UK EDITION SEP 16 WIRED.CO.UK
RANKED: TALENT FROM . APPLE . FACEBOOK . GOOGLE . SPOTIFY . UBER . TENCENT . AMAZON . DEEPMIND . SPACEX...
LSD: THE NEW FUEL FOR STARTUPS MEDIA: LADBIBLEâ€™S CLICKBAIT EMPIRE INDIA: MASTERS OF MOBILE
The new Panamera. Courage changes everything. Discover more at porsche.co.uk/panamera
Ofﬁcial fuel economy ﬁgures for the Panamera 4S in l/100km (mpg): urban 10.2 – 10.1 (27.7 – 28.0), extra urban 6.8 – 6.7 (41.5 – 42.2), combined 8.2 – 8.1 (34.4 – 34.9). CO2 emissions: 186 – 184 g/km. The mpg and CO2 ﬁgures quoted are sourced from ofﬁcial EU-regulated tests, are provided for comparability purposes and may not reﬂect your actual driving experience.
09 / 16 / CONTENTS / 003
126 FEATURE Startup fuel
PHOTOGRAPHY: SPENCER LOWELL
Under pressure to perform, Silicon Valley professionals are microdosing LSD â€“ as they claim it makes them more productive
Lily, a publicist for several startups, takes a home-made capsule containing magic mushrooms
09 / 16 / CONTENTS / 005
START Bad places to ﬁnd an acid lake #1
FEATURE The WIRED 100
FEATURE WIRED India
Kawah Ijen isn’t just an Indonesian volcano – at its summit is a 30 million m3 lake of acid, held back by a solid block of lava
Our annual list of tech’s most inﬂuential goes global. Meet the movers and shakers in Europe, the US, China and beyond
Almost half a billion Indians are now online – 400 million of them on mobile devices. Meet the entrepreneurs in this vast market
R&D Scientiﬁc progress
FEATURE Architects we’re watching
FEATURE Clickbait empire
How limited perception keep us alive; neogenics and the future of genetics; beat exhaustion with brain-endurance training
From bold use of materials to re-imagined spaces, WIRED presents our pick of builders and their buildings currently exciting us
It’s the UK’s fastest-growing news site for young men – so how did TheLADbible become the online voice of a generation?
051 IDEAS BANK Brain food and provocations Why cities are the hot new social networks; we know there are some things we may never know; who owns your health data?
060 GEAR Rated and reviewed Red-hot three-wheeler; digital mediumformat camera; spiralisers; biscuitdunking; DIY Pi; silver designs; drones
075 SPECIAL REPORT WIRED Money 2016 Catch up on the key insights from our annual ﬁnance event – from democratising investment to real-world blockchain uses
082 PLAY God’s own wire service
PHOTOGRAPHY: DAVID VINTINER
Edoardo Tresoldi has preserved an ancient chapel’s ruins while displaying its former glory – by recreating it from wire
Right: Henry Snaith with one of his perovskite solar cells (p42)
Editor David Rowan Creative director Andrew Diprose Managing editor Duncan Baizley
Deputy editor Greg Williams Digital editor Victoria Woollaston
Science editor João Medeiros Product editor Jeremy White Associate editor Rowland Manthorpe Assistant editor Oliver Franklin-Wallis Director of photography Steve Peck Deputy director of photography Dalia Nassimi Deputy creative director Phill Fields Art editor Mary Lees App producer Pip Pell App designer Ciaran Christopher
Commercial director Nick Sargent Associate publisher and head of advertising Rachel Reidy Senior account manager Elaine Saunders Account manager Victoria Morris Compiler, WIRED Insider Cleo McGee Head of partnerships and events Claire Dobson Partnerships director Max Mirams Partnerships manager Silvia Weindling Events sales executive Nassia Matsa Commercial art director Mark Bergin Commercial editor Dan Smith Commercial project manager Robert Hitchen Commercial designer Dan Hart
wired.co.uk Deputy editor Liat Clark Acting deputy editor James Temperton Staff writer Matt Burgess Intern Matthew Reynolds Contributing editors Dan Ariely, David Baker, Rachel Botsman, Russell M Davies, Ben Hammersley, Adam Higginbotham, Kathryn Nave, Daniel Nye Grifﬁths, Tom Vanderbilt, Ed Yong Director of editorial administration and rights Harriet Wilson Editorial business manager Stephanie Chrisostomou Human resources director Hazel McIntyre Finance director Pam Raynor Financial control director Penny Scott-Bayﬁeld Deputy managing director Albert Read
Regional sales director Karen Allgood Regional account director Heather Mitchell Regional account manager Krystina Garnett Head of Paris ofﬁce (France) Helena Kawalec Advertisement manager (France) Florent Garlasco Italian/Swiss ofﬁce Angelo Careddu Associate publisher (US) Shannon Tolar Tchkotoua Account manager (US) Keryn Howarth Classiﬁed director Shelagh Crofts Classiﬁed advertisement manager Emma Roxby Classiﬁed senior sales executive/trainer Chloe McDonald Head of digital Wil Harris Digital strategy director Dolly Jones Director of video content Danielle Bennison-Brown Marketing director Jean Faulkner Deputy marketing and research director Gary Read Associate director, digital marketing Susie Brown Senior data manager Tim Westcott Senior research executive Claire Devonport Marketing manager Katie Bowden Condé Nast International director of communications Nicky Eaton Group property director Fiona Forsyth
WIRED, 13 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HN
Please contact our editorial team via the following email addresses: Reader feedback: email@example.com General editorial enquiries and requests for contributors’ guidelines: firstname.lastname@example.org Press releases to this address only please: email@example.com Advertising enquiries: 020 7499 9080
Chairman and chief executive, Condé Nast International Jonathan Newhouse
Circulation director Richard Kingerlee Newstrade circulation manager Elliott Spaulding Newstrade promotions manager Anna Pettinger Deputy publicity director Harriet Robertson Publicity manager Melody Rayner Acting publicity manager Richard Pickard Subscriptions director Patrick Foilleret Subscriptions marketing and promotions manager Claudia Long Marketing and promotions manager Michelle Velan Creative design manager Anthea Denning Senior marketing designer Gareth Ashﬁeld Production director Sarah Jenson Commercial production manager Xenia Dilnot Production controller Alicia Shepherd Production and tablet co-ordinator Skye Meelboom Commercial senior production controller Louise Lawson Commercial and paper production controller Martin MacMillan Commercial production co-ordinator Jessica Beeby Tablet production controller Lucy Zini
Directors Jonathan Newhouse (chairman and chief executive), Nicholas Coleridge (managing director), Stephen Quinn, Annie Holcroft, Pam Raynor, Jamie Bill, Jean Faulkner, Shelagh Crofts, Albert Read, Patricia Stevenson
WIRED LOGO: EIKO OJALA. CREATED IN PHOTOSHOP. EACH PART OF THE LAYERED ILLUSTRATION IS HAND-DRAWN AND TEXTURED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS OF COLLECTED PAPER
Director of WIRED Consulting and Education Sophie Hackford Chief sub-editor Mike Dent Deputy chief sub-editor Simon Ward
008 / WHO MADE THIS?
San Francisco-based Solon writes about the spread of LSD microdosing among workers in Silicon Valley and beyond. “They claim it makes them more creative,” she says. “I haven’t tried it, but one proponent did suggest it might make writing this feature easier…”
MARCUS DU SAUTOY
Biscuits, 65°C beverages and robotic arms – never let it be said that WIRED doesn’t know how to throw a tea party (see Gear, p66). Art editor Mary Lees joined Sarah Barnes, a physicist at the Institute of Physics, to test an array of treats for scientiﬁc superiority. “To make each dunk consistent, we used a robolink D robotic arm – a human arm might tremble, which would skew the results,” says Lees. “We were assessing the biscuits’ ability to hold form when wet, and how effective each was at absorbing tea. We only used perfectly intact examples in the test – but we didn’t let the rest go to waste. That said, the leftover pile of sloppy biscuit remains was truly stomach-churning.” Download the digital edition to see a video of all the dunking action.
An Oxford mathematics professor and author of What We Cannot Know, du Sautoy asks if there is a limit to human discovery: “The history of science is full of claims we’ve hit the boundaries of knowledge, only for the next generation to smash the glass ceiling.”
Armstrong reports on our annual WIRED Money event, held at London’s British Museum: “All the speakers are spiky and passionate – it made for a fascinating day. The blockchain has long been a running theme, but this year, it’s ﬁnally found real-world uses.”
The co-author of Self-Tracking questions the ownership and use of personal medical data when it’s generated by devices such as health trackers. “Technology companies should abide by the 2,000-year-old dictum that binds doctors,” she explains. “First, do no harm.”
THE ART OF INDIA
The opening illustration for our feature on Indian startups (p142) was created by Marisa Falcigno and Shantanu Suman of North Carolina-based Open Door Design Studio. “The design and palette is inspired by the truck art of India,” says Suman. “Keeping the focus on the 3D Hindi typography, we hand-painted an eclectic mix of motifs and illustrations in the background to reﬂect the Indian theme.”
An illustrator specialising in 3D renders and animation, Basque Country-based Samaniego created our cover artwork. “It’s inspired by vintage neon signs, but with more of a modern feel,” he says. “The brief was to make something with plenty of ‘wow’ factor.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: ASHEVILLE ART FAMILY; JJ GREENWOOD
010 / CHANNEL HOPPING
WANT MORE? TRY THESE Facebook wireduk
A STROLL ON THE LAKE This summer, thousands of holidaymakers walked the Floating Piers, an art installation in Italy that connects Lake Iseo’s islands of Isola and San Paolo. The piers, conceived by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, are made from reusable polystyrene blocks covered by yellow fabric. The image proved to be a big hit on our Instagram feed – to see more from the WIRED world, follow @wireduk.
Twitter @WiredUK wired.co.uk/ video Instagram @wireduk Tumblr wireduk wired.co.uk/ podcast
3Nod Group China CEO Richard Chiang forgets exactly which celebrity signed his electric guitar in Future Cities.
THE WIRED NEWS FEED
THE RULES OF FINANCE For WIRED Money, we chose a quiet, uneventful day to bring together ﬁntech’s innovators from London, Jerusalem, Portland, Atlanta, Munich, San Mateo and beyond. Sure, June 23 was the day of the EU referendum, but we didn’t need to think about anything so bizarre as an “Out” result, right? Um… Still, in the ﬁnal hours of London's status as an ofﬁcially pro-European capital, an audience of 500 listened to the founders reinventing insurance, payments, crowdfunding, investment, and even the government’s chief scientiﬁc adviser on the blockchain. Our conclusion: whatever neighbourly allegiances Britain chooses to profess, the real shock to the system will be the rapid rise of the ﬁntech superstars. The old order needs to watch out.
Five of the best recent stories from WIRED's print and web pages, drip-fed on to your iPhone’s Apple News feed throughout the day. Select WiredUK in Apple News.
Tesla Motors: Building Electric Cars, in which WIRED takes a tour of the electric-car company’s huge California plant.
Find out what it’s like to ﬂy around the world in Bertrand Piccard’s solar-powered plane. And yes, it has a toilet.
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEON CSERNOHLAVEK; POLARIS/EYEVINE; JULIAN LOVE
New strand alert! WIRED has launched a video channel, where we bring to life the stories setting the agenda in the WIRED world. Currently online: a tour of the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, already at 1.5 million views; a proﬁle of the crew updating the deep-sea Alvin submarine; and Future Cities, a four-part documentary of Shenzhen’s tech ecosystem. Unbeknown to us, visual engagement ﬁrm Sticky ran the latter video through its eye-tracking tech to gauge audience reaction at a public viewing. The main response? “Joy”. Result! Take a look: wired.co.uk/video
GLOBAL AFFAIRS / 013
PHOTOGRAPHY: MARTIN PRIHODA
Whatever local European dramas may be playing out, the tech sector is in no doubt that it’s part of a global village. A Middle Eastern terror group holding encrypted conversations over a Russian exile’s popular messaging app; a Shenzhen drone-maker geo-blocking sensitive federal buildings in Virginia; a Vancouver productivity startup replacing email inside a Birmingham insurance ﬁrm... That’s why this year we’ve broadened the scope of the annual WIRED 100 list to cover not just our own neighbourhood, but the wider planet’s power brokers. Today we reveal who, in the views of our network, are the greatest inﬂuencers in the digital world.
We compiled the list by asking more than 300 well-connected friends of WIRED – from investors to industry regulators – who, in their considered opinion, currently has the power to make things happen. We were looking to measure inﬂuence in its broadest form: from impacting human behaviour at scale to shaping scientiﬁc development. After filtering out any self-interested biases, we then collated the thousands of nominations to spot patterns before the wider editorial team added its own views. Remember, this is an assessment of current inﬂuence, not historic achievement nor ﬁnancial success. You may take issue with the ﬁnal list – there are too few women, for a start, and the geographic spread may be less than perfect. So tell us who’s missing, or who needs re-ordering, at firstname.lastname@example.org. As the Cluetrain Manifesto once said, we’re all now part of a great conversation. The WIRED headquarters may be in Hanover Square, but our team’s approach to story-gathering Voonik co-founder Sujayath Ali (right) and workmates is truly global. Speakers at our recent WIRED Money conference at the British Museum came from Portland, Munich, Tel Aviv and Santiago; our own editors have recently been reporting from Nevada markets. This month, you can read profiles of nine to Nice; and if you haven’t seen it, you need to watch our of these Indian superstars. video documentary about Shenzhen’s maker phenomenon And where does all this global exploration lead for WIRED (wired.co.uk/video). So when I was in Bangalore recently, itself? We had a crazy discussion in the office this week about meeting the founders of local success stories such as Ola how much fun it would be to ﬂy a planeful of WIRED readers and InMobi, I realised they had a few lessons to share about on a round-the-world tech tour of the places and companies scaling, understanding shifting customer demand and we’re most excited about. Shenzhen… San Francisco… outclassing the incumbents (hello, Uber) in their regional Stockholm… Hmm; maybe it’s not such a wild idea after all…
DMA MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR 2015 • DMA COVER OF THE YEAR 2015 • DMA TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR 2015 • DMA MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR 2014 • BSME ART DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR, CONSUMER 2013 • PPA M E D I A BRA ND O F THE Y EAR, CON SUMER 2013 • DMA TE CH N OLOGY MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR 2012 • DMA EDITOR OF THE YEAR 2012 • BSME EDITOR OF THE YEAR, SPECIAL INTEREST 2012 • D&AD AWARD: COVERS 2012 • DMA EDITOR OF THE YEAR 2011 • DMA MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR 2011 • DMA TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR 2011 • BSME ART DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR, CONSUMER 2011 • D&AD AWARD: ENTIRE MAGAZINE 2011 • D&AD AWARD: COVERS 2010 • MAGGIES TECHNOLOGY COVER 2010 • PPA DESIGNER OF THE YEAR, CONSUMER 2010 • BSME LAUNCH OF THE YEAR 2009
016 / NEWS AND OBSESSIONS / EDITED BY ROWLAND MANTHORPE
This Indonesian lake contains 30 million cubic metres of highly acidic water – and it’s perched on top of an active volcano. “The crater is fractured all around,” explains Corentin Caudron, volcanology research fellow at the University of Cambridge, who’s been studying the Kawah Ijen volcano for the past seven years. “In the south there’s a giant block of solidiﬁed lava that’s about to fall. If that happens it would trigger an acid tsunami.” It gets worse: the resulting drop in water level could have an effect similar to loosening the cap of a shaken-up bottle, as diminished pressure on the lake bed may disturb the volcano’s hydrothermal system and cause further volcanic activity. Such an event last happened following an earthquake in February 1917, 100 years after the eruption that led to the crater’s formation. With a cap of brightyellow sulphur and gas emissions that burn electric blue at night, Kawah Ijen does not hide its toxicity, but this hasn’t deterred the tens of thousands of people living at its base. Low-level activity is a constant, but predicting exactly when a major eruption will occur is almost impossible. That’s thanks to the reservoir running beneath the lake and down through the volcano’s porous rock, which absorbs the magma, heat and gas emissions that typically signal increased activity. Following elevated activity in 2010 and 2011, Indonesia’s Centre for
PHOTOGRAPHY: OLIVIER GRUNEWALD
BAD PLACES TO FIND AN ACID LAKE #1
018 / START / BITTER LAKE / RULES OF CROWDFUNDING
DESIGN YOUR WAY TO KICKSTARTER SUCCESS
Sulphur miners collect rocks from Kawah Ijen’s hazardous slopes to sell for use in sugar bleaching and fertiliser production
Behind many a successful crowdfunding project is a smart designer: someone who can tell an inventor if their idea is viable; create a prototype; and then help them with the campaign. WIRED sheds light on the design tactics that work on Kickstarter. Clare Dowdy
1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE Backers tend to be early adopters, so products need to appeal to this audience. “Things designed to solve a speciﬁc problem are more likely to succeed,” says designer Oscar Diaz, whose campaign for his Pixo tablet-mount was cancelled in May after funding proved too slow. Diaz’s takeaway? “We should have set aside a budget for advertising the product in order to reach our target audience.”
2. WING THE CONCEPT VIDEO Rather than spend time and money working up concepts, “Do the minimum to create a model for a video presentation,” says Jon Marshall at Kickstarter specialist MAP. They designed the hugely successful Kano DIY PC, which raised more than $1.5m (£1m) in 2013. Just use a 3D printer to create a physical manifestation of your ﬁrst idea.
3. PRODUCT FIRST, THEN PUBLICITY Play up the idea behind the product, says fuseproject founder Yves Béhar. “Invest the money to get a great video, prototypes, in-use images and solid branding for your Kickstarter page.” fuseproject’s Ouya console pulled this off, attracting 63,000 orders totalling $8.5m. Tweeting and blogging about your campaign is almost as important as the product.
4. NO POSTFUNDING EDITS Listening to too much feedback from backers can cause problems. “Because people are investing, they feel like they can suggest more features,” says Marshall. “We advise clients to hold their nerve and save addons for the next version.” MAP’s design for Kano, for example, had seven versions – but only the ﬁrst was available on Kickstarter.
5. DISSUADE BAD INVENTORS If an idea stinks, the designer should try to talk the would-be entrepreneur out of pursuing it. “If it’s not a good idea, we don’t take it on,” says Austen Miller at 3form Design. His company once turned down a “wireless light” that wouldn’t have worked without wires. “Even Kickstarter has put a stop to such self-harming ideas by requiring a working prototype,” says Miller.
ILLUSTRATION: JORDON CHEUNG. PHOTOGRAPHY: PLAINPICTURE/AURORA PHOTOS
Volcanology led an investigation into new monitoring techniques, publishing the results in February 2016. “We’re using infrasound detectors to listen to waves in the air rather than in the ground, which helps pick out landslides more easily than seismic records,” explains Caudron, a lead author on the paper. “We’re also looking into using a diode laser to scan the level of CO2 across the surface of the lake, which is a good indicator that the volcano is getting more active.” The challenge is cost: the laser system costs $100,000 (£69,000) and sensors tend to have a short lifespan when placed next to a volatile body of liquid with a pH of 0.5 – caustic enough to eat through skin and metal. “We’ve lost more than 20 sensors already,” says Caudron. “I used to sail out on the lake at the beginning of my PhD. I don’t do that any more.” Kathryn Nave
NICK WOODM AN
C AP T URED BY SE AN CUS TER
TAKING ON THE TALIBAN Roya Mahboob defied death threats to help thousands of Afghan girls learn to code
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEE MORGAN
O T L O N G A F T E R R O YA Mahboob was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most inﬂuential people in 2013, the Taliban delivered a threat. Mahboob, 29, had used the profit from Afghan Citadel Software, her software development startup, to create ten centres for girls to study computing in Kabul and Herat. The Taliban told her that if she didn’t stop, they would kill her. Forced to flee Afghanistan, Mahboob arrived alone in New York in January 2014. She then embarked on two projects: a vocational training site called EdyEdy and, in early 2016, an as-yet-unnamed export company, bringing Afghan tea and coffee to the US and Middle East. Both businesses fund Mahboob’s training centres, which she has continued, despite the danger. “We give access to technology,” she says. “We have 8,000 students and we’re going to train 5,000 more in the next two years.” Digital Citizen Fund’s 12 female teachers introduce 12- to 18-year-old Afghans to the basics of digital and ﬁnancial literacy, followed by classes in coding or social media. Each year, 2,400 girls take the courses, but Mahboob wants to expand – ﬁrst to rural areas, then to other countries. She says she is sharing the experience that showed her the world could be bigger than she was told. “In any conservative society women are not equal. Technology can change this – it changed my world.” RM digitalcitizenfund.org Roya Mahboob will speak at WIRED2016 on November 3-4
GIRL POWER / START / 021
OW DO YOU PROTECT BUILDINGS IN A COUNTRY BEDEVILLED BY EARTHQUAKES? Instead of using steel or concrete, a Japanese textile ﬁrm turned to carbon-ﬁbre ropes. The company, Komatsu Seiren, had developed a high-tensile twine from carbon-ﬁbre composite. Seeking to reinforce the structure of its new showroom and laboratory in Nomi, it asked Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Associates to use rods of the material to anchor it. “Since the carbon ﬁbre is tough and pliant, they approached us with an idea of utilising it to render the building quake-resistant,” says Shun Horiki, the project’s lead architect. The team attached 1,031 rods to the roof and tethered them to the ground. “The principle is quite straightforward,” says Horiki. “When the building jolts left, the rod on the right pulls it back, and vice versa. A curtain of 2,778 rods inside adds a further layer of stability. “The carbon mesh inside and the drape outside help restrain the horizontal force of the earthquake,” he says. Before attaching the rods, Kengo Kuma and Associates enhanced the strength of the building’s parapet in order to resist tensile stress and placed anchors around the structure to prevent the ground from rising up. This is the ﬁrst time that carbon ﬁbre has been used in this way, but Horiki believes the rods could also be applied to ﬂexible structures such as wooden buildings that “tend to sway horizontally”. CD komatsuseiren.co.jp
THE CURTAIN VERSUS THE EARTHQUAKE
A 160-metre roll of the carbon-ﬁbre rope weighs just 12kg – ﬁve times lighter than its metal equivalent
TIED DOWN / SPACED OUT / START / 023
The diagram above shows tensile strength applied to the exterior rods during an earthquake. Red shows the areas of most tension, ranging through to yellow and then blue, where there is least.
Mind the gaps: Asym’s kerning widget claims to increase engagement Don’t read this article - read the spaces between the words. These spaces have been optimised to make each sentence a tiny bit easier to read, without you noticing. It’s a process called “chunking”, and a San Francisco company called Asym is using science to help website owners tweak screen text to make customers more likely to hit the “Buy” button. Asym, a two-yearold company backed by PayPal alumnus Max Levchin, uses a technique it calls chromatography. This analyses millions of text examples to develop a map of syntactic relationships between the words in a language. It can then be used to ﬁlter and adjust the spacing of a document in real time. It’s intended to glean a
“Reading behaviour has changed a lot in the past ﬁve years,” he says. “Almost 50 per cent of reading is now done on mobile.” Asym also claims dramatic effects on engagement. Working with digital-lending startup Afﬁrm and fertility app Glow (both Levchin companies), Asym found that chunked blogs were judged as better: they were seven per cent more likely to be shared and 21 per cent more likely to be ﬁnished. And in a banner advert, chunking led to a 24 per cent growth in click-through rate – all without the reader noticing. “We don’t want people to notice the spacing,” says Nicholas. “It intentionally doesn’t get in the way.” Adam Born asym.co
Chunking, or syntactic cueing, varies the width of spaces between words to emphasise the meaningful units of the text, expanding spaces that are syntactically important – mainly those between phrases and clauses – and compressing those that are unimportant, making the text easier to read and more engaging.
Chunking, or syntactic cueing, varies the width of spaces between words to emphasise the meaningful units of the text, expanding spaces that are syntactically important – mainly those between phrases and clauses – and compressing those that are unimportant, making the text easier to read and more engaging.
THE NEW MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV THE UK’S #1 SELLING PLUG-IN HYBRID With luxuriously smooth driving dynamics, the intelligent Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV decides when it’s more efﬁcient to use petrol or electricity, giving it the ability to deliver a staggering 156mpg1. An electric range of up to 32 miles allows the Outlander PHEV to easily tackle the UK’s average daily drive on a single charge – and on longer journeys the petrol engine helps out to achieve a combined range of up to 541 miles2. The battery can be charged in just a few hours via a domestic plug socket3, a low-cost home Charge Point4 or one of over 8,500 Charge Points found across the UK. With ultra-low CO2 emissions the Outlander PHEV is exempt from Road Tax and the London Congestion Charge5 – as well as being eligible for drastically reduced Beneﬁt in Kind taxation6. There’s even £2,500 off the list price through the Government Plug-in Car Grant7 and, for a limited time only, we’re matching this with a £2,500 deposit contribution8. We call this Intelligent Motion.
£2,500 DEPOSIT CONTRIBUTION 8
0% APR REPRESENTATIVE 12 Months / 50% Deposit9
FROM £31,749 - £42,999 Including £2,500 Government Plug-in Car Grant7
Find out more. Search PHEV | Visit mitsubishi-cars.co.uk to ﬁnd your nearest dealer 1. Ofﬁcial EU MPG test ﬁgure shown as a guide for comparative purposes and is based on the vehicle being charged from mains electricity. This may not reﬂect real driving results. 2. Up to 32 mile EV range achieved with full battery charge. 541 miles achieved with combined full battery and petrol tank. Actual range will vary depending on driving style and road conditions. 3. Domestic plug charge: 5 hours, 16 Amp home charge point: 3.5 hours, 80% rapid charge: 30mins. 4. Government subsidised charge points are available from a number of suppliers for a small fee - ask your dealer for more information. 5. Congestion Charge application required, subject to administrative fee. 6.7% BIK compared to the average rate of 25%. 7% BIK rate for the 2016/17 tax year. 7. Prices shown include the Government Plug-in Car Grant and VAT (at 20%), but exclude First Registration Fee. Model shown is an Outlander PHEV GX4hs at £38,499 including the Government Plug-in Car Grant. On The Road prices range from £31,804 to £43,054 and include VED, First Registration Fee and the Government Plug-in Car Grant. Metallic/pearlescent paint extra. Prices correct at time of going to print. For more information about the Government Plug-in Car Grant please visit www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants. The Government Plug-in Car Grant is subject to change at any time, without prior notice. 8. The £2,500 (inc VAT) deposit contribution can only be used towards a ﬁnance option through Shogun Finance Ltd. 9. The 0% APR Representative Hire Purchase Finance plan requires a 50% deposit and is over 12 months, it is only available through Shogun Finance Ltd T/A Finance Mitsubishi, 116 Cockfosters Road, Barnet, EN4 0DY and is subject to status to UK resident customers aged 18 and over. Finance Mitsubishi is part of Lloyds Banking Group. Offer is only applicable in the UK (excludes Channel Islands & I.O.M), subject to availability, whilst stocks last and may be amended or withdrawn at any time. Offer available between 20th June and 28th September 2016.
Outlander PHEV range fuel consumption in mpg (ltrs/100km): Full Battery Charge: no fuel used, Depleted Battery Charge: 51.4mpg (5.5), Weighted Average: 156.9mpg (1.8), CO2 emissions: 42 g/km.
