign Lino, a veterinarian with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, shoots it with a tranquillizer from the window. The elephant falls to the ground and the team swiftly begin treatment, cleaning out the animal’s wounds and applying antiseptic. When they are finished, Campaign injects the elephant to wake it. After examining the injuries, the team concluded the elephant was likely attacked when it encroached on a farm, he says, because there was no poison in the wound – a sure sign of the involvement of poachers. As the animal comes to and stumbles towards a thicket of acacia trees, we speed of in a pickup truck back to the camp.


‘In the past, we would never have found these people. Now, the poachers are saying it’s just not worth going out, because the chance of getting caught is getting higher and higher. Thermal cameras have been a big deterrent’ – Eric Becker by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Once the elephants started heading into villages and farmlands to raid crops, Goss would fly out in his helicopter and shoo them away to prevent them from getting speared or killed by villagers and farmers. In recent months, he has managed to obtain a licence from the Kenyan Ministry of Defence to operate two drones that he hopes will replace his helicopter – which costs an expensive £280 an hour to run – as a means of pushing the marauding elephants away. He and Becker have discussed strapping a thermal camera to the drone to make it easier to shoo the animals away at night. Goss also plans to use the drone to spray chilli powder over the elephants as a means to keep them away.

We take off in the helicopter with Goss and Becker. Cumulus clouds and blue skies unroll before us, green grasses and hippopotamuses bathing in the winding brown rivers below. The landscape soon fades into arid, treeless patches of land dotted with small farms fenced of with dry acacia branches. We touch down in the plush camp once owned by Paul Allen and are greeted by a young white Kenyan man in a cowboy hat, a large knife sheathed in leather on his hip. Standing next to him is an older, squinting South African man with the gravelly voice of a smoker. Goss and Becker begin setting up their DJI Phantom drone. There had been reports of a large old bull elephant that had been injured and was stumbling across the escarpment. Goss used the

As we rumble across the Mara in a shiny white WWF jeep we are accompanied by Peter Lokitela, a tall, slender man with sharp brown eyes who was born in the Turkana region of Kenya, an area known for its fierce cattleraiding culture and the discovery of the skeleton of the Turkana Boy, the earliest-known human remains. Lokitela works for the WWF’s Kenya office on anti-poaching and speaks frankly about the hardship he has faced as a ranger: finding bloody elephant carcasses encircled by vultures; camping in the open bush; chasing poachers for months on end and violent shoot-outs in which rangers had been killed. Lokitela’s stories about past operations often end abruptly with accounts of violent encounters with poachers. “When you get poachers in the bush and they’re armed, what do you discuss with them?” says Lokitela. The KWS has also long been rumoured to have a policy of shooting poachers on sight, introduced by paleontologist and conservationist Richard Leakey, who is now chairman of the organisation. Leakey founded KWS in 1989, during the height of the poaching crisis, and is seen as the man responsible for the militarisation of modern

conservation in Kenya, through his use of helicopter gunships and the deployment of Maasai warriors. Groups such as Human Rights Watch have accused the KWS of involvement in disappearances and counterterrorism operations, and claim the organisation lacks transparent processes through which rangers who commit abuses can be held accountable. Later, I meet Leakey at his office at the Nairobi-based Turkana Basin Institute. On a long, squat shelf in the corner of his oice rest an assortment of ornaments: a model of a museum on the origins of mankind that he plans to build in northern Kenya, a skull his mother discovered in 1959 in Tanzania and a model of dung beetle rolling a ball of manure given by a friend as a joke. For Leakey, the big challenge in the fight against poaching isn’t technology, but managing a team of dissatisfied, ill-equipped and underpaid rangers. “I fear that security through technology, which is quite costly, is drawing more potential funding away from the real issues,” he tells me as he sits behind his immaculately organised desk. “If we could be less corrupt and steal less money in KWS, we could probably manage without donor support, except for vehicles, planes and things like that. But we’ve had a lot of holes. It’s been like a sieve.”

AFRI CA Nai robi

Maasai Mara Nati onal Reser ve


Poaching activity in the area is at its most prevalent where Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Park meets the border with neighbouring Tanzania

F or Eric Becker, constant surveillance could mean greater accountability and mean that rangers are less likely to conspire with poachers or steal seized ivory or rhino horn. In January 2018, he began work at a national park in Zambia, an ivorypoaching hotspot. With the support of CISCO, Becker will install mobile-phone towers fitted with radios and antennas across a 60-kilometre stretch of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi in Kafue National Park. He will mount thermal cameras that can rotate 360° and are trained to detect the movement of dugout fishing canoes – a common method of transport for poachers. The rangers will be trained to use a sophisticated tactical application, the Android Team Assault Kit, used by the Special Forces and US law enforcement, which they will use to send back images to central command via a secure Wi-Fi network. If this project, on schedule to be up and running this spring, proves successful, the WWF plans to roll it out in other areas where wildlife species remain under threat from poaching. In Becker’s future vision of a wildlife park, glowing figures of elephants, lions, zebras and girafes move across computer screens in a control room. Fatigue-clad wardens monitor the area in towers fitted with rotating thermal cameras, sensors and camera traps, placed within the savannahs and the thicket. Elephants are tagged with small devices that translate their cries and calls. Gunshot detectors alert central command to incursions by poachers. Under the moonlight, teams of rangers would rally with real-time information and directives beamed to their smartphones. They would launch microdrones fitted with thermal cameras to find their target. They would move in on the poachers and arrest them. Ideally no animal or human would be killed in this process. In the daylight, rangers would ferry tourists around the park. As they

approach wildlife, sensors would be triggered and a virtual tour guide would tell them about the animal and their habitat. The animals would be perpetually monitored and protected. Back in the real-world control room at Lake Nukuru, a ranger monitors a computer screen containing feeds from 16 cameras across the fence line, near where one notorious poacher who was killed once lived. An alert is tripped whenever there is movement and the ranger must acknowledge every one with a keystroke or a click of the mouse. Becker had to “dumb down” the system to only trip off alerts when there is movement from humans and vehicles, before dividing them into “classified” and “unclassified.” Updates from the system are sent daily to the park’s warden. “It just keeps people honest,” Becker tells me. “They know that Big Brother is watching.” Becker also envisions a national “war room” in Nairobi where real-time footage and information from the parks could be fed. In the coming months he’s hoping to experiment with wireless camera traps that could send images back to base immediately. At nightfall at Lake Nakuru, we head out on patrol with the rhinoceros squad. They spot a cluster of three rhinos near the lake, shimmering with bright city lights in the distance. The rangers, brandishing their G3s and AK-47s, must monitor the huge mammals throughout the night. Steven Juma Were, a portly sergeant with the rhino squad who has been with the KWS for 24 years, has seen camera traps and new technologies come and go. Over the past two years the cameras have “helped a lot”, he says, particularly with securing this particular boundary. Becker demonstrates to the rangers how the FLIR cameras work in comparison to the night vision. The poachers, the sergeant says, have already found a new entry point. But Becker, and his vision of a future park, is edging closer. The thermal cameras mounted on towers will continue scanning the surface of the lake. His electronic eyes in the sky, constantly monitoring man and the wild.  Clair MacDougall is a freelance journalist based in Liberia. She wrote about activists fighting for online freedom in Africa in issue 11.16

Below: Elephants are also under threat from farmers protecting their crops. Bottom: Eric Becker scans the Mara Conservatory





P A S T I M E ...

...T O F L O A T I N G C I T I E S E N G A G E D I N A N E N T E R T A I N M E N T A R M S R A C E


O l i v e r F r a n k l i n -Wa l l i s .


Benedict Redgrove

Previous pages: Symphony of the Seas has 484 cabins, or “state rooms”; the ship’s Central Park is an open-air garden at sea

MS SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS which, on its maiden voyage from Barcelona in March became the largest passenger ship ever built – is about five times the size of the Titanic. At 362 metres long, you could balance it on its stern and its bow would tower over all but two of Europe’s tallest skyscrapers. Owned and operated by Miami-based cruise line Royal Caribbean, it can carry nearly 9,000 people and contains more than 40 restaurants and bars. Also on board: 23 pools, jacuzzis and water slides; two West End-sized theatres; an ice rink; a surf simulator; two climbing walls; a zip line; a fairground carousel; a mini-golf course; a ten-storey fun slide; laser tag; a spa; a gym; a casino; plus dozens more shopping and entertainment opportunities. To put it another way, Symphony of the Seas might be the most ludicrously entertaining luxury hotel in history. It just also happens to float. Picture a cruise ship. You’re likely imagining crisped-pink pensioners bent double over shuleboard, cramped cabins, bad food and norovirus. And, once upon a time, you’d have been right. But in the last decade or so, cruise ships have gone from a means of transport to vast floating cities with skydiving simulators (Quantum of the Seas), go-karting (Norwegian Joy), bumper cars (Quantum again) and ice bars (Norwegian Breakaway). Restaurants ofer menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs. As a result, the cruise industry is experiencing a golden age, boosted by millennials and explosive growth in tourists from China. More than twenty-five million people set sail on a cruise liner in 2017.

‘ There was a big shakeup – companies started to treat the cruise liner as a floating resort, rather than as a ship’

“Most people’s idea of a cruise is ‘Oh God, I’m going to be packed in with five thousand people I don’t want to talk to and getting bored out of my tree,” says Tom Wright, founder of WKK Architects, who has worked on cruise ships and land hotels. “In fact, it’s like going to a hotel that just moves magically over night.” (As one cruiser I met on Symphony’s fan page put it, “We get to see five destinations, and I only have to unpack once.”) For many, a maiden cruise is rarely the last. From Southampton to Venice to Barbados, ports are full of white-hulled ships packed with repeat customers. Industry satisfaction ratings regularly exceed 94 per cent. And, as Richard Fain is fond of saying: nobody gets those kinds of numbers. Not even chocolate companies. Fain is chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, a position he has held since 1988. (RCL comprises three lines: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises.) Now 69, Fain is square-jawed, broad and handsome. More than anyone, he is responsible for the transformation of cruise ships from modes of transport to mega-attractions. (Symphony is one of his. So are the world’s second-, thirdand fourth-largest cruise ships.) A gifted salesman, the first time you meet he’ll lean in, tilt his head just so, and ask you straight: “Have you cruised?” It was Fain who realised that the cruise industry’s image problem was in fact an opportunity. Convince sceptical landlubbers that cruise ships aren’t outdated, boring and, as an industry joke put it, full of “the newlywed and the nearly dead”, and Royal Caribbean could lock up customers for life. The problem was just one of perception.