CLEVER CONNECTIONS / START / 025
WASTE Helping waste and recycling companies operate more efﬁciently, Finnish startup Enevo’s sensors can tell when a bin is full and then plan a route for the collection lorries that takes trafﬁc into account. enevo.com
PARKING Barcelona-based Urbiotica is using sensors to change cities’ parking. Its wireless sensors provide real-time data on trafﬁc, which has helped reduce congestion by ten per cent in Nice as part of the MOV’Smart plan. urbiotica.com
BICYCLES More than a keyless lock, BitLock lets cyclists share access to their bike remotely through an app. Developed by San Francisco startup Mesh Motion, BitLock also geotags bikes. The ﬁrst set of locks sold out in 2015. bitlock.co
FOOTFALL The Citizen Sensing project in Bristol is working with locals to solve community problems using smart products. Examples include tracking footfall on run-down streets to help shops tailor their services. kwmc.org.uk
OFFLINE IS OVER Smart cities are on their way – and this time they’re for real. Disparate aspects of cities are beginning to connect with internet of things (IoT) devices. “Projects look at a single system – like transport – but don’t link it with say, health,” says Steve Turner, head of the Future City programme at Manchester City Council. “The next big challenge for the IoT is to link all the city systems.” Manchester City Council launched its CityVerve project in July to connect the city’s health, transport, environment and services with 20 kinds of sensors. The data from the initiative – funded by a £10 million prize from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – will be used to make city planning more responsive. In the meantime, here are some of the standout city innovations WIRED is keeping an eye on. Cara McGoogan
BUS STOPS Manchester’s CityVerve project plans to install smart bus stops which will be able to let drivers know when people are waiting, and smart lighting that comes on when needed, so it is more efﬁcient with using energy. manchester.gov.uk
VEHICLES Portuguese company Veniam wants to turn all vehicles into Wi-Fi hotspots using mesh networks. Porto is the ﬁrst city to trial this “internet of moving things”, with bin lorries and buses broadcasting Wi-Fi. veniam.com
WATER LEVELS Flood Network has developed sensors in Oxford to collect real-time data on water levels. It combines this with Environment Agency data to map where there is a risk of ﬂooding and is now rolling out across the UK. ﬂood.network
DATA TRADERS / START / 027
HACKER TRACKER Troy Hunt can see if your password is safe. He tells WIRED how he does it
The Have I Been Pwned website holds details on more than 345 million hacked email addresses that Troy Hunt (right) has collated
PHOTOGRAPHY: NICK WILSON
ONCERNED THAT YOU’VE BEEN PWNED? TROY HUNT CAN tell you. The 39-year-old Australian security specialist tracks every signiﬁcant website breach – and lets you check if your email has been hacked. His website Have I Been Pwned holds more than 345 million hacked account details, and since 2013 has collated data from sites including Adobe (152 million email addresses), Ashley Madison (30m) and Mate1 (27m). Anyone can run their email addresses through his system to see if they have been hit; he says more than 350,000 people subscribe to be told if their details are added to the database. In December 2015, Hunt revealed the names, pictures and birthdays of millions of children had been stolen from toy manufacturer VTech. In February 2016, he exposed security ﬂaws in the Nissan LEAF’s API. So, how does he collect the data – and who will be hacked next? WIRED ﬁnds out. Matt Burgess haveibeenpwned.com
WIRED: What led to the creation of your hacked accounts database? Troy Hunt: I was doing analysis on a lot of data breaches and one of the things I noticed was the way that the same individuals crop up in different breaches. Once they had appeared more than once, they would have a richer proﬁle in the data. You could take someone from the Adobe breach and have their password. Then you could look at other data breaches that would have information such as their mother’s maiden name or their date of birth and start to draw patterns across them. I began to wonder if people are actually aware of just how broad their exposure is.
028 / START / DATA TRADERS / WTE
How did you verify the VTech hack? [When I was brought the data by a journalist] it wasn’t clear where it had come from. I was pretty wary, which is part of the reason I went through the verification process. I looked at my subscriber lists and contacted the 20 most recent subscribers who had used VTech and said, “I’ve had something passed to me that’s allegedly from a company and if you want to help then I’ll give you a bit of data to help verify whether it’s accurate or
The accounts that have had the most data exposed
How do they miss it? A lot of them aren’t well equipped. I can understand that when we’re talking about things like a gaming forum, maybe they don’t take that seriously, but when we look at, say, VTech Toys with its billion-dollar revenues, I think it is simply that the company hasn’t invested in security and in the general IT capability of the organisation.
Are people making a living from selling hacked data? Yes, there are numerous websites that are selling this data, not always on the dark net either. The other side, which I ﬁnd more curious, is the data trading. I think the people doing this are just tinkerers: they like getting in there and having a look at what’s going on, but they’re doing it with highly sensitive information. Generally, I get the sense that many people who get involved are kids, and that would be consistent with a lot of the arrests we see, like the VTech hack, where a 21-year-old was arrested. They probably just haven’t realised the ramiﬁcations of what they’re doing.
data ﬂoating around. There are so many cases of data breaches where the organisations involved have absolutely no idea, yet within the circles that are trading the data it’s really well known.
ADOBE 152,445,165 LINKEDIN 164,611,595 MYSPACE 359,420,698
With each breach, where do you get the customer data? As I’ve run the service over the years, I’ve learned more about how this information is distributed: you get people hoarding data breaches and then they trade them. It’s like having a set of playing cards and swapping them. I never give anybody any of these data breaches, although sometimes this information does come privately through very quiet channels.
Do you see any trends across the data breaches? I’m blown away by how frequently these incidents are occurring and how serious the data is. But even more than that is the number of incidents that never make the headlines. There are a huge number of websites, particularly websites running PHP bulletin board systems, which are compromised and t h e y ’ v e e a c h go t h u n d r e d s o f thousands, or millions, of records of
not.” Everyone came back and said: “I did sign up for VTech and these are my correct address details.” Also, when you start looking at the way an organisation stands up their online presence you get a sense about how likely is it that an event like this might have happened. I went to VTech and there was no HTTPS on login. This was unforgivable some time ago, so that’s a black mark. You hacked the Nissan LEAF through its API. Could this be done to other devices? API is interesting for a few reasons. They’re basically websites, but instead of talking HTML and sitting in the browser they’re talking XML and being called by a mobile device. They’re one step further removed than a website would be and because of that you can hide a lot of developers’ bad shortcomings. For all intents and purposes the car is an internet of things (IoT) device and I can imagine that Nissan – like others such as LIFX light globes or the iKettle – has had trouble with their secured implantation because I suspect they’re trying to rush to market. There’s this IoT rush at the moment. It’s a goldmine of hackable things. Will this stop any time soon? I don’t see anything putting a stop to it. I suspect that the trend of breadth and volume is just going to increase. The only thing that will be different is that in two years’ time instead of it being 300 million records I’ve got on the system, it will be 600 million or a billion. That’s the way we’re trending. We’re not seeing organisations making their things any more secure.
“The IoT… it’s a goldmine of hackable things”
W I R E D
T I R E D
E X P I R E D
Avoiding Windows 10
Joining Apple Beta
Galapagos goat massacre
Deep insert skimmers
Sleep as resistance
Sleep as fuel
Sleep as luxury
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH RAYMOND WEIL is proud to be supporting Swiss sailing team Realteam as its OfďŹ cial Timing Partner and to introduce a new freelancer able to support the crew in the most extreme sailing conditions. A nice little tip of the hat to Mr Raymond Weil who was a member of the Geneva Yacht Club. Join the discussion #RWRealteam
030 / START / ESSENTIAL APPS / WOOD GETS THE CHOP
APPS OF THE MONTH
WIRED SEA HERO QUEST Neuroscientists hope this game will help them to understand dementia, by creating a benchmark for the navigational ability of healthy people. The app collects player data, which is then fed to scientists at UCL and UEA. iOS, Android, free seaheroquest.com
SPACE EXPLORER Photographer Robin Mellor has taken over the streets of Hackney for this art exhibition with a twist. Use the app to track down billboard-sized photos of American desert dwellers and unlock audio interviews with the subjects. iOS, Android, free space-explorer.co.uk
This app takes in ambient noise and creates something more acoustically pleasing. Choose from seven options, including Happy, Relax and Talk, to turn annoying chatter into mood-lifting music. iOS, free hearapp.io
KINDEO The photo album gets rebooted with Kindeo, which lets families pass down memories from generation to generation. Record video through the app and store it so that future relatives will never be able to escape those embarrassing baby photos. iOS, free kindeo.com
WEIRD MOOD CHAT For when emojis just don’t cut it, artist Tom Galle has created an app to help you express yourself through cheesy background music. His audio keyboard lets you select from dozens of ditties to add emphasis to your chats. iOS, free mood.chat Alex Jordan
NO SMOKING IN THE KITCHEN Cooking fumes shorten millions of lives. Carlos Glatt’s answer: a ten-dollar, smoke-free cooking stove
In September 2013, Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Glatt met a 14-year-old girl who was breastfeeding a baby. She was clearly very ill, so he took her to the local hospital, in Guerrero, Mexico, where she lived. “She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease because she had been cooking with wood,” says Glatt, 51. “I was very upset and decided I had to do something.” Cooking with wood in a conﬁned space kills more people globally than malaria or tuberculosis. The World Health Organization estimates that more than four million
people die prematurely every year from using solid fuels and open ﬁres inside their homes. To give people in poor regions a more affordable alternative, Glatt designed a cheap, efﬁcient 15cm x 15cm stove powered by an alcohol-based fuel. “I had something that people could use to cook inside their homes with no smoke,” says Glatt. He sold his tourism brand Piraña Joe and set up a workshop in his kitchen. “My wife thought I was crazy.” The $10 (£7) Glatt Stove, or La Estuﬁta (“little stove”), looks like a simple camping stove, but the fuel is
liquid, not gas. A one-litre bottle of Glatt Stove fuel costs $1, can cook for up to ﬁve hours and is as easy to transport as a bottle of Coca-Cola. “It’s the cheapest stove in the world,” claims Glatt, “and it’s as efﬁcient as the one you have at home.” Glatt’s Tultitlánbased company produced 120,000 stoves for its February 2016 launch. He is in talks with distributors in Spain and Tanzania, but for now is focusing on South America and India. “We want to ﬁnd the best way to sell, then we go global,” he says. Cara McGoogan glattstove.com
Carlos Glatt: “We will sell the stoves in Mexico, but the fuel will be bottled and distributed in every country around the world”
PHOTOGRAPHY: RICARDO ESPINOSA
THE APP FORMERLY KNOWN AS H__R
P5 Wireless. We’ve taken away the wires but kept the sound quality.
£329.99 from authorised retailers Buy direct from bowers–wilkins.co.uk/P5W
Two-year warranty Free delivery
18 20 18 20
4 202 3 202
ht -2 01
-1 Lu na r Pr os pe ct or
g 'e 1
ar R eco n
yR eco ver y
ORTY-SEVEN YEARS HAVE
iss ar M
a rc h - 9 Long M
Cle me nti ne
70 14/ 11/ 196 2 9 ) 2/1 0/ Zon 196 d7 23/ 9 9 /19 Apo 69 llo 7/8 11 /19 6 9 Lun 16/7 a 15 /196 9 13/7 7 K- L / 1 1 969 S Ye - 8 -5 (n 3/7/ o. 4 0 1969 2) 14/6/ 1969 A p o ll o 10 18/5/19 69
Ye -8 (n o. 20 1)
Ye INFOGRAPHIC: VALERIO PELLEGRINI
2 THE SPACE SHUTTLE As the competition of the cold war era eased, Nasa shifted its focus from the Moon to developing the Space Shuttle, which ﬁrst launched on April 12, 1981.
19 70 /19 70
10 /1 1/
Moon Express’ mining rovers aren’t just looking for helium-3 – the lunar surface is also thought to be rich in rare earth elements and metals such as platinum.
16/10/1975 ) (n o. 4 12 974 Ye -8 -5 M 28/10/1 23 74 19 Luna / 5 / 29 2 2 1973 Luna 3/11/ 3 10 /197 iner 10/6 Mar 3 7 19 r 49 8/1/ lore 72 p 9 x /1 E 1 7/12 a2 2 197 Lun / /11 7 1 23 2 o 97 oll 4/1 Ap 2 ) 16/ A 97 1 .6 2/ 1 no 4/ ( 1 197 K 16 9/ -LO llo 8/ 71 o 2 7K 1 /9 Ap 20 71 /9 a 2 n /19 1 /7 Lu 19 6 97 2 /1 na /1 HUNTING HELIUM-3 Lu 18 31
7 K-L 1S (n o. 2 )
Lu na 24
passed since man last landed on the Moon; in the 80s and 90s, interest in visiting Earth’s satellite waned. Now the prospect of mining for resources that are scarce on Earth but relatively plentiful on the Moon is drawing visitors back. If the missions to revisit it go ahead, 2017 will be the busiest year ever for lunar landings. Four of 2017’s planned missions are by teams competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE – unclaimed since its launch in 2007. The first team to land a rover on the Moon, have it travel 500 metres and transmit HD video back to Earth will win $20 million (£15m) in prize money. One competitor, US-based Moon Express, is planning on sending a mining rover to extract helium-3 from the lunar surface. The non-radioactive isotope could be used to provide safer nuclear energy on Earth. Space agencies are also looking at lunar landings with renewed interest – not to send astronauts there, but because the Moon can be a base from which to explore the rest of the Universe. “The far side of Moon is one of the quietest places in the Solar System,” says Bernard Foing, executive director of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group. “It’s shielded from the Earth’s radio signals and this makes it easier for us to image other stars, observe Jupiter, or search for signals from intelligent life. “We could even launch spacecraft from the Moon in a relatively short time period if we can extract hydrogen from soil and use that for fuel,” he says. “It takes 50 to 60 times less energy to launch a rocket from the Moon than it does from the Earth.” Matthew Reynolds
na -G lo Fu rt he r Lu
3. L na
u a ﬂ b
2 2 n o. 96 Ra (n 1/1 2 / ) 6 6 26 .3 /19 Ye 2 /4 (no 6 3 9 6 2 /1 Ye /10 3 4 18 196 na / 1 Lu 4/ 63 A 9 1 2/ V- 1 3/ 3 3M 6 96 1 / ger 2/4 3 Ran ) 196 / 1 1 o. 6 11/ 6 (n 64 9 e 1 / Y 1 5) 30/ 4 ( n o. /196 Ye - 6 21/3 4 er 7 /196 Rang 20/4 1964 er 8 28/7/ Rang 5 6 19 / 2 17/ r9 5
Ye- 6 (no. 8) Luna 5
Lun a 6 Zo nd 3
r ur 7 e r5 S 96 or ite /1 pl rb /4 67 Ex 17 19 rO 5/ na 67 r5 4/ Lu /19 yo /7 L) ve 67 r 14 .4 /19 Su /7 (no 19 67 L1 /19 6 Kr 7 7 1/8 o 196 ey v r 9/ 5L) 8/ 7 Su 96 n o. 9/1 L1 ( 27/ 7 K67 1/19 or 7 7/1 vey 967 112) Sur 11/1 n o. ( 22/ 6LS 1968 Ye 7/1/ . 7L) 1 (no 1968 7/2/ 7 K- L /1968 5 22/4 Zond 68 14/9/19 Zond 6 68 10/11/19 8
4/10/196 5 Luna 7 3/12/19 65 L una 8 31/1/19 66 Luna 1/3/19 66 9 31/3 Ye - 6 /196 6 S 30/ 5/19 Lun 66 a 10 1/7/ 196 Sur 6 10/ vey 8/1 or 1 966 24 Exp /8 lor /19 e 66 20 r Lu 33 /9 na /19 22 rO 66 /10 L r b u /19 ite na 6/ 66 r1 11/ 11 Su 196 21 /12 rv 6 e / yo 5/ Lu 19 66 r2 2/ na 19 12 Lu 67 n
Ye -6 (n o. 9)
Last walked on by humans in 1972, the Moon has been quiet (apart from the occasional robot) – but interest in Earth’s satellite is on the rise. WIRED plots past and future lunar missions
Pio ne er 0 17/8/1958
GET READY FOR YOUR MOONSHOT
Ye -1 (n o. 1) 11/10/19 58 P io n e e r 11/10/19 1 58 Ye - 1 ( 8/11/ n o. 2 1958 ) 4/12 Pion /195 eer 2 8 6 / 12 /195 Ye 1 (no 8 2/1 . 3) /19 Pio 59 nee 3/3 r3 /19 59 Lun 18/ a1 6 /1 95 12/ 9 P ion 9/ 195 ee 4/ r4 9 10/ Ye -1A 195 26 9 /11 ( n L /19 o. un 15 5) 59 /4 a2 /19 Lu 19 60 /4 n a3 /19 25 Ab 60 /9 le /1 95 IV Ye 9 B -3 Ye (n o. -3 Ab 1) (n le o. VA 2)
MOONRAKING / START / 033
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Circumlunar ﬂight Lunar ﬂyby Lunar impact Lunar orbit Lunar rover Lunar sample return Lunar soft landing Manned orbit Manned orbit and lander
3 THE OTHER SIDE Launched in 1959, Luna 3 transmitted 17 grainy images back to Earth – the ﬁrst ever photos of the far side of the Moon.
A p o ll o
7K-L 1 (no. 13L )
4 RUSSIA RETIRES The fourth launch failure of the N1 rocket, which carried the 7K-LOK, ended hopes for future manned Soviet lunar missions.
Success Still in operation Conﬁrmed Proposed Rumoured Delayed
I N F O P O R N
THE BIONIC BRICK-BUILDER
Carlos Arturo Torres is helping child victims of landmines in Colombia – by turning their prosthetics into LEGO-compatible playsets
“In Colombia we’ve had violent conﬂict for 50 years. Our generation always has it on our minds”
PHOTOGRAPHY: BENEDICT EVANS
AN ARM AND A LEGO / START / 035
andmines laid in the war between the government and Farc guerrillas have blown away the limbs of thousands of Colombians, many of them children. Designer Carlos Arturo Torres wanted to help his compatriots, so he made the IKO Creative Prosthetic System: a bionic arm that’s LEGOcompatible. “My ambition is for every kid in the world to learn about robotics, to learn how to play and forget about disability,” says the 33-year-old. “When you introduce the IKO, the word ‘disability’ suddenly takes a different colour.” Torres (pictured right with the prosthesis) was interning at LEGO’s Future Lab in Denmark and studying for a master’s in design when he had the idea. “It started with the psychological needs of the children,” he says. “When you’re a kid, one of the most important things to nurture is not how to use a prosthetic, but how to communicate, how to interact.” The 3D-printed device, which is currently in testing at IDEO in Chicago, where Torres works, has a module that lets children attach the bionic hand and LEGO parts with a simple “push and lock” movement. At night, the battery-powered prosthetic recharges. “We wanted a charging station, because kids don’t actually have a place to put their prosthetic,” Torres says. “Kids don’t feel like it belongs to them when it’s just lying around.” Each IKO Creative Prosthetic System costs up to $5,000 (£3,500) to manufacture, which is a quarter of the typical price of similar prosthetics – but Torres hopes to bring the cost down even further. “The more you develop the product, the cheaper it gets,” he says. “Eventually we want to make it available to people without them having to pay for it.” Cara McGoogan carlosidea.com
0 3 6 / S T A R T / E A R LY A D O P T E R S / P U N C H Y D E S I G N
E A R LY A D O P T E R S
KATE HERSOV Co-founder Medikidz
LOUISE LEOLIN Managing director Dinobyte Labs
RODOLFO ROSINI Co-founder Weave.ai
“As a doctor, I like Kinsa Smart thermometers. These app-enabled devices track fever, symptoms, medications and notes so parents can easily share an accurate illness history with their GP. For the doctor, such innovations help us diagnose using data rather than relying on memory; for the parent, they make having a sick child just a little bit easier.” “One of my recent guilty pleasures has been the SNOW photo app. It’s the Korean equivalent to Snapchat, but with more functionality. The augmentedreality ﬁlters are so cute and at times bizarre; my favourite thing about the app is that you can download the videos or pictures directly to your phone or share them on other social media.” “Journalist John Markoff has written Machines of Loving Grace, the ultimate yarn about AI’s rich history. Markoff does a great job of taking the reader through its history and considering it’s largely about people working at a computer, it makes for an engaging read. It’s accessible even if you have no knowledge of AI. (Spoiler: there are a lot of self-driving cars.)” PB
LACE LOOM PUNCH CARDS These cards are punched out according to a design from MYB’s century-old archive of more than 70,000 patterns. It is then laced together to be fed into one of the three uncomputerised Nottingham looms (see 3). The holes allow a needle to carry a thread (called the weft) through to pick up one of the warp threads stretched underneath.
VAMATEX JACQUARD HARNESS The Italiandesigned Vamatex harness is attached to a traditional 100-year-old loom. It eliminates the need for punch cards with computer controlled needles allowing the designer to feed a CAD ﬁle straight to the loom for weaving. This is also capable of producing much greater quantities of lace – up to 850 metres per week.
NOTTINGHAM LACE LOOMS The damp weather of the Irvine Valley in Scotland, where MYB Textiles is based, provides the perfect climate for the punchcard-operated Nottingham looms. The cotton ﬁbres expand when moist and close up when dry, making for an easy, neat weave. The largest loom is 12.2 metres wide, but weaves at a much slower pace of just 50 metres a week.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROSS FRASER MCLEAN
A LOOMING PROBLEM SOLVED
WIRED visits a lacemaker who mixes antique machines with automation
FINISHED LACE MYB’s Nottingham lace is available in four degrees of quality: eight, ten, 12 or 14 vertical threads per 2.5cm, which determine the delicacy of the fabric and the
resolution of the pattern. After coming off the loom, all the newly made lace is sent for checking and hand repair of any missed threads or snags.
dvanced automation has killed off much of the UK’s industrial heritage, but at MYB Textiles it may just be its saviour. Based in Ayrshire, Scotland, the 100-year-old lacemaker is the only place left in the world working with traditional looms. Invented in 1801, these follow instructions held in a perforated card, with a hole telling the machine when to raise a thread. The problem: there’s no one left to program them. “It used to be that a draughtsman would draw the pattern, and then the puncher would punch it out by hand,” says operations director Simon Grant. For three of MYB Textiles Nottingham looms, the cards are now punched automatically by a computer-controlled machine at a rate of 30 an hour, but even this isn’t efficient enough for larger designs. “We had one tablecloth that required 80,000 punch cards. It took 24 hours just to hang all those on the machine,” Grant says. “Overall it took about six months.” The process wasn’t helped by the customer changing their mind several times. “We had to recut everything from scratch. That’s when we decided on a fully automated machine.” Rather than replacing the antique equipment with modern looms, it was adapted, adding a CAD-controlled head in place of punch cards. “It’s a 1900s machine with 21st-century technology.” Grant explains. “The design can be sent straight to the machine and its ready to go in under ten seconds.” KN mybtextiles.com
038 / START / SMART QUESTIONS
WHAT ETHICAL DEBATES SHOULD THE TECH INDUSTRY BE CONFRONTING? AURÉLIE POLS CHIEF VISIONARY OFFICER & CO-FOUNDER, MIND YOUR PRIVACY
“Ethical concerns will only be taken into consideration if it makes ﬁnancial sense. As the data market builds, are tech companies optimising for their own benefit or those of their clients? Companies should take responsibility for their role in the data ecosystem, making sure data flow vs responsibility are in equilibrium. My hope lies in the European General Data Protection Regulation, effective by 2018, which sets a baseline for compliance. If tech companies can help their clients make ethical decisions about their data uses, we are on the right track.” PB THE BIG QUESTION
“With the ability to sequence our DNA, we have become data – but what if we start creating a super race of humans or new species of plants and animals? Robots are beginning to take away jobs that require physical labour. But what about when knowledge-based jobs start disappearing? Will a robot be allowed to defend itself from an attacker – or its owner? Will we give them the right to vote?”
JAMES J HUGHES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR ETHICS AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
“If an inﬁrm senior refuses to take her pills, how coercive should her care-taking robot be? If your self-driving car is about to hit a child, should it drive you into a wall instead? We are barely clear about how to frame these moral questions for our fellow humans, much less how to program them into software. But ethics isn’t really the responsibility of the tech industry. It is a responsibility of citizens and governments.”
NAYEF AL-RODHAN SENIOR FELLOW & HEAD OF THE GEOPOLITICS AND GLOBAL FUTURES PROGRAMME, GENEVA CENTRE FOR SECURITY POLICY
“Tech developers should confront two questions: does the technology go against human dignity? Does it imperil humanity in the long run? If no ethical standards are put in place, a disproportionate amount of control is granted to AIs. Or take cognitive enhancement: left unchecked, it could lead humanity into the gradual loss of characteristics that make us ‘human’.”
JASON MILLAR LECTURER IN ROBOT ETHICS, PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT AT CARLETON UNIVERSITY IN OTTAWA, CANADA
“In order to interact socially with humans, robots and AIs will have to ‘know’ how to act ethically. How do we decide if a robot should ever deceive a human? In a co-operative robot-human interaction, how much control should we delegate to the robot? These questions will have profound impacts, yet remain unanswered. Getting it right will require ethics expertise in engineering and design.”
‘ IF YOUR SELF-DRIVING CAR IS ABOUT TO HIT A CHILD, SHOULD IT DRIVE YOU INTO A WALL? ’ JAMES J HUGHES
ILLUSTRATION: GUY SHIELD
VIVEK WADHWA DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, PRATT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, DUKE UNIVERSITY
040 / START / ROBO DIVER / SHOPPING FEED
WISH: TAKING ON AMAZON WITH CHINA’S SELLER POWER When ex-Google engineer Peter Szulczewski and ex-Yahoo! developer Danny Zhang launched an app called Wish in 2011, their aim was “to build the largest shopping mall on Earth”. They had both previously worked on tailoring ads to searchengine queries, but they believed the technology was being underused. “We thought: ‘Why don’t we take this big-datadriven approach and try it for a different thing?’” recalls Szulczewski, 34. The San Francisco-based startup now operates in 70 countries, with 1,000 employees and ofﬁces in Shanghai and Lisbon, and six million shoppers use the app every day. Wish looks like eBay crossed with Instagram: a continuous feed of products that can be bought or saved to a wish list. “When you shop on a computer, you type what you are looking for. On the phone, people don’t want that much typing, you want to be quick,” explains
Six million daily shoppers are now using an ex-Googler’s retail app Szulczewski. “Wish is like walking through a shopping mall.” Unlike in a mall, however, Wish’s users shop directly from the manufacturers. “There’s no middleman,” says Szulczewski. Apart from Wish itself, that is, which gets a 15 per cent cut on transactions between shoppers and 150,000 – mostly Chinabased – merchants. This huge seller base helps keep prices down, with some items being discounted up to 90 per cent of their retail price. The app’s algorithms encourage reductions, says Szulczewski: “We tell merchants that the lower they’ll go on price, the more people will see their stuff.” Next on Wish’s to-do list: reducing sometimes weekslong shipping times and adding a premium priority delivery. The likelihood of being snapped up by Amazon, as rumoured in 2015, is dismissed “We’ll just focus on what we’re building,” says Szulczewski. “The objective now is to stay independent.” Gian Volpicelli wish.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: FREDERIC OSADA AND TEDDY SEGUIN/DRASSM. ILLUSTRATION: GIOVANNA GIULIANO
YOUR DROID DIVE BUDDY OceanOne can handle the pressure of 100-metredeep ocean excursions
HIS ROBOT DIVES TO DEPTHS HUMANS DARE NOT attempt – and it can bring people along for the ride without them getting wet. The Stanford-built OceanOne is ﬁlled with compressible oil to offset the crushing pressures experienced when 100 metres underwater, and AI-assisted navigation steers it clear of obstacles. Its operators remain on land, observing on screen everything the robot captures, using joysticks to drive it and guiding its hands through a feedback mechanism that relays tactile sensations. “It’s impossible to let a robot act alone in such an environment: it will fail,” says Professor Oussama Khatib, OceanOne’s creator. “The only way you can guarantee success is connecting a worker through a haptic device to the robot. You’re transmitting your goals to the robot, and the robot will touch and transmit exactly the same feelings back to your ﬁngers. Virtually, it’s as if you’re diving there.” The 180kg OceanOne is propelled by eight battery-powered thrusters, although an electric tether provides energy during longer trips. Its hands are geared with pressure sensors sending haptic feedback back to the claw-like rigs used to manoeuvre them. Other sensors provide real-time environmental data. Initially conceived for exploring the Red Sea’s coral reef, the 1.5-metre-long OceanOne ended up making its maiden voyage on an underwater archaeology mission: during a two-hour expedition in April, it reached a Louis XIV-era French warship 100 metres below the Mediterranean Sea and recovered a vase from the wreck. But Khatib believes OceanOne could be used for more than just treasure hunting. “It can use tools, it can ﬁx underwater pipes,” he explains. “It is valuable for companies that are building structures underwater but cannot send people there.” GV cs.stanford.edu
042 / START / PANEL-BEATER
PHOTOGRAPHY: DAVID VINTINER
ENRY SNAITH CLAIMS HE
can boost the efficiency of commercial silicon solar panels by almost a third. Even better: he says he can do it for £1 per metre. The trick? A University of Oxford spinoff has found a way to increase Applying a thin film of a the efficiency of solar panels, using a sprinkling of perovskite crystalline structure called perovskite. “The best available silicon modules are still around 22 per cent efficient Snaith aims to have the panels and cost around $85 [£60] per metre,” explains Snaith (above), a physics professor at the University of Oxford. “This would increase the cost by available in three years through his company, Oxford Photovoltaics. just ten per cent for an increased output of up to 30 per cent.” Snaith has worked to increase the standalone efficiency of perovskite Founded in 2010, it is developing a from four per cent to 20 per cent, the fastest ever efficiency increase in production line with a £12.6 million solar technology since its photovoltaic properties were ﬁrst tested in funding round in 2015. The end goal, 2009. The strength of perovskite is that its band gap – the range of the however, is to get rid of silicon panels spectrum from which it absorbs energy – is adjustable, unlike the band completely. “Perovskite is a better gap of silicon, which is ﬁxed at one electron volt. “This is the same as material,” Snaith explains. “You need infrared, so all the excess energy from the light that’s at a higher only half a micron of perovskite instead energy is lost,” explains Snaith, 38. By tuning the lab-grown perovskite of 200 microns of silicon. It’s easier to crystals to a higher band gap for visible light and combining it with a process, and it should be more efficient. silicon panel for infrared, Snaith’s two-part solar cell splits the spectrum We’re close to a tipping point where to absorb more energy. Such multi-bandwidth cells have been produced conventional power becomes not just before, but the prohibitive cost of manufacture has restricted their un-environmental, but economically unfeasible.” KN oxfordpv.com use to small-scale, high-value applications such as aerospace.