TO ATTRACT A NEW KIND OF CUSTOMER, Fain needed a new kind of ship. To build it, he hired Harri Kulovaara, a Finnish naval architect who made a name for himself designing passenger ferries. Kulovaara has a round, boyish face and glasses with such thick upper frames it has the efect of a monobrow. Growing up in the coastal city of Turku, he would watch the ferries sail out of the harbour for Sweden each morning, and spend every moment he could on the water. After graduating in the late 80s, he designed two groundbreaking ferries for Finnish company Silja Line. They included a 150-metre, two-deck-high promenade down the centre, culminating in a huge window at the aft. The window brought natural light into the centre of the ship – before that, dark, depressing places – and created a natural, street-like hub for passengers. Fain, who has a keen eye for design himself – his mentors included Jay Pritzker, the Hyatt Hotels co-founder and creator of the Pritzker Architecture Prize – took notice. “When Richard saw [the Kulovaara-designed] Silja Serenade, he said, ‘I’d like to have this kind of ship.’ The [Royal Caribbean] technical department told him it couldn’t be built,” explains Kulovaara. So, in 1995, Fain hired him to help run the company’s shipbuilding department alongside Njål Eide, a Norwegian architect who had become a legend in shipbuilding. (Eide had designed the first hotel-like atrium at sea, now a commonplace feature.) The company was planning to commission a carbon copy of its existing flagship, Sovereign of the Seas. “We’re not going to build that, Harri,” Fain told him. “We need something better.” That “better” was 1999’s Voyager of the Seas. Costing upwards of $650 million (£469m), it was 75 per cent bigger than the previous-largest cruise ship, exceeding Panamax – the width of the Panama Canal, an industry-standard measurement. They introduced a central promenade, similar to that which Kulovaara had designed for Silja Line, ending in two banks of panoramic lifts. It was on Voyager that Royal Caribbean introduced the first ice rink at sea, and climbing walls on the rear funnel. (Fain initially

Below: Two 66-metre Ultimate Abyss slides snake their way from the Sport Zone on deck 16 to the Boardwalk on deck six

Below: At 362 metres, Symphony of the Seas dwarfs The Shard, the UK’s tallest skyscraper



‘ The ships are now large enough to give us a platform to do amazing things. I don’t personally see a need to build larger – but never say never’ THE SHARD - 310M

thought climbing walls were a bad idea. Now they’re an industry standard.) If you want to pinpoint the moment ship design went crazy, it’s with the launch of Voyager. Suddenly, cruising was in an amenities arms race. “There was a big shakeup,” says Trevor Young, vice president of new building at Royal rival MSC Cruises. “Companies started to treat the cruise liner as a floating resort, rather than as a ship.” Consider: since the launch of the RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1940, the record for largest passenger ship had changed hands twice. Since Kulovaara joined Royal Caribbean, the record has been broken 11 times. Kulovaara has designed ten of them. “We don’t set out to build the largest ships,” Kulovaara told me, somewhat sheepishly. “The goal is to build the best ship. But we have so many ideas that we need a little bit more space.”

C RUISE-SHIP ARCHITECTS FACE CONSTRAINTS that would confound their land-based counterparts. Ships need to be able to face North Atlantic storms, Baltic snow and blistering Caribbean heat in equal measure. The hull is beset on all sides by waves, which cause not only perpetual motion, but vibrations through the steel structure – as do the engines and propellers. A ship at sea is its own island: it must generate its own energy and water, and treat its own waste. There is no fire service nor ambulance, so every crew member is fire trained and the on-board medical centre must be able to handle almost any kind of emergency (including death: all ships have a small morgue, a necessity for a pastime so beloved by the elderly). Some maintain a brig, in case of onboard miscreants – though I’m told their use is rare. Kulovaara’s New Build department is located in Royal Caribbean’s Innovation Lab, which is based in PortMiami – the largest passenger port – in Biscayne Bay, Florida. The team has around 200 people, including naval architects, interior designers, engineers and project managers. “When I started to get involved we didn’t use CAD,” says Fain. “We used SAD, or ‘scissors-aided design’, because what you did was spread out your drawing on the dining room table and then cut and paste it.” Today, the Innovation Lab includes extensive prototyping and testing facilities, and a large virtual-reality “cave” simulator to allow Kulovaara’s designers

Left: Symphony of the Sea’s Royal Theatre will host Broadway-style productions and 3D film screenings

and architects to walk around interior spaces throughout the design process. The essential consideration when designing a cruise ship is flow of human traic. “They have a relatively high density of population. How can you spread the people and make sure they find their way?” asks Kulovaara. “Understanding how people behave, anticipating how they behave, is key.” With nearly 9,000 people on board including crew, distributing attractions evenly across the ship is crucial. Hence, Symphony’s two main theatres are at opposite ends. The casino is central, but below the Royal Promenade. (A rule of thumb is that it takes the first two days of a cruise just to get your bearings.) Perhaps even more important is the movement of the ship’s 2,200 crew, who must be able to access galleys and stores in the bowels of the ship easily. There are safety considerations, too: today’s megaships are split vertically into six or more fire zones, which can be isolated in case of an emergency. Muster stations (usually large public areas) must be evenly spread. Even corridor width is calculated for the necessary flow of passengers in the event of an emergency. Once the major spaces are sketched out, there’s the onerous task of plumbing. “The big part of building a ship, 85 per cent, is what you don’t see. It’s the air conditioning, the electric systems, the water systems, power generation,” says Kulovaara. Cruise ships are built using concurrent design: while the keel and lower hull are being cut, the top of the ship is still being laid out. “We do the conceptual design and the architectural design,” says Kulovaara. “The naval architects think about hydrodynamics, hydrostatics, hull forms. Then we transfer that to the shipyard and they do the final engineering.” As the ship is so vast, the detailed design work is commissioned out to multiple architectural firms. Restaurant architects design restaurants; caravan designers tend to be good at state rooms (the industry term for cabins). “We have

probably 100 architects who have worked closely with us for a long time,” says Kulovaara. Early in the design process, Royal holds open competitions to design new spaces. “The reason is if you do it in-house, you become blind to change.” When trying to introduce “anything extraordinary”, Kulovaara assigns a special projects team. With Voyager, New Build had sketched a blank space in midship for a new entertainment venue. The team proposed an indoor arena including a synthetic ice surface, “glice”. Kulovaara assigned the project to Boston-based Wilson Butler Architects. The firm has since worked on several of Royal Caribbean’s wildest schemes, including a viewing platform that extends high above Quantum of the Seas. “We’ve become pretty good at problem solving,” says Butler. IN JANUARY 2018, I WENT TO VISIT Symphony under construction in SaintNazaire, France. It was a miserable day: grey mist hung in the air like gauze, but the ship was still visible several kilometres away. The shipyard, STX France, is one of the few equipped to build liners of Symphony’s scale. The decks are built upside down, in around 80 huge sections – each can weigh upwards of 800 tonnes – and are then robotically welded together like vast LEGO blocks. On the dockside, deck sections of a new MSC Cruises ship lay idle. The legs of an offshore rig stood monolithic, the platform unattached. Symphony was running ahead of schedule. Kulovaara, Fain and the Royal Caribbean management team were visiting another of their ships, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge, due to sail in November 2018. While they attended meetings, Timo Yrjovuori, the project manager for Symphony’s build, gave me a tour of the ship. Another Finn, Yrjovuori has light stubble and blond hair hidden under his yellow hard hat. As we boarded Symphony’s lower decks, the ship was teeming with activity. More than 1,000 workers were undertaking

the final outfitting, and the sounds of sawing, welding and industrial vehicles cut through a riot of languages and radio stations. Symphony is the fourth ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class, which launched in 2009. Oasis of the Seas was another paradigm shift in ship design: 50 per cent larger again, at 225,000 gross tonnes, it was almost double the industry average. Each Oasisclass ship costs more than $1 billion, not including the vast new cruise terminals Royal Caribbean built in Miami to hold them. “The complexity of building ships goes up exponentially” with size, Kulovaara says. (Previously, the largest lifeboats on the market carried 150 people. In designing Oasis, Royal Caribbean also had to develop a new class of

who helped in the development of the exterior spaces for the Oasis class ships. “It’s probably the biggest departure ever by the cruise industry.” Yrjovuori and I toured the ship. Below decks, Symphony of the Seas is like an Amazon warehouse, a cathedral to logistics. The ship’s bowels are split by a two-lane corridor, nicknamed I-95 after the US highway. In the main galleys are bathtub-sized food processors and dishwashers closer in appearance and size to car washes. Food is stored in bungalow-sized cold rooms. Even here, flow is king: the

quarters enable outbreaks, so sanitation regulations at sea are stringent. Every part of the ship, from lift buttons to the casino’s chips, are sanitised daily; interior materials have to stand up to the high level of chlorination from the constant cleaning. Rubbish is frozen in vast storage containers to slow bacteria growth and is only removed in port. In midships above the Royal Promenade lies perhaps Symphony’s most remarkable feature: Central Park, an open-air garden enclosed by the upper cabins. Its development was another first, and was fraught with

layout of the room has been meticulously optimised by observing chefs and service staf to maximise output at peak time; because cold food guarantees unhappy passengers, all of Symphony’s restaurants are designed with a set maximum distance from galley to table. “The level of hygiene is extreme,” Yrjovuori announced, as we passed a hand-washing station. Though ship-wide outbreaks of sickness make the news at least once a year, the total number of passengers who fall ill is a fraction of one per cent. But close

challenges. “I suggested it was going to be a grassy field,” says Wright. Fain loved the idea, but a grass park at sea seemed insane: the deck faces salt air, scorching Sun and foot traic from thousands of passengers almost every day of the year. “We do a lot of research,” explains Kelly Gonzalez, Royal’s vice president of newbuilding architectural design. Gonzalez, who leads the design of the ships’ public spaces, is Kulovaara’s closest collaborator; the two have worked together for 20 years. “We hired a grass and lawn expert from the University of

Right: Symphony ’s galley. In an average week, guests will consume 9,000kg of potatoes

370-person lifeboats. Symphony has 18 of them.) The Oasis class’s crowning glory is its split superstructure: 18 decks tall, its central section is a progression of Voyager’s promenade design. The aft is divided up the middle by an 11-deck valley, giving it a horseshoe shape. Standing in the centre of the Boardwalk (Oasis ships are split into seven “neighbourhoods”) feels like standing in Manhattan, with mini-skyscrapers on each side. The chasm is bridged by a Sun deck at the top; from there the 11-storey Ultimate Abyss slides curl down to the Boardwalk. “To split a cruise liner down the middle in this way was a really big departure,” says Tom Wright,

Below left: Four 14,400kW and two 19,200kW diesel engines power the ship. Below right: Symphony of the Seas contains 27 51m2 split-level Crown Loft suites