On November 9, we will announce the winners of the 2016 WIRED Audi Innovation Awards in seven categories. Here are the nominees for Most Exciting Moonshot and Innovation in Experience Design
Moonshots don’t need to entail spaceflight. We asked our judges to identify the boldest businesses and individuals as they rip up the rule book to create a better world
crisis, cutting road deaths or halting global warming. Second, a moonshot should not settle for half-baked measures: it has to provide a “radical solution” that can do away with the problem for good. The last criterion, Teller explained, is the reasonable expectation that technology can actually solve the problem. Moonshots should be as much about pragmatism as they are about dreaming. It is easy to see how Teller was just codifying what has, in some ways, always been the spirit of innovation: aim big, be inventive, get things done. In the UK, that spirit is alive and well in innumerable companies, universities and initiatives that are aware of technology’s potential to sort out monumental challenges. British research labs are developing robotic frameworks to help tetraplegic patients walk again, or genetically engineering mosquitoes to eradicate malaria in Africa. Private initiatives are aiming to make the internet more accessible and inclusive, while governmental organisations appear committed to putting ﬂeets of self-driving vehicles on our cities’ streets. In all these cases, the will to dare and to make a difference trumps aversion to failure and the singleminded pursuit of a fat bottom line. The planet needs this kind of bravery. Which is why we’re celebrating audacious British ventures with the Most Exciting Moonshot award. As these are intended to change the world, this category is the only one whose winner will be decided by public vote. To take part, visit wired.uk/moonshot
W I R E D A U D I I N N O VAT I O N AWA R D S
CATEGORY 2: MOST EXCITING MOONSHOT The ﬁrst moonshot was announced to the US Congress in May 1961. Newly elected President John F Kennedy explained to legislators that if it was to win the hearts and minds of the world in the face of the Soviet Union’s technical achievements, America must land a man on the Moon. Over 40 years after Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moonwalk, Google repurposed the term “moonshot”. Google pursues its metaphorical moonshots in its semi-secret facility, X. Since 2010,
under “Captain of Moonshots” Astro Teller, X has been developing bold projects, from self-driving cars to Google Glass, aerial wind turbines and Project Loon – which aims to bring internet access to remote regions using helium balloons. In February 2016, Teller laid out the principles of the philosophy. A moonshot, he said, should be ﬁrstly about solving “a huge problem in the world that affects many millions of people.” That could cover solving the energy
With special input from:
The chief engineer of the Bloodhound SSC aims to propel its car to a recordbreaking 1,600kph.
The chief executive of Future Cities Catapult wants to improve urban life with better design.
Head of policy for techUK, Holloway works to develop policy to aid progress in tech.
Veloso is professor in computer science & robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, Boston.
Biotech specialist Minger focuses on cellular sciences and regenerative medicines.
David Orban Entrepreneur, investor & author David Wood Software engineer & founder, Symbian operating system Luke Robert Mason Author & director, Digital Futures
ILLUSTRATION: TOMMY PARKER
The not-for-proﬁt global research group aims to develop and share technology to reduce African mosquito numbers and therefore lower malaria cases. Target Malaria is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Reaction Engines is developing hardware to take man to Mach 5. Its SABRE aerospace engine has had successful ground tests and is planned to be used in Reaction Engines’ SKYLON – a plane to ﬂy into orbit and back.
Often cited as the ﬁrm closest to producing true AI, London-based DeepMind was acquired in 2016 by Google for £400 million. Its deep learning software has mastered Atari gaming and beaten human Go master Lee Sedol. But what’s next?
Novosang is making billions of red blood cells in a laboratory in Glasgow. It aims to scale up to alleviate the supply deﬁcit of blood for transfusions. The project has received more than £12 million of funding to date.
Hybrid Air Vehicles
100,000 Genome Project
HAV’s hybrid aircraft use a combination of aerodynamics and lighter-thanair technology to generate lift. This could allow its vehicles to efﬁciently stay aloft for weeks.
With this project Genomics England aims to sequence 100,000 genomes from 70,000 participants, such as NHS patients with a rare and infectious disease, plus their families and loved ones.
Open Bionics is developing affordable and open source 3D-printed bionic hands for amputees. It’s also made headlines for drawing inspiration from popular culture – such as Star Wars and The Avengers – to turn amputee children into their favourite superheroes.
what3words is a giant grid of 57 trillion 3m squares that cover the entire globe. It produces a unique combination of three words to identify every 3m2 on the planet. The startup aims to solve multiple problems that stem from poor global addressing and badly mapped rural locations.
WIRED / AUDI PROMOTION
# W I R E D A U D I AWA R D S
QUATTRO’S MISSION TO THE MOON oonshot needn’t always denote an actual Moon landing. But in 2017, Audi is boldly going where few have gone before – the nearest neighbour in our Solar System. Partnered with a group of German engineers called Part-Time Scientists, Audi is entering the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Audi will be lending its technological prowess and years of experience with all-wheel drive – quattro – to assist the team in building its lunar rover. “This is actually the pioneering spirit that has always set Audi apart,” says Michael Schöffman, director of transmission development at Audi, who is assisting Part-Time Scientists. “I think this is why this project is one we can identify with very well.” Designed to stimulate innovation in low-cost space exploration, the Lunar XPRIZE purse is $30 million. To win, a privately funded team must place a robot on the Moon’s surface, explore at least 500 metres, and transmit HD video and images back to Earth. The target site is 384,400 kilometres away, north of the Moon’s equator, close to the 1972 landing area of Apollo 17 – the last manned mission to the Moon.
Audi lunar quattro team lead, Robert Böhme, 29, is philosophical about the challenge. “It is good to have something that is greater than yourself,” he says. “It helps you to grow.” The Germany-based Part-Time Scientists developed and tested the aluminium lunar vehicle in the Austrian Alps and Tenerife. For power, the rover uses a solar panel to capture sunlight. The electricity is then fed to a lithium-ion battery that powers the four wheel-hub motors.
The rover must travel 384,400km to the surface of the Moon, before exploring 500m of the lunar surface.
The ﬁrst of the remaining 16 teams to complete the challenge will win a share of the $30 million prize fund.
Lunar XPRIZE must be completed by December 31, 2017. There are currently 16 teams in contention.
The rover’s maximum speed will be 3.6kph (2.2mph). On the Moon, stability and control trump pace.
Part-Time Scientists have already picked up the Mobility Prize and the Imaging Prize.
That power will translate to the rover having an expected maximum speed of 3.6kph (2.2mph) – but its ability to scale the Moon’s terrain is far more important than speed. Control and stability are needed to ensure the safety of the swivelling head at the front of the vehicle, which carries two stereoscopic video cameras and an additional photographic system. The team consists of 35 core members, including mathematicians, physicists and space enthusiasts. A notable contributor is Jack Crenshaw, 80, an ex-Nasa scientist who worked on ﬂight paths for the Apollo missions.
‘With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward.’ Robert Böhme, team lead, Part-Time Scientists
This Moon landing mission, which will take ﬁve days, must be completed by December 31, 2017. But Part-Time Scientists aren’t the only team chasing the prize. There are 16 teams in the competition, from countries including India, Israel, Japan, the US and Mexico. “With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward with its technological and mobility capabilities,” says Böhme. “We look forward to future interaction and a fruitful partnership.” The space race is very much alive. For more info, visit wired.co.uk/ wired-audi-innovation-awards
Experience design will soon touch every aspect of our lives – from how we control our smart cars and homes, to the ways in which we communicate. We select the most promising visions
W I R E D A U D I I N N O VAT I O N AWA R D S
CATEGORY 3: INNOVATION IN EXPERIENCE DESIGN technology could enhance ﬁelds from communication and education to shopping and advertising. Some British companies have already shown how virtual reality could signiﬁcantly innovate storytelling in gaming and in the movie industry; create new social experiences; transform the way we think about theatrical productions; and become an entirely new method of receiving training in complex disciplines such as anatomy and surgery.
Nelly Ben Hayoun
Stuart heads up Visualise, a VR agency delivering ground-breaking virtual reality.
A 2015 WIRED Innovation Fellow and the founder of the International Space Orchestra.
Pursey runs Flying Object, a creative agency for videos, installations and interactive work.
Obrist lectures on interactive design at the University of Sussex.
Jones pioneers 360° journalism and immersive storytelling using VR platforms. ILLUSTRATION: SPENCER WILSON
One consequence of living in a digital era is that design is no longer solely the preserve of the physical realm. Immaterial objects – from apps to interfaces, video games and websites – have become a thriving space for designers to show their creative ﬂair and technical ability. D e s i g n t re n d s, s u c h a s t h e windows-based user interfaces of PCs or Apple’s rejection of skeuomorphism, have deﬁned the aesthetics of our digital lives and shaped our experiences of work and play. More recently, the design sector has been playing with newer tools: virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) – technologies that herald entirely new encounters and, potentially, new worlds. In the case of VR, 2016 seems destined to be a seminal year. The consumer market is being ﬂooded with prototype and plug-and-play VR headsets, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive, PlayStation VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Unsurprisingly then, companies, institutions and individuals have started exploring how the
#WiredAudiAwards THE NOMINEES
With special input from: Samantha Kingston Co-founder, Virtual Umbrella Mike McGee Co-founder & CCO, Framestore Marisol Grandon Head of digital team, gov.uk
And it is increasingly clear how VR and AR are about more than just novelty or visual pyrotechnics – they are about experience, feelings and emotions. As one of the nominating judges, CEO and co-founder of Visualise, Henry Stuart, puts it: “VR has an immense ability to connect emotionally with its viewer.” Similarly, Samantha Kingston, co-founder of Virtual Umbrella, says that some VR experiences can even “challenge your moral perception”. Granted, we have a way to go before these tools are adopted en masse. VR headsets are still expensive and
technically imperfect, with limited polished products and apps. But WIRED likes to acknowledge the achievements that will become the harbingers of the future. That is why our third category in the WIRED Audi Innovation Awards is dedicated to Innovation in Experience Design – with a particular focus on the ﬁelds of VR and AR. We want to celebrate the companies, individuals and institutions that are using technology to change the way we all experience the world – whether in meatspace or the new versions of reality.
Marshmallow Laser Feast
Breaking Fourth creates VR dramas and immersive theatre productions, in which the barrier between the audience and stage is removed. Its debut, Ctrl, launched in July at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
MLF uses digital visual tools to create art installations and commercial projects, including for VR education, and a visual software that predicts ageing. Its clients include Saatchi & Saatchi and McLaren.
what3words produces a unique combination of three words to identify every 3m2 on the planet. The startup aims to solve multiple problems that stem from poor global addressing and badly mapped rural locations.
A science-ﬁction artist, ﬁlmmaker and body architect, Lucy McRae’s recent projects include The Astronaut Aerobics Institute – a ﬁctional futuristic day spa prepping the human body for space travel.
Founded by Ed Barton, Curiscope is democratising augmented- and virtual-reality experiences, and making education more interactive with its VirtualiTee biology app. The app was ﬁrst funded on Kickstarter.
Using ultrasound, Ultrahaptics is able to create tactile sensations in mid-air. Without needing gloves or attachments, tactile feelings are projected on to users’ hands, enabling touch-free control systems.
Digital studio ustwo develops games and apps, such as Monument Valley and Land’s End, and technical platforms like Wayﬁndr – an audio navigation system for partially sighted and blind people. Other projects include music discovery platform DICE, and thought journal Moodnotes.
Founded by Rachel Wingﬁeld and Mathias Gmachl, the collaborative design lab creates immersive works, such as a horticultural spa and a public dome from which to view a projection of the cosmos. Clients include Paul McCartney, EDF, Swarovski, and TED.
WIRED / AUDI PROMOTION
Clarity of information is rarely more important than when you’re behind the wheel. Audi aims to keep the driver informed and safe – as well as comfortable s you ease yourself into the driving seat of a new Audi, you’re greeted with clean lines, quality materials and, in an increasing number of cases, a “virtual world”. Six of the latest Audi models are available with the virtual cockpit, which eschews traditional analogue dials, replacing them with a series of versatile, fully digitally rendered displays. Behind the steering wheel, a 12.3inch TFT monitor, with a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels, displays detailed graphics. Refreshed 60 times per second, the virtual needles move smoothly and precisely. Such a screen allows multiple information forms – from navigation tools to infotainment content – to be presented in one place. The menu colour scheme updates depending on which area of the system the driver is using. The media menu, for example, glows orange, whereas green is used for the phone menu. At the lower edge are permanent displays of outside temperature, time of day and odometer readings – as well as any warning symbols. The driver can enter characters on the large touchpad or perform multi-ﬁnger gestures to zoom in on
# W I R E D A U D I AWA R D S
INSIDE THE VIRTUAL COCKPIT the map, for example. The system provides acoustic and haptic feedback to accentuate each command. Using the system is as intuitive as using a smartphone, thanks to ﬂat menu hierarchies and free text search. Drivers don’t even need to physically enter commands in some cases – the natural-voice control system understands numerous expressions from everyday speech. The virtual cockpit is designed to be an attractive and ergonomic system. Of course, the safest place for a driver’s focus is on the road, which is why a head-up display can be speciﬁed on the majority of the Audi range. This projects information on to the windscreen in easy-to-read symbols and digits.
The information appears to hover around two metres (6.6ft) in front of the driver, so they can register the information extremely quickly – there’s no need to switch from the accustomed long-range vision. Take a new Audi for a test drive and you may find that the future is right before your eyes. This truly is Vorsprung durch Technik – or “advancement through technology” – in its most illuminating form. Find out more at audi.co.uk
IN THE DRIVING SEAT
Easily manage incar entertainment and access musicstreaming services including Spotify and Napster.
Call up a revcounter ﬂanked by lap timers and a g-sensor in higher performance Audi models.
Spread the navigation map right across the centre console to contextualise your route.
BRAIN FOOD & PROVOCATIONS / EDITED BY JOÃO MEDEIROS / 051
R O B E R T C O LV I L E
HERE’S A COOL NEW SOCIAL NETWORK: LONDON
ILLUSTRATION: VAHRAM MURADYAN
O ne of the fundamental rules of human behaviour is that the larger the community, the faster people move. A child brought up in a city will race around a supermarket more than twice as fast as his cousin from a small town. Cities are places of greater speed and less patience. But there’s more to them than that. Just as the pace of our lives scales up alongside the size of our community, so do levels of innovation, productivity and income. This process, according to the British physicist Geoffrey West, obeys a simple law. The increase in social interactions – we are moving more quickly and bumping into each other more frequently – results in the size of a city’s economy rising more rapidly than its population. Put someone in a city twice as large as their hometown, and they become 15 per cent more productive. Economies of scale mean they will do so at less of an environmental cost: when a city doubles in size, its use of resources rises by only 85 per cent.
Robert Colvile is the author of The Great Acceleration: How the World is Getting Faster, Faster (Bloomsbury)
It’s not all good news: the fact that we’re more social in large numbers also means that we commit more crimes, contract more diseases and so on. But by and large, this process is a very good thing. And the cycle feeds on itself: larger cities require more bodies and more innovation to keep the system running, pulling more and more people into the accelerated lifestyle. This process helps explain why places such as London develop their massive advantage over their hinterland: they are so buzzy and creative and exciting that to move to the country, or even to a smaller city, slows your life down. Leaving the “rat race” may work for some – but for others, it is intolerable. The power of cities also matters for humanity’s future. As PD Smith writes in his book City, “unless there is some unforeseen global catastrophe, the 21st century looks set to experience the greatest ﬂowering of urban civilisation in human history”. By 2050, it is expected that more than six billion people – or between two thirds and three quarters of the planet’s inhabitants – will be urbanites. This will be a world not just of cities, but of mega-cities. We can already see the bones of the urban superstructures emerging, as Rio gropes its way towards São Paulo; Mexico City swells to consume the centre of its nation; or China’s eastern seaboard becomes one long stream of glittering lights. And this is, by and large, fantastic news. Cities are the places where we can gain access to the speed we crave, to hyperlocal delivery and hyperfast broadband and, more importantly, to jobs and opportunity. The greatest impact will be felt in the east. Today, there are 28 cities with a population of more than ten million people. By 2030, the UN predicts that there will be 41 – and more than half of them will be in Asia. In India, as ambition pulls and poverty pushes, urban populations will almost double over the next 20 years, with some 240
million people moving from country to city. China recently announced a plan to build another mega-city around Beijing, containing a third as many people as in the entire United States. In just a decade’s time, China will have 221 cities of more than a million people. There are only 35 such cities in the EU today. The nightmare scenario – which appears to be happening in parts of Africa – is that this great process of urbanisation outpaces economic growth, with many of the new arrivals dumped in slums and shanty towns. Yet a more optimistic vision, given the rapid economic progress of recent decades, is of a world of Londons or New Yorks – great cosmopolitan cities in which members of the new global middle class can work and play and collide. This also suggests that fears over the death of innovation, a topic which economists have been fretting about, may well be overblown. Perhaps it is getting harder to come up with new ideas. But there will be millions – billions – more people doing the thinking, as the ranks of the educated urban middle classes swell and swell. From Charles Dickens’s Victorian sweatshops to the tower blocks of JG Ballard’s High-Rise, we’ve been conditioned to think of cities as frightening, impersonal places. But actually, they’re where we get to be our best selves – to come up with more ideas, to make more money and to have more fun. That’s also what makes them the dynamos that will not just entrench the acceleration of our lives, but push it further on.
F or the last three years, I’ve been on a mission. Usually, scientists are on the hunt to extend the boundaries of knowledge and discover the next big thing: gravitational waves; a new fundamental particle; a new species of animal. But I’ve been on a different quest. I’m on the search for the things we cannot know. Not the things we don’t know now, but to see if there are any questions in science that by their very nature we will never be able to answer one way or the other. Perhaps there aren’t any. Perhaps it is possible for us to know it all. Or does science have its known unknowns? It’s always dangerous in science to say you’ll never know something. For most scientists, saying something is impossible is like a red rag to a bull. The history of science is stuffed full of tales of people who’ve claimed we’ve hit the boundaries of knowledge – only for the next generation to smash the glass ceiling erected by their predecessors. Take the statement made by French philosopher Auguste Comte in 1835 about stars: “We shall never be able to study, by any method, their chemical composition or their mineralogical structure.” Fair enough, given that you’d think that this knowledge would depend on visiting the star. What Comte hadn’t factored in was the possibility that the star could visit us – or at least photons of light emitted by it could bring us knowledge of the chemical make-up of stars. A few decades after Comte’s prophecy, scientists had determined the chemical composition of our own star, the Sun, by analysing its light spectrum. In 1900, Lord Kelvin, regarded by many as one of the greatest scientists of his age, believed his peers knew it all: “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now,” he announced. “All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” American physicist Albert Abraham Michelson concurred. He too thought the future of science would simply consist of adding a few decimal places to the results already
M A R C U S D U S AU T O Y
KNOWING SOME THINGS ARE UNKNOWABLE ISN’T A KNOWN CERTAINTY
Marcus du Sautoy is professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford and the author of What We Cannot Know (Fourth Estate)
obtained. “The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered… Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.” Five years later, Einstein announced his extraordinary new conception of time and space, followed soon after by the revelations of quantum physics. Kelvin and Michelson couldn’t have been more wrong about how much new physics there was still to discover. So isn’t it crazy to go out on a limb and risk identifying things that we’ll never know? And yet in my own subject of mathematics, one of the greatest breakthroughs of the twentieth century was Kurt Gödel’s proof that within any mathematical framework there will be true statements that you cannot prove are true within that system. So perhaps I can use the same strategy to prove that there are things in science we can never know? Here’s a question that at ﬁrst sight appears unknowable: is the Universe inﬁnite? Because the speed of light is ﬁnite and information travels no faster than the speed of light, and because the Universe has only been going for 13.8 billion years, there is a bubble surrounding the Earth beyond which we can receive no information. It’s
like we’re living in our own version of The Truman Show, with no possibility of knowing whether or not there is a celestial film crew on the other side of the bubble, looking in on us. So if the Universe is inﬁnite, how could we ever get any information beyond this boundary to let us know? And yet mathematics has been incredibly effective at allowing us to explore the infinite. We know that if we write the square root of two as a decimal, then it goes on to infinity, never repeating itself. We have never written down this number, but we know it goes on to inﬁnity. Perhaps we can prove the same thing about the Universe even without ever being able to go there. Perhaps a ﬁnite Universe just contradicts any model we might propose for the physical laws obeyed by nature. Mathematics is probably our most powerful telescope for looking deep into the night sky. So if we could possibly answer such a seemingly unknowable question, might it be possible to know it all? Are quarks the last layer as we divide matter? Will we understand what makes a network of neurons conscious? What happened before the Big Bang? In some ways it would be absolutely extraordinary if we could know it all. The Universe is not constructed for our convenience. It’s not an exercise in the philosophy of science. Maybe the only thing we can really be sure that we’ll never know, is what it is we’ll never know.
IN THE KNOW / DIGITAL DOCTORS / IDEAS BANK / 053
ILLUSTRATION: LIAM STEVENS; SERGIO MEMBRILLAS
T oday’s smartphones increasingly resemble the handheld medical scanners of a science-ﬁction future. But as our always-on devices transform medicine, we need to look to the past as well, ensuring that technology companies abide by the 2,000-year-old-dictum that binds doctors: ﬁrst, do no harm. More than 110 million wearable sensors were sold worldwide in 2015. Fitbits, heart rate monitors and smartphone apps not only count our steps and track our workouts, but also have the potential to produce “digital biomarkers” – indicators of medical conditions or symptoms. These digital traces of our daily activities could one day become warning signals of nascent health issues. Our web browser history could alert psychologists to a pending manic episode. Activity monitor location data may one day help diagnose mobility disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. What we do (or don’t do) on our smartphones might facilitate early detection of dementia or cognitive decline. The research emerging shows us real ways in which smartphones and other devices may one day improve our health. Unlike health information collected and provided to healthcare professionals, the consumer digital data on ﬁtness or health gathered by tech companies enjoys practically no protection. Virtually no policies, laws or procedures protect user privacy or guarantee users access to this information. This presents two parallel challenges: we need to protect data from those who want to hurt us, and to access data ourselves when we need it. All of these issues have the same principle at stake: people whose bodies generate health data should have power over how it is used. The risks of discrimination are self-evident. But the rights of consumers to control their own information are perhaps more important. Currently, most of us haven’t the foggiest idea what health information could be
WHEN YOUR PHONE IS YOUR DOCTOR, WHO OWNS THE DIAGNOSIS?
Gina Neff is co-author of Self-Tracking (MIT Press)
detected from our data. Will we be able to access such data when we need it? Doctors are now required to share medical records with their patients. Doctors may be medical experts, but patients are often experts in their own everyday experience, and together they make informed choices. But the same does not hold true for the informationtechnology companies that claim to be designing solutions for our health. As more new technologies and data analysis techniques become available, we should ensure that we have access to our own digital health information, whether it is collected from a consumer device such as a smartphone or a medical device like a deﬁbrillator. Today, we participate in our own diagnoses. We decide what symptoms to discuss with our doctors and which medical tests to get. We should also be allowed to participate in the decisions when digital health data about us is generated, collected or analysed. When we have control over our own healthrelated digital data, it changes how we can ask questions, involve others in our care and understand what information about us is being used – and who else is using it. Patients and consumers should not have to make trade-offs between using new technology to
improve their health and protecting themselves from active discrimination based on their data. Stopping data collection and research on the potential health beneﬁts of mobile device data is not the solution. The public health benefits are worth fighting for. The ability to diagnose and treat diseases using digital biomarkers will rapidly improve. Already, key examples show the phenomenal things that can happen when people have access to their own data: new kinds of potentially life-saving displays for blood glucose data such as the Nightscout project provides; new kinds of questions, hypotheses and self-experiments as Quantiﬁed Self meetups provide; and even new ways of expressing artistic or aesthetic values through our data as in the work of artists such as Laurie Frick and Stephen Cartwright. Some technology companies argue that mandating consumer control of data will have a chilling effect on their business models or their proprietary company information. But public health beneﬁts are potentially too high. We have always held health devices to a high standard for privacy and efficacy, and that should not stop now. Now we need to ensure that the technology companies do the same.
054 / IDEAS BANK / SMARTER GRIDS
D O N TA P S C O T T A N D A L E X TA P S C O T T
I n the not-too-distant future, billions of smart things in the physical world will likely be sensing, responding, communicating and sharing data. Generating, buying and selling their own electricity. Doing everything from protecting our environment to charging our homes and managing our health. Cities and regions will be profoundly transformed by this revolution, as everything from public transit systems, healthcare and power generation stands to be disrupted. This “internet of everything” could do with a “ledger of everything”, powered by the blockchain. The blockchain is the ingeniously simple protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure, peer-to-peer, instant and frictionless. How? By distributing trust from powerful intermediaries to a large global network which, through mass collaboration, clever code and cryptography, enables a tamper-proof public ledger of value. Though it’s the technology that drives bitcoin and other digital currencies, the underlying framework has the potential to go far beyond these and record virtually everything of value to humankind, from birth and death certificates to insurance claims and even votes. The ﬁrst generation of the internet created a new medium for information. The blockchain is the new medium for value and it turns out every business, institution, government and individual can beneﬁt in profound ways.
How might this affect, say, the energy grid? Most homeowners, businesses, governments and other organisations in urban areas get their power from regulated utilities at regulated prices. We have more variety in locally generated renewable energy from, for example, solar panels. The local utility captures excess power in its supply for redistribution at wholesale rates, often with considerable leakage. Yet the consumer, who may be located across the street from a local power source, still must go through the utility and pay full retail for renewable energy generated by their neighbour. Instead, imagine each household that has the ability to generate and store electricity can enter into peer-to-peer transactions with neighbours, or sell at market rate back into the grid. Millions of homes could become autonomous agents, contracting power automatically with the highest bidder. Blockchain technology is critical to all of this. With potentially millions of distributed power sources, the system needs to continuously track everything, including the ability to authenticate each node in the network, to ensure its reliability. Power generation is one of dozens of ways cities will be transformed by blockchain technology and the internet of things. Transportation is one of the largest expenses municipalities must incur to maintain healthy, liveable cities. Each kilometre of subway track or light rail requires thousands of man-hours, costs millions (sometimes billions) of pounds, and can cause huge disruption to daily life. Yet, consider that most cars sit idly in garages, driveways and on the street, when they could be put to better use as an affordable transportation option for commuters. How can that excess capacity be put to work and what role will the blockchain play? Let’s say that in a near future, most people don’t own cars, but rather share autonomous vehicles in a commons. Imagine a driver who, rather than taking traditional public transport or using
Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott wrote Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business and the World (Penguin Portfolio)
“so-called” sharing economy services like Uber (which really have nothing to do with sharing at all), instead logs on to SUber (think blockchain Super Uber) to order a car. All the available vehicles in her area start automatically posting offers, which her node in the network automatically ranks and presents to her, based on the selection criteria. She factors in how much she’s willing to pay for faster routes (eg, higher-priced toll lanes) and contracts with a car that meets her needs. That same car might pick up 100 fares a day at rates competitive to most public transportation options. What is striking about this proposed model is not the driverless vehicles – they will be commonplace probably sooner rather than later. Rather, the cars could be fully autonomous agents that earn their own fares, pay for their own fuel and repair, get their own auto insurance, negotiate liability in collisions and operate (“drive”) without human control, except when they need to take some entity – maybe a human being – to court. Where the internet reduced the costs of search and co-ordination, the blockchain will enable us to cut the costs of bargaining, contracting, policing and enforcing these contracts. We’ll be able to negotiate the best deal and get the promised delivery from any other entity, including a driverless taxi. Not only will this disrupt the business model of Uber, it will also force us to rethink how we plan for our cities.
ILLUSTRATION: TOMMY PARKER
SORRY, UBER, THE BLOCKCHAIN IS A STEP AHEAD OF YOU
ACCENTURE / WIRED PARTNERSHIP
ACCENTURE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PHOTOGRAPHY CHARLIE SURBEY
IN EARLY SUMMER, WIRED AND ACCENTURE GATHERED GUESTS TO DISCUSS HOW AI WILL IMPACTTHEIR BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS
London is pioneering the use of Artiﬁcialintelligence(AI).Enﬁeldcouncil has a robot answering its customer service calls; Moorﬁelds Eye Hospital is exploring using machine learning to scan for vision defects; and London AI ﬁrm Magic Pony was in June acquired by Twitter for $150 million. These are just some of the reasons WIRED and Accenture co-hosted a VIP event in the city to discuss how other companies are seeking to utilise such technology.
Above: Arabel Bailey, MD of Accenture Digital UK
The sixth in this series of events, the eveningwasheldinHackneycoworking space Second Home, starting with networking and a tech exhibition. Later, the 18 attendees moved into a lengthy dinner discussion chaired by WIRED editor David Rowan, with Arabel Bailey (above), MD of Accenture Digital UK, helping to quiz attendees on how AI is impacting their respective sectors. “AI is fuelling vibrant discussion,” said Bailey, “as it will fundamentally transform how we live, work and play. As it all becomes more real, this is a rich and intensifying area of debate.” One guest hinted at the Enfield case, explaining how the technology will continue to effect “the changing role of customer service management platforms,” by dealing with consumers directly via chat and social media. For others, AI will play a key role in education, via digital platforms. “A lot of the exploratory work we’re doing right now is in how AI transforms the relationship that educators have
with their students – and how we can understand the needs of a learner,” said one attendee, whose work bridges digital education and publishing. The exhibition, curated by WIRED contributor Lucy Johnston, showcased London AI ﬁrm DigitalGenius, smart search app Weave.ai and machinelearning business tool Seldon. Accenture contributed its Robotic Mortgage Adviser. Human financial advisers are costly to train and recruit, so using a form of AI to provide robust mortgage advice and considered recommendations could soon be a boon to banks. Meanwhile, musicwriting startup Jukedeck, and Snips – a secure personal assistant – provided examples of how artificial intelligence and machine learning can help individuals tackle complex tasks. You’re going to hear a lot more about the power of AI in the coming months. And, if your business doesn’t take notice, it may swallow your sector. See accenture.com/technologyvision
RETHINKING GLOBAL FINANCE THE SECOND IN OUR SERIES ON IBM WATSON EXAMINES HOW BANKING, INSURANCE AND TRADING INSTITUTIONS – AND THEIR CUSTOMERS – CAN BENEFIT FROM COGNITIVE COMPUTING WIRED.CO.UK/IBM-COGNITIVE-INSIGHT
t IBM, computer scientists have developed a cognitive intelligence system known as IBM Watson™. It’s being applied to multiple sectors, from health, education and security to banking and ﬁnance. But unlike the algorithmic AIs previously used in ﬁnancial
markets, which simply leverage computer speed without understanding, the Watson cognitive system absorbs human learning to support human processes. “Finance is not a closed system,” says David Robson, Watson Director of Financial Services in Europe. “It’s affected by world events, by national legislation, even by the emotions of the people involved. It needs a system that can learn and understand.” To be able to talk usefully with customers and ﬁnance workers, Watson ﬁrst has to understand – which it does by reading potentially millions of pages of text in seconds. Interacting with humans – through a dedicated training process and then in the real world – provides Watson with a growing understanding of what this mass of information means, and how it relates. And so Watson learns how to deliver better answers.
THE COGNITIVE APPROACH When many banking customers are looking for preliminary information they ask their bank a question. Responding in a chat window or by email (or on an automated phone system using speech-to-text software), Watson applies a series of processes to ensure the best outcome. Combining its Natural Language Classifier Service, Dialogue Service, Retrieve and Rank function, and Tone Analyser – along with its understanding of banking – Watson can draw out more information by asking and answering questions. GROWING EXPERIENCE Watson is distinguished by its ability to understand, reason and learn – so as answering ﬁnance-speciﬁc questions draws on a huge dataset, more data can be added to create a more ﬂexible, powerful and useful set of services. Watson Explorer is also able to analyse content and create reports. Using Watson Explorer, the New Zealandbased subsidiary of Westpac offers customers their entire banking life on a single screen of their mobile app, Westpac One. “The implementation wasn’t a traditional ‘buy and install’,” explains Jason Millett, who served as CIO when Westpac One was created. “Instead, it was set up as a service, with the Watson engine delivering the critical functionality – ingesting 84 months of data and presenting it at sub-second speeds.” CONNECTING THE DOTS Watson’s ability to read vast amounts of medical literature has created a promising source of treatment-planning support for doctors. But because Watson is cloud-based, it can apply this knowledge to areas such as reinsurance, to improve the accuracy of underwriting and risk assessment. COGNITIVE FOCUS: SWISS RE Rainer Baumann, Head Shared Information Service, Managing Director, at the insurance and reinsurance giant Swiss Re, believes that insurance is undergoing a transformation powered by the need for understanding – which is a speciality of Watson. Swiss Re has begun by founding a Centre of Competence to examine the applications of the Watson cognitive approach and is developing products powered by Watson. TAKING THE WORK FROM PAPERWORK The ﬁnancial sector is heavily regulated – institutions can struggle to keep up with new rules. Watson can learn, understand and relate new regulations to both past activities and future plans, changing computer-based support from a search-driven repository to an active and highly informed partner.
IBM / WIRED PARTNERSHIP
WATSON’S SMART APPLICATIONS
ILLUSTRATION: JOE SWAINSON; ESME MCKAY
‘FINANCE NEEDS A SYSTEM THAT CAN LEARN AND UNDERSTAND’
Dave Robson, Watson Director of Financial Services
FUTURE FINANCE Across financial planning, insurance, auditing, trading and more, Watson can provide ﬁnancial advisers and their clients with deeper insights. As Watson becomes more familiar with more areas of ﬁnance, new markets such as pensions and tax will open up – ensuring that customers get the best available deals, and managers the best information and understanding of their customers. Watson’s promise for the ﬁnancial sector is simple: better service in the front ofﬁce, and better decision-making at deeper levels. However, with an industry as large and as far-reaching as ﬁnance, even minor changes can have huge effects. With the power of cognitive computing, ﬁnancial institutions have the opportunity to lead the transformation of this far-reaching sector. For more, see ibm.com/outthink/uk
CUSTOMER SERVICE Mortgage decisions are complex. Watson can parse customers’ needs by using natural language processing during conversations over online chat tools, drawing out relevant information to help agents better assist their customers. Watson can also use its Tone Analyser, to assess if a customer is frustrated or upset, and adjust its responses to match.
PERSONAL BANKING Traditionally, personal banking services, or “wealth management”, have been available only to the wealthiest customers. Watson Explorer can research ahead, giving bank staff and wealth managers a picture of their client’s personality, comfort with risk, ﬁnancial status and ﬁnancial objectives, delivered on a single screen.
BESPOKE INSURANCE Improving the accuracy of insurance risk calculation is dependent on data – improved premiums for drivers prepared to upload their driving behaviour is one novel, but limited approach. In contrast, Watson could provide massive amounts of data, and the ability to reveal diverse insights by cross-referencing huge data sets, including health.
COMPLIANCE Watson is taking the work out of paperwork. The financial sector is famously heavily regulated – often to the point where institutions struggle to keep up with new changes and rules. In March of this year KPMG announced that it would be using Watson to analyse financial data to improve its auditing process.
DELIVERING VALUE As Watson becomes more familiar with areas of finance, new markets such as tax and pensions will open up, ensuring customers get the best deals and managers the best information. Watson may help to bring financial services to the more than a billion adults without bank accounts or banking facilities today.
Electronic powerassisted steering and stability control keeps the Slingshot manageable at speeds of up to 209kph as it rides just 12.7cm off the ground
The cockpit crams in a 4.3-inch LCD display, sixspeaker audio with Bluetooth and USB, and a reversing camera. Behind the seats, two lockable bins keep luggage tidy
WORDS: KATHRYN NAVE. PHOTOGRAPHY: CHARLIE SURBEY
060 / EDITED BY JEREMY WHITE / RATED & REVIEWED
F E T I S H
POLARIS SLINGSHOT SL RED PEARL
The aggressive styling of Polaris’ Slingshot ﬁrmly banishes any wobbly three-wheeled associations for a look that’s more Batmobile than Reliant Robin. A prominent front with double wishbone suspension tapers to a single aluminium wheel, connected using a carbon-ﬁbre belt drive. The lowslung chassis and deep bucket seats ensure you feel every rev of its 173hp engine. From £22,999 polarissling shot.co.uk
SPECS Dry weight 764kg Curb weight 789kg Length 380cm Width 197cm Height 132cm Wheelbase 267cm Engine 2.4l DOHC Rev limit 7,200rpm Peak power 173hp @ 6,200rpm Peak torque 166ft-lbs @ 4,700rpm Top speed 209kph 0-100kph in 5.8sec
0 6 2 / G E A R / R E B U I LT S N A P P E R / C A R B C U R F E W
HASSELBLAD H6D-100C to 12,800 alongside a 15-stop dynamic range, enabling more detail to be captured in shadowy areas. Its lens selection, also redesigned for the brand’s 75th anniversary, offers shutter speeds from 1/2,000 of a second to 60 minutes. £22,600 hasselblad.com
F E T I S H
Images can be saved as onequarter-sized JPEGs or in Hasselblad’s proprietary 3FR RAW format
WORDS: KATHRYN NAVE; EMILY PECK. PHOTOGRAPHY: CHARLIE SURBEY; MITCH PAYNE
With an electronics platform rebuilt to incorporate a Sony-made 53.4mm x 40mm CMOS sensor, the H6D-100c delivers 100MP photos and 4K video. The native ISO range runs up
THE SPIRALISER PRIZE VEGETABLE SPIRALIZER Elizabeth PeytonJones found this compact unit simple to assemble and adjust the three blades that are neatly housed in its body. “Suction was good and didn’t need further adjusting,” she says. “However, the clamp only allowed a certain length of vegetable.” Other footstuffs including daikon and sweet potato produced similarly pleasing results. 8/10 £20 lakeland. co.uk
Inspired by the latest healthy eating trend? WIRED gets noodling
MICROPLANE SPIRAL CUTTER This stylish design comes in a green or black ﬁnish. Peyton-Jones was enticed by its looks but found it a little tricky to use. “You need very long vegetables to get a good grip to spiralise,” she says. “The vegetables’ skin came off, but wastage was high.” The resulting watery spirals didn’t make for a very satisfying dish. 3/10 £10 johnlewis.co.uk
KITCHENAID SPIRALIZER ATTACHMENT HOW WE TESTED Spiralisers turn vegetables into noodles to eat as a substitute for carb-heavy pasta. WIRED asked Cook Yourself Young author Elizabeth Peyton-Jones to test the latest models in her kitchen. Each processed carrots and courgettes and was assessed on form, versatility, blade quality, durability and ease of use. See the Colophon for Peyton-Jones’s spiraliser recipe. epjhealth.com
CUISIQUE PREMIUM SPIRALIZER As well as spiralising fruit and vegetables, this can also juice, julienne, grate, shred and be used as a mandolin. “It has a onelitre container to catch the food as you use it,” notes PeytonJones. One big downside was that it only has suction feet at the back, which makes it rather unstable. “I was concerned the handle would come out,” she says. 4/10 £21 cuisique.co.uk
HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY SPIRALIZER
Digital extra! Download the WIRED app to read more spiraliser reviews
With pads on all four feet, this has good suction and is easy to assemble and change and store the blades. “It performed according to the manual,” says Peyton-Jones, “and the noodles came out long and consistent.” She noted that part of the reason the design is sturdy is that the core spike is large, leading to a long tube of unspiralised food after use. 7/10 £20, amazon.co.uk
This attachment is custom-made for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer. The metal body is robust and consistency of spiral was achieved every time, with the speediest results on test. “If you are already a KitchenAid user, this is a musthave attachment,” says PeytonJones. 9/10 £100 (mixer £359) lakeland.co.uk
LIGHT RIDER / GEAR / 065
This ONE features UCI-approved carbon Black Fifty wheels by Black Inc.
PHOTOGRAPHY: MITCH PAYNE. WORDS: ANDREW DIPROSE
F E T I S H
FACTOR ONE DURA ACE Di2 An R&D spin-off of Norfolk-based motorsport ﬁrm bf1systems, Factor Bikes has built innovative rides since 2010. The ONE is a distant cousin of the 2012, £25,000 Aston Martin One-77 bike, and features a single-piece bar
and stem (the Shimano Di2 box is under the bottle mount). A split “Twin-Vane” down tube redistributes air “wash” from the front wheel, and there is a hidden rear brake and seat clamp. Three kinds of carbon ﬁbre are used in the frame, a method perfected in Factor’s facility. ONE frame £4,500; ONE Dura Ace Di2 £8,250 (as here) factorbikes.com
Digital extra! Download the WIRED app to see a gallery of extra detail images
Q INTEGRITY TEST
Q ABSORBTION TEST
1’21” 5g 1’16” 6g
9g 45” 8g
Fortnum & Mason
With its dense structure and sugary coating, this retro biscuit is built to last – even after ten minutes of being dunked, it remained intact. “Biscuits with a coating have extra support, so it’s not a surprise,” says Barnes. 7/10 50p WIRED Strong and crunchy TIRED Low liquid absorption
This rectangular biscuit held it together longer than the singlelayer biscuits, such as the round Hobnob. “It’s quite dense, and its shape seems to help its performance,” says Barnes. “The chocolate ﬁlling gives it enhanced dunkability.” 5/10 £1 WIRED Sturdy composition TIRED Filling quickly turns mushy when wet
FOX’S PARTY RINGS
The chocolate chips in this cookie seemed to hinder its dunking performance, as it faired the worst in our robot arm dunk test. “Its chunky, crunchy structure means it couldn’t hold its shape when dunked, but it did absorb a surprising amount of liquid,” notes Barnes. 2/10 £1 WIRED Interesting texture TIRED Feeble dunk
Barnes was surprised by this biscuit’s results: “You’d think its chocolate would give it extra strength, but it melted away quickly in our dunk test,” she says. It also performed poorly at tea absorption. 6/10 £1.50 WIRED Chocolate! TIRED Messy
With 70 per cent wheat and wholemeal, this biscuit held its structure well – for an impressive four minutes. “Weighing 14.8g, the digestive soaked up 12g of tea in our absorption test – almost its entire weight in liquid. This makes for a great dunk,” says Barnes. 8/10 £1.50 WIRED Satisfying all-rounder TIRED Too wide for dainty tea cups
MARYLAND CHOC CHIP COOKIES
“The higher a biscuit’s sugar and fat content, the quicker it seems to dissolve,” says tester Barnes of this poor dunker. With its 3.4g of sugar, the biscuit soon fell apart once wet – but it did sweeten up our tea nicely. 2/10 40p WIRED Crunchy TIRED Falls apart very quickly
MCVITIE’S MILK CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES
SAINSBURY’S GINGER SNAPS
Amount of tea absorbed in 15 seconds 10’00”
Time taken for each biscuit to collapse while part-immersed in a mug of tea
HOW WE TESTED
OREO Like the Bourbon, the creamy white ﬁlling in this iconic American biscuit seems to help it last longer than its single-layered rivals. But its high sugar content didn’t do it any favours in our dunk test. “When it disintegrates, it does so rapidly,” says Barnes. 3/10 £1 WIRED Flavour enhances with dunking TIRED Tastes very sweet to nonAmerican palates
MCVITIE’S RICH TEA The test winner held its form with ease, sailing through a tenminute-plus dunk. It did well in the absorption test, too. “The Rich Tea impressed us all,” says Barnes. “Its compact structure is more effective than the oatier biscuits.” 9/10 £1 WIRED Strong and absorbent TIRED Plain
FORTNUM & MASON PISTACHIO AND CLOTTED CREAM The chunks of pistachio within this buttery treat means this biscuit is fragile and crumbly when dry. “Yet it did surprisingly well in our tests,” says Barnes. “It held its shape, despite seeming initially rather unstable.” 4/10 £11 WIRED Deliciously indulgent TIRED Quick to crumble pre-dunk
WORDS: EMILY PECK. PHOTOGRAPHY: JJ GREENWOOD, ROGER STILMAN
With physicist Sarah Barnes from The Institute of Physics (iop.org) and a robolink D robot arm by igus (igus.co.uk), WIRED tested ten biscuits for dunkability. The robot arm ensured no external forces skewed the results. We timed how long it took for each biscuit to lose physical integrity while dunked halfway into a mug of tea. Digital scales were used to measure how much liquid each biscuit could absorb after a 15-second dunk. Each test was conducted three times, and an average time calculated.
Join us for a tea break, WIRED Test Lab style…
MCVITIE’S HOBNOBS WIRED’s tester, physicist Sarah Barnes, noted that biscuits with an oaty consistency, such as the Hobnob, do less well at holding their shape when wet. “The structure is less dense, so it crumbles,”
she says. “The redeeming factor here is that this biscuit’s taste improves when dunked.” 6/10 £1 WIRED So moreish TIRED Too crumbly
Digital extra! Download the WIRED app to watch a video of the biscuits on test
VE 000608 // SGEECATRI O/ NP /I C PA S G IEN TG I T/ LSE T /E RS LT IONRGY SSI L U GR W A R E
PI-TOPCEED This encases a Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer inside an injectionmoulded case for an accessible, recognisable form factor. An acrylic panel allows access to the system’s electronic guts, retaining the Pi’s hack-ityourself ethos. Here, a sliding rail allows you to attach a range of modular components, from speakers to programmable microcontrollers, for home automation or robotics projects. $299.99 (with Raspberry Pi) pi-top.com
F E T I S H
The pi-top kit also includes STL design ﬁles so you can 3Dprint the case
All pi-topCEEDs are preloaded with CEEDuniverse to teach you how to code
HIGH TEA WITH A TWIST Four British silversmiths to make summer suppers a sparkling affair
2. PETER MUSSON PARAMETRIC REPRESENTATION (X+Y) AND CENTRIC REPRESENTATION
1. MARTYN PUGH INCLINE 1 JUG The Incline 1 is formed into a teardrop cross section then squeezed through a large vice into an elongated taper. The matt whitesilver body contrasts with a dark patinated handle, making this a statement piece of tableware. Both are handformed, with the pouring lip as the only hammered section. £4,100 martynpugh.co.uk
Formed by the mathematically determined shape of a single curve arrayed around a central point, Musson’s bowls are built up using a mix of welding, soldering and electroforming. From £2,250 petermusson.com
3. KATHRYN HINTON JUG The faceted shape of Kathryn Hinton’s water jug is enabled by computer-aided design. A CNC milling machine uses the code to produce a mould for pressforming a sheet of Britannia silver. £4,800 kathryn hinton.com
4. SAMANTHA MOORE MAZAGRAN CUPS Drawing inspiration from the varied coffeedrinking traditions across Britain, Europe and the Middle East, these sterling-silver cups are placed on a blackenedwood coaster and designed as the perfect size for a double espresso and rum with ice. £1,400 samantha mooresilver smith.com
WORDS: KATHRYN NAVE. PHOTOGRAPHY: CHARLIE SURBEY; MITCH PAYNE
To see more, visit the Form exhibition at The Goldsmiths’ Centre, London, from June 1 to September 23. goldsmiths-centre.org
YOUR PRIVATE EYE IN THE SKY With Xiaomi’s 4K Mi Drone retailing for just £260, premium models are adding smart features such as obstacle avoidance and visual tracking. WIRED ﬂies the very latest
The Phantom 4 captured smooth shots of WIRED’s rider in wide open spaces – but tree cover caused it to lose its target
Digital extra! Download the WIRED app to see footage shot by our test drones
FLIGHT CLUB / GEAR / 071
WORDS: MATTHEW REYNOLDS. PHOTOGRAPHY: ROGER STILLMAN
Camera GoPro Hero4 (not included) Weight 1.6kg Top speed 80kph Flight time 25 min Weatherprooﬁng splash/snow/ sand-proof
1. DJI PHANTOM 4 Easily the best looking of the three drones, the Phantom 4 is also the only one in our group to use visual tracking. It locks on to and follows a target – as long as it stays within the drone’s line-of-sight. It worked well in the open, but the drone stopped following as soon as WIRED’s cyclist disappeared behind a tree. Despite such hightech upgrades, it’s short of fully autonomous – if you want to record yourself in action, you’ll need a friend on the controller to select the target on its touchscreen.
The Phantom 4 is one of the few consumer drones with automatic obstacle avoidance – but this only works if the drone is ﬂying forwards. “It’s a very nice bit of kit to take a photo or video with,” says WIRED’s tester, freestyle drone racing champion Dan Waring. But he was less convinced by the drone’s in-ﬂight agility and high-speed performance as, close to its top speed of 72kph, the Phantom’s propellers were intruding into the camera’s view. 6/10 £1,299 dji.com
2. STAAKER Unpack the Staaker from its lightweight backpack, unfold its legs, strap on the GPS armband and you’re ready to go. The rugged, weatherproof armband has large buttons (for easy operation with gloves on) that allow the drone to be controlled manually. It also has a range of pre-set auto-
Camera on-board 4K HD video Weight 1.3kg Top speed 72kph Flight time 28 mins Weatherprooﬁng not suitable for ﬂight in snow or rainy conditions
HOW WE TESTED To push these drones to their limits, WIRED enlisted the help of UK freestyle drone racing champion Dan Waring. He rated each of the machines on ease of setup and smoothness of ﬂight as they tracked an off-road cyclist racing down a Surrey hillside at high speed.
3. HEXO+ Load up the Hexo+ app, and the drone will track its target based on the location of your smartphone, or follow one of six pre-set ﬂight patterns. Waring wasn’t impressed, however, by the lack of any way to manually navigate the drone around in-ﬂight obstacles once it’s launched. “It’s obvious how to get it in the air, but not how to have control over it,” he says. The Hexo+ uses your smartphone’s barometric sensor to track altitude, but in our test it was sluggish to respond, so
follow patterns, such as circling the target or trailing close up. The armband’s on-board barometricpressure sensor allows the drone to track the target’s altitude and follow every movement with pinpoint accuracy. “The tracking was dead-on,” Waring says. “I’d move my hand and the
drone would shift to the left.” A three-axis gimbal controls the pitch, yaw and roll of the attached GoPro, producing smooth footage that keeps the target centre-frame. Each battery gives 25 minutes of ﬂight time – a decent amount considering the Staaker’s weight. 9/10 $1,800 staaker.com
WIRED often wasn’t in the video frame. The battery readout was also too erratic to be considered reliable, and footage was smooth only when the drone was ﬂying in straight lines. 4/10 $999 hexoplus.com
Camera GoPro Hero3 or 4 (not included) Weight 1.7kg Top speed 70kph Flight time 10 - 15 minutes Weatherprooﬁng light rain/ snow-proof
FINTECH, STARTUPS & SOLUTIONS
THE WIRED MONEY BBVA OPEN TALENT STARTUP STAGE DEMONSTRATED THE STRENGTHS OF EUROPEAN FINTECH AND BBVA’S COMMITMENT TO GROWTH-STAGE COMPANIES
WINNER STARTUP STAGE AWARD
How do you whittle 1,200 startups down to just six winners? For Marisol Menéndez, BBVA’s open innovation manager and head of the bank’s Open Talent Programme, it comes down to two factors. “The key differentiator is the team – if they’re passionate about what they’re building, you can feel that,” she told the audience on the BBVAsponsored Startup Stage, “Then there’s the importance of focus. There’s a lot of temptation in fintech to try to go broad, but to be successful you need to show that you’re aiming your shots right.” Those six applicants that pass muster will graduate from BBVA’s Open Talent programme, which offers each winner €30,000 in prize money, plus a two-week crash acceleration programme in Mexico City and Madrid. Former Open Talent winners Origin Markets, Destacáme and ModernLend also took to the startup stage alongside Anthony Thomson, chairman of digital bank Atom (in which BBVA purchased at 29.5 per cent stake in 2015), who had some advice for this year’s entrants. “The most difﬁcult issues you’re going to face are to do with the supply chain,” he said to Startup Stage attendees. “You can’t
underestimate just how much you’re going to rely on the big hairy companies for this.” What startups can offer the big banks in return, according to Credit Kudos – which provides form-free credit scoring based on an applicant’s transaction history – is the customer connection. “Fundamentally, ﬁntech is about taking poor customer experiences and making them better,” explained co-founder, Freddy Kelly. The impact of that improved experience extends beyond increased customer satisfaction to direct ﬁnancial results – with authentication, the friction caused by processes such as password checks results in 30 per cent shopping-cart abandonment. AimBrain chief commercial ofﬁcer, Peter Reynolds believes the solution is getting rid of the password entirely. “We use behavioural, voice and facial authentication instead,” he explained. “That behavioural identiﬁcation is taking place every second you’re in an app, but it’s passive. You don’t know your being authenticated unless it decides to challenge you.” All the startups were assessed on the relevance of the problem they address, how innovative their solution is, and the
Main image: Kobina Ansah, co-founder of winning startup ModernLend. Smaller images: Sebastian Ugarte, Destacame; Benedetta Arese Lucini, Oval Money; Marisol Menéndez, BBVA Open Talent; Dario Mutabdzija, PayKey; Raja Palaniappan, Origin; Marta Krupinska, Azimo
B B VA / W I R E D PA R T N E R S H I P
WINNER THE OPEN TALENT AWARD
PARTNERING TO SUCCEED
ILLUSTRATION: DAN DENISON & LEON CSERNOHLAVEK
The BBVA networking breakfast at WIRED Money began not with proclamations of disruption, but with a call for unity: “I remember when [startups] were positioning themselves to kill the evil banks,” said Jay Reinemann, managing partner at Propel Venture
Partners. “But there’s been an evolution. The startups trying to provide a ﬁnancial service have learnt that you need an embedded partner to pull it off.” Particularly, he said, as ﬁntech opportunities move towards trickier areas such as mortgages and investments.
“In ﬁntech banking no-one can operate independently,” agreed Johan Lorenzen, CEO of Finnish business banking ﬁrm, Holvi. Luckily, many banking incumbents agree. “Most innovation doesn’t happen within our walls – we know that,” said Juan Lopez Carretero,
BBVA’s Head of Digital M&A, who forged the bank’s purchase of Holvi in March. “Innovators need distribution – which we have. And we need their innovation. So we try to relate to this external innovation via partnership, investment or buy-in. The days of pure competition are past.”
scale of their disruptive potential by a jury consisting of Marisol Menéndez Alvarez, open innovation manager at BBVA; Yann Kandelman, head of investment at Orange Digital Ventures; and James Temperton, acting deputy editor of WIRED.co.uk. Two prizes were awarded. The Open Talent Special WIRED Money award – which includes an invitation to join the other Open Talent ﬁnalists at the crash acceleration programme in Mexico City and Madrid – went to PayKey. The Israeli startup allows users to pay for goods on social networks using its keyboard for mobile devices. “Messaging as a ﬁnancial platform is a concept that is going to permeate all our lives,” claimed president and head of business development, Darío Mutabdzija. “What we’re doing is allowing banks a way to reach inside those social and messaging apps.” The Startup Stage Award – and the opportunity to present on the Main Stage – went to credit-checking startup ModernLend. “There are over 1.4 million credit-worthy international citizens living in the UK alone,” explained co-founder Kobina Ansah. “Together they represent over £1.5 billion of annual revenue-generating opportunity that’s currently being overlooked by traditional lenders.” Currently, a lack of a credit record means these citizens’ only options is the kind of high interest, low credit-line loans created for subprime borrowers - despite the fact that many are high-skilled workers or students at top-tier institutions. ModernLend’s credit card, being launched in the US this August, will instead determine creditworthiness based on these institutional relationships. For Menéndez, ModernLend’s approach encapsulates one of the main aims of the Open Talent Initiative – harnessing the local knowledge of startups to help bring new customers into the financial system. “One of the most interesting parts of my role is getting an overview of the different perspectives taken in each country,” she explained. “In both America and in Africa there’s lots of work focused on banking the unbanked – but they each have a different spin on how to do this.” centrodeinnovacionbbva.com/en/opentalent
Shamir Karkal, head of open APIs at Spanish banking group, BBVA, speaking on the WIRED Money Main Stage
Shamir Karkal spent two and a half years laying the groundwork to get to get Simple, the US online bank, off the ground. Now, as head of open APIs at Spanish banking group BBVA, his job is to ensure that future ﬁntech founders don’t have to do the same. “Back in 2010, we were talking to banking technology companies, and when I asked for an API they just asked, ‘What’s that?’” He told the WIRED Money audience. “I was ﬂabbergasted. But that was the state of banking technology back then. If you wanted to create a ﬁntech startup, you had to build your own - and that could take a long time.”