Florida. We did a machine test, which was a rolling wheel with sneakers on it that would simulate footsteps.” The results were not encouraging. “The immediate response is always ‘We’ll tweak it,’” says Fain. “We said no, this is not a tweak. This is a design flaw.” Kulovaara called a charrette – a closeddoors design retreat that Royal has used for problem-solving since Voyager. “We went back to redesign it,” he says. Their solution was a landscaped garden with 12,000 plants and trees. It required extensive engineering, right down to the soil. “It’s a kind of volcanic exploded clay, so it’s not as dense as it would be on a land-based arboretum,” explains Butler, whose firm worked on the engineering. “On land you put in a sprinkler system and the soil gets saturated. We can’t aford that wet weight, so we do underground watering.” Botanists were consulted, as were ports’ various customs agencies for rules on foreign plant species. Even unfinished, it’s remarkable: an airy urban park, floating on a skyscraper with an open-air café and performance space thrown in, all in the middle of the ocean. AFTER THE PARK, WE TOURED Symphony’s accommodation. Its state rooms are pre-fabricated en masse and inserted into the ship like huge Jenga blocks. Yrjovuori’s army of outfitters were busy adding mattresses and other finishing touches. More than half of Symphony is taken up by state rooms. “We always say the millimetres matter,” says Harold Law, a senior architectural associate who oversees their development. A centimetre saved by using a thinner veneer might, along the length of the ship, mean

an extra cabin per deck. Storage is honed with IKEA-like precision (the secret is calculating average luggage size plus a little extra, for souvenirs). State rooms must be acoustically insulated – to shield occupants from their neighbours, but also vibrations from the engines, nightclubs or an overhead skydiving machine. The bathroom units are subjected to an incline test: a blocked toilet must still drain at 10° of ship tilt without spilling into the room. The biggest challenge comes when designing the interior rooms. “Traditionally on inside rooms there’s no natural light, so you can lose track of time very quickly,” says Law. (Days at sea distort time – Symphony’s lifts contain screens reminding passengers what day of the week it is.) On 2014’s Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduced Virtual Balconies, floor-toceiling screens which show a live camera feed of the outside view. There are four cameras, because during testing, they discovered that a feed facing the wrong direction causes seasickness. “You have the sensation of the motion of the ship; the visual has to match,” Law says. “We’re constantly using design to alter the perspective of the room environment,” says Gonzalez. Uplighting and mirrors can help ceilings feel taller. The right pattern on a carpet can lengthen or shorten a space, or provide a subliminal

help with wayfinding. One problem with such huge ships is the absurdly long corridors, so the architects insert fake arches or obstacles to make them appear shorter. On Quantum, Royal introduced lenticular wall art, which changes whether you’re walking fore or aft. Celebrity Edge will introduce perhaps the biggest change in state-room design since balconies were introduced in the 80s. “I was watching the cruise ships going out from Miami one day,” explains Xavier Leclercq, Royal’s senior vice president of New Build and innovation. “I counted the passengers on their balconies – only two per cent of people [were] using them.” Kulovaara’s team commissioned some research and came to a counterintuitive conclusion: ofer passengers balconies and they say they want them, but few actually use them. So, on Celebrity Edge, Wright – the ship’s lead architect – and Royal’s New Build team eliminated balconies entirely. Instead they designed what they call the Infinite Veranda: floor-to-ceiling windows, the upper half of which lowers entirely to create an indoor balcony. As a result, Edge’s entry-level state rooms are 23 per cent larger and bathrooms 20 per cent bigger than the previous standard. “The cruise industry is incredibly conservative,” says Wright. “To change the structure of how it’s always been done – it’s really quite a big deal.”

‘ The cruise industry is incredibly conservative. To change the structure of how it’s always been done is really quite a big deal’

IN NOVEMBER 2017, BEFORE MY visit to France, I flew to New York to see the future of cruise ship design. Royal Caribbean had rented a space in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard to demonstrate what it calls Project Excalibur. Guests from the travel industry lounged on white leather sofas, ordering drinks via an app. Wi-Fi beacons tracked our locations, and the waiters’ custom-designed trays included a smartphone displaying our picture, so we never had to go to the bar. The feature will debut on Symphony of the Seas and be rolled out across the entire Royal fleet. On the main stage, huge 4K screens on robotic arms delivered a dance performance (the show, something of a novelty gimmick,

Right: Sculptures and other obstacles are used to visually shorten the ship’s long walkways

is featured on Quantum-class ships), before Fain made his presentation. Kulovaara watched from the side of the room. New Build were early in the masterplanning phase for Royal’s next class of ship, codenamed Icon, which is planned to debut in 2022. Notably, Icon class, at 200,000 gross tonnes, will be smaller than Oasis. Instead, the focus is on efficiency, an urgent trend in an industry long criticised for cruise ships’ environmental impact, which included burning huge quantities of fuel and, for several decades, dumping of waste water. (Today, black water – the ship’s sewage – is treated on board, and only dumped into the sea when it reaches near drinking-water purity.)

“Energy eiciency is something we have a lot of pride in,” says Kulovaara. They expect Symphony to be, by weight, the most energy-efficient ship at sea (a claim currently held by Harmony). “We were able to improve the ship’s energy efficiency by 20 per cent with about 100 diferent initiatives. The hull form was improved, the propellers were improved, the air conditioning controls were improved, the lighting system was improved.” New Royal ships feature hulls that emit tiny bubbles to reduce drag, meaning the ship in efect sails on air. After Fain’s pitch for Excalibur, we were given a rundown of the attractions Icon might eventually bring. Some, like a shallow VR sushi-eating experience,

felt more like gimmicks for the tech press in attendance. But other elements seemed inevitable: check in via facialrecognition, and a Star Trek-like bridge of the future which included augmentedreality displays showing live data streams. Perhaps the most significant demo was the least well attended: a hydrogen fuel cell, which will be used to generate electricity on Icon, supplementing existing diesel engines. Icon will also be the first of Royal’s fleet to run on liquefied natural gas; Carnival, AIDA and MSC also all have LNG ships under construction, as part of an industrywide move to meet emissions targets. Icon’s design is still a closely-held secret, and Kulovaara would only speak

in veiled terms. “We’re looking at how the infrastructure has been done on a cruise ship for the last 40 years, and we believe that there is the potential of doing drastically diferent things,” he said. The last time we spoke, in January, the outline for Icon was coming together, but the design was still lacking… something, so they took a break to look for inspiration. “A ship’s lifespan is at least 25 years. So we have to plan that a ship is still relevant, purposeful and eicient, more than 20 years ahead.” Right now, Kulovaara has 13 ships on order. In 2014, Royal Caribbean became the world’s largest cruise line by passenger capacity (Carnival is still larger by total passengers, primarily because it offers shorter cruises). Other cruise lines have followed Fain’s lead: in 2017, MSC Cruises announced plans to build four 200,000-tonne World class ships, with split hulls remarkably similar to Symphony.

Arch-rival Carnival has ordered two 180,000-tonne ships, due in 2020. Still, Symphony’s record as the largest ever looks like it won’t be broken for a while. “The ships are now large enough and give us a platform that we can really do some amazing things,” says Fain. “So a gut answer is: I don’t personally see a need to build larger. But never say never.”

B ACK ON SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS, Yrjovuori momentarily lost his bearings. We stopped and, taking our cue from the stairway’s decor, set of downwards. The sky was getting darker and it had started to rain. Construction was winding down for the night, and for the first time the ship’s corridors were quiet. “It’s maybe romantic, but I think ships have a kind of soul,” he said. “It’s not like a building. They have a kind of personality. ” It was a few weeks before Symphony would set out on final sea trials. “It’s such an interesting moment in the ship’s life, when she first meets the sea,” Leclercq told me, back on shore. “It’s like a baby being born. Thousands of people, thousands of skill sets… it’s a big human adventure.” When Harmony was floated, the locals in Saint-Nazaire took to the water to meet her. “Thousands of boats were in the water. It was a beautiful day.” Symphony of the Seas already has bookings until the end of 2019. At the time of my visit, the ship’s Facebook page was filling with passengers excitingly monitoring its progress and discussing itineraries. Kelli Carlsen, an American teacher based in Oslo, told me she booked after her and her husband spent their honeymoon on Harmony of the Seas. “It was once in a lifetime,” she said – until it wasn’t. They’re booked for June 2018. The week after they disembark, she and a friend are cruising again, on Serenade of the Seas. They’re joining the ship late, in Rome, but Carlsen says she doesn’t mind. “There’s so many stops. We just go for the ships, really.”  Oliver Franklin-Wallis (@olifranklin) is a freelance writer. He wrote about veterinarian Romain Pizzi in 12.17

A black curtain raises, the sound of a helicopter rotor fades and there he is. Surrounded by body-painted dancers, wearing a gold jacket and sitting on a throne at the centre of an ornate tableau. A flash brings the scene to life before Michael Jackson, five years after his death, makes his way down the steps on to the Las Vegas stage and proceeds to sing and dance his way through a previously unreleased song called “Slave to the Rhythm”. Lighting picks out the swish of his hair, the tape on his fingers. However momentarily, it’s not difficult to give yourself over to it. To believe that the King of Pop is really, truly back.

The performance, at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, was the latest in a stream of holograms featuring deceased artists. Just as, two years earlier, Tupac Shakur had been beamed on to the stage at Coachella, here was another computer-generated resurrection to meet with a combination of awe and disquiet. But Jackson’s resurrection nearly didn’t happen that evening. Days before the ceremony, an emergency patent infringement lawsuit was filed against Pulse Evolution, the company behind the performance, accusing it of using technology it didn’t own. A request to cancel was denied by a judge, but in the weeks and months that followed, a

Below: Pulse Evolution CEO Jordan Fiksenbaum ( left) and founder John Textor

heated disagreement erupted between the two firms. The promise of future resurrections – Whitney Houston and Elvis, Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe – was delayed as a chaotic power-grab engulfed the fledgling industry. As “Slave to the Rhythm” ended and the excited crowd rose to its feet, Pulse founder John Textor and his team toasted their success. They had worked for months on a multi-milliondollar gamble and it had paid off. Then, three days later, Textor turned on his television and saw the man who was trying to sue them telling CNN, and the world, exactly how his company had brought the King of Pop back to life.



epper’s Ghost, the joint invention of London-based engineer Henry Dircks and scientist John Henry Pepper, was first shown in an 1862 stage production of Charles Dickens’ The Haunted Man. The illusion is based on a simple but deft piece of visual trickery: an unseen figure in a darkened room is lit and reflected on to an angled pane of glass, to give the impression they are floating on the stage. It’s a low-tech piece of razzmatazz that has since been adapted for modern stage shows (Ghost the Musical) and theme-park attractions (Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion). As proven by its use in bone-chilling plays and, in one instance, a French conjurer’s sham seances, Pepper’s Ghost provided a vehicle for the Victorian-era obsession with the supernatural. As Dircks himself described it, “Here, then, a means was at once at hand for producing the best possible illustrations of all descriptions of spectral phenomena.” In the mid-90s, German inventor Uwe Maass patented a derivation of Pepper’s Ghost that replaced cumbersome glass with a tightly stretched translucent foil and a hidden performer with projected high-definition video. Maass established a company called Musion to commercialise the technology. By the mid-noughties, Musion had captured the music industry’s attention: their trickery enabled Madonna to perform

alongside animated band Gorillaz at the 2006 Grammy Awards. But it took a modern ghost, in this case a hip-hop icon, to reveal the tech’s true potential. “Pepper’s Ghost had been around for a long time,” says Textor. “What made that [Coachella performance] unique was Tupac saying, ‘What the fuck is up, Coachella?’ That moment told everybody this was something different. It was new content, not old video. I think that’s primarily responsible for what happened next.” Blue-eyed and tanned with soft features and a high sweep of chestnut hair, Textor, 52, was once a college room-mate of film director Michael Bay. Despite harbouring dreams of being a dancer, he found his way into the dot-com bubble and, having amassed a sizeable fortune through software investment in the 90s, acquired James Cameron’s visual effects company Digital Domain in 2006. High-profile Hollywood victories followed, most notably Oscar-winning work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Then, in early 2012, Digital Domain was asked to marshal the animation for Tupac. For all the focus on the 3D effect of Musion’s projection, it only tells half the story of how the effect is achieved. The other half is the creation of a “digital human”, which involves a physically similar stand-in being filmed wearing motion-capture markers in front of a green screen. From here, visual artists combine data from the body double’s performance with archive live footage and, if available, 3D scans, to create a mutable, computer-generated likeness of the celebrity. Known as facial rigs, these involve meticulous toil – the Tupac team worked round the clock for two months in a room plastered with pictures of the rapper – but when complete, they supply the VFX team with an entire bank of facial movements and expressions to manipulate. Finally this video is projected on to a mirror at the foot of the stage, then bounced back on to that angled, undetectably thin scrim of reflective material. This pushes the 2D footage into the audience’s field of vision with other elements such as musicians and dancers helping to sell the ruse. The Tupac performance attracted universal acclaim; Digital Domain won the Titanium Award at the Cannes Lions that year. But the high preceded a sudden plummet in fortune. After years of debt and a disastrous agreement with aggressive creditors, Digital Domain filed for bankruptcy in September 2012.