WHEN A BANK OPENS ITS API VAULTS
BBVA WANTS TO OFFER ITS CORE TOOLS TO HELP DEVELOP THE FINTECH ECOSYTEM. IT’S THE JOB OF SHAMIR KARKAL, BBVA’S HEAD OF OPEN APIS, TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
After years spent trying to piece it all together, Simple’s acquisition by BBVA in 2014 provided Karkal with the opportunity to change the ﬁntech situation wholesale, with the support of a major ﬁnancial institution behind him. “A few months after we were acquired, I was in a meeting with some of the top executives, and one of them mentioned the idea of building an API platform,” he explained. “I immediately said, ‘Yes’.” It’s not just about making founders’ lives easier. By creating APIs that allow developers to interact with BBVA’s data and services, Karkal’s aim is to do for ﬁnance what Amazon Web Services (AWS) did for cloud computing. “AWS is the best example of how massively transformational a platform can be,” he explained. “In ten years it’s grown to $9 billion in revenue with one million customers and one third of internet users visiting sites built on the service every day.” Like Amazon, BBVA has experience in building their own complex platforms - so why not open these up to others? In particular, BBVA’s open APIs support the bank’s programmes of startup incubation, strategic partnership, investment and acquisition. ”The open platform allows all of these startups to get to market and scale much more rapidly than they would be able to otherwise,” Karkal said. BBVA’s Open APIs are currently part of an alpha trial and include BBVA Connect – which works like Facebook Connect, allowing access to a customer’s accounts, with their permission, and the PayStats API for big data analysis across multipleaccount transactions. More than 150 organisations – startups and larger ﬁrms – are testing on the platform. The bank’s APIs are also in commercial use with Simple and US-based payments platform and BBVA partner, Dwolla. “If you just build a product, no matter how good it is, you’ll go out of business,” Karkal concluded. “The future is all about platforms.” bbvaapimarket.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEON CSERNOHLAVEK
BBVA / WIRED PARTNERSHIP
LEARNINGS TO TAKE AWAY / WIRED MONEY 2016 / 075
WIRED MONEY 2016
What we learned at our ďŹ nance-tech event at the British Museum on June 23. Report by Stephen Armstrong Illustrations by Francesco Ciccolella, Pawel Jonca & Tommy Parker
NEW BANKS NEED TO BUILD TRUST MACHINE LEARNING WILL RULE FINANCE ig data and machine learning will remake the way the world does business, Alexander Graubner-Müller, co-founder of Kreditech, told the room at the start of the Rise of the Machines session. Kreditech uses AI to process massive amounts of unstructured data, allowing the company to extend credit in real time to customers previously unable to raise a loan. “Since 2012, we have made more than three million credit decisions and have originated more than €12.5 million in customer loans,” he explained. Kreditech focuses on people with little or no access to credit – those with low pay, unstable employment conditions and zero credit history. In Germany, where Kreditech launched, around 40 per cent of the population falls into what he called the “underbanked” category. “We’re using machine intelligence to process information from 60 data sources shared directly by the customer, such as social networks or from the government. We combine 20,000 data points – something that a linear model simply couldn’t deal with,” he explained. As a result, Kreditech can offer loans at well below the cost of payday lenders – roughly competing with bank rates, liberating millions from heavy debt repayments and freeing up millions in fresh capital.
Based on presentations by: Paulo Marques, founder, Feedzai Alexander Graubner-Müller, co-founder, Kreditech Marta Krupinska, co-founder, Azimo
Paulo Marques, founder of fraudprevention startup Feedzai, argued that combining human intelligence with machine intelligence is the best way to prevent payment fraud. Feedzai’s machine-learning algorithm recently spotted that a spree of thousands of dollars spent on technology, food and petrol was card fraud, but it took a human to spot the suspect’s travel pattern – a route that hopped from Apple store to Apple store. Marta Krupinska, co-founder of money-transfer service Azimo, is developing AI bots that can “speak” as if they were human. “We want to get to a point where the experience of using ﬁntech is like going into a bank branch,” she explained. Kupinksa herself has been sending money back to her family in Poland since she was 18, helping her understand people’s desire for easy communication about money sent with love. “Changing the world and building businesses that matter is not only about making money,” she told the audience.
“Changing the world and building businesses that matter is not only about making money.” – Marta Krupinska, co-founder, Azimo
Banking relies on trust, JP Rangaswami told the crowd – his talk setting out a theme that echoed across the full day. In the past, said Deutsche Bank’s chief data ofﬁcer, that trust was based on safety deposit boxes, personal references and old-school signatures. Today it’s based on data – and new banks have to prove they can be trusted with our most valuable asset. The challenger banks sharing the session agreed – but argued that a digital marketplace required banks that are digital ﬁrst. “It’s more about a customer-centric corporate culture and less about the technology,” insisted Matthias Kroner, CEO of Germany’s digital-only Fidor bank, launched in 2009. “We always speak to our community before we change any of our products. We ask them what the product should contain and what we should call it.” Anthony Thomson, whose smartphonebased Atom Bank launched with a savings account back in April, and plans to offer current accounts, loans and mortgages by the end of the year, previously founded Metro Bank on the high street. Launching a new bank today with physical branches, he argued, would be like launching a telecoms company with phone boxes. At Starling Bank – launching this year – founder Anne Boden said the trust issue wasn’t helped by cross-selling of banking products. The former Standard Chartered and UBS exec will offer just one product – a digital-only current account that uses AI to predict customer spending and help them plan ahead. She called on regulators to be more agile – so that “we can actually help people navigate their ﬁnancial life”.
ILLUSTRATION: TOMMY PARKER; PAWEL JONCA; FRANCESCO CICCOLELLA
Based on presentations by: JP Rangaswami, chief data officer, Deutsche Bank Matthias Kroner, CEO, Fidor Bank Anthony Thomson, Atom Bank Anne Boden, founder, Starling Bank
LEARNINGS TO TAKE AWAY / WIRED MONEY 2016 / 077
“I had a reporter ask me how 11-year-olds took out the best business schools in the country. These kids are the future.” – Hardeep Walia, founder and CEO, Motif
SIMPLICITY IS IMPERATIVE Based on presentations by: Kathryn Petralia, HOO, Kabbage; Hank Uberoi, CEO, Earthport; Shamir Karkal, head of open APIs, BBVA
Achieving elegance in design and efﬁciency – for ﬁntech startups or oldschool banks – means starting with an open mind. That’s the view of Kathryn Petralia, head of operations at small-business lender Kabbage. Kicking off the Designing Efﬁciency session, she argued that “the simpler the product, the more elegant it is and the more efﬁcient it is for consumers.” Kabbage customers log in via the third-party websites they use to run their business – from their accounting platform to current accounts or social media. “That was hard work – requiring
every customer to give us access to their accounts for the length of our relationship,” she explained. “But this allows us to complete the application process in around seven minutes.” Shamir Karkal, head of open APIs at BBVA, and Hank Uberoi, CEO of Earthport, agreed that connecting efﬁciently is key. Both use APIs to share customer data and speed up transactions. Karkal – who launched Portlandbased online bank Simple – explained how established bank BBVA is now offering its API to startups. “They need the things that we as a bank do well – hold money, move money, make loans,” he told the room. “We’re creating
the Amazon Web Services of banking.” Uberoi plans to use his API to circumvent big, traditional banks, allowing cheap, high-speed money transfers around the globe. “You can ship a laptop across the world faster, cheaper and with more predictability than we can send money – why hasn’t that changed?” he wondered. The good news – the largest banking groups in the world have started working with him.
CURATION CAN DEMOCRATISE INVESTMENT Based on presentations by: Jonathan Medved, founder and CEO, OurCrowd Hardeep Walia, founder and CEO, Motif he complex fate of recent tech IPOs means the smart money is in private companies, Jonathan Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, told the room. The problem for most investors is that ﬁnding and funding early-stage startups has been something of a well-heeled club for those with access to such ﬁrms. Crowdfunding – mixed with a little VC expertise – is about to change all of that. “The wisdom of the crowd has its limitations,” Medved pointed out. “It’s not necessarily the best idea to make a decision on investing based on a 30-second video and 200 words on a crowdfunding site. So we curate the whole process for the accredited investors who can supply our minimum $10,000 (£7,500) investment.” OurCrowd researchers investigate more than 2,000 companies every year, he explained, and only put forward the most promising. These have so far received roughly $230 million between them. Hardeep Walia, founder of stock-trading startup Motif and Medved’s fellow speaker in the Democratising Investment session, went the other way, arguing for opening investing up to everyone – even to 11-year-olds. “I don’t know a thing about investing. I want somebody or something to track the markets and automatically buy beaten-down stocks for me every week,” he explained. “We allow people to do that with a motif – an intelligently weighted basket of stocks built around, say, coffee or AI.” Motif’s 250,000 customers can now create their own motifs, tuned to their trading preferences – but Hardeep’s biggest surprise came when he opened up trading to schools to teach kids about investing. “I had a reporter ask me how 11-year-olds took out the best business schools in the country,” he grinned. “These kids are the future.”
INSURANCE GETS SOCIAL Based on presentations by: Kim Miller, founder and CEO, Guevara Christina Kehl, co-founder and MD, Swiss Finance Startups Aldo Monteforte, founder and CEO, The Floow “I don’t think the startup ecosystem understands insurance – at all,” Kim Miller, CEO and founder of peer-topeer insurer Guevara, told the conference. “I don’t think venture capital wants to put in the time and effort to understand it. There’s only one me in this market.” To be fair, he was only starting to understand the problems, he explained – “we’re learning how customers lie, cheat and steal, so insurance is more like stock picking.” Guevara’s aim is to change that by building community around peer-to-
peer insurance. “Groups of people come together and work for a common good,” said Miller. “They pool their money, but more importantly, they create a feedback loop that actually lowers risk. And you’ve got to give the money back to the customer to make this work.” Better, safer drivers are also an end goal for The Floow, explained Aldo Monteforte, founder and CEO. The Floow installs its own black boxes in vehicles, or works with existing consumer devices – “any device with a sensor and a decent battery” – to monitor driving. Good drivers get lower premiums, while bad drivers are educated with incentives.
Christina Kehl, the founder of insurance newbie Knip and now co-founder and MD of the Swiss Finance Startups non-proﬁt, said this is the perfect market for a ﬁnance startup. Knip is inspired by the lack of digital insurance. “The whole world is digitised – our friends are online, we book our hotels online – but our insurance folder gathers dust at home,” she said. Knip, a policy aggregator, launched in 2013. Two years later, it had more than 125 employees and raised £18 million. “Insurers know the tsunami is coming,” she said. “Change is always difﬁcult. But if you’re leading the change, you have the advantage.”
TRANSACTIONS ARE BUILT ON TRUST Based on presentations by: Nikolaus Suehr, CEO, Kasko; Aneesh Varma, CEO, Aire; Sebastián Ugarte, co-founder, Destacáme; Joshua Bower-Saul, CEO, Cybertonica; Peter Reynolds, CCO, AimBrain; Calogero Scibetta, operations, Everledger; Avtar Sehra, CEO, Nivaura; Gene Vayngrib, co-founder, Tradle; Amine Berraoui, CEO, Tramonex; Simon Broch, vice president, AlgoDynamix “Insurers know the tsunami is coming. Change is always difﬁcult. But if you’re leading the change, you have the advantage.” - Christina Kehl, MD, Swiss Finance Startups
rust was the common theme among the 12 startups pitching on the WIRED Money BBVA Open Talent Startup Stage, plus the four BBVA Open Talent 2015 winners. Take Kasko’s CEO Nikolaus Suehr, and his protection insurance for eBay shoppers, or the pitches for innovative creditchecks for those marginalised by banks from Aire CEO Aneesh Varma and Destacáme co-founder Sebastián Ugarte. Cybertonica CEO Joshua Bower-Saul explained how AI can simplify online shopping through pre-screening, and Peter Reynolds, CCO at AimBrain, discussed biometrics for authentication. The blockchain also featured: Everledger’s distributed ledger creates a digital thumbprint for the diamond and luxury-goods market, from sourcing to recording ownership. So far, some 980,000 diamonds have been registered. Avtar Sehra, Nivaura’s CEO, explained that the blockchain opened a $2 trillion market in small- to mediumvalue securities, and Gene Vayngrib, co-founder of Tradle, uses the blockchain to verify customer data. “The blockchain is here to stay,” agreed Amine Berraoui, CEO of Tramonex, but he warned that cryptocurrencies need to be subject to less volatility. (Tramonex mirrors national currencies on the Ethereum blockchain to help forex transfers.) Finally, London-based AlgoDynamix’s Simon Broch outlined how his company analyses data to predict trends days or weeks ahead. “Ninety-ﬁve per cent of all trading is digital, but nobody knows what’s going on,” he said, adding we should welcome anything that “makes sense of the ones and zeroes”.
LEARNINGS TO TAKE AWAY / WIRED MONEY 2016 / 079
ON THE 2016 BBVA OPEN TALENT STARTUP STAGE WIRED WINNER Kobina Ansah ModernLend, US
Bernadetta Arese Lucini Oval Money, UK Amine Berraoui Tramonex, UK
UNLOCK THE BLOCKCHAIN Based on presentations by: Edan Yago, CEO, Epiphyte Mark Walport, UK government chief scientiﬁc adviser Amos Meiri, co-founder and CEO, Colu
Joshua Bower-Saul Cybertonica, UK Simon Broch AlgoDynamix, UK Freddy Kelly Credit Kudos, UK Raja Palaniappan Origin, UK Daniel Peled PayKey, Israel Peter Reynolds AimBrain, UK Avtar Sehra Crowdaura, UK Calogero Scibetta Everledger, UK Nikolaus Suehr Kasko, UK Sebastián Ugarte Destácame, Chile Rogelio Valdés Garcia Robin, Mexico Aneesh Varma Aire, UK Gene Vayngrib Tradle, US
WATCH ALL THE WIRED MONEY TALKS ONLINE See and hear the speakers from the WIRED Money 2016 Main Stage by visiting: wired.co.uk/topic/wired-money-2016
Forget the hype over blockchain cur rencies, Mar k Walp o r t , t he government’s chief scientiﬁc adviser, told a packed room. The real-world uses of the blockchain are far greater – from “helping governments collect taxes, deliver beneﬁts, issue passports, record land registries, assure the supply chain of goods and ensure the integrity of government records and services, to helping protect the internet of things.” Walport’s job is investigating new technologies and their potential for making a wider impact for the British government. A report published in January on the blockchain outlined how this massively distributed shared ledger is effectively a database to track who owns what – “be it financial, physical, electronic assets or even a diamond,” explained Walport. The blockchain could even be used to transfer patient health records and monitor the position of a driverless car. Putting Walport’s theories into practice at the hyperglobal and the hyperlocal level was Edan Yago, CEO of Epiphyte, and Amos Meiri, co-founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based Colu. Yago argued that the blockchain has the potential to solve the global problem of sending money abroad: it could minimise middlemen’s transaction fees, create consistent pricing and avoid delays in delivery. Epiphyte, for example, uses the blockchain to remove all intermediaries. “In our world,” Yago explained, “a transaction simply goes from one person to another, from phone to
phone, for a charge of two pence.” It’s the “internet of money”, he said. Meiri’s ﬁrm, conversely, is using the blockchain to create local currencies for cities. Colu provides everything required – from merchant tools to currency control panels – in its “Economy in a Box” software package. “Connected cities are the drivers of economic growth and change,” Meiri argued. “The blockchain can power local economies while also keeping them safe from the risk of volatile currencies and marketplaces.” Walport sounded a note of warning, however. He showed a graphic of a bitcoin functioning normally, and a bitcoin under attack from an algorithm that overloads the system – making transactions take 12 to 14 hours to complete, allowing hackers to “pickpocket” your bitcoin wallet. “These technologies are not magic bullets,” Walport pointed out. “It can’t be used for a population of 65 million people without some testing.”
SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR INSTANT ACCESS TO FREE INTERACTIVE DIGITAL EDITIONS
ONE YEAR OF WIRED IN PRINT AND DIGITAL EDITIONS FOR ONLY Â£28
RECEIVE PRINT COPIES AND ENJOY FREE AND INSTANT ACCESS TO iPAD AND iPHONE EDITIONS. ALL YOU NEED IS YOUR SUBSCRIPTION NUMBER.
WIRED.CO.UK/SUBS/CWR15965 0844 848 5202 REF: CWR15965 * LIMITED TO UK ADDRESSES. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION TO WIRED INCLUDES 10 PRINT ISSUES & 10 DIGITAL EDITIONS. OFFER CLOSES ON 06/09/2016.
06.16 BUILD SOMETHING MEANINGFUL – THE RISE OF MISSION-DRIVEN BUSINESS
05.16 BUY THIS OR BE HACKED – THE TRUTH ABOUT ONLINE SECURITY
04.16 IT’S TIME TO COPY CHINA
03.16 THE FUTURE OF FOOD – FEATURING MOMMA’S RENÉ REDZEPI
01/02.16 STAR WARS – J.J. ABRAMS ON REBOOTING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE
12.15 PIXAR AND THE NEW RULES OF BUSINESS CREATIVITY
11.15 FACEBOOK’S APP FOR EVERYTHING
10.15 OLAFUR ELIASSON’S CREATIVE MANIFESTO
09.15 THE 2015 WIRED 100 ISSUE: THE BIGGEST HITTERS IN THE WIRED WORLD
08.15 PRODUCT SPECIAL: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO LIVE THE WIRED LIFE
07.15 INSIDE GOOGLE’S SECRET ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PROJECT
06.15 ÜBER – 41 LESSONS FROM A $40BN PHENOMENON
PHOTOGRAPHY: EDOARDO TRESOLDI/BLIND EYE FACTORY
0 8 2 / W I R E D C U LT U R E / E D I T E D B Y O L I V E R F R A N K L I N - W A L L I S
The 14-metre-tall installation was recreated by analysing the buildingâ€™s foundations
Edoardo Tresoldi has preserved an ancient chapel’s ruins while displaying its former glory – by recreating it from wire This ghost-like structure is made up of seven tonnes of steel wiring. The paleochristian church in Siponto, an ancient settlement in southern Italy, was destroyed by a quake in the 13th century. To show tourists what the structure used to look like, Edoardo Tresoldi – a Milan-born artist and stage designer who specialises in wiremesh creations – put up a wireframe reconstruction on top of the ruins. “I liked the idea of drawing on space,” says
Tresoldi, 28. “And this was a new way of thinking about transparency. It’s not like using glass: in this building you can still feel the wind, hear the sounds from outside… there’s no real ‘outside’.” Recreating the structure of a building that last stood 800 years ago required months of research. “We had to go through many projects of churches built in the same period and in the same area,” Tresoldi explains. “Luckily, back then, buildings were designed following standard rules – according to a golden ratio between pillars, naves and walls. Looking at the remains, we could calculate the church’s proportions.” Once the design was completed, Tresoldi and his team cut wire mesh sheets
into “puzzle pieces”, each representing a module of the church. Using hog ring staplers, they assembled the structure on site over 30 days. Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities – which funded the project alongside the Archaeology Superintendence of Puglia – unveiled the frame in April, and there are no plans to remove it any time soon. “It is made of steel so, with some maintenance, it can last for a long time,” says Tresoldi, who is now working on installation projects in the US. “But the most important thing is that thousands of people are now visiting Siponto’s ruins. They’re the really important thing here – that’s why we made it transparent.” Gian Volpicelli behance. net/edoardotresoldi
CIRCUS TRICKS Director Timur Bekmambetov on how to re-reboot a movie classic
Ben-Hur is a remake of a remake: the Roman epic has been adapted for the big screen twice before, in 1925 and 1959. Yet director Timur Bekmambetov says his version goes way back to the source – Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel. The 2016 edition, Bekmambetov says, is more historically accurate than its predecessors. “We were trying to reconstruct how it was in Jerusalem’s Circus Maximus [chariot-racing stadium] 2,000 years ago,” says the 55-year-old Russian. His inspiration: Formula 1 races and YouTube clips. It’s all about creating “a different energy” for his take on the tale of slavery, betrayal and revenge, Bekmambetov says. “With Formula 1 cars you have a camera inside the car, it’s vibrating,
and that shaky footage makes you feel like you’re actually inside it.” As well as POV shots, he wanted a feeling of spontaneity, a sense of events being just about caught on camera. “Mistakes make a shot look real,” he says. The “mistakes”, of course, were meticulously planned and executed – Bekmambetov’s set, built a few kilometres outside Rome, was 300 metres long, and the chariot race took 45 days to ﬁlm. The crew used CGI as minimally as possible, mostly for shots that would have put the animals in danger. Still, the sequence involved 32 horses galloping around together simultaneously, so nothing could be left to chance. “There was no room for improvisation,” he says. “In the original 1925 ﬁlm there was an accident and some horses, and a person, died. We tried to avoid that!” Here’s how they pulled it off. Alex Godfrey Ben-Hur is released on August 26
1. Horse-mounted cameras To give the chariotracing scenes more energy, the ﬁlm crew attached GoPros to the horses’ heads. 2. Drone ﬁlming Before launching UAV cameras on-set, the horses were trained to become used to the constant buzzing. 3. The chariots Bekmambetov made the vehicles more realistic: “In real races, there were no railings – you were exposed.”
084 / PL AY / ROMANS RETURN
CAPCO DIGITAL / WIRED PARTNERSHIP
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEON CSERNOHLAVEK
Main, centre: host Greg Williams, deputy editor of WIRED, with the Capco Digital panel (l-r: Jibran Ahmed, Charles Wood, Chris Rahnejat, Alec Boere and Stephen Harrison)
Now in year four, WIRED Money continues to stimulate debate on the evolving state of the ﬁnancial sector. The industry is thriving as APIs, mobile apps and the blockchain enable incumbents to integrate smarter products into their offerings, while lowering the cost of entry for lean, disruptive players. In this spirit, WIRED and consultancy ﬁrm Capco Digital invited individuals from agile ﬁntech startups and large corporates – including RBS, Lloyds and Epiphyte – to a lunchtime panel session to discuss how banks can best serve the interests of their consumers in the year 2025.
WHO WINS THE FUTURE OF FINTECH?
WIRED MONEY PARTNER CAPCO DIGITAL HELD A VIP SESSION AT THE ONE-DAY EVENT TO DISCUSS HOW BANKS MIGHT SERVE THE CUSTOMERS OF TOMORROW
The panel agreed that to understand where we will be in nine years’ time, one must take into account the fundamental principles that still underpin banking. At its core, banking is built on trust, which has required heavy regulation. This traditionally kept the barriers to entry expensive and complicated, so banks became large, vertically integrated organisations, offering as many products as possible. By trying to do everything – often poorly – banks have allowed agile startups that offer smarter solutions to pick off services. “I would like to see banks slim right down to the thinnest layer possible,” said Capco Digital consultant Charles Wood in the panel. “They could become a facilitator of lending mortgages, for example, but not own all of it. Banks are trying to be good at everything and can’t compete with those that are specialised in just one area.” So how will banking look in 2025? The glib answer is to say it will look similar to today. Older citizens struggling with technology now will still be alive and have the same requirements. And, let’s face it, in many ways banking in 2016 is mostly indistinguishable from 2006. But what about younger customers? To move money abroad, millions use TransferWise; for travelling there’s Mondo; and salaries and bills are mostly managed by current accounts optimised by mobile apps. Savvy users utilise multiple services. But why? Because it allows them to access better rates and services than using any one provider. However, it’s an effort and takes a certain level of smarts. The takeaway lesson from the panel? Millennials and later generations are going to demand a tailored, quality service, paired with greater convenience and less personal effort. It seems that the future bodes well for banks who plan to pivot into creating personalised products and services, rather than attempting to offer everything as a monopoly of one-size-fits-all. For more, see capco.com/digital
Plug in to the planet Want to make some world music? Try Yuri Suzuki’s Global Modular synth
uri Suzuki is mapping the sounds of the world. For his Global Synthesiser Project he’s created the Global Modular synth. An interactive electronic musical instrument built in collaboration with manufacturer Moog, it can mix 80 environmental sounds from around the planet. “The idea was to present all of the world’s sound identities,” says the London-based sound artist, 35. “You can sample a bus engine from London [and combine it] with a cave’s acoustics from somewhere else.” Shaped like the world’s continents, the Global Modular is a 3.2m x 1.67m installation of 30 samplers, ten reverbs, ﬁve sequencers and four semi-modular synthesisers, arranged in “countries”. A selector button, designed as a compass with cardinal points, allows you to set the home sound’s location. Suzuki’s team designed the software, Moog built the hardware.
086 / PL AY / PL ANT OF SOUND / THE NET
The Global Modular synth – connect the continents to remix the sound samples
PHOTOGRAPHY: JILLIAN CLARK
The idea came to Suzuki while travelling. A prolific designer and lecturer at London’s Royal College of Art, Suzuki’s work has been shown at the Tate and MoMA galleries. He’d previously tapped his personal recordings in an earlier project, a globe-shaped record with each country engraved with a sound [WIRED 02.13]. But for the Global Modular, sounds for each country were submitted by artists from all around the world. “We’ve received over 500 submissions from 40 countries,” says Moog engineer Eric Church. The Global Modular debuted during May’s Moogfest event in North Carolina. Suzuki is now in talks to tour the instrument – museums in London, New York and Japan have expressed interest. Suzuki’s big plan: a Global world tour. PB yurisuzuki.com
Left: Yuri Suzuki manipulating sounds in central Europe and northeast Africa via the Global Modular
You’re not looking into an electron microscope – these cells are part of a 37m2 canopy, woven from undulating layers of lightsensitive threads. The PolyThread Knitted Textile Pavilion unfolds in New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Its creator, architectural designer Jenny Sabin, wanted to build a structure that interacts with its surroundings as if it were a living thing. “I’m interested in how buildings respond to their environments,” says Sabin, 41. Attached to the lightweight ﬁbreglass frame are hundreds of machineknitted fabric panels, made in collaboration with knitting-machine specialist Shima Seiki. High-tech yarns include threads that actively absorb UV energy and emit a glow, and solar active material that
“changes colour immediately in the presence of UV or the Sun.” The PolyThread is Ithacabased Sabin’s third knitted pavilion. (Nike commissioned one in 2012 and another in 2013.) In addition to her practice, she also lectures as an assistant professor at Cornell University. “My work applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design, fabrication and production of material structures,” Sabin explains. The PolyThread Pavilion’s design mimics cellular networks, inﬂuenced by her collaborations
with cell and matrix biologists. At the Cooper Hewitt, Sabin worked with a lighting designer to produce a 15-minute sequence that simulates the transition from morning to night, revealing the pavilion’s changeable character. Sabin hopes her piece will go on to become a permanent outdoor installation once this display ends in August. The piece, she says, is a new direction for architecture, fusing technology and textiles. “The architect is being repositioned as a maker again.” Emma Bryce jennysabin.com
WEAVING THE NEXT WAVE OF ARCHITECTURE Jenny Sabin’s PolyThread pavilion knits cellular structures into buildings
S A N O F I G E N Z Y M E / W I R E D PA R T N E R S H I P
TAKING ON MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS A NEW INITIATIVE IS CALLING FOR CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE EVERYDAY CHALLENGES FACED BY THE MILLIONS WHO LIVE WITH MS
“We’re thrilled to have partnered with Sanoﬁ Genzyme to help showcase their initiative,” says João Medeiros, WIRED science editor and WIRED Health curator. “Any work that helps make the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis easier and more enjoyable should be supported.” The provider of the winning idea – decided by a public vote later in 2016 – will be awarded with access to a grant of up to €100,000 to develop their concept over the next 18 months, with support from the initiative business accelerator partner, Entrepreneurial Spark and charity partner, MS Ireland.
UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS At WIRED Health, attendees found out how hard it can be to perform daily tasks with MS, by applying mascara with distorted vision or putting on cufflinks with limited dexterity. What ideas would you suggest to solve these problems?
GZEMEA.MS.16.04.0190C / PHOTOGRAPHY: LEON CSERNOHLAVEK
The World vs.MS is an initiative developed and funded by Sanofi Genzyme. For the 2.5 million people living with the neurological condition multiple sclerosis (MS) worldwide, everyday activities can be difﬁcult due to the debilitating symptoms they face, such as loss of dexterity and mobility, fatigue and problems with vision and speech. In response, Sanoﬁ Genzyme launched The World vs.MS – an initiative to connect innovators with the MS community in an attempt to ﬁnd solutions to these problems. Earlier this year, The World vs.MS asked people living with the condition, as well their loved ones and healthcare professionals, to detail the challenges they face in their daily lives. The responses were varied, ranging from using stairs to putting in earrings and chopping vegetables. However, they all contributed to those living with MS losing their independence and the ability to do things that they enjoyed. The initiative is now calling on the talents of creative thinkers – including students, innovators, academics, entrepreneurs and designers – to use their expertise and experience to generate ideas and smart solutions for selected challenges.
ILLUSTRATION: OLIVIER BONHOMME; RAÚL LÁZARO
very tattoo is a statement (even if it says “drunken mistake”). “People get tattoos for an aesthetic reason and don’t realise there are often centuries-old stories behind the imagery,” says author Trent Aitken-Smith, 44, a long-time body-art fanatic and editor of industry bible Tattoo Master. Aitken-Smith’s new book, The Tattoo Dictionary, documents the rich history behind individual designs – from seafarers to mobsters. “Tattoos grew up in the underground,” he says. “For example, I often see people with stars on their chest or shoulders – in Russian prison terms it’s a sign of a highranking criminal.” Here are a few you might want to consider before committing. OF-W trentaitkensmith. wordpress.com The Tattoo Dictionary (Mitchell Beazley) is out September 8
1. Numerals Gangs often use numbers to signify membership. People bearing 81 may be in the Hells Angels (8 = H; 1 = A). A 12 signiﬁes US prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood.