Textor fended off a lawsuit (later settled) accusing him of cheating taxpayers out of more than $80 million (£57m) in public grants. Meanwhile, Musion’s directors entered into a dispute over a lucrative $10 million contract with Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. Musion was placed into administration and put up for sale. Textor prepared a $1 million bid, but Maass wasn’t ready to let go of a valuable patent founded on his innovation. As a contract race was announced in late 2013, Maass sought help to prepare his own rival financial package. And, in a self-styled billionaire famed for a series of notorious pranks, he found his man.

Above: The Pepper’s Ghost illusion has been deployed on stage for more than 150 years

Previous: The 4.5m-long mixing desk at The Dub Stage in Burbank, California, where Pulse syncs music to holograms


he sole heir to the Greek-Cypriot Leventis dynasty’s £1.9 billion Coca-Cola bottling fortune, Alkiviades David was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1968. Ask him how he came to be born in West Africa and he will tell you, without missing a beat, that “[his] mother’s vagina was there”. David is squat with pronounced eyebrows, close-cropped silver-grey hair and arms thick with tattoos. His voice – a newscaster baritone that shuttles between British upperclass and unplaceable European — betrays his attendance of prestigious private schools in the UK (Stowe) and Switzerland (Le Rosey). In the past, David produced films and worked as an actor. In 2006 he founded FilmOn, an internet TV provider that retransmits recognised channels online for free. He has also pumped money into a number of wheezes (offering $1 million to whoever could streak on camera in sight of then-president Barack Obama, and faking an assisted suicide on his Jackass-ish prank network BattleCam). All are part of what he calls his “master plan”: to affect consciousness. “Uwe and [Musion director] Giovanni came to me because they didn’t want to sell to Digital Domain,” says David, amid the afternoon burble of the Berkeley Hotel in London. “So I went there, saw the Tupac that they had done and walked over the heads of the other executives to make a deal.”

Right: Hologram USA founder Alkiviades David at his LA home

David, Maass and Palma won the rights to Musion’s patent in September 2013 and soon formed a new company, Hologram USA. David boasts that he’s invested $25 million in it. Ever the showman, David wasted no time in approaching celebrity estates and promising potential hologram hit shows with late stars such as Amy Winehouse and Liberace, Richard Pryor and Buddy Holly. There were tangible successes to match the bluster, too. Musion’s Modi broadcast – which saw the Indian premier simultaneously materialise in 53 villages to deliver a 2012 re-election campaign speech – made the Guinness Book of Records in 2013 and was repeated in 2014. By this time, Textor had already established Pulse Evolution and recruited former facial animators from Digital Domain. They began quietly working on a digital performance involving Jackson. Then came the Billboard Music Awards performance, the ensuing court case and David’s audacious appearance on CNN. While Textor and Pulse’s attorneys argued, among other things, that Pepper’s Ghost’s 19th-century origins planted it in the public domain, David held firm. “They took our patent and just turned it upside down,” he says, incredulously. “It was reverse engineering.” Things got personal. Textor, in leaked correspondence, accused David of starting “world war three”. David made his anger public, posting a photo of Hitler on Instagram and tagging Textor, uploading gun-toting images captioned “Come at me bro”. Textor filed for a protection order, ultimately denied, in which he cited harassment and cyberstalking. Today, both parties see the result of their court battle (Pulse reached a confidential settlement in March 2016) as a form of vindication. “We won the initial ruling [where] he tried to stop the show [without] any evidence,” says Textor, evenly. “But where [Hologram USA] ultimately won was that it looked like a case that might go for a century, so we decided to settle.” “We caught them red-handed, they settled, we won,” says David with relish. “Pulse doesn’t do what we do. Apart from Michael Jackson, which was a fiasco, they haven’t produced a single fucking thing.” Equally, David dismisses the notion that the court battle may have had an adverse effect on Hologram USA’s planned rollout of shows. Now, when David is not reeling off potential subjects for resurrection – “We’ve got Tammy Wynette, Patsy

Cline, the Jackson 5, Bernie Mac. Hendrix I had to walk away from because the estate is a mess…” – he’s also talking up Hologram USA’s potential for expansion. “We’re rolling this technology and the shows we’re creating into 150 North American theatres right now,” he says. “We’ve got a couple of things in the works to open up with some large theatre chains as well. So it may go from 150 to 2,000 or 3,000 in a very short time.” David appears unfazed by Pulse’s own agreements with high-profile acts – it is working on an Elvis Presley show and, as part of a deal with Simon Fuller, an ABBA hologram show set to tour in 2019. The reason soon becomes apparent. “John Textor got kicked out of his own company,” he tells me, with a smile. “He’s gone, he’s out.” Six weeks after David’s revelation, in summer 2017, I pin down Textor for another conversation. “I’m still a shareholder but I resigned,” he admits. It transpires that, in July 2017, Textor quietly stepped aside from his role as Pulse’s chairman, in part so Jordan Fiksenbaum, a former VP of marketing for Cirque du Soleil, could become Pulse’s CEO. “Since I’m a technology guy, it’s the right thing to bring in somebody who knows how to put butts on seats.” There may well be more to Textor’s departure than he’s willing to admit. But he still advises Pulse and is openly disparaging about Hologram USA’s Pepper’s Ghost-focused vision for the future of digital humans. “Yeah, there’s that moment when you get that holographic feel of, OK, he’s floating in space, somebody is dancing in front and behind,” he says. “But after a couple of those gags? You can’t make a show out of that.” Undeterred, there are plenty of other resurrectionists hoping that live performances by holograms can attract large audiences. Roy Orbison: In Dreams is touring the UK this month. Eyellusion, a rival Pepper’s Ghost startup headquartered a 20-minute drive from Hologram USA’s office, is planning a tour that will bring back Frank Zappa. And, of course, there’s David, exploring new uses for his hard-won patent. And he is ready for a fight with anyone who encroaches on what he feels is his turf. “I’ve got seven years left on my patent and Pepper’s Ghost is not public fucking domain,” he says. “[They’re] going to get sued the moment [their] feet hit the ground.”


It’s September 2017, two months after our first meeting, and David steps from the interior of his company’s Hollywood theatre into the California sunshine. Striding quickly down the Walk of Fame, he barrels past an employee’s attempts to placate him and catches up with his target: a stage rigger called Kyle who he has just fired. Fingers are jabbed and words are traded but, ultimately, an agreement is reached. David rehires Kyle and the pair troop back underneath the throbbing screens of the video marquee, back into the darkness. The venue is a 200-seater former adult cinema on Hollywood Boulevard that’s envisioned as the flagship for Hologram USA’s global chain. In just over 24 hours, David is due to host a gala opening. But they are behind schedule: huge boxed UHD screens clog the lobby, wires dangle from the ceiling and inside the seatless auditorium the buzz of power tools can still be heard. When David re-emerges, he smiles and invites me to hop in his car so we can talk further. “Everything in my life is dust at the moment,” he jokes, brushing remnants of terracotta powder from the interior of his convertible Rolls-Royce. “We don’t have an army of bodies, so I need to lead by example,” he adds. Plugging in his iPhone, he makes a series of calls relating to tomorrow’s planned premiere. “‘Try’ doesn’t mean anything to me,” he says to one worker. “What will it take to have this ready?” The whole affair finally peaks as David threatens an underling with both a termination and a lawsuit, then stumbles upon a solution to the production conundrum they had been discussing, and eventually signs off the call with a cheery, “OK, brother.” “There’s definitely a creep factor to Pepper’s Ghost,” says Jeff Jampol from behind the desk in his West Hollywood office, his 2011 Grammy Award for Best Music Film glinting on a nearby shelf. “Whenever you screw with nature and create something – whether it’s GMO food or talking sex dolls – you’re going to get a reaction.” He rocks his chair from side to side. “But we want a reaction.” Two metres tall with tightly bundled curly hair, Jampol, 59, looked after punk bands in the late 70s, survived heroin addiction in the 80s, and went on to set

Right: Hologram USA has created a 40-minute-long Billie Holiday concert

up Jam Inc, his “legacy management” company, in the 90s. With a client list that includes The Doors, Janis Joplin, the Ramones and Otis Redding, Jampol is one of a number of handlers who have carved out a thriving sub-industry that uses licensing, social media, documentaries, exhibitions and more to boost the earning potential of dead celebrities. (Michael Jackson’s estate – the exemplar in this world – has made nearly $1 billion since his death in 2009.) But, while Jampol looked after Tupac’s estate at the time of the Coachella performance and has met David, he has misgivings about holograms as an alternative to live performance. “The potential that a digital human holds is fascinating,” he says. “But Pepper’s Ghost is what I consider to be the lowest iteration of the technology. You can’t move around it, it can’t interact with you other than from a distance. It’s the equivalent of a used VHS tape.” Not all estate handlers share Jampol’s reservations. But, as long as deceased stars continue to be the focus of virtual shows, brand managers and their estates hold all the cards. “We’re a hyper-realistic human animation company, which is why we have these relationships with Elvis, with Marilyn, with Michael Jackson,” says Textor. “There has only been one company that has demonstrated the ability to make major estates comfortable that they can protect the likeness of the celebrity. And Pulse is a company that does not talk about these shows until they happen.” One example of how things can go wrong is Hologram USA’s widely publicised Whitney Houston global tour. Announced in 2015, the resurrection was scuppered after preview footage – a duet between Christina Aguilera and a revived Houston set to feature in the 2016 finale of The Voice – leaked. “We hadn’t digitally composited the face yet and NBC freaked out,” says David, acknowledging the widely disseminated clip of Aguilera gamely performing alongside a projection of a somewhat fuzzy Houston lookalike. The clip faced widespread derision and prompted the late singer’s estate to pull the deal. Continuing the holography industry’s theme of nearconstant litigation, Hologram USA

issued the Houston estate with a breach of contract lawsuit in July 2017. The ethics of posthumous recreations are, like a flickering hologram, fuzzy. In 2013, a Johnnie Walker advert starring a digitally recreated version of Bruce Lee – a lifelong teetotaller – showed how resurrections can distort the sense of who someone was. And the CGI-wary stipulations in a deed filed by Robin Williams before his 2015 death (his image cannot be inserted into a new film, used commercially or as a hologram, until 2039) perhaps show that more celebrities are considering the implications of this new immortality. “It’s very complex,” says Tim Webber, Oscar-winning chief creative officer of Framestore, the British VFX house that created a CGI Audrey Hepburn for a 2013 commercial. “I certainly think that if I was an actor like Peter Cushing I’d like the chance to reappear in a global franchise after my death [a virtual Cushing appeared in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story]. But having said that, it all depends on the circumstances, how it’s executed and for what reason.” “I have to be careful,” admits Jampol. “Janis [Joplin] and Jim [Morrison] aren’t here to speak for themselves, so I stand in their stead, with their families, and speak for them.” Textor says Pulse takes a case-by-case approach. “Jackson already had a 3D scan of his body so he was exploring his likeness in ways other celebrities weren’t,” he says. “We, and his estate, were comfortable that it was something he was trending towards. It’s always a delicate thing, done with the family. We’re not going to have, like, Elvis hawking marshmallows or something.”