Tattoos that talk An expert deconstructs the messages behind the ink
2. QR codes “QR and bar codes are becoming more popular,” says Aitken-Smith. When scanned, they can reveal messages or health details about the wearer. 3. Jesus “Sailors would get Jesus on their back, hoping that seeing his face would mean their ofﬁcers would go easy on whippings,” says Aitken-Smith. 4. Semicolon “The semicolon started as a mental health support group,” says Aitken-Smith. It was adopted by campaigners in 2013, and marks membership to Project Semicolon. 5. Swallow “In sailors’ terms, it meant that you’d sailed more than 5,000 nautical miles [9,260km],” says Aitken-Smith – with a second if you had doubled that number.
LIVING COLOUR / EVERY THING COUNTS / PL AY / 089
PLAYER ONE: THE COSMOS
David OReilly wants you to experience the Universe as a beetle. Or a planet, or an atom – it’s your choice. Every object in EVERYTHING, the LA-based artist’s latest game, can be controlled. “There are so many similarities between the behaviours of objects in the Universe,” says OReilly. Dancing rabbits mimic galaxies orbiting each other, as the scale slides from interstellar to atomic. But OReilly, 30, whose work includes “relax-’em-up” MOUNTAIN and the in-film game from 2013’s Her, says EVERYTHING isn’t about omniscience, but empathy. “You see the Universe from the point of view of everything in it,” OReilly says. “Whether that’s something gigantic or something extremely small.” Matt Reynolds davidoreilly.com
T O T A L M O N T H LY U P L O A D S
3 9 2 ,8 4 4
3 6 3 , 8 22
3 9 1 , 256
4 49, 1 6 3
3 49, 0 8 2
3 5 8 , 56 0
APR I L 2 0 1 5
J U LY
P R O P O R T I O N O F T O TA L U P L O A D S * 0
There were 82,182 5 Seconds of Summer stories in March 2015. The graphic reﬂects the total proportional uploads across all of Wattpad, so as new genres are added, 5SOS’s stream appears to narrow out of scale. In fact, there were 79,836 5SOS stories uploaded in April 2016.
MAGCON, or “Meet and Greet Convention”, is a line-up of social media and YouTube stars. It’s spawned a total of 256,953 stories so far.
*Total only shows top-ten genres, total is not 100 per cent
Xreader is a hugely popular, Manga-tinged, oft-NSFW second-personstory genre that makes the reader the main character.
APR I L 2 0 1 5
FANFIC’S OBSESSIONS Wattpad’s army of enthusiast authors don’t just write – they predict popularity
J U LY
Bel Watson is a 25-year-old Chilean author with over 30 titles and 100 million readers – but you won’t find her on Amazon. She’s on Wattpad, an online writing platform popular for fan-written ﬁction (fanﬁc). More than half a million stories are uploaded daily to Wattpad; much of it “shipping” (fictional relationships between real people), or “imagines” (a second-person narrative genre that’s huge in fanfic), starring celebrities or social-media stars.
The numbers are massive: 13 billion minutes are spent reading on the platform every month. “According to Comscore, people are spending more minutes on Wattpad than on Candy Crush or Snapchat,” says Wattpad CEO and co-founder Allen Lau, 47. Its readers are generally young and three quarters are female, he adds. Founded in Toronto in 2006, Wattpad became vastly popular as fans began reading – and writing
40 0, 7 76
496 ,8 0 1
5 5 3 , 2 28
5 4 2 , 95 2
J A N 20 1 6
MAR 1 2 - M O N T H T O TA L S
ON E DIRE CT ION
ONE DIRECTION 933,835
NASH GRIER 112,945
5SOS 8 7 9, 6 0 6
JUSTIN BIEBER 100,839
SHAWN MENDES 93,465
ZAYN MALIK 160,057
BANGTAN BOYS 75,421
EXO 1 4 7, 8 3 9
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE 70,609
DAN AND PHIL 130,895
( 81 , 607 U PLO A DS )
5SOS ( 7 9, 83 6)
K-pop is a trend on the rise and rise, accounting for 27,362 uploads in March 2016, exploding from just 7,000 a year earlier.
( 2 7, 3 62 )
Undertale is an online RPG. It got 109 stories last April – even though it wasn’t released until September; in March 2016, fans uploaded 19,973.
UN DE RTALE ( 1 9, 973 )
DAN AN D PH IL ( 1 9, 7 75) X RE ADE R ( 1 8, 63 2 ) E XO ( 1 8, 2 3 4) APH MAU ( 1 6, 565) SH IN JIMIN ( 1 6, 3 46) B AN GTAN B OY S ( 1 5, 2 96) JUST IN B IE B E R ( 1 3 , 600) Z AY N MALIK ( 1 3 , 4 09)
MY CH E MICAL ROMAN CE ( 9, 7 96) SH AW N ME DN E S ( 8, 586) XREADER 123,353 N AS H GRIE R ( 7, 828)
– stories on their smartphones. In 2014, Anna Todd’s series After – a One Direction fanfic – was picked up by Simon & Schuster and became a New York Times bestseller. A billion Wattpad reads later, it has been optioned by Paramount for a ﬁlm. “And most of the content was written on a mobile phone,”
J A N 20 1 6
says Lau. Wattpad is also expanding into story anthologies from its most popular authors while a TV series, Wattpad Presents, is showing in the Philippines. This huge volume of fan-created content also provides insights into the pop-culture hive mind, illuminating that most nebulous of data points – what teens
actually like. For example, Lau’s team foresaw the rise of boyband 5 Seconds of Summer after an explosion of 5SOS stories. As you can see above, 5SOS have entered a period of volatility, whereas K-pop is on a steady upward trend. “It’s a billboard for what’s popular – and what’s not,” Lau says. OF-W wattpad.com
TEEN TASTE-TRACKING / PL AY / 091
SAP / WIRED PARTNERSHIP
WORKING IN THE DIGITAL BOARDROOM WIRED, SAP AND INTEL JOIN FORCES TO EXLORE HOW THE DIGITAL ERA IS IMPACTING THE TRADITIONAL HEART OF THE BUSINESS
The evening was hosted at Berry Bros. & Rudd, London
that it’s using wearable tech to track how people feel in different business settings. Similarly, creative studio Holition showcased its innovative animated data visualisations. And SAP Connected LEGO exhibited how its programmable LEGO bricks are able to run Linux and other OS through a set of sensors, motors and actuators. The evening highlighted a growing trend – that data, and the ability to interpret it, is becoming as important as a business’ key offering. Visit sap.com
THE TECH SALON Sensum is a platform that uses wearable tech devices to track how people feel at certain times.
Seldon is a machine-learning tool that helps predict the future actions of consumers.
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEON CSERNOHLAVEK
The boardroom should be a place to create ideas, share stories and grow a business. But how is it evolving as digital tools improve? This was the focus of a by-invitation dinner hosted by SAP, Intel and WIRED in June. Guests included decision-makers from Thomson Reuters, Burberry, Intel Technology and London & Partners. Conversation ranged from how brands can crowdsource witty social-media retorts using Nattr, to how Burberry might recommend a makeover based on a person’s emotional output. In addition to discussing big data, machine learning and cloud platforms, Stephen Jamieson, head of analytics and insight at SAP, presented its Digital Boardroom. The board-level portal, aimed at assisting senior leadership in business, provides data, agile information and a thorough overview of a company in just three clicks. “It was a thoroughly inspiring evening spent networking with some of the best and brightest digital leaders in the UK and Europe. It was great to see so many business leaders engaging with SAP’s vision for running businesses live, using the Digital Boardroom,” says Jamieson. In the cellars of London’s Berry Bros. & Rudd, exhibitors Sensum revealed
Gwenno’s retro-futurist music fuses Cardiff, clones and cultural identity
PHOTOGRAPHY: JACEK DAVIS *SCIENCE FICTION
wenno, aka 35-year-old Gwenno Saunders, makes surreal soundscapes from an unlikely source: Welsh science ﬁction. The Cardiff-based singer’s debut album, Y Dydd Olaf (The Last Day), was inspired by Caernarfon-born writer Owain Owain’s 1976 novel of the same name. Her lyrics, sung in Welsh and Cornish, take Owain’s narrative – a dystopian world in which robots clone their human leaders – and use it as a springboard for reﬂections on feminism and cultural identity.
“It allowed me to be honest in what I wanted to express,” Saunders says of using her mother tongue. “I ﬁgured that if I made an album that was good enough, it wouldn’t be any better if it was in a language most people understood.” It wasn’t always like this: until 2010, Saunders (pictured) was one of ﬁve interchangeable singers in indie-pop band The Pipettes. She left needing to ﬁnd her own voice – and found it was Welsh. “When you come from a minority language, it can feel quite claustrophobic because there are fewer of you,” Saunders explains. “But it allows you an amount of freedom.” She returned to Cardiff and collaborated with sound artist Rhys Edwards, who wove in ﬁeld recordings, taken from Cardiff Bay, into Y Dydd Olaf, to contrast her lyrics of protest. Released in July 2015 through Heavenly Recordings, the album’s lush, expansive sound was produced on a laptop that couldn’t play a song without crashing. It was “the most painful thing to watch”, Saunders says – but it ultimately aided her: “Having a restriction is just a really good thing creatively.” The album ended up winning the Welsh Music Prize, and has led to a UK-wide tour this summer. The DIY ethic extends to Saunders’ live show – including performances at Glastonbury and Portmeirion’s Festival No. 6 in September – during which she builds up her sound with a variety of sequencers, pedals and keys. She’s also busy at work on new Welsh-language material. “I feel really lucky to be creating in this era,” Saunders says, “because the world is turning upside down.” Emily Vincent gwenno.info
SONGS ALSO INSPIRED BY DYSTOPIAN FICTION: FRIENDLY FIRES Song “Pala” Inspiration Aldous Huxley: Island
TUBEWAY ARMY Song “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” Inspiration JG Ballard: Crash JOY DIVISION Song “Interzone” Inspiration William Burroughs: Interzone
VALLEY CLONES / PL AY / 093
FORD / WIRED PARTNERSHIP
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEON CSENOHLAVEK
his year, Andy Priaulx returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, and was better prepared for its 13.6km and 38 turns than ever. Racing with the Ford Chip Ganassi Team in Ford’s new GT, Priaulx proved that the team were serious contenders for the title in an action-packed 24-hour race. “The car is amazing,” says Priaulx, 41 ( pictured right ). “I was super impressed. I knew the programme was going to be successful.” When the team headed to Le Mans, the car was ready, having picked up fourth and fifth at the 2016 series’ opening race in Silverstone, and then achieving second in Spa. But how do the drivers prepare for one of the most daunting motor races in the world? “I’m very much into meditation,” says Priaulx. “I use a practical form that also allows for visualisation. I lower my heart rate, help myself down to a deeper level of mind, and work on visualising my goals. So if I need to ﬁnd an extra bit of lap-time somewhere, I’d try and problem-solve at that deeper level of the mind.” Visualisation is being used more and more by athletes – from the racetrack to the athletics track. It’s no longer just about mentally working through the specifics of performance. YouTube has archives of ﬁrst-person footage of the world’s top tracks, and teams such as Ford have access to simulations. Driver concentration is key, too. “If you’re arriving at a braking zone at 290kph and you’re a split second late, that means you can lock the brakes, miss the chicane altogether and potentially lose a position – or worse, crash the car,” says Priaulx. Luck can still play a part. Alongside teammates Harry Tincknell and Marino Franchitti, Priaulx eventually placed ninth in the LMGTE Pro class after gearbox problems. The two other Ford cars thrived, achieving a class win and third place on the podium.
THE MAN BEHIND LE MANS
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO COMPETE IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS, FEARED AND RESPECTED RACES? FORD GT DRIVER ANDY PRIAULX EXPLAINS
Above: Andy Priaulx. He and his Ford Chip Ganassi teammates had a challenging Le Mans, placing ninth
The mental challenge can be a major test, but physical exertion takes its toll on drivers. Temperatures in the cabin can exceed 30°C and drivers endure g-forces of some 3 g in corners. “There’s not one guy on the grid who isn’t a top-class athlete,” says Priaulx, who himself spends 30-40 minutes a day in the gym. That’s in addition to an hour or two of cardio – with upperbody workouts to combat the g-force, and cardio for a low heart rate. Priaulx reckons that on average he spends around 100 days of the year in the car – and has done so for 17 years. But being a professional driver is a career for competitive people: “You’ve got to be committed, have pure focus and concentration,” he says. “And also be aware of the overall goal – to win.” For more, see fordperformance.com
MAKE THE FUTURE
INNOVATORS ARE CREATING SUSTAINABLE ENERGY AND LOW-CARBON PRODUCTS – BUT THEY NEED HELP TO BUILD AND FUND THEIR IDEAS. HERE’S WHAT SHELL IS DOING TO BECOME THE WORLD’S BIGGEST ENERGY INCUBATOR
nergy is part of everybody’s life and sometimes we take it for granted,” said Malena Cutuli, Shell’s Head of Integrated Brand Communications who runs #makethefuture, an initiative that brings together Shell’s existing enterprise development programmes to help entrepreneurs to progress and grow. “At Shell, we understand that we have some of the answers, but not all.” She was speaking at Make the Future London, a four-day festival showcasing the bold ingenuity of entrepreneurs supported by Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard. Over the last 34 years, Shell LiveWIRE alone has helped 6,200 entrepreneurs – investing $4.3 million in 2015 – to accelerate their businesses.
The founder of Adaptavate reﬁned his sustainable construction products working on building sites.
Love Raspberry Pi? Eight million of the tiny, affordable and fun computers have sold, thanks to Upton.
Her recruitment ﬁrm FreshMinds helps companies ﬁnd the best talent to ﬁll key innovation roles.
The creator of FORMcard, a bioplastic that can “ﬁx anything” once activated with a cup of hot water.
The co-founder of the UK Crowdfunding Association is a serial entrepreneur herself.
PHOTOGRAPHY: MICHAEL PALEODIMOS
“Make the Future is a campaign that is focused on young entrepreneurs and people with bright ideas,” said Cutuli during the vibrant day. “We help bring their concepts into reality, to ensure they can make it to the next stage.” The focus of Shell’s #makethefuture Accelerator on July 1, was Tom Robinson and his fledgling building materials startup, Adaptavate. The company is manufacturing building products that can “breathe” using moisture-absorbing biodegradable walls that reduce damp
S H E L L / W I R E D PA R T N E R S H I P
#1 MANUFACTURE Making your idea a reality isn’t easy, so Tom Robinson explained to the Accelerator attendees how he overcame manufacturing difﬁculties during the early stages. Similarly, he brainstormed with participants about how to ensure supply of its plasterboard replacement, Breathaboard, and the entire product lifecycle was considered. Suggestions included growing the raw hemp material on rooftop gardens in cities – especially those ﬁtted with Breathaboard – and using offcuts as fertiliser, which
Malena Cutuli Shell’s Head of Integrated Brand Communications launched the #makethefuture campaign in 2014.
and limit asthma, and which release the moisture when the air is drier. What could you do with such an innovation? And how could you ensure Robinson’s future-changing idea reaches its full potential? Those were just some of the questions considered by accelerator attendees at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. A Shell LiveWIRE winner, Robinson came up with his idea while on a break at a building site. He saw the negatives of plasterboard: that annually 15m tonnes goes to landﬁll in Europe, and that its main ingredient, gypsum, can be toxic when mixed with water.
would create a circular product lifecycle and help to ensure a consistent supply of hemp. Others suggested making use of offcuts and recycled pieces to offer a lower grade, budget version of the product, to extend its market. Farmers should be encouraged to grow the raw material for use in their own barns and homes, and use the leftover pieces as fertiliser to restart the cycle. The end result was a stimulating debate on how a business’ operation can be circular, especially where sustainability is concerned.
H is solution was Breathaboard, a plasterboard replacement made from biodegradable materials that’s not only sustainable, but provides better insulation and automatically regulates moisture in buildings. Leftover pieces can even be used as fertiliser. The #makethefuture Accelerator gathered around 60 entrepreneurs, innovators and startup pioneers to discuss what ambitious companies such as Adaptavate can do to succeed. Robinson highlighted three issues his company needed to overcome: how to manufacture in a sustainable way; how to grow the team with the right hires; and how to scale up sustainably. “It’s great being a startup, but how do I scale up?” Robinson said. “How do I go from making ten of these in a shed to scaling this process up?” A series of three workshops sought to address those challenges, with help and inspiration from industry experts and successful entrepreneurs, including the founder of micro computer Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton, Caroline Plumb of HR consultancy FreshMinds, and Blaise Bellville from London-based live music streaming startup Boiler Room. In between inspiring keynotes and powerful presentations, the workshops – led by global design and strategy ﬁrm Frog – were designed to develop solutions to the challenges facing Robinson’s startup, as well as being applicable to the participants. Various hypotheses were put forward – such as licensing the technology to third parties for faster expansion, and growing the raw materials on unused inner-city and urban rooftops. “I owe you all a favour,” admitted Robinson, referencing the “cosmic insights” of the attendees. Other plans put forward included decentralising the business to quickly broaden its impact on the market, and pitching
his Breathaboards against an existing commoditised product by focusing on its positive story and the company’s powerful environmental merit. Throughout the day – which included breakout sessions and a networking lunch – the participants learned by using Adaptavate as a case study. In the afternoon, they discussed how various funding models could be utilised to manufacture, hire staff and build their brands, startups and ﬁrms These were particularly focused on during the “speed dating”-style workshop that set founders up with funding experts, the aim being to uncover the best route to ﬁnancial support for their individual cases. Overseeing and hosting this workshop, Shell Technology Ventures can also provide valuable insight to startups from a corporate venture viewpoint. “We only invest in things that we understand, in areas that we can help,” stressed Geert van de Wouw, managing director of Shell Technology Ventures. For those startups looking to traverse the financial landscape, Shell’s Finance Navigator could be a lifeline. An online interactive platform unveiled at the Shell #makethefuture Accelerator, it helps clean tech and sustainable-innovation entrepreneurs identify funding opportunities. “Access to finance is difficult. People waste time trying to ﬁnd their way,” said Robert Linck, CFO of Shell Technology Ventures. “This should help small to medium enterprises in clean tech and low carbon find relevant sources of capital.” Although funding is important for a small business, it’s not everything,
Right: Event attendees collaborate in the #makethefuture workshop sessions
#2 SCALING UP Naturally, every business to needs to grow. Here, the #makethefuture Accelerator guests suggested that in order for Adaptavate to do so, it should focus mainly on R&D and innovation. To the attendees, it was emphasised
that every startup – even in a true “David and Goliath” situation – needs to be highly visible to the industry in which it serves, regardless of competition or current size. Moreover, it needs to ensure that the market understands the problem it aims to
solve. Good data can achieve that. Shell’s Malena Cutuli advised entrepreneurs to seek help in new places, too. “Don’t always look around your own community. Find an unusual partner to help you achieve your goals,” she said to the group of entrepreneurs.
S H E L L / W I R E D PA R T N E R S H I P
Left: Each of the event workshop sessions were led by Frog Design
#3 GROWING THE TEAM As a small business, every hire in Adaptavate is critical. Again, Tom Robinson invited attendees to discuss how the business’ altruistic culture can be retained as it expands. Ideas included the introduction of marketing and sales staff to kick-start cash ﬂow, and ﬁnancial support
‘IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT MONEY, BUT MENTORSHIP AND ADVICE’
noted Shell UK Chairman Erik Bonino. “It’s not just about money, but mentorship and advice. Today is more about the community we’re bringing together and learning from each other,” he told attendees. “We want to be part of an ecosystem that nurtures those things – and that’s really what Make the Future is all about.” That was echoed by John Abbott, Shell’s Downstream Director. “No one on the planet has a monopoly on good ideas,” he said to the innovators. “Which is why it’s great that, as a community, we’re together.” For more, search #makethefuture or visit shell.com
Shell LiveWIRE has supported young founders with advice, support and funding since 1982. The Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme offers £5,000 grants each month to 16- to 30-year-old entrepreneurs with ideas encouraging sustainability, smarter mobility and better resource use. Shell LiveWIRE has supported bio-bean, which turns leftover coffee grounds into biofuel, and Pavegen, which harvests energy from footsteps. shell-livewire.org
to ensure a strong foundation. Hiring HR support would make future hires easier, too. Trui Hebbelinck, Shell’s VP of HR Trading and Supply, advised founders to ensure their hires know the ﬁrm’s core strategy and “unconditionals” – the ethics, culture and safety principles that truly matter.
The Shell Springboard Programme helps SMEs with commercially proven business models that help reduce carbon emissions to take their businesses to the next level. Its equity-free awards range from £40,000 to £150,000, and extensive networking and marketing support is also provided under the scheme. Since 2005, Shell Springboard provided more than £3.5 million to 92 SMEs at the cutting edge of the low carbon economy. shell springboard.org
WIRED INSIDER’S PICK OF UPCOMING EVENTS
WIRED SECURITY Our new one-day event is curated to explore, explain and predict new trends, threats and defences in cybersecurity. First speakers announced – of the 20 keynote presenters – include former director of GCHQ, David Omand; professor of cybersecurity at the University of Oxford, Sadie Creese; and veteran security reporter Gordon Corera. Tickets are available now. October 20, 2016 wired.co.uk/ security16
Events, new products and promotions to live the WIRED life Compiled by Cleo McGee
A two-day event showcasing the best of the WIRED world – the greatest innovators, the most radical thinkers and the newest technologies. Expect more than 50 speakers, including the WIRED Innovation fellows, plus the hottest new products – from VR and cars to drones and audio gear – in the Test Lab. WIRED2016 will welcome more than 700 delegates – be there. November 3-4, 2016 wired.co.uk/16
1/Clinova O.R.S Hydration Tablets
2/RIMOWA Topas Multiwheel® Electronic Tag case
3/Zadig & Voltaire fragrances: Him and Her
4/The Dorchester Old Tom limited edition London gin
These soluble effervescent tablets come in three ﬂavours: lemon, strawberry and blackcurrant. They contain a combination of electrolytes and minerals to help you stay hydrated and alert – perfect if you’re visiting a hot climate, undertaking exercise, or just feeling a little ﬂat. £4.99 clinova.co.uk
This suitcase is ideal for those who travel frequently and need dapper and practical luggage. RIMOWA’s new range features a digital tag, so travellers can use their smartphones to check their cases in before ﬂying on Lufthansa routes. Smart and sophisticated. £595 harrods.com
Both fragrances are delicious and chic – Her contains spiced jasmine and pink peppercorns, blended with refreshing sandalwood; Him has seductive oriental incense. The bottle design is simple yet classic – perfect for the couple who just love to match. From £36 (September 12) zadig-et-voltaire.com
Renowned bar manager Giuliano Morandin has created a clean and fresh tasting London gin through his careful distillation process. Any cocktail waiter at the Dorchester will take just moments to mix the perfect gin martini. Will you have it shaken or stirred? £65 dorchestercollection.com
Hot on the heels of WIRED2016, our Next Generation event is curated for young people aged 12-18 years. Short talks, hands-on workshops and live performance sessions are designed to inspire guests and eschew outmoded ways of thinking, learning, making and working. Expect everything from coding and hacking to app design and drone demos. November 5, 2016 wiredevent.co.uk Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @WIREDINSIDERUK
PHOTOGRAPHY: SUN LEE
WIRED2016: NEXT GENERATION
THE REALITY OF SURVIVAL
To keep us alive, our perception of truth is limited, says Donald Hoff man
Seeing may be believing but, says cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman, it shouldn’t be. For millions of years the Australian jewel beetle’s reproductive strategy proceeded very effectively. Then, Homo sapiens – and its habit of dumping used beer bottles – entered the picture. Unable to distinguish between these brown glass containers and the shell of a potential mate, the male beetles began attempting to copulate with discarded vessels. “They nearly went extinct,” explains Hoffman, a professor at University of California, Irvine, who has spent 30 years studying how perception misses the mark. That such a simple organism lacks an accurate perceptual system may not seem surprising. But you’d think that – beyond the occasional optical illusion – this isn’t a
ILLUSTRATION: LA BOCA
SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS / EDITED BY JOÃO MEDEIROS / 101
‘It’s exceedingly difficult to conceive a reality outside of space and time. But maths can open up a chink in the walls of that prison’ – Donald Hoff man
problem a creature as evolutionarily developed as humans need to worry about. We evolve to survive – so the more accurate our perception, the better. Not so, explains Hoffman: “Evolution isn’t about truth, it’s about making kids. Every bit of information that you process costs calories, meaning that’s more food you need to kill and eat. So an organism that sees all of reality would never be more ﬁt than one tuned only to see what it needs to survive.”1 Hoffman’s argument goes further than the claim that, like the beetle and the beer bottle, our perception is not accurate enough to discriminate between objects that resemble each other. Not only do perceptual systems not evolve to capture the details of the real world, he argues, there’s no reason to believe that the objects that we see have any correspondence to things that exist outside our minds. “The standard view of vision is that we’re akin to cameras, taking an image from light reflected off an object,” he explains. “But billions of neurons and trillions of synapses are involved between light hitting the retina and the construction of the 3D objects that we perceive.” So we might fudge details to save energy, but how could it be more useful to construct a view of the world that bears no resemblance to how it actually is? Hoffman’s favoured analogy is the desktop interface2. “When you click a square, blue icon to open a document, the ﬁle itself is not a blue, square thing,” he says. In the same way the physical objects that we see are just symbols,
and the space-time in which they seem to exist just on the desktop of our specific interface to some objective reality beyond. Like any interface, it must stand in causal relationships to an underlying structure, but it’s all the more useful for not resembling it. Doubting our perceptions isn’t easy. “Our perceptual system is our window on the world, but it’s also a conceptual prison,” he agrees. “It’s difficult to conceive a reality outside of space and time. But maths can open up a chink in the walls of that prison. I can’t imagine a multidimensional space, but I can deal with inﬁnite dimensional space in mathematical form.” With the help of mathematics, a recognition of the existence of this perceptual prison brings a freedom to form new theories about the world beyond it. Hoffman identifies two inconsistencies in our perceptuallyderived view of the Universe that may offer clues into the structure of reality beneath. The first: our inability to explain conscious experience, for example, how we get the sensation of what it is like to taste chocolate from the physical material of neurones and chemical messengers. The second: interpretations of quantum mechanics in which states of a particle are indefinite when unobserved – something that calls into question our assumption of objects continuing to exist whether or not anyone is looking at them. In both cases, consciousness seems to exist outside the rules we derive from our perception of a physical world.
If, as Hoffman argues, the evolution of our perceptual system gives us no reason to believe that this physical world exists as we perceive it, then perhaps we should reverse direction, to begin instead with consciousness itself as the primary substance of reality from which the physical world arises.3 “One aspect of conscious experience is that it seems you can’t have an experience without an experiencer,” Hoffman says. He takes these as composed of three channels of information: perception; decision; and action, each mapping from an input to an output. In the classical view of the physical world, the input to the perception channel is light bouncing off objects, and the output of the action channel is a change exerted on this physical world. To cut this physical world out of the picture, he connects the agents to each other. The input of one agent’s perception is the output of another’s action, and the output of an agent’s action is an informational change in another agent. Reality, according to Hoffman, is a network of conscious agents. By studying the dynamics of this network we can understand how its interactions build up to the perception that we have of a physical world. Of course, reality could also be any number of other things. Empirical evidence is always insufficient to completely determine one unique theory, and Hoffman’s is not alone here. But, he stresses, what matters is that it is precise and falsiﬁable. “I’m proposing that there is a simple mathematical core to this,” he says. “What I have to do now is to show that from this model I can ge t b a c k s p a c e - t i m e, p h y s i c a l objects, quantum field theory and general relativity – essentially that I can solve the mind-body problem in reverse.” Kathryn Nave
1. Hoffman, DD and Singh, M, 2012. Computational evolutionary perception. Perception, 41(9), pp1073-1091. 2. Hoffman, DD, Singh, M and Prakash, C, 2015. The interface theory of perception. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 22(6), pp1480-1506. 3. Hoffman, DD and Prakash, C, 2014. Objects of consciousness. Frontiers in psychology, 5.
ILLUSTRATION: PETER JUDSON
102 / R&D / ALL IN THE MIND / NEOGENICS
scientiﬁcally accurate. Right now, it’s not clear what the moral universe looks like with neogenics. On the other hand, we will use these technologies to have an impact on diseases that we cannot otherwise treat. Imagine how wonderful it would be to take a disease that lacks medical therapy and use either gene therapy or in utero diagnosis to reduce the risk? But, if we intervene on an illness, are we going to change an identity? And are we going to change who we are if we intervene on genes?
GENE GENIE Siddhartha Mukherjee outlines the future of genetics by evaluating its past A cancer physician and stem-cell biologist at Columbia University, Siddhartha Mukherjee investigates the links between stem cells and cancerous blood diseases. In 2011, his book, Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Fourth Estate), won a Pulitzer Prize for general non-ﬁction. Now he returns with The Gene: An Intimate History (Bodley Head), a wide-ranging exploration of genetics. In it, Mukherjee explores heredity through his family history of mental illness, and describes the centuries-long quest to precisely deﬁne the gene. WIRED talks to Mukherjee about his new book, the new era of “neogenics”, and what it signals for the future of genetics. Emma Bryce WIRED: What prompted you to write this book? Siddhartha Mukherjee: There were three threads that came together. The ﬁrst was the history of mental illness in my family – particularly schizophrenia and bipolar disease. The second strand was equally important: I’m also a cancer biologist. As cancer genetics came alive, the question was, “What do normal genes do?” If genes can be perverted into those kinds of behaviours in cancer, how do normal genes act?1 The third strand was that in the past four or ﬁve years, we’ve begun to manipulate the human genome with a dexterity that we didn’t possess before. That demanded its own response: what does life look like once the human genome becomes so easy to manipulate? These three things came together in The Gene. What frequent misunderstandings do people have about genetics and heredity? One of the most unsettlingly beautiful things about the human genome is that even though it has some powerful inﬂuences on fate, destiny, illness and even things like personality and temperament, a lot of it is left up to chance. I think this is what people get wrong about genetics – the profound level of determination of the gene, but also the way chance, randomness, triggers or environments can play a role.2 In the past, misunderstanding the gene’s complexity has driven atrocities such as eugenics, which you explore in the book. Was it important to you that you mapped out this history in such detail? The Gene and my book on cancer are mechanisms to investigate how human knowledge happens. My suspicion is that the content of scientiﬁc knowledge changes over time, but the form remains the same. The kinds of mistakes that we make – the desire to solve complex problems using simple solutions – is sometimes true, but sometimes leads us down very wrong roads. Progress has ushered us into an era of “neogenics”. Do you see neogenics as the moral version of its predecessor, eugenics? I don’t believe that neogenics is necessarily more moral; I think it’s more
CRISPR obviously poses huge possibilities and questions in this realm. What CRISPR allows us to do is to add information to the genome, enhance the genome in a way no other technology can. It’s unique in its capacity to do that. And that’s where I think people’s concerns are the highest: can we really safely add information to the human genome, in a way that doesn’t have long-term consequences? I think it’s important when we have conversations about what CRISPR does, that we divide up what the applications are, and what the impact is. That conversation needs to be had beyond the world of science. In your research on the genetic regulation of blood-forming stem cells, you’ve met these issues. We began to use CRISPR technologies about two-and-a-half years ago, making changes in human stem cells, and it wasn’t that hard to do. So, if you can make these changes in human stem cells, and change the way people suffer from various blood diseases, for instance, what might be the effect of making those changes in embryonic cells? It’s a question we haven’t studied, but it became clear that it wouldn’t be hard to study – that these technologies might be easier to come by than I had anticipated. What questions remained after writing this book? The question that kept coming back to me is to what extent is it true that fate is predictable by individual genomes, and if we know that, what do we do about it? Also, what happens when you start making changes to the gene? That’s the moment that we’re in. And the question is, can we do this responsibly?
1. Mukherjee says increasingly sophisticated genetic diagnoses may identify more “previvors” – people who discover they’re at risk of a disease before they develop it, such as breast cancer. 2. The author uses twin studies to reveal how disorders are shaped. “Among identical twins, there’s a 50 per cent chance that if one twin has schizophrenia, the other will have it too,” he says. “The other 50 per cent is something we don’t understand.”
T HE I L LU S T R AT E D E X P E R I M E N T
BRAIN ENDURANCE TRAINING Each month we illustrate todayâ€™s pioneering projects. This issue: how sport medicine researcher Samuele Marcora could help rewire your brain to keep physical exhaustion at bay for longer
NE *BUT WITH FOOTNOTES. ILLUSTRATION: ROBERT G FRESSON
1. Marcora SM, Staiano W, Merlini M. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Brain Endurance Training (BET) to Reduce Fatigue During Endurance Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2015;47(5S):198. 2. Marcora SM, Staiano W, Manning V. Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009;106(3):857-64.
INTELLIGENT EXERTIONS / R&D / 105
WIREDâ€™S SCIENCE SECTION N
ILLUSTRATION: SEAN FREEMAN. ARTWORK CREATED AS AN EXPLORATION OF MATERIAL SMOOTHNESS, LINES AND TEXTURE CONTRASTS, WITH SCULPTURAL FORMS MEETING ORGANIC PAINT STROKES AND METAL PIGMENTS
LONG-FORM STORIES / 107
“Being productive and smart is the new sexy. Everyone will soon be using nootropics.” Geoff Woo, p126
WEAR JEANS, CHANGE LIVES SIGN UP FOR YOUR FREE FUNDRAISING PACK TODAY JEANSFORGENES.ORG
look good, do good. Limited edition fashion t-shirt, as modelled by Frankie Bridge. £20 available at: jeansforgenes.org/shop
1 in 25 children is born with a genetic disorder. Join Frankie Bridge and wear your jeans on Friday 23 September. By wearing your jeans and making a donation you will make a real difference to these children’s lives. Jeans for Genes ® and ™, © 2016 Genetic Disorders UK. Registered Charity Number 1141583.
THE F I R S T G L O B A L
TYPOGRAPHY: ZIGOR SAMANIEGO
Compiled by the WIRED team in consultation with 300 people in our network
Since 2010, we’ve regularly canvassed our network of entrepreneurs, investors, designers, scientists and policymakers to identify the key inﬂuencers in the WIRED world. We ask them to list the people at that moment who are shaping our culture, the tech economy, consumer behaviour, scientiﬁc discovery – in short, the people making things happen. We then process the responses to collate a consensus, cancelling out biases and personal conﬂicts as we rank the top 100. Now, for the ﬁrst time, we move beyond Europe to identify the global inﬂuencers. Meet the 2016 WIRED 100.
1. ELON MUSK Founder, CEO and CTO, SpaceX; co-founder, CEO and product architect, Tesla Motors; chairman, SolarCity; co-chairman, OpenAI, Los Angeles For a man desperate to escape planet Earth, Elon Musk is awfully concerned with preserving it – whether saving it from the ravages of out-of-control artiﬁcial intelligence (AI) or humanity’s own self-destructive inability to limit energy consumption. A good thing, given that, although the SpaceX founder and CEO may be planning to establish a Martian colony in our lifetime, few of us will be able to afford the ticket. Musk’s many nominations for the WIRED 100 were focused not simply on his work to push the limits
of human space exploration, but also on his Earth-bound efforts as founder and CEO of Tesla to change the way we move around this planet, by making electric vehicles desirable, increasingly affordable, and eventually capable of driving themselves. To fuel the vehicles of the future, Musk’s Gigafactory in the Nevada desert aims to produce more batteries annually by 2020 than were produced worldwide in 2013. Batteries destined not only for cars, but also for homes and businesses, providing the storage capacity needed to support the variable output of solar or wind energy. Silicon Valley billionaires often talk about making the world a better place, but few back their dream so boldly as Musk, 45. In the past year, he’s live-streamed successful launches and retrievals of his reusable Falcon 9 rocket; started selling the Tesla Model X all-electric SUV and unveiled the prototype for his mass-market Model 3 (typically mischievous, Musk pointed out that the model types for his three cars to date spelled S3X); announced a competition to test designs for his Hyperloop high-speed transportation system – which uses reduced-pressure tubes to reach speeds around 970kph; and launched his not-for-profit AI research company OpenAI, with the aim of both advancing the ﬁeld and making AI research freely accessible. So, if Tesla’s autonomous cars do turn against us, at least we’ll know how they work. In December 2015, figures from GTM Research showed Musk’s greenpower company SolarCity accounted for 34 per cent of the residential solar panel installations in the US, making it the market leader. Each one of these alone would be enough for most billionaires. For Musk, they just fuel his ambition (and in June Tesla bid to take over SolarCity). His sense of urgency can be palpable – he’s known for being brusque, leaping from topic to topic in conversations, impatient with those who can’t keep up. All of which underlines Iron Man director Jon Favreau’s use of Musk as
the inspiration behind maverick tech billionaire Tony Stark. Although he’s not yet working on an armoured suit, in many ways Musk is starting to look a lot less like the typical Silicon Valley player and a lot more like an old-school industrialist. He’s investing his own fortune gained from founding and selling city guide startup Zip2 and online payments pioneer PayPal, but also openly accepting signiﬁcant government subsidy for SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity in the same way gilded-era railroad barons accepted federal support to build transport infrasructure. Falcon 1, launched in 2008, was the ﬁrst privately funded rocket to reach orbit – followed by the launch and recovery of Dragon, the future replacement for the Space Shuttle. He hopes to send humans to Mars within ten to 20 years, which seems an achievable goal next to persuading Americans to swap their beloved gas-guzzling road monsters for nimble electrical vehicles. But with advance orders for the Model 3 topping $10 billion (£6.9bn) in the ﬁrst two days after orders opened in spring 2016, it looks like he might have a chance. It’s notable that, after warning against the dangers of AI – in a joint letter with Stephen Hawking last January that argued that its beneﬁts could be outweighed by its potential to destroy the human race – Musk’s OpenAI aims to open-source AI research in a bid reduce the risk of this apocalypse. With fellow billionaires Peter Thiel, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison embracing the promise of singularity, Musk’s stance looks optimistically pro-human. He may not be Tony Stark, but he can’t stop trying to save us all.
1. ELON MUSK Illustration: ILOVEDUST
4. MA HUATENG Illustration: Magnus Voll Mathiassen
2. MARK ZUCKERBERG Co-founder, Facebook, Palo Alto Zuckerberg’s push into messaging with WhatsApp and Messenger puts his company’s social reach way beyond any other service’s. As of April 2016, Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users.
3. TIM COOK CEO, Apple, Palo Alto Cook’s refusal to have the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters unlocked proved Apple’s respect for privacy. Sales in China may be slowing, but it still sets the standards for UX and product innovation.
4. MA HUATENG Founder, Tencent, Shenzhen Even without the Chinese government’s ban, Facebook’s eastern expansion would face a formidable opponent in Tencent Holdings, the brainchild of Ma Huateng, aka Pony Ma. Embracing mobile-first long before the American internet titan had ﬁgured that out, Tencent’s WeChat, launched in 2011, is about more than messaging. It’s a social gaming hub, e-commerce network, taxi-hailing service, news feed, government services portal and mobile payments processor. And it has 700m monthly active users in China alone. Not to mention Tencent’s desktop-native QQ chat, which has more than 870m active users. The introduction of live message translation in QQ and the rebranding of WeChat from its former Chinese name of Weixin have signalled Ma’s intentions lie further aﬁeld than China. Avoiding Facebook’s western strongholds, Tencent has turned instead to the emerging markets of South Africa and Nigeria, where – although WhatsApp still dominates – WeChat’s additional services may give Tencent the edge.
7. MARGRETHE VESTAGER European Commissioner for Competition, Brussels The European Union’s current competition commissioner doesn’t believe in starting small. Appointed in November 2014, within her ﬁrst year in off ice Vestager, now 48, had launched formal investigations into Google, Amazon and Russian stock company Gazprom. Alongside this, the Dane also pursued investigations into the tax affairs of Starbucks, Fiat, Apple, and Amazon again, ruling on fines of up to €30 million each in the ﬁrst two cases. The UK’s tax arrangement with Google hasn’t escaped Vestager’s notice either, and last January SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie requested she investigate the government’s £130 million tax deal with the search giant. With the launch of a second investigation relating to restrictions in the Android ecosystem and given her power to ﬁne a company as much as ten per cent of global turnover, Vestager has real bite – even as the EU itself faces its biggest crisis.
8. DEMIS HASSABIS Co-founder and CEO, DeepMind, London In March 2016, DeepMind’s AI AlphaGo beat the Go world champion Lee Se-dol. The Google-owned startup is moving machine learning forward at a pace that could affect every industry, from healthcare to commerce.
12. JONY IVE Chief design ofﬁcer, Apple, Cupertino Ive’s hand in the world’s most fetishised tech products makes him the most inﬂuential designer of his generation. In the short term, consumers are waiting for Ive’s iPhone 7; in the long term, they’re anticipating his car.
13. TRAVIS KALANICK Co-founder, Uber, San Francisco As it conquers territory after territory, Uber’s value to investors topped $68 billion. To combat bad press, Kalanick has announced a plan to focus on shared cars and reduce air pollution in the 68 countries it operates in.
14. XAVIER NIEL
2 14 TO
9. MARC ANDREESSEN Co-founder and general manager, Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Park Andreessen’s inﬂuence remains huge – Twitter’s share value rose by 11 per cent in February with rumours Andreessen Horowitz was to raise its stake in the company.
5. LARRY PAGE
10. SHERYL SANDBERG
Co-founder, Google; CEO, Alphabet, Palo Alto In February, Alphabet brieﬂy became the world’s most valuable company, with a market cap of $547 billion. As it expands its Calico, Nest and investment divisions, its scale and ambition is second to none.
COO, Facebook, Menlo Park Sandberg has deftly moved Facebook on to mobile – by Q3 2015, the platform accounted for 78 per cent of its revenue. Only Google can compete with Facebook’s 1.65 billion mobile app users and 400 million Instagram users.
6. JACK MA
11. JEFF BEZOS
Founder, Alibaba, Hangzhou In Q1 2016, the proﬁt of China’s most popular e-commerce platform rose more than 80 per cent to $832 million. And its recent diversiﬁcation has included the purchase of the South China Morning Post.
Founder, Amazon, Seattle Bezos hopes to take tourists into orbit in 2018 with his space travel company, Blue Origin. On Earth, Amazon continues to dominate online commerce and is by far the largest cloud services provider on the planet.
Founder, Free, 42 and 1000 Startups; co-owner, Le Monde, Paris In the French press (excepting Le Monde, which he co-owns), telco billionaire Xavier Niel is eagerly covered for his relationship with Louis Vuitton VP Delphine Arnault, his colourful investments (from high-profile real estate to co-ownership of the song “My Way”), his ambitiously internationalising company Iliad (owner of France’s Free ISP and mobile network), and his unconventional path to a fortune valued by Forbes at $7.6bn (let’s not mention a brief 2004 imprisonment following an investigation into a peep-show business in which he had invested). No, what puts Xiel, 48, in the upper ranks of the 2016 global WIRED 100 is his standout role as France’s transformative enabler of future tech stars. It’s not just that his Kima Ventures calls itself “the world’s most active angel fund”, investing in two to three startups per week from Paris and already with stakes in more than 350 businesses in dozens of countries. It’s also that Niel is reinventing the notion of university after declaring in 2013 that “the education system doesn’t work”. His answer: an ambitious meritbased coding school without teachers, without a syllabus, without entrance requirements and without fees. The school, called 42 (the answer to the question of “life, the universe and everything” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), is on an unassuming street in Paris’s 17th arrondissement. “We have 80,000 applicants a year who play an online game, and 25,000 ﬁnish,” Niel explains amid banks of 1,000 iMacs on a Thursday morning in May. “We take the 3,000 best and ask them to come to the school for a month – that’s 450 hours of 15-hour days, including Saturday and Sunday. After ﬁve or six days, a third
leave. And then we take the 1,000 best.” The survivors – 80 to 90 per cent French, but including Americans and Brits – win a free education, help in finding a flat, loan guarantees of €15,000 if needed, and access to high-quality internships. “Forty per cent don’t have a Baccalaureate – half the students in this school are from poor families and wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Niel says. “Our business model is very easy. It’s my credit card.” Niel committed €20 million to launch the school, and around €7 million a year in running costs to cover the ﬁrst decade in operation. “After that,” he says, pointing to three students, “we hope one of you three guys will be the next Mark Zuckerberg.” This year, he’s opening a second branch in Fremont, California, with a $100 million commitment. The Silicon Valley stars who have visited the original 42 need no convincing. “You feel you’re walking into a school from the future,” according to Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel. “It’s a transformative way to learn.”
negatively to the international shift in focus, accusing Li, 88, of abandoning the country. Yet his property empire, Cheung Kong Property Holdings, remains largely local, with the majority of its holdings located in Hong Kong. Li’s “third son”, the Li Ka-shing Foundation, has also kept the focus at home, donating more than HK $20 billion, 87 per cent in the greater China region, to furthering education and medical research. And, in Horizons Ventures, he has big clout in VC.
19. OLIVER SAMWER Co-founder, Rocket Internet, Berlin With brothers Marc and Alexander, Samwer oversees a portfolio of startups worth more than $4 billion. But their legacy may be the number of Rocket entrepreneurs who leave to start their own ventures.
20. YURI MILNER Founder, Digital Sky Technologies, Moscow His investments range from Facebook, Zynga and Zocdoc to Spotify and Xiaomi. His next ambitious move is the patronage of a science project for a probe that could travel to Alpha Centauri.
21. SATOSHI NAKAMOTO
16. SATYA NADELLA CEO, Microsoft, Redmond Nadella, 48, will in 2017 publish a book called Hit Refresh. That’s apt, considering his mission to transform Microsoft as the “professional cloud” – not least with his recent $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.
17. FRED WILSON Co-founder, Union Square Ventures; obsessive blogger, New York The most inﬂuential venture ﬁrm on the US east coast, Union Square’s portfolio includes Twitter and Tumblr. It recently raised $166.8 million for its fourth early-stage fund.
15 23 TO
15. LI KA-SHING Chairman, CK Hutchison Holdings, Hong Kong China’s economic woes may have shaken investors, but Hong Kong’s richest man has less reason to panic. Since 2012, when Europe’s contribution to the operating profit of Li’s CK Hutchison Holdings overtook China’s, the famously prescient tycoon has been moving his focus towards the west with investments across Hutchison’s core areas of infrastructure, energy, telecoms, shipping and retail. Attempts to expand telecoms holdings beyond Hutchinson’s ownership of 3 Group Europe were met with an obstacle, however, in the form of EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager (see seven), who blocked attempts to buy Telefónica’s O2 business in the UK. China’s state press have responded
18. JENNIFER DOUDNA & EMMANUELLE CHARPENTIER Researchers, CRISPR sequencing/ genome-editing technique, Berlin and Berkeley The impact of CRISPR-Cas9, a technique that allows the ﬁrst precise genome edits, is indisputable. Its provenance, however, is not. Conﬂicting patent applications, one by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the University of California Berkeley, and another by Feng Zhang of MIT and the Broad Institute, were both ﬁled in 2013. Though the Berkeley team’s was submitted earlier, the latter was granted in April 2014, leading Berkeley to request an investigation. In the middle of one contentious debate, another arose. In April 2015, a group of Chinese scientists revealed they’d used CRISPR-Cas9 to perform the ﬁrst ever genetic edits to human embryos. Although the embryos were non-viable, Doudna publicly called for a pause on such experiments until the implications are better understood.
Anonymous inventor of Bitcoin, location unknown Entrepreneur Craig Wright claimed to be Nakamoto, but identity is a moot point. Bitcoin aims to transform the global economy by taking banks from the process.
22. BOB VAN DIJK CEO, Naspers, Cape Town Chinese-African economic interaction usually follows a predictable pattern: China invests, China profits. But, in 2001, it was South African media group Naspers that struck gold with the purchase of 46.5 per cent of what was then a small Chinese startup, Tencent Holdings. Bought for $34 million, that share is now worth more than $60 billion, making Naspers the largest media company in Africa. Now Bob Van Dijk, CEO since April 2014 and formerly VP of European expansion at eBay, is looking to move beyond Tencent. In Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand, the company is developing joint ventures in online classifieds with former competitors Norwegian Schibsted Media Group and Telenor Group alongside Singapore Press H o l d i n gs. M e a nw h i l e, Na s p e rs is challenging Netf lix’s African expansion with the rollout of its own internet TV service, ShowMax, to 36 countries across sub-Saharan Africa since launch in August 2015.
23. JONG-KYUN SHIN President and CEO, Samsung, Seoul Samsung remains a signiﬁcant tech player, making $6.4 billion in proﬁts in Q4 2015 alone. In May 2015, it announced it would build a network for the internet of things, with SK Telecom, to cover all of South Korea.
24. JAMES MURDOCH Chairman, Sky; CEO, Century Fox, LA In January, Murdoch returned to the helm of Sky after stepping down four years earlier. He has global inﬂuence over content creation and distribution, and Sky’s revenue increased ﬁve per cent in 2015, to £5.7bn.
25. SUNDAR PICHAI CEO, Google Inc, Palo Alto The 44-year-old ex-McKinsey consultant joined Google in 2004, to oversee Chrome and Google Drive before running Gmail and Google Maps. Now he’s betting the company’s future on machine learning.
ILLUSTRATION: CHRISTIAN DELLAVEDOVA
26. BEATRIZ ACEVEDO Founder, MiTú Network and HIP Entertainment, Santa Monica In the great millennial media scramble, Beatriz Acevedo had firmly claimed her own niche: young Latinos looking for more than the cheesy telenovelas of Hispanic broadcast media. With 55 million Latinos in the US alone, 60 per cent of whom are millennial or younger, that’s a substantial niche. Since she cofounded MiTú in 2012, the multichannel digital network’s 7,000 Latino content creators have built an audience of more than 100 million global subscribers, through multilingual beauty, cooking, comedy and lifestyle shows across YouTube, Vine, Instagram and Facebook. That audience has drawn the interest of Pepsi, Nestlé, T-Mobile and Microsoft, who’ve all sponsored native advertising and product placement with MiTú’s creators. In January this year, MiTú raised $27 million from investors including DreamWorks Animation, WPP Digital, and Verizon Ventures, bringing total funding to $43 million. The major broadcast networks have also taken an interest. NBC Universo, Universal and Discovery TV all distribute the network’s content and, since 2014, Mitú has been partnering w i t h Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish language mass media company.
28. EVAN SPIEGEL CEO, Snapchat, Los Angeles In 2011, when a 21-year-old Evan Spiegel (below) demonstrated his disappearing-photo app for a class project at Stanford University, his fellow students and visiting VCs all declared it a terrible idea. Then, in 2012, Facebook offered $3 billion for Snapchat, only to be rejected by the owner of a still revenue-less app. Today, it processes around 9,000 Snaps a second, and in January 2015 Spiegel launched Snapchat Discover, revealing why it was worth turning down $3 billion. The Discover platform allows media companies including CNN, VICE and Vox to distribute media-rich, ad-sponsored content, splitting revenues with Snapchat. Ad rates aren’t publicly disclosed but the messaging app’s latest funding round raised $1.8 billion.
33. REID HOFFMAN Founder, LinkedIn; investor, San Francisco LinkedIn didn’t have the best start to 2016, with a disappointing revenue forecast leading to a 46 per cent share drop. But its future looks brighter since it was announced that Microsoft was buying it for $26.2bn.
34. LÉI JŪN Co-founder, Xiaomi, Beijing In January, Xiaomi, one of China’s biggest smartphone sellers, reported sales of 70 million smartphones in 2015. In May, it announced an expansion of its global partnership with Microsoft.
35. DANIEL EK Founder, Spotify, Stockholm Spotify’s subscriber base has grown to 30 million, and, while it still loses money, its most recent year-on-year revenue growth was a handsome 81 per cent, with the company valued at around $8 billion.
36. REED HASTINGS Co-founder and CEO, Netﬂix, Los Gatos Hastings has almost completed Netﬂix’s global domination of TV streaming services. In January, it announced Netﬂix was available everywhere except mainland China, Syria, North Korea and Crimea.
37. LU WEI 29. JAN KOUM Founder, WhatsApp, San Francisco In April 2016, Brian Acton and Jan Koum announced that their company was adding end-to-end encryption to messages and calls. The Facebook-owned app currently has more than a billion regular users.
30. SERGEY BRIN Co-founder, Google; president, Alphabet, Mountain View His co-founder, Larry Page, is the public face of Google, but Brin continues to have a strong inﬂuence over the company’s long-term projects such as X and Calico.
31. BILL MARIS CEO at Google Ventures (now GV); VP of Special Projects, Google, Mountain View With $2.4bn to spend and 300 portfolio companies, Maris oversees all of GV’s investments. He was instrumental in the launch of Google’s biotech arm Calico.
27. MASAYOSHI SON
32. PAVEL DUROV
Founder, SoftBank; chairman, Sprint Corporation, Tokyo Poor Nikesh Arora: the newly hired “heir apparent” suddenly quit in June after Son, 58, announced he wasn’t quitting running his $70 billion empire after all.
Founder, VK and Telegram, St Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean (in exile from Russia) In February, the founder of messaging app Telegram reported 350,000 new users were signing up every day, and that the app was being used by around 100 million users.
China’s chief internet censor, Beijing As information gatekeeper to nearly a ﬁfth of the world’s population, China’s cyberspace administration minister has both enormous power and an incredibly difficult task on his hands. In the face of foreign companies, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Lu’s dictate has been absolute: conform to our rules or remain blocked from the country’s internet entirely. Such a ban helps homegrown companies – which comply with censorship regulations – to ﬂourish. A random sampling of posts on Chinese microblogging site Weibo in a study at the University of California has revealed a censorship rate of around 13 to 16 per cent. Yet selectively pruning the postings of nearly 200 million users proves easier said than done, as in 2011 when mass outrage at the government’s response to a deadly train crash kept it as most discussed topic on the social network for three days’ running. Lu’s hardline stance ﬁnally wavered at the end of June when he unexpectedly announced his resignation from the post, but his inﬂuence on the country’s online activities will loom large for years to come.
38. BILL GATES Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington state In June, Mission Innovation, a coalition of 21 countries – and Bill Gates’s resources of $40 billion – pledged to double ﬁnancing for energy research and development.
39. MARY MEEKER Partner, Kleiner Perkins Cauﬁeld & Byers, Menlo Park For 21 years, Mary Meeker’s mammoth annual slideshow has summed up the evolving state of the internet. It remains a must-read. Across hundreds of graphs, the annual Internet Trend Report, which she now produces as a partner at venture capital ﬁrm Kleiner Perkins Cauﬁeld & Byers, has chronicled the rise and fall of tech empires: all but one name (Apple) on the 1995 list of highest market cap public internet companies has now vanished. Meeker made her name at Morgan Stanley in the 90s, steering Netscape’s 1995 IPO and working on Google’s. She went on to popularise the idea that profit-less companies could become profitable investments. Now, her latest internet trends include: the rise of short-form video advertisments; increasingly pervasive “ buy now ” buttons allowing direct purchases within social media; the reimagination of enterprise computing; and ever increasing user control of content.
CEO, president, Didi Chuxing, Beijing In China, two local ride-hailing services have joined forces to fend off an Uber invasion. In February 2015, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, backed respectively by Tencent and Alibaba, announced their merger, with Didi’s Cheng Wei and Kuaidi’s Dexter Chuanwei Lu becoming co-CEOs of the newly formed Didi Chuxing. Together they ’ve w r a p p e d u p m u c h o f C h i n a ’s ride-hailing app market, with the company claiming an 87 per cent market share (market research firm Mintel says it’s more like 60 per cent). Behind the deal was Didi Dache’s president and former Goldman Sachs managing director Jean Liu. Now president of Didi Chuxing, Liu has since brought in $1 billion in investment from Apple. In April 2016, Didi began to encroach on Uber’s home turf through a partnership with Lyft that allows Didi users to hire the US company’s cars through their app and vice versa. Similar partnerships with Ola in India and Grab in Southeast Asia are set to roll out next year. TO
46. RONY ABOVITZ Founder and CEO, Magic Leap, Florida In February, Abovitz’s augmented reality startup raised $793 million, taking its funding to $1.4bn. Although its products are still secret, investors like Qualcomm and Warner Bros have created big expectations.
44. JOI ITO Director, MIT Media Lab, Boston Continuing his mission to promote antidisciplinarity, in February Ito launched the Journal of Design and Science, which included papers from architect Neri Oxman and inventor Danny Hillis.
40. BRENT HOBERMAN Entrepreneur, investor, London In May, the Lastminute.com and Founders Forum founder and investor announced he would create 200 new British tech startups over the next ﬁve years through Founders Factory.
41. TIM O’REILLY Publisher, San Francisco The man who popularised the terms “opensource” and “Web 2.0” is now asking companies to re-evaluate how they navigate the “Next Economy” – the transformation of work and business in the digital age.
42. SUSAN WOJCICKI CEO, YouTube, Mountain View Wojcicki is focused on turning YouTube into an unassailable business, promising its creators “freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom of opportunity” – and charging for ad-free subscriptions.
9,929 retweets per post, more than twice that of second-placed King Salman of Saudi Arabia. And Pope Francis is using that influence to spread more than just t h e go s p e l . H i s 4 0 0,0 0 0 - w o rd encyclical on climate change, released in June 2015 then summarised through Twitter, was the most in-depth papal engagement – yet with the science of humanity ’s environmental impact and a powerful declaration of our obligation to prevent its destruction. The statement followed his comments in 2014 that scientific accounts of the origin of the Universe are not incompatible with religious ones. Indeed, he told the Pontiﬁcal Academy of Sciences that “The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.”