ack in Los Angeles, it’s the night of Hologram USA’s ribbon-cutting. Everything is running at least an hour late and reality star Janice Dickinson is shivering by the hastily gaffer-taped red carpet, but the show is finally about to start. Invited guests, who will hopefully soon be replaced by customers paying $29.95 a ticket, spill out on to the street. Inside, the air is thick with the skunky scent of hemp-oil-topped vegan popcorn. Billy Zane, a friend of David’s, mills around the foyer, resplendent in flat cap, sailor stripes and a shoulderdraped sweater. The lights go down. The short preview flits from the magical (a revived Jackie Wilson dancing; comedian Jon Lovitz shooting lasers from his fingers; eerily realistic puffs of smoke from a chain-smoking magician) and the baffling (a prolonged MMA fight broadcast from within an oval frame that kills the illusion). There are unfortunate technical problems too, and it also appears that the revived performers – who lack the visible animation of Tupac or Michael Jackson – are VFX-free lookalikes. (When asked later to clarify this, David replied: “Our experts use all the tools at their disposal, including CGI, in our celebrity resurrection holograms.”) More than anything, it begs the question: why, beyond the initial novelty, people would stump up to see a projected image of a working stand-up comedian when a

living, breathing comedian telling jokes is no more than a taxi ride away? After the show, David lingers near the exit. Four hours earlier, he had seemed a man possessed as he barked orders into a walkie-talkie and even commandeered a scissor lift to install speakers himself. Now, he appears muted and wrung out by the adrenalin rush of the evening. There are curses aimed at malfunctioning equipment (“The satellite link-up didn’t work, we only had one projector so we couldn’t do Billie Holiday”) but there’s also optimism about the future. And the mix of entertainment planned for Hologram USA’s first screenings, a 40-minute Billie Holiday performance augmented by live comedy and the burlesque-heavy Sexy Hollywood Freakshow, perhaps indicates that, through accident or design, David’s plan for the future has shifted. Many of the shows he has discussed – Bernie Mac, the Jackson 5, Liberace – are either billed as “coming soon” on Hologram USA’s website or completely absent. “The lowest hanging fruit is resurrections,” he explained to me in London. “The controversy of bringing somebody back from the dead sparks conversation, but the future is Wimbledon live in Times Square, the latest greatest boxing match live at your local cinema.” Textor, David’s old nemesis, also sees an application for holograms that isn’t tethered to the IP of a celebrity estate. “We used Michael Jackson to teach the world more about the utility of digital humans than I could do at a thousand trade shows,” he says. “Digital humans delivering information, a maths teacher that travels on a flash drive and never gets an answer wrong. Some really big things came out of that night.” However, it’s the Jackson show that people talk about. Jackson, leaping from the frame of a shimmering picture. In the 19th century, Dircks and Pepper’s invention was applied to many things, but it was ghosts people wanted and ghosts they got. Their 15-month Pepper’s Ghost installation at the London Polytechnic made the modern-day equivalent of more than £1 million. Whether it’s Pulse, Hologram USA or some other hologram startup that eventually prospers, the urge to bring people back has always predated the technology to do it. Nostalgia is big business. But immortality? As Jeff Jampol said back in his office, where the late Rick James’s guitar sits propped up by his open door: “I don’t think this technology meets the test yet, but there’s an old

Jim Morrison quote that I’ll leave you with,” he smiles and permits himself a showman’s pause, “‘Money beats soul, every time.’” 

Jimi Famurewa is a freelance writer. This is his first story for WIRED

Above: Pulse Evolution’s Michael Jackson appearance at the 2015 Grammy Awards


Healthcareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s higher state

Photography: Leon Chew


of consciousness

Scientist Robin Carhart-Harris wants to use psychedelic drugs to treat psychiatric disorders. Early results are promising â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but can he convince big pharma and the public of their potential?


By Nicola Davison

LATE 2016, R O B I N C A R H A R T- H A R R I S H A D A M O R B I D I D E A .

The head of psychedelic research at Imperial College London and his lab were about to embark on a study of dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The compound is more commonly ingested in the form of ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew boiled from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Psychotria viridis, or chacruna, leaves. It has been used for centuries by indigenous cultures in Latin America to communicate with the spirit world and, more recently, by millennials on voyages of self-discovery. People who take ayahuasca report of mental journeys to other realms. Many have visits from unearthly entities. Experiences like these are also described by those who come close to death. So Carhart-Harris set out to discover whether psychedelics in general, but especially DMT, induce a state in the brain that is similar to the act of dying. I meet Carhart-Harris at his oice in Hammersmith, west London. Out of the window, muddy playing fields stretch beneath a midwinter sky. The conversation is suitably gloomy but, in a way, it is typical of the research fellow, who can be pensive and grandiose. Scanning the brain of a volunteer who is tripping on DMT is not a simple procedure, Carhart-Harris tells me. Electroencephalogram (EEG) caps are full of sensors that are disturbed by the slightest movement. Participants are blindfolded. A minute or so after the drug is injected, they begin to hallucinate vivid geometric patterns that bloom in texture and scale. Every minute, the researchers ask the participants to rate the intensity of their experience from nought to ten. In CarhartHarris’s previous studies of LSD and psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms, the peak would be around seven. “For volunteers, there seems to be some kind of threshold at which there’s almost a pop,” – he snaps his fingers – “into this DMT world.” On the EEG monitor the researchers can see when the threshold had been crossed. The peaks and troughs of the oscillating traces of the reading usually become shallow, indicating that a lot was happening. While under the influence of DMT, participants do not always hear the researcher’s questions. “I was in this place that was unbelievably bright and full of unconditional love,” one subject tells me. “And when I was coming back to my body it was more blue, purple and dark.

Then I saw this being, this insect-like being that was female, and she opened her arms and then her tongue came out of her mouth and she entered me.” It takes participants about 15 minutes to fully return to their normal selves. Afterwards, they are asked to describe their experience using a questionnaire: Did you feel separated from your physical body? Did you feel a sense of harmony with the Universe? Of course, the ratings were subjective, one of the limits of psychology. Yet when the answers were tallied and compared to those of people who had been through a near-death experience, there was little statistical diference. Carhart-Harris was not surprised with the results. He has long suspected that psychedelics induce some kind of mind death that mimics an aspect of the death process itself. He felt that the measure was useful because it revealed something about the nature of the drugs in their ability to give users a new way of thinking. Similarly, people who have had a near-death experience will say that they are able to see the world afresh. For half a century, researchers interested in psychedelic drugs have inhabited the fringes of neuroscience. In the UK, Carhart-Harris is responsible for making this field of study respectable again. He has spent much of the past decade investigating the ways certain compounds give rise to uncommon conscious states. He thinks that Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin and DMT are powerful tools for accessing the brain. “The term ‘psychedelics’ comes from Greek words for ‘mind-revealing’ – and that’s what these drugs do,” Carhart-Harris says. “The question is, what is dying? I guess a major part of the death process is that the thing at the top of the hierarchy, if you like, that tends to dominate consciousness ordinarily when you’re awake, is the first thing to go. That’s why DMT is useful. You can appeal to the lessons that are there when you understand that your ego isn’t absolute. That’s an amazing insight, and it can be a really healthy insight. It can allow you put things in perspective.” He also believes that psychedelics could potentially be used for treating mental illness. Current treatments for depression, anxiety and addiction can be life-saving, but they also have limits. About a third of people treated for depression never fully recover. In England, antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in the last decade: one in every 11 UK adults is prescribed them. Psychedelics, Carhart-Harris thinks, could be used to deliver a turbocharged form of therapy, one that does everything that psychoanalysis does, but in a more cost-efective manner.


Below: Patients are given capsules containing psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic


to think that psychedelic drugs could be used to treat psychiatric disorders. Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who first synthesised LSD in 1938, referred to his discovery as “medicine for the soul”. In the 50s and 60s, tens of thousands of patients were given psychedelics for disorders such as anxiety and addiction. A 2016 meta-analysis of 19 studies published between 1949 and 1972 found that 79 per cent of patients showed “clinically judged improvement” after treatment. But the heyday would be short-lived: in 1971, LSD was made illegal thanks to the United Nation’s Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty, ending all major research programmes. Carhart-Harris, who is 37, entered the field just as the disapprobation of drugs was waning. In 2006, a study by Francisco Moreno at the University of Arizona, Tucson, found that psilocybin reduced the symptoms of obsessivecompulsive disorder in nine patients. Then, in 2011, another study found that the same alkaloid significantly eased the anxiety of people dying of cancer. Each year, there are progressively more clinical trials with psychedelics. In 2016, three investigated the therapeutic action of psilocybin; another looked at ayahuasca. Brain imaging has also transformed neuroscience. The development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) means it’s now possible to observe the brain thinking, doing and feeling. Scientists in the 60s “second wave” of psychedelic research – the first being the use in indigenous cultures – could only guess at the biological mechanisms by which the drugs change the brain. CarhartHarris uses imaging to unpack their mysterious power. The oices of the Psychedelic Research Group are on the fifth floor of Imperial’s Burlington Danes building. There, on Thursdays, Carhart-Harris holds a team meeting. On the day I attend, he has just returned from Peru where he had been invited to carry out a brain scan on a participant in a traditional shaman-led ayahuasca ceremony. In person, Carhart-Harris is polite and warm. He is medium height and athletic, with just-greying hair and electric-blue eyes. His humour runs on the dry side. “I’ve just come back from a retreat in the Amazon,” he tells the group. “It’s now very clear to me that the spirits are real and science is a waste of time.” In his oice is a framed poster, bought at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, containing the quote: “It is not easy to deal scientifically with feelings.” On shelves above his desk, behind a bottle of mouthwash and a disposable razor, are Freud’s complete psychological works. “I have something quite frightening,” he says, reaching for an A3 pad on the top shelf. Text copied from Freud’s books, referenced and colour-coded, filled every sheet. On a page entitled “The Ego”, one phrase – “WITH THIS IDENTITY IS ATTAINED” – is capitalised and highlighted. Carhart-Harris has a reputation in the department for excessive indexing. “At one point he asked if I could borrow a book from the library for him,” David Erritzoe, a psychiatrist and research fellow, tells me. “I said, ‘OK, but why can’t you go yourself?’ He was like: ‘It’s a bit problematic.’” Carhart-Harris had been banned for highlighting

Carhart-Harris says that LSD, psilocybin and DMT are powerful tools for accessing the brain. ‘The term “psychedelics” comes from Greek words for “mind-revealing” – that’s what these drugs do’

and scribbling in the library’s books. The ban remains in place today. As a scientist, Carhart-Harris has two overarching and interlacing concerns: he wants to understand how psychedelic drugs act on the brain in order to so dramatically alter thought, mood and behaviour; and he wants to see if their power can be harnessed to serve humankind. A few years ago, he undertook a study to see if psilocybin could be used to treat depression. He enlisted 20 people who had tried at least two courses of medication, so called treatment-resistant depressives. On average they had lived with the disorder for 17.7 years. On dosing day, each patient would arrive at Imperial at 9am. After answering a questionnaire in the patient lounge and taking a urine test, they were led to a room that had been decorated to look more like a bedroom

than a clinic, with drapes, flowers, music playing and electric lights that flickered like candles. After swallowing the psilocybin capsule, the patients were invited to stretch out on a bed. Two psychiatrists stayed in the room – Carhart-Harris believes that a soothing environment and psychological support before, during and after dosage is essential. People on psychedelics are psychically vulnerable; anxiety and paranoia are not uncommon.

When the results came in, they showed that the depression had reduced in all of the patients. (The results reflect the experiences of 19 people; one dropped out.) Three weeks after dosage, nine were in remission; after five weeks, all but one felt less depressed. Carhart-Harris admits the study has its problems: it was not placebo-controlled and because of the small sample size it is not possible to make grand inferences. Yet for some of the participants, the treatment was life changing. “Before, I was like a beetle on its back, now I am on my feet again,” reported one. Another went out for dinner with his wife for the first time in six years, feeling “like a couple of teenagers”.

Left: An MRI scanner in Carhart-Harris’s laboratory at Imperial College London

For some of Carhart-Harris’s psilocybin-test participants, the treatment was life-changing. ‘Before, I was like a beetle on its back – now I’m on my feet again,’ reported one subject

T H E S E C O N D O F T H R E E B R O T H E R S,

Carhart-Harris was born near Durham in northeast England. When he was four, his family moved to Poole on the south coast. He was raised Catholic, and though he is now an atheist, traces of the altar boy remain. Psychedelics, he says, were suppressed during the 60s like a “forbidden fruit” of which knowledge was too dangerous. In his youth, Carhart-Harris was not academic. He liked PE and science, but would hide his school reports. “I remember one that started, ‘Robin’s behaviour gives cause for concern as he progresses into his GCSE years’,” he says. “I was a bit of a precocious raver.” He was also hobbled by anxiety. Once, when asked to read aloud to his classmates, he found he couldn’t breathe. He went to the University of Kent to study biochemistry but dropped out. He returned home and applied to his local university to study psychology. “I wrote this personal statement – you know what young people are like sometimes, grand and over the top – I was saying how I wanted to help people to just live and not be shackled by mental-health problems.” Carhart-Harris first encountered Freud in 2004, during his masters at Brunel University London. At a seminar on “methods to access the unconscious mind”, he discovered that Freud’s theories

rest on a belief that the mind is like an iceberg, with the majority of its mass hidden from the view of the conscious self, which he called the “ego”. He was captivated by Freud’s ideas but saw that there was no empirical evidence to support them. “I thought, what is this cult if all it is is us believing?” Born in an age before computers and brain imaging, Freud had relied on blips in the system, be it slips of the tongue, compulsive patterns of behaviour or dreams. Carhart-Harris was amazed that these were still the methods espoused by his professor. Dream interpretation just seemed too kooky. Back in his room, he typed “LSD unconscious mind” into the library search engine. It returned a title from 1975, “Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research” by Stanislav Grof. He took out the book and read it that same day. Something clicked: “I was like: this is fucking big. You can prove something really fundamental about the mind.” Freud had said that dreaming was the “royal road” to the unconscious. Carhart-Harris felt sure the same was true of psychedelics. He began to wonder: how is the ego represented in the brain? What are the neural correlates? He felt that the obvious place to start was with a scan of someone’s brain on LSD. He looked for a lab where such a thing might be possible. Carhart-Harris wrote to David Nutt, then the head of the psychopharmacology unit at Bristol University. (Nutt has since moved to Imperial.) Nutt was interested in brain circuitry and addiction and was publicly critical of drugs policy; in 2007 he lost his place on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, a body that advises the government, over outspoken remarks. He agreed to meet. “I went along, nervous as hell,” Carhart-Harris said. “I told him ‘I want to study the brain on LSD, I think it could tell us a lot about Freudian principles and their biology.’” Nutt heard him out, but rejected his proposal. Then he asked if Carhart-Harris was interested in MDMA. The department was in need of a PhD student to investigate whether the drug damages the brain’s serotonin systems. Carhart-Harris said that he was interested but left feeling despondent. On the way home he called his mother. She advised him to accept the ofer, that it could act as a stepping stone.


arises is a waste of time, says Carhart-Harris. All experiences – from the disgust of seeing a dead rat to the memory of a childhood holiday – happen as diverse parts of the brain become networked. In an fMRI scan, electromagnets detect changes to blood flow in the brain. Since neural activity increases blood flow, it is possible to observe discrete parts of the brain reacting to various stimuli; on screen, engorged regions are presented as colourful splotches. Zoom in too closely and the full picture is lost. “It’s not thinking about the quarks or atoms in the neurons,” Carhart-Harris said. “That’s kind of meaningless, there are too many steps and levels to get up to a point at which you have a functioning system that maps on to something that you can feel.” Normally the brain is good at hiding its vast and unfathomably complex machinations. Most mental activity is not under conscious control, and we only notice the fact if we make a Freudian slip or pause to consider a pupil dilating. One barrier between the self and the vast data-processing thought-swamp of the rest of the brain is what neuroscientists call the “default-mode network”. It is an intricate system of interlinking brain regions that together give rise to what some call the “monkey mind” – the stream of internal chatter that surfaces in between periods of more focused thought. By studying LSD, Carhart-Harris has found that psychedelics do something unusual to the default-mode network. In a 2016 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, he injected 20 healthy volunteers with either 75 micrograms of LSD or saline, a placebo, on two separate occasions. As the drugs kicked in, volunteers reported a “sense of eerie dread” as their anchorage in the world shifted. “Usually, depending on how it goes, there’s a bit of a kick back, there’s some anxiety.” They then had two fMRI scans followed by a magnetoencephalography (MEG) scan – if the various scans pointed to the same mechanisms the results would be stronger. Afterwards, volunteers responded to a questionnaire so that scan data could be correlated with experience. Statements included “sounds influenced things I saw” and “edges appeared warped”. In the brains of the volunteers, as the visual network became more connected (all the LSD-injesting partic-

‘When you say you want to measure wellbeing to funding panels, I’ve got a feeling they’re thinking: “I knew it! He’s a hippie, he’s not a real scientist”’

ipants hallucinated), the blood flow in the default-mode network receded, indicating that it had lost its force. For the participants, this correlated with a change in the way they processed the world. The monkey mind had gone quiet. In society we talk approvingly of “wellrounded” individuals and “getting ourselves together”. But a little chaos can be a good thing. In certain psychiatric disorders, the brain becomes entrenched in pattern. Someone with depression might have relentlessly negative thoughts about themselves; people with obessive-compulsive disorder get trapped in repetitive action. Carhart-Harris believes that psychedelics work like a reset button. He likes the analogy of shaking a snow globe. Under LSD, as the default-mode network disbanded, other segregated parts of the volunteers’ brains began communicating in an unpredictable way – a state of increased entropy. Psychedelics seem to break down entrenched ways of thinking by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest. For instance, the most-prescribed class of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), raise levels of serotonin in the brain by blocking its natural reabsorption. When we are anxious or stressed, parts of the brain become overactive. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, binds to receptors in the brain that are prevalent in regions involved in stress and emotion, the 5-HT1A receptors. Once bound to the receptor, serotonin initiates a signal that decreases the activity of the neurons. By keeping the 5-HT1A receptors doused in serotonin for longer than normal, SSRIs calm the stress circuitry. But they also blunt emotion more generally.


Psychedelics work on the brain rather differently. Though they also temper serotonin, they target the 5-HT2A receptors, concentrated in the cortex. Humans have vastly more cortex than other species, and the 2A receptors are dense in regions with human-specific traits such as introspection, reflection, mental time travel and the self itself. Carhart-Harris thinks that when psychedelics disrupt the level of connectedness in the cortex they create space for insight and catharsis. For patients, the process can be difficult. “You need to be able to say to people: this could be tough, it could at times be the worst experience of your life and you may see your worst fears staring at you in the face.” But he believes that the process can be freeing. “I think it’s possible to know your defences and know your insecurities and through knowing them not be at the mercy of their force.”


talk at a conference called Breaking Convention, which bills itself as “the largest psychedelic conference in the known Universe”. Held at the University of Greenwich, the gathering was goodnatured, with a propensity for tie-dye. The programme listed 150 speakers from across the psychedelics spectrum. One talk was on the nascent field of phenomenoconnectomics, a largely theoretical method of quantifying altered states. Another was titled “Encounter with the Jaguar”. Carhart-Harris stuck around for most of the conference, fielding entreaties from undergraduates, hobnobbing and catching a few science talks. He attended a lecture called “Mental Organs and the Depth and Breadth of Consciousness” by Thomas Ray, a biologist at the University of Oklahoma. As talks on consciousness go, it was difficult to follow, whipping through molecular compounds, the evolutionary tiers of the mind and the “rise of insanity”. When Ray presented his central idea, that “conscious space” is modulated by the brain’s 5-HT7 receptors, CarhartHarris sat forward. “These are wild extrapolations,” he whispered. In the question-and-answer session, Carhart-Harris’s hand shot up. “Have you plotted the correlation between the affinity of psychedelics for the 5-HT7 receptor and the drug’s potency?” Ray said that he had not. “I think that you

Above: Carhart-Harris’s office is packed with literature on the psychedelic experience

should, it’s important.” People fidgeted: this was not a hostile crowd. Afterwards, Carhart-Harris left the conference and stopped in a local café for lunch. He was quiet, almost ruminative. “How can you present such poor science? I think that people should be allowed to speculate. But the people who contribute to the mainstream perception that this research is pseudo-scientific undermine the field.” The episode had tapped into something deeper. Research with drugs that are strictly controlled by the law is not straightforward. In the UK, LSD is a class A, schedule 1 drug. Heroin, which causes more harm to individuals and society than LSD, and is addictive, is in the slightly less prohibitive schedule 2 because it is a diamorphine, which can be used for medication. For a lab to stock LSD it must acquire a licence from the Home Oice and meet certain criteria, such as having a fridge that is bolted to the wall. All this is demoralising. It took Carhart-Harris three years to execute the psilocybin-depression pilot. Funding is also an issue. Big pharmaceutical firms are generally not inclined to back research into drugs that are illegal and un-patentable. CarhartHarris’s studies have been largely financed by grants, donations and crowdfunding. In 2016, he applied to the Wellcome Trust, the largest charitable supporter of science in the UK. When he was shortlisted, he thought he stood a chance. He had meticulously designed the two trials he was hoping to carry out if he got the £1 million-plus grant. But one of the judges on the panel took issue with his suggestion that “well-being” should be a primary outcome. Carhart-Harris had the impression that the judge considered it flowery. He didn’t get the grant. “I’ve got a feeling they’re always thinking: he’s a hippie,” he tells me at lunch. “And when something comes out of your mouth like: ‘I want to measure well-being’, they are like: I knew it!