43. JEAN LIU & CHENG WEI
45. PAPA FRANCISCO Pope, The Vatican, Rome The most influential world leader on Twitter is not US president Barack Obama but the 79-year-old sovereign of the world’s smallest nation, whose arrival on the social network was announced in a long-dead language with the words, “Habemus papam franciscum.” Though Obama has secured the largest following, when it comes to retweets, the Spanish-language @ Pontifex_es – one of nine papal accounts including a rather less inﬂuential Latin version – blows others out of the water with an average of
47. MARTIN SORRELL Founder and CEO, WPP, London In 2015, the world’s biggest advertising group made 37 per cent of its £12.2 billion revenues from digital. Google is the leading recipient at £2.7 billion but Sorrell has charged it with operating a “walled garden”.
48. JACK DORSEY CEO, Twitter and Square, San Francisco In July 2015, Dorsey became Twitter’s CEO. But, troubled by usability issues and the departure of senior executives, he has been unable to prevent it falling behind Snapchat in terms of daily active users.
49. CARLOS SLIM HELÚ CEO, Telmex, América Móvil, Mexico City The weakness of the peso caused telecomms billionaire Slim’s wealth to fall $15.9 billion, a drop of 22 per cent, in 2015. Meanwhile, he increased his stake in The New York Times to 17 per cent.
50. BRIAN CHESKY, JOE GEBBIA & NATHAN BLECHARCZYK Founders, Airbnb, San Francisco Airbnb’s growth continues to rocket: a $25.5 billion valuation makes it the third-largest privately held startup in the world, after Uber and Xaomi.
43. JEAN LIU & CHENG WEI Illustration: Jean-Michel Tixier
51. LIU QIANGDONG Founder and CEO, JD.com, Beijing In 1998, ex-restaurateur Liu Qiangdong opened an electronics store in central Beijing. In January 2004, when the deadly SARS outbreak was scaring customers in China away from shops in their thousands, he decided to expand the company into an online retailer. Today, Liu’s shop has grown into JD.com, also known as Jingdong Mall – an e-commerce giant that in 2015 reported 155 million active customer accounts and annual revenues of about $28 billion. The 42-year-old’s formula to fend off counterfeits and shoddy merchandise is to be true to the company’s bricks-and-mortar origins: JD.com itself buys goods (from electronics to clothes and jewellery) from producers and re-sells them to customers after quality checks. Being directly in charge of distribution and delivery, JD.com has managed to scale up its presence in China’s smaller inland cities, eroding the monopoly of e-commerce titan Alibaba in those areas. And Liu – who since 2015 has been earning a yearly salary of £0.11 – is increasingly looking westward: the company opened its English-language website joybuy.co.uk in 2012, launched its Nasdaq IPO in 2014, and between 2015 and 2016 it clinched high-profile partnerships with brands as disparate as pop singer Taylor Swift (see 61) and Liverpool Football Club. In January 2016, JD.com even gained a foothold in Silicon Valley with a $50 million investment in smartphone shopping app wish.com.
CEO, Atomico, London Zennström’s London-based tech fund has a growing portfolio of startups based in Istanbul, Beijing and São Paulo. Having raised $1.39 billion since 2006, it has taken signiﬁcant stakes in Supercell, Skype and Jawbone.
54. SHERVIN PISHEVAR Co-founder, Sherpa Capital, Hyperloop One, San Francisco Tehran-born Pishevar is mostly known for leading a hefty series-B investment round in Uber in 2011, as a managing director of Menlo Ventures. Today, the 42-year-old has an interest in Airbnb, Slack, videogame developer Machine Zone and high-end food delivery service Munchery through his new company, Sherpa Capital. In recent months, Pishevar has been focusing on mobility as an investor and chairman of Hyperloop One, one of the ventures trying to bring about the tube-based high-speed transportation system conceived by SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Pishevar has publicly come out in support of Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the US presidential race, hosting a $33,400 per person, George Clooney-sponsored fundraising event for her at his San Francisco mansion in April 2016. He is also a member of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.
Conference chair; investor, Tel Aviv, Israel Even at 74, the godfather of Israeli tech remains a force, speaking proliﬁcally at (and organising) conferences worldwide. On planes for much of the year, he is an unusually powerful gatekeeper.
56. NAVAL RAVIKANT Co-founder, AngelList, San Francisco Ravikant’s investment platform raised $163 million for 441 startups in 2015. His inﬂuence has been ampliﬁed by a deal with a Chinese equity ﬁrm to create a new $400 million seed fund.
57. MARC BENIOFF Founder, Salesforce.com, San Francisco The billionare investor and philanthropist continues to wield big inﬂuence in the Valley – but it’s his social campaigning, notably on equal pay and gay rights, that have lately boosted his inﬂuence.
55. STEWART BUTTERFIELD 52. YOSSI VARDI
and was bought by Yahoo! for around $25 million the following year. After leaving Flickr in 2008, Butterfield launched a new game, Glitch, which was another disappointment, but repurposed one of the technologies spawned during its development into something bigger: Slack, a team-messaging tool that has become the gold standard of interoffice communications since its launch in August 2013. Slack initially spread through Silicon Valley via word-of-mouth; today it reports three million users every day – and 800,000 premium accounts, including organisations such as BuzzFeed, LinkedIn and the US Department of State. Butterfield’s company has so far raised a b o u t $ 3 0 0 m i l l i o n i n ve n t u re capital, and recent estimates pin its value at up to $4 billion. To cap his successful spell, Stewart was named The Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovator for 2015.
53. NIKLAS ZENNSTRÖM
Co-founder and CEO, Slack, Vancouver Stewart Butterﬁeld is the tech world’s king of serendipity. Born in 1973 on a British Columbia commune, he developed a massive multiplayer online video game called Game Neverending. The project wasn’t a success – in fact it never even launched – but the entrepreneur quickly realised that one of the game’s key features – which allowed for instant image sharing – could exist as a standalone product. That was how, in 2004, he co-founded Flickr. The image-hosting service was an immediate global hit,
58. CHRIS ANDERSON Curator, TED, New York Despite a crowded conference circuit, Anderson’s TED New York events still draw key inﬂuencers. TED Talks have been viewed billions of times, and have transformed hundreds of speakers’ careers.
59. DAVE McCLURE Founding partner, 500 Startups, San Francisco Since launching his capital seed fund and accelerator in 2010, McClure and his team now have investments in more than 1,500 ﬁrms including Twilio and MakerBot.
60. SACHIN & BINNY BANSAL Founders, Flipkart, Bangalore Flipkart is India's dominant e-commerce platform with 45 million registered users. The company plans to invest $2 billion in logistics and another $500 million in a nationwide warehouse network.
ILLUSTRATION: SERGIO MEMBRILLAS
61. TAYLOR SWIFT Entertainer, Los Angeles Taylor Swift (pictured) looks and sounds like just another pop star being run by a major record label. But don’t be fooled. A sequence of clever career decisions, strong principles and an enormous fanbase put her in a uniquely powerful position within the music industry. Her work might be distributed by Universal Music Group, but she’s actually signed to a small indie label called Big Machine, based in Nashville, which enables Swift, 26, to take autonomous decisions. She does this under the guidance of Big Machine’s founder Scott Borchetta, 53, who has protected her career since he discovered her aged 14. Her shift from country music – she had four successful albums in the genre – to pop music in 2014 allowed her to expand her influence to new audiences beyond the US. With more than 40 million album sales under her belt, and an enormous social media following (she has 84 million followers on Instagram, 80 million on Twitter and 75 million on Facebook), the outspoken feminist has a lot of leverage, particularly among the teenage demographic that so many brands struggle to connect with. And she’s not afraid to use it. When Apple announced it would be offering a three-month free trial of its Apple Music streaming service, independent-rights holders objected and refused to license their music: the free trial meant no royalties for artists. The dispute, spearheaded by Adele’s record label XL Recordings, rumbled on for months, but it took an open letter by Swift to force Apple into a U-turn. In a Tumblr post titled “To Apple, Love Taylor,” posted at 4am on June 21, 2015, Swift described A p p l e M u s i c ’s i n i t i a l te r m s a s “shocking” and “disappointing” and revealed that she would withhold her music from the platform. “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation,” she said. Her millions of devoted fans – or “Swifties” – amplif ied the message. Within a matter of hours, E d d y C u e, A p p l e ’s s e n i o r v i c e president, announced on Twitter that the world’s then most valuable company had decided to pay artists during the free trial after all. “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple,” he posted.
The Apple Music protest followed a similar stance taken with Spotify, from which she pulled her discography six months earlier, just as she was launching her fifth album, 1989. Again, Swift’s reasons focused on the value of art and her dislike for Spotify’s freemium model. Fans were driven to buy the album rather than stream it, and it ended up selling 1.29 million copies in its first week of release, the biggest seven-day sales of any album since 2002. Since then, Swift has made it clear she’s on Team Apple, signing an exclusive deal to debut her tour documentary on Apple Music and appearing in a series of adverts for the company. In one, which s h e s h a re d t h ro u g h h e r s o c i a l channels, she’s seen running on a treadmill singing along to Drake’s “Jumpman”. The exposure was enough to send iTunes sales of the track up 431 per cent within a week.
65. KARA SWISHER Co-executive editor, Recode, San Francisco Swisher has parlayed a career as a tech journalist at The Wall Street Journal to co-founding Recode, a media company showcasing Silicon Valley’s big-hitters. She announced in April she would run for mayor of San Francisco in 2023.
YouTuber, Brighton In just six years, 26-year-old Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg has risen from dropout who funded his videos by working at a hot-dog stand to a $12 million global internet sensation. Kjellberg – aka PewDiePie – has built a quasi-cult fandom by uploading longish videos (Is This Game Too Sexual?!; Worst Game on the Planet!; What Happened To Resident Evil 7??) where he fools around and cracks jokes while playing video games. In May 2016, Kjellberg’s YouTube channel passed 45 million subscribers and, with 12 billion views, it’s now the most-watched channel in the history of the video-sharing website. In the gaming industry, it is thought that he can single-handedly determine the success of a game by simply mentioning it in one of his videos. Kjellberg – who lives in Brighton with his girlfriend and fellow YouTuber Marzia Bisognin, aka CutiePieMarzia – has tried to use his online clout for good, asking his fanbase (dubbed the “Bro Army”) to raise money for charities on several occasions. Recently, he teamed up with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to produce his ﬁrst web series – Scare PewDiePie. The series, which features the YouTuber cavorting in horrorgame-like situations, debuted on YouTube Red in February 2016.
62. RICHARD BRANSON Founder, Virgin Group, London Branson saw his personal fortune grow £550 million when Alaska Air bought Virgin America for $2.6 billion in April. He is pressing on with civilian space travel with Virgin Galactic.
63. YANN LECUN Director of AI research, Facebook, Menlo Park LeCun is a leading expert in deep learning and heads up what, for Facebook, could be a hugely signiﬁcant source of revenue: understanding its user’s intentions.
64. ERIC RIES Entrepreneur and pioneer of the startup movement, San Francisco Last year, Ries, a pioneer of the Lean Startup movement, raised $588,903 on Kickstarter for The Leader’s Guide. Now he’s building his own stock exchange.
67. VITALIK BUTERIN Co-founder, Ethereum, Switzerland In 2015, the 22-year-old programmer and co-founder of Bitcoin magazine co-founded a cryptocurrency platform that prompted a $200 million crowdfunding project, the biggest yet.
68. ALEXANDER KUDLICH Group MD, Rocket Internet, Berlin This year has been tough for Rocket, but its top 12 startup businesses, ranging from fashion to food deliveries, cut losses by an average of 23 per cent in the ﬁrst three months of 2016.
73. DJ KHALED Illustration: Louise Zergaeng Pomeroy
69. GEOFFREY HINTON Psychologist, computer scientist; researcher, Google, Toronto British-born Hinton has been dubbed the “godfather of deep learning”. The Cambridge-educated cognitive psychologist and computer scientist started being an ardent believer in the potential of neural networks and deep learning in the 80s, when those technologies enjoyed little support in the wider AI community. But he soldiered on: in 2004, with support from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, he launched a University of Toronto programme in neural computation and adaptive perception, where, with a group of researchers, he carried on investigating how to create computers that could behave like brains. Hinton’s work – in particular his algorithms that train multilayered neural networks – caught the attention of tech giants in Silicon Valley, which realised how deep learning could be applied to voice recognition, predictive search and machine vision. The spike in interest prompted him to launch a free course on neural networks on e-learning platform Coursera in 2012. Today, 68-year-old Hinton is chair of machine learning at the University of Toronto and moonlights at Google, where he has been using deep learning to help build internet tools since 2013.
as CEO of LGBT online community PlanetOut in 1996. In those years, she also took part in several successful engineering projects, ranging from award-winning bike locks to space stations. In 2003, Google hired her as a vice president of new business development; nine years later, Smith joined the leadership team of Mountain View’s moonshot factory Google[x] – where she contributed to the launch of think tank Solve For X. Smith has been vocal about the need for more girls to take courses i n ST E M ( s c i e n ce, te c h n o l o gy, engineering and mathematics) and is outspoken in calling for more women in senior tech and science roles. She is co-founder of the Malala Fund, an organisation working to deliver quality education to girls – in particular those living in developing countries. No one in 2016 has more inﬂuence on US tech policy.
Founder, Oculus VR, Long Beach On March 28, Oculus Rift launched a new era of virtual reality. Its $599 headset sold out within 14 minutes of going on sale. Mark Zuckerberg claims VR could become “the next platform”.
Co-founder and general partner, Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Park Sometimes overshadowed by his partner, Marc Andreessen, Horowitz remains one of the smartest investors and most signiﬁcant inﬂuencers in Silicon Valley.
United States chief technology ofﬁcer, Washington DC Fifty-one-year-old Smith has the president’s ear when it comes to technology policy, data, innovation and broadband access. Barack Obama created the position early in his ﬁrst term, and the New Yorker was the third to be appointed to the post in 2014. She holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she serves on its board, as well as the advisory board for the MIT Media Lab. Her career in tech began when working on internet applications at AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and Apple Japan, until taking over
74. CHRIS MILK Founder and CEO, Vrse, Los Angeles In September, Milk debuted Waves of Grace, a haunting virtual reality ﬁlm produced for the UN that details the horror and hope of the Ebola crisis. Milk is seen by some as VR’s ﬁrst auteur.
75. ARKADY VOLOZH Founder and CEO, Yandex, Moscow In Russia, Yandex is Google. And Uber. And CityMapper. Despite heavy competition from Silicon Valley, Yandex’s search engine retains a 57.3 per cent market share in Russia. Revenues rose 18 per cent in Q4 2015.
71. PALMER LUCKEY
72. BEN HOROWITZ
70. MEGAN SMITH
body with cocoa butter. The hilariousness of the clips transformed Khaled into an internet phenomenon – he describes himself as a “human meme”– and today about two million people receive his posts. On the strength of his online fame, in February 2016, Khaled, 40, started hosting a new show – We The Best – on Apple Music’s radio station Beats 1.
73. DJ KHALED Snapchat icon; DJ and producer, Miami Louisiana-born Khaled Mohamed Khaled, aka DJ Khaled, cut his musical chops in the early 00s as a host for Miami urban music radio WEDR. He proceeded to build a solid if not dazzling career as a mixtape DJ and music producer (he founded his label We The Best Music Group in 2008, and was appointed president of Def Jam South in 2009). Then Snapchat happened. In October 2015, Khaled debuted on the messaging app, broadcasting puzzling videos explaining his “keys to success”– which included showering with Dove soap, eating egg-white-based delicacies cooked by his personal chef and smearing his
76. RICCARDO ZACCONI CEO, King Digital Entertainment, London Few mobile-gaming companies have the success of the Candy Crush creator. The ﬁrm Zacconi founded in 2003 was bought by Activision Blizzard, makers of World of Warcraft, for $5.9 billion in November 2015.
77. PENG LEI Co-founder, Alibaba; CEO, Ant Financial Services, London; San Francisco Peng set up Alibaba’s ﬁnancial-services unit, which recently raised $3bn. She's now taking it global, making her one of the world’s most inﬂuential women in ﬁnance.
78. ERIK KUHN Chief marketing ofﬁcer, Layer3 TV, Denver Hollywood’s ﬁrst “social media agent”, Kuhn’s focus has shifted to disrupting TV. At Layer3 TV, he is responsible for selling the public an all-in-one experience as habits switch to on-demand, online content providers.
79. JONAH PERETTI Founder and CEO, BuzzFeed, New York Investigations by Peretti’s media empire have revealed problems with the National Crime Agency, and unveiled match-ﬁxing in world tennis. It has also changed how the media looks at native advertising.
80. JEREMY FARRAR Director, Wellcome Trust, London Farrar’s Wellcome Trust gives £1 billion per year to tackle scientiﬁc, population and health problems. The director has pushed for more international support to be given to the World Health Organization to stop health emergencies.
81. EDWARD SNOWDEN Whistleblower, Moscow The former NSA contractor continues to receive awards for his campaign against mass surveillance. With his current residency permit due to expire in August 2017, he’ll stay in the news for the next 12 months.
82. SASCHA POIGONNEC & JEREMY HODARA Co-CEOs, Africa Internet Group, Paris French-born Poignonnec and Hodara might go down in history as the CEOs of Africa’s first unicorn. Founded in 2012 with an investment from Berlin-based Rocket Internet (where Hodara and Poignonnec are managing directors), Africa Internet Group (AIG) has built its success by creating more than 70 companies across 26 countries. Among AIG’s most successful creations are the “Nigerian Amazon” Jumia (currently the largest e-commerce company in Africa, operating in 11 countries), food-delivery service Hellofood, taxi-hailing app Easy Taxi, fashion o n l i n e s to re Z a n d o a n d h o te l booking service Jovago. The success of Poignonnec and Hodara (both trained in finance) has been all the more remarkable in a continent where payment and logistics challenges have hindered e-commerce. But, over time, the group has managed to build trust, and now the CEOs predict that, in the same way Africa’s shoddy landlines have been supplanted by mobile phones, e-commerce could provide a better alternative to understocked bricksand-mortar African malls and shops. French insurance giant AXA seems to believe they are right: in early 2016, it invested $83 million to get an eight per cent stake in the company, at a valuation of slightly more than $1 billion.
83. PAUL GRAHAM Co-founder, Y Combinator, Mountain View Dorset-born Graham started as a computer-science theorist, exploring the potential of programming language Lisp, authoring several technical books and proposing the so-called “Blub paradox”. In 1996, together with American computer scientist Robert Morris, he put his research into practice by launching Viaweb – a Lisp-based web application that made online stores possible. In 1998, Yahoo! bought Viaweb for $49 million and renamed it Yahoo! Store. After going back to researching computer science for some years, in 2005 Graham gave a seminal talk at Harvard University, in which he laid the essential rules for creating a startup. Shortly after, Graham, Morris and others launched Y Combinator – a seed accelerator that has so far backed more than 900 companies, including household names such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Coinbase, Reddit, Machine Zone and Weebly. After almost a decade at the helm of the company – from which he vehemently opposed the US’s anti-piracy law SOPA – Graham stepped down in 2014 (Sam Altman has taken over as president since); but even without a formal role, 51-year-old Graham keeps setting the agenda of tech circles’ debate from his much-read and influential blog.
87. MICHAEL MORITZ Chairman, Sequoia Capital, Menlo Park The Welsh-born VC is a valley kingmaker. He's the co-author of Alex Ferguson’s book Leading, and came under ﬁre last year after comments to Bloomberg about the dearth of hireable women in tech.
88. ALEXEI NAVALNY
Russian opposition leader, Moscow Navalny rose to prominence in 2009 when the eloquent Muscovite lawyer set up a LiveJournal blog in which he denounced political corruption, which he associated with then-prime minister Vladimir Putin and his cronies. Two years later, on Christmas Eve 2011, Navalny delivered a barnstorming speech in front of a large crowd in central Moscow, instantly becoming the public face of a short-lived popular movement opposing Putin’s imminent return to the country’s presidency. Following the Russian Spring that wasn’t, Navalny ran for Mayor of Moscow in 2013 (he came in second) and became leader of the Progress Party. As a serious politician, Navalny has started feeling the full weight of Kremlin’s hostility: his party has repeatedly been forbidden from running in elections, most recently in April 2015; his close ally Boris Nemtsov was gunned down while walking in Moscow; Navalny himself has been indicted (and brieﬂy imprisoned) on embezzlement charges largely believed to have been trumped up. Forced out of mainstream politics, the 40-year-old is now back where he started: but with more than 1.5 million Twitter followers and an influential blog in both Russian and English, his online pro-democracy crusade is not going to end any time soon.
84. ILKKA PAANANEN CEO, Supercell, Helsinki WIRED tends to avoid buzzwords. But it’s hard to ignore Europe’s ﬁrst “decacorn” – because Tencent valued the Clash of Clans games ﬁrm at $10.2 billion when it bought an 84 per cent stake from SoftBank.
85. YANCEY STRICKLER, CHARLES ADLER & PERRY CHEN Founders, Kickstarter, New York After re-incorporating as a public beneﬁt corp in 2015, the crowdfunding platform has become the latest high-proﬁle startup to reject mainstream corporate values.
86. HAKAN BAS Co-founder, CEO, Lidyana.com, Istanbul Despite a portfolio of disparate interests, from animation to public relations, the fashion e-commerce entrepreneur still found time to back SuperMassive eSports, winners of the 2016 TCL Winter Playoffs.
89. YAO CHEN Actress, Beijing With 78 million followers on Weibo – China’s version of Twitter – Yao packs serious clout. She is an outspoken critic of censorship, and is the ﬁrst UNHCR goodwill ambassador in China.
90. THOMAS RABE Chairman, Bertelsmann, Berlin Since joining Bertelsmann in 2006, Rabe has steered the media giant through an increasingly digital world. The ﬁrm now owns, or has majority stakes in, outlets including RTL Group, Penguin and BMG music.
81. EDWARD SNOWDEN Illustration: Autumn Whitehurst
91. LEE HAE-JIN Chairman and chief strategy ofﬁcer, Naver Corporation, Seoul Lee Hae-Jin, 48, founded South Korea’s main web portal and search engine, Naver, in 1999. It is part of web conglomerate NHN (after a 2001 merger with online games developer Hangame) and is now valued at more than $19 billion. Over the years, Naver has been adding more and more features: from an email service and a news website to an online comics news stand and a blogging platform. Recently, the company has been increasingly focusing on video content, broadcasting sports events, news programmes and even live concerts on its Naver Media Player. Lee’s brainchild is also a household name in Japan, where it launched its messaging and media-sharing app, Line, in 2011. First developed to facilitate the company’s internal communications in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake, Line was later released to the general public. Today, it reports more than 218 million active monthly users around the world, and in 2015 it launched a cab-hailing service in Tokyo, Line Taxi.
94. SHERRY COUTU
Angel investor; chair of Founders4Schools, Cambridge Coutu has non-exec roles on the boards of the London Stock Exchange and Raspberry Pi. Her focus is now on highlighting the role of businesses in solving youth employability.
1. MARGRETHE VESTAGER (7) European Commissioner for Competition, Brussels
2. DEMIS HASSABIS (8) DeepMind, London
95. PETER THIEL
3. XAVIER NIEL (14)
Co-founder, PayPal; partner, Founders Fund, San Francisco Early Facebook investor Thiel’s reputation took a hit for secretly funding a lawsuit against Gawker. But his libertarian activism, and his funds, give him clout.
Free, 42, 1000 Startups,
Le Monde, Paris
4. JENNIFER DOUDNA & EMMANUELLE CHARPENTIER (18) Researchers, CRISPR
96. EMMANUEL MACRON
Minister of economy, industry and digital affairs, Paris The former Rothschild banker has made a huge impact in French politics. He has a mandate to shake up France’s economy and is being tipped as a future president.
editing technique, Berlin
97. SINA AFRA Entrepreneur, Istanbul Since exiting Turkey’s online fashion retailer Markafoni in 2014, Afra has been focused on the eco-friendly UNDO Labs innovation studio, which aims to rethink everyday products. Its ﬁrst reinvention: the shoelace.
98. HIROSHI MIKITANI CEO and co-founder, Rakuten, Tokyo Mikitani invested $300m in Uber rival Lyft and $100m in Pinterest in 2015. A mention in the Panama Papers and drop in personal fortune – to $6.7bn – caused a wobble, but is unlikely to derail his expansion plans.
91 100 TO
99. CAITLYN JENNER Retired Olympian and reinvented persona, New York At 66, Jenner is “ﬁnally free” to be the deﬁning transgender celebrity. Since June 2015, she has won 4m followers on Twitter, 7.2m on Instagram and 1.5m on Facebook.
92. RICARDO SALINAS PLIEGO
100. BJARKE INGELS
Founder, Grupo Salinas, Mexico City The fourth-richest man in Mexico oversees an empire encompassing ﬁnancial services, retail, media and telecomms. His blog argues against initiatives such as taxes on sugary drinks while championing wealth creation.
Founder, Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen BIG’s ﬂow of high-proﬁle projects continues: Two World Trade Center, the Washington Redskins Stadium and the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion. Next: teaming up with Elon Musk on his Hyperloop project.
93. MARTHA LANE FOX
Crossbench peer; director, Twitter, London In April, Twitter announced Lane Fox was its latest addition to an ongoing, diversityfocused revamp of its board. Her mission will be to reignite growth – the ﬁrm reported no growth in users for the ﬁrst time in February.
1. DEMIS HASSABIS (8) DeepMind, London
2. BRENT HOBERMAN (40) Entrepreneur, London
Rocket Internet, Berlin
TOP WOMEN 1. MARGRETHE VESTAGER (7) European Commissioner for Competition, Brussels
2. SHERYL SANDBERG (10) Facebook, Menlo Park
3. JENNIFER DOUDNA & EMMANUELLE CHARPENTIER (18) Researchers, CRISPR sequencing/genomeediting technique, Berlin and Berkeley
4. BEATRIZ ACEVEDO (26) MiTú Network and HIP Entertainment, Santa Monica
5. MARY MEEKER (39) Kleiner Perkins Cauﬁeld & Byers, Menlo Park
BUBBLING UNDER 1. KEVIN SYSTROM CEO and co-founder, Instagram, Menlo Park
2. KLAUS HOMMELS Founding partner, Lakestar, Zurich
3. MARTIN VARSAVSKY Entrepreneur, Madrid
3. MARTIN SORRELL (47)
4. FRANK WANG
Founder and CEO, DJI
4. NIKLAS ZENNSTRÖM (53)
Duncan Baizley, Matt
5. HALEY VAN DYCK
5. RICHARD BRANSON (62)
Burgess, Mike Dent, Oliver
Virgin Group, London
States Digital Service,
Manthorpe, João Medeiros,
Kathryn Nave, David Rowan, Olivia Solon, James Temperton, Simon Ward, Jeremy White, Greg Williams
5. OLIVER SAMWER (19)
and Victoria Woollaston
YOU’RE LOOKING AT AROUND TEN MICROGRAMS OF LSD: THE NEW BREAKFAST OF SILICON VALLEY CHAMPIONS. UNDER PRESSURE TO PERFORM, PROFESSIONALS ARE TAKING TINY HITS OF THE DRUG BEFORE HEADING TO THEIR HIGHLY DEMANDING JOBS. THEY CLAIM IT MAKES THEM SMARTER, MORE PRODUCTIVE, HAPPIER. ARE THE MICRODOSERS RISKING THEIR HEALTH – OR OPTIMISING IT?
OLIVIA SOLON Still-life photography: NICO HESSELMANN Portrait photography: SPENCER LOWELL & SAM BARKER
Lily, San Francisco, May 21, 2016
t’s 7am on a sunny Friday in a shared house in the sleepy San Francisco neighbourhood of Richmond. Flatmates buzz in and out of the kitchen as Lily (not her real name), a publicist for several startups, sits down with cup of tea and a credit-card-sized bag of dried magic mushrooms. The 28-year-old breaks up the caps and stems and places them into a herb grinder. She then scoops the pulverised mixture into empty gel pill capsules, weighing each one on a tiny scale. Once ﬁnished, she pops one of the capsules into her mouth and washes its down with PG Tips. She’s now ready to start her working day. “It helps me think more creatively and stay focused,” she says. “I manage my stress with ease and am able to keep my perspective healthy in a way that I was unable to before.” Lily is one of many young professionals in San Francisco
and beyond experimenting with “microdosing”: taking small quantities of psychedelic drugs – typically LSD or psilocybin mushrooms – every few days in the hope of improving their performance at work. In small amounts, say, a tenth of a full dose, users don’t experience a consciousness-altering “trip”, but instead report improvements in concentration