He’s a hippie, he’s not a real scientist.” Carhart-Harris went back to the trust, asking them to be honest: was it the area he was researching? But when they said it wasn’t, he didn’t believe them. Later that evening, at the conference soirée, Carhart-Harris gets talking to the organisers of a Finland-based conference on psychedelics at which he is scheduled to speak. What, they want to know, does he think of ketamine? A study at the University of Oxford has found that some patients with treatment-resistant depression responded positively to the drug. Carhart-Harris tells them that the work is interesting, but he does not think ketamine is as important as psilocybin. Of all the psychedelic drugs, CarhartHarris believes that psilocybin is probably the closest to becoming legal. It has fewer stigmas attached to it, and in the brain, LSD is active for far longer, making it less practical in the clinic, while DMT is probably too powerful. The fact that psilocybin occurs naturally in mushrooms also helps. It could be marketed as a natural alternative to antidepressants. He believes that, one day, psychedelic therapy will be available on the NHS, just like SSRIs and cognitive behavioural therapy are today. This spring, he plans to do another psilocybin study, this time directly pitching psychedelics against SSRIs. Fifty people living with depression will receive either daily doses of escitalopram, an antidepressant, or a single 25mg shot of psilocybin, plus therapy. The contest is unequal, in one sense, because those taking escitalopram will have a regular reminder that they are taking medication. “Maybe psilocybin will work at least as well, that’s my prediction,” Carhart-Harris says. “But imagine that psilocybin is more efective? That’s really quite…” he tails of. “That would be something.”  Nicola Davison (@nicola_davison) is a freelance writer based in London

of the Virgen de Guadalupe. To stick your nose into the trafficking of art and artefacts is to interfere with a deadly business. On January 26, 1996, Raúl Apesteguía, a Peruvian art collector and dealer, was brutally murdered in his Lima apartment. When his bruised and bloodied body was discovered, several boxes of pre-Columbian gold and ceramics were missing. “Some pieces which were probably stolen that night, or soon after that night, are still on the market,” says Hidalgo. “Peruvian experts have found some pieces that were about to be sold in auction houses in Europe as recently as 2016.” No one has been charged with the murder or the robbery. Thieves and traickers of cultural heritage are seldom prosecuted, explains Hidalgo. “In Latin America, it’s easier to catch a drug traicker than an art traicker.”

n December 2016, David Hidalgo received a photograph of a 17th-century Peruvian painting. The unsigned artwork, of the Virgen de Guadalupe, depicts the Virgin Mary surrounded by apparitions and tells the story of her appearance to Saint Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531. Hidalgo’s tip-of came via email from a source who had seen the painting on show at the Bowers Museum in California, where it was on loan. Hidalgo’s source suspected that the painting had been stolen. Hidalgo is serious and softly spoken; a lover of books and a stickler for detail. An investigative journalist, he co-founded OjoPúblico, a Lima-based digital media organisation, with fellow journalist Fabiola Torres in 2014. OjoPúblico’s newsroom is in a tower block overlooking Lima. It’s June, winter in the southern hemisphere, and the sky is white and formless. Hidalgo has his back to the window. The city is edged with crumbling clifs that have been gnawed by the Pacific Ocean and the skyline is dominated by high rises. In the distance, pueblos jóvenes – shanty towns – creep up the desert hills. The streets are jammed with taxis, hand-painted combis and shiny blue buses. Road signs say “Saca la mano del claxon” (“take your hand of the horn”), but most people ignore them. “In the past six years, there have been sold in auction houses at least 7,000 pieces of Peruvian cultural patrimony,” he says. “So it’s a real traic. It shows you the scale of this.” In October 2016, Hidalgo and his team, frustrated by the continuing trafficking of his country’s cultural patrimony, launched Memoria Robada (Stolen Memory), the first big-data investigation into the traicking of artefacts from Latin America. Hidalgo won’t reveal the identity of the source that alerted him to the possible theft

Peru’s cultural heritage is an easy target for thieves because there is so much of it. Many archaeological sites remain unexcavated or unsecured, making them hard to protect and ripe for looting. In the parched coastal desert, lumps in the sand hint at man-made structures below; in the fecund highlands, bottle-green hummingbirds sup from plants that camouflage pre-Columbian dwellings. And who knows what treasures lie tangled up in the spidery vines of the country’s Amazon rainforest? In Lima, past and present stand cheek by jowl. Amid the ceviche and fried-chicken joints are colonial churches; street vendors sell acid-yellow Inca Kola next to Huaca Pucllana, a grand adobe pyramid dating from before 700CE. Peru’s towns and cities are easy pickings for the looters, who are tempted by valuable artefacts held in churches, museums and libraries. Pre-Columbian civilisations, those which predate Columbus’s arrival on the continent, such as the Chachapoya, Chimú and Inca, constructed remarkable citadels such as Kuélap, Chan Chan and Machu Picchu. The objects they left behind – squat ceramics depicting mythical animals, silver figurines, gold ceremonial headdresses, mummified shamans and countless more – are Peru’s legacy. Starting around the 16th century, when the Viceroyalty of Peru extended throughout most of South America, rare books, exquisite manuscripts, maps and religious artworks were created; hybrids of Spanish realism and decorative, indigenous styles. Such precious artefacts have been coveted and collected in Europe and North America for centuries. Precisely defining cultural theft can be a frustrating business. The Peruvian Ministry of Culture, which identifies artefacts of cultural significance, does maintain reportes de robos (theft reports). Other bodies, such as the police and the church, also keep records. Yet oicial paperwork can be disorganised, inaccurate and out-of-date, and, according to Hidalgo, is contradictory and spread across diferent oices and organisations. Even if an object has been registered as stolen, the current owners can claim that they bought it in good faith. This paradox, whereby an object can be both stolen and sold with certification (which could, while authentic, be inaccurate) allows questionable trading of historical artefacts to continue around the world.

Through its investigations, OjoPúblico set out to expose some of the mechanisms behind the smuggling. In doing so, it has reported on traickers and corrupt dealers and exposed loopholes in international laws that facilitate the sale of stolen artefacts. The team’s work is based on an analysis of thousands of court and police records, government reports, theft alerts, auction-house catalogues and on- and of-the-record interviews. The team scanned and transcribed the documents and carried out huge online data scrapes. Over six months, they collected information from sources including the Peruvian Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs, museums, Interpol, police and customs and auction houses. They used Freedom of Information requests and publicly available data. The backbone of Memoria Robada is a vast online database of Latin America’s cultural patrimony. It contains more than 268,000 objects, 42,300 of which have been reported as stolen. It also contains more than 7,800 records of auctioned artefacts that OjoPúblico believes were illegally taken from the region. It’s free and publicly accessible to allow the cross-checking of pieces ofered for sale. “We put all the information, detail by detail, in a big database that had two million facts,” says Hidalgo. “Two million details on, for example, the origin, the category, the age, the author [of books] in some cases.” Teams in Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica gathered their own data. Each artefact has a photograph and an index card detailing its name and origin, as well as a description and note of whether it has been stolen, auctioned or repatriated. There are also downloadable PDFs of documents, such as theft reports and police records. To date, around 30 per cent of the documents have been uploaded. The process is ongoing. It does not matter whether artefacts remain in situ or have been removed to public or private collections; they are equally at risk of traicking by criminal groups. The Memoria Robada team has identified theft from museums and libraries, by public officers, looters and archaeologists, Hidalgo says. “That’s why a project like this is uncomfortable for so many people.” Theft can happen anywhere: during its investigations, OjoPúblico found that a painting on loan from The Lima Art Museum to La Presidencia del Consejo de Ministros (the Presidency of the Council of Ministers) was never returned. “We have the documents that prove it,” Hidalgo says. “So if it could happen at this level, you can imagine what can happen in museums in the Andes that have very important patrimony but no custody, no security and no budget for hiring guards.” According to Hidalgo’s source, the Virgen De Guadalupe belonged to the Santiago Apostol Church in Cusco, a city in the Andes’ Huatanay valley. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Cusco had an imperial air; Inca and Spanish nobility commissioned thousands of paintings, resulting in a period of extraordinary artistic productivity. Some artists followed the Spanish taste for anatomical perfection and perspective, which the conquistadors introduced in the mid-1500s, while others preferred the indigenous aesthetic, which

is flatter and more decorative. Many combined both styles. Scholars call this the Cusco School. Until 2015, the Archdiocese of Cusco maintained an online database of stolen artworks. But, according to Hidalgo, it was taken down when a group of lawyers tried to sue the church, which they claimed was involved in traicking. However, back when the database was still accessible, Hidalgo’s source had taken a screenshot of a photograph of the Virgen de Guadalupe which had been registered as stolen. This, said the source, was the painting that was now in California. The screenshot shows a black-and-white photograph of a damaged painting propped up against a wall outside a church. There are holes and tears on its surface. Fold marks suggest that the painting had been concealed at some stage – hinting that it had been in the hands of smugglers.

p r e v ious pag e _ Investigative journalist and OjoPúblico founder David Hidalgo travels the world in search of missing Peruvian artefacts below _ A painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe, registered as stolen from a South American church, appeared in California

r ight _ David Hidalgo in the Library of the Santo Domingo Convent, Lima’s oldest religious complex

Untangling how artefacts are smuggled out of Peru is one of the most intriguing aspects of OjoPúblico’s work. The team identified several main routes, one via Argentina – often through the antique markets of Buenos Aires – and another via Costa Rica to Miami. It’s hard to see how traickers can operate without the complicity of oicials such as custom agents or bureaucrats, says Hidalgo. In October 2012, US investigators noticed that an unusually high number of Peruvian handicrafts were arriving at the home of César and Isabel Guardera in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Peruvian husbandand-wife team were later found to be part of a traicking network which used illicitly procured export certificates to conceal its smuggling racket. Hidalgo believes that the fold marks on the Virgen de Guadalupe not only reveal how it was traicked, but also provide clues about the thief. If it had been stolen in its frame while legally out of the country, it would not have been folded. “It could be a local thief, probably one who received the proposal to steal it for very little money,” he speculates. The audacity of the smuggling networks is impressive. In 2002, an enormous altarpiece, the Altar de Challapampa, was illegally moved from Peru to Mexico. “If you can smuggle something that size out of the country,” says Hidalgo, “imagine how easy it is to take a painting.” t is impossible to know exactly how many artefacts have been stolen from Peru, nor the full extent of South America’s cultural patrimony. Many private and public collections have not been registered, for fear of the consequences should the pieces later prove to be stolen. Often, owners do not want to return valuable items, or even if they do, there is no amnesty to protect them from being accused of theft themselves. Muddying the waters is the fact that, in Peru, the Catholic Church, which has vast collections of artworks and religious objects, has the legal status of a private person. Hidalgo explains that if he wants to know what objects have been stolen from national museums and libraries, he can send a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Culture, but the Church is diferent. “If I want to know what pieces are missing from the Catholic Church, from churches or from monasteries, I could not have that information because the Catholic Church has no obligation to give it to me.” Recovery is also laden with a raft of bureaucratic problems. Objects taken out of Peru prior to 1970 do not have the same legal protection as those that were removed later, and artefacts that have not been oicially declared “cultural patrimony” are harder to recover. “If you steal a book from the 16th century and that book has not been officially declared part of cultural patrimony, you could only be charged with theft like if you have stolen a present-day pair of shoes, or a lamp, or any book,” Hidalgo says. Rare books and manuscripts are easy to smuggle and can be extremely valuable. In 2009, while working for the Lima-based newspaper El Comercio, Hidalgo investigated the theft of four rare books that were documented as belonging to the National Library of Peru. He was tipped of by

a source who had received the books from a dealer who claimed to be working with library staf. In 2010, on the day that Ramón Mujica took his oath as the new national director of the National Library of Peru, a carpenter discovered a pile of rubbish bags on the building’s roof. It was stufed with manuscripts by Mariscal Andrés Avelino Cáceres, a Peruvian hero from the war of the Pacific. According to Mujica, the manuscripts had been kept in two secure sites: a vault, and a bookcase in a restricted area to which only authorised personnel had access. “It was obvious that this was an inside job and that they were utilising this moment of an administrative hole with no national director for this theft to take place,” he says. Mujica recounts this tale from a plush sofa in his apartment in Lima. He has the breezy air of a charismatic intellectual and is fluent and flamboyant in his use of English. When the carpenter found the manuscripts, he recounts, they were carefully wrapped and prepared to be thrown out of the building. “That’s apparently how old manuscripts and books are stolen from public buildings. They come out through the garbage.” Mujica initiated an investigation that continued throughout his six-year tenure as director. He believes that the investigation was intentionally stalled and halted, then eventually buried – due, he claims, to corruption that runs from library staf and legal administrators to government oicials. Eventually, Mujica himself was put under investigation – a smoke screen, he says. “Of course, they didn’t find anything, nothing.” He remains incredulous at the lack of progress on the thefts. “The verdict of the famous commission didn’t even mention the fact that books were being stolen from the National Library.” In 2016, Mujica resigned and now, as a private citizen, he has contracted independent lawyers and initiated a criminal court case. “I have not allowed for this trial to just be closed,” he says. The case is ongoing. Other cases have been more successful: in 2012, a 17th-century Quechua manuscript that had been stolen from the National Library was found in Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Library in Washington. The purchase was reversed and the Argentinian seller returned the manuscript to Lima on condition of anonymity. Despite his frustrations, Mujica is proud of what he achieved at the library. He organised an international campaign entitled “Wanted! Lost books from the National Library of Peru. Reward: 30 million happy Peruvians.” His eforts resulted in the return of hundreds of books from all over world, some of them valued at more than $1 million (£725,000). He also invoked an amnesty that enabled local people to return stolen items. “I spoke to the Archbishop of Lima to see if the citizens, in an act of anonymous confession, could give back the stolen goods in a black bag,” he says. “And that’s how we’ve received all these extraordinary things: books of sermons, manuscripts, maps… extraordinary documents.” Part of the problem, says Mujica, was that nobody really knew what was in the library. Small catalogues


a bov e _ OjoPublico co-founder Fabiola Torres pictured among the 1,800-year-old ruins of the Huaca Pucllana in Lima, Peru


a bov e _ This Moche portrait vessel from Lima dates from 200 to 700CE. The area is thought to contain thousands of similar undiscovered artefacts

r ight _ Bibliographic records of the National Library of Peru’s artefacts exist, but are disjointed and incomplete

of independent collections existed, and disjointed lists from various historical periods, including triumphant records made by Chilean troops who had plundered the library during the Occupation of Lima. But there was no unified catalogue. In 2011, Mujica initiated the first complete inventory of the library. It took several months to complete and was carried out under strict surveillance to prevent thefts. New records were made and old ones cross-checked. “You can have complete lists of books, but part of your function is to corroborate that what you are announcing you actually have on your shelves, he says.” The history of The National Library of Peru is marred by a tragic event. In 1943, the original library burned down and more than 140,000 books and manuscripts disappeared forever. “During my time, I discovered a paper, an oicial report done by the Peruvian state at the time, that the fire was not caused by an accidental source,” says Mujica. One startling theory is that the director at the time did not want anybody to make an inventory of the collection as it would expose the extent of insider looting. Mujica says he has no idea if anyone would go to that extreme to cover their tracks, but he does believe that the fire was started intentionally. “The best way to get rid of the evidence of a major theft,” he says, “is by burning it all down.” naccurate or inconsistent data makes theft easier to commit and harder to prove, while loopholes in international laws facilitate the trade in stolen objects. In 2010, a sale at the Lempertz Auction House in Brussels prompted theft alerts in seven Latin American countries. “The catalogue was filled with pre-Columbian pieces that Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia recognised as part of their cultural heritage,” wrote Hidalgo in his report on the incident. Representatives of the countries involved were reassured by the Belgian foreign minister that Belgium would honour a UNESCO 1970 Convention that seeks to control the import, export and traicking of cultural property. All the countries had to do was produce documents proving that the items belonged to them, that they were stolen, and that oicial proceedings had been initiated to seek their return. The evidence was requested three days before the sale. “None of the embassies were able to demonstrate the illicit origin of the pieces in a timely manner, says Hidalgo. The Belgian Foreign Ministry declared itself not competent to intervene on the case. The auction carried through on September 11, 2010.” OjoPúblico’s Fabiola Torres believes that existing mechanisms used by auction houses to carry out due diligence are not working. Databases such as those managed by the Art Loss Register (ALR) and Interpol are either exuberantly expensive, incomplete or inaccurate. ALR is a commercial database used by many international auction houses. Searches can be carried out in batches of 25 for £500, which is prohibitively expensive, says Torres. (Though regular users, such as auction houses, do have access to diferent rates.) Further, the ALR, which is run by British businessman Julian Radclife, has been accused of

engaging in dubious practices such as the issuing of inaccurate certification. The company has been embroiled in several high-profile cases, including that of the art dealer Subhash Kapoor, currently on trial in India accused of selling stolen antiques, paintings and artefacts through his New York gallery. Another well-known database maintained by Interpol is incomplete, says Torres. “It’s not updated. It has a lot of mistakes in the names of the pieces. All the information is in English and some translations are not according to the correct culture or name.” Torres believes that auction houses do not follow strict enough protocols. “They do not ask enough questions,” she says. “They say, ‘Oh! But we have ALR. They certify everything we sell or we buy.’” The team at OjoPúblico argue that these certificates are not always accurate and are seldom questioned. A spokesman for Christie’s, which submits its auction catalogues to the ALR but also draws on other international archives, experts and sources when checking provenance, points to its policy on the looting of cultural property. An extract of which states: “Christie’s adheres to bilateral treaties and international laws related to cultural property and patrimony… as a part of that due diligence, we work closely in partnership with many national and international organizations that pursue the same goals.”


Hidalgo traced the photograph of the Virgen de Guadalupe in the screenshot back to Fred Truslow, a US lawyer who had taken it in the 80s while compiling a catalogue of more than 2,000 paintings in Peru’s churches. Truslow had wanted to ensure they were properly documented in case they were stolen. In February 2017, Hidalgo travelled to the US to meet Truslow. They compared the screenshot from the database with a photograph of the painting that the source had taken in California. The paintings appeared to be identical – but it was the damage that proved conclusive. At some point, the painting had been restored, and the positions of holes and tears shown in the screenshot matched the positions of signs of restoration in the new photograph. “It proves that it’s the same painting because there’s no possibility that two paintings have the same signs or same details,” says Hidalgo. Hidalgo’s team then traced the Virgen to its current owners: the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in California, which had loaned the painting to the Bowers Museum. At the end of June 2017, Hidalgo contacted the Diocese by email. They have since confirmed that they purchased the painting in San Diego in 2015 and believe that they did so legally. There is always a way to justify owning a stolen artefact, Hidalgo says. “Private owners might say,

‘Well, I bought it 30 years ago and I had no clue that it was a stolen piece,’ or, ‘It was in the will of my grandfather and I received it as a gift.’” Hidalgo does not believe that the Diocese were complicit in the traicking, but he does believe they are in possession of a stolen painting. The story of the Virgen may take many more months to reach a conclusion. The case is now in the hands of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. “The next step is that the Peruvian authorities ask for the painting, or at least an examination of the painting, to be completely sure that it is the same one,” Hidalgo tells me. “I have no doubt that it is the painting, but there is a methodology that has to be followed to confirm it according to international standards in the art market.” Whatever the outcome, the Virgen case illustrates the mess that the Memoria Robada team has set out to expose. By making the database publicly available and free to use, Hidalgo’s team has ensured that, in future, it will be harder for anyone – be they an individual, a religious body, a museum or an auction house – to claim ownership of stolen heritage. But in the meantime, he says, there are plenty more paintings to be found. 

below _ Items such as this Moche mask, on display at the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, are small,

Karen Emslie is a freelance journalist

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Average amount lost by individual cybercrime victims, most commonly due to malware

The number of nanoseconds in a “flick”, a new unit of time invented by virtual-reality company Oculus to help measure frame rates. It is slightly longer than a nanosecond, with each flick lasting 1/705,600,000 of a second


The total amount of sunlight Moscow received in December 2017, making it the darkest month in the city’s recorded history, beating the previous record of three hours set in 2000

The percentage of Americans who own a smart speaker, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home, according to National Public Media. The amount rose 128 per cent in 2017

The total reduction in carbon dioxide emissions attributable to the increased usage of LED bulbs in 2017, according to UK analyst IHS Markit. This is the equivalent to shutting down 160 coal-fired power plants

The amount of digits in the largest known prime number. This new total was discovered in December 2017 by John Pace, a FedEx employee from Tennessee, as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search

The number of accounts Twitter has identified as being linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency, also known as Glavset, in its investigation into interference in the 2016 US presidential election

2.5 billion 1 in 400 The number of disposable coffee cups that are thrown away in the UK every year – enough to stretch around the world five-and-a-half times

The amount of disposable coffee cups that are recycled after use. The remainder – 500,000 of them are binned every day – end up in landfill

The number of Twitter users who engaged with the Russian Internet Research Agency-linked accounts, which had posted a total of 175,993 tweets in the ten weeks before the 2016 presidential election. In January 2018, Twitter began emailing people who had followed these accounts or liked or retweeted their posts



Estimated amount of money lost to cyberattacks in 2017 – 978 million people fell victim during the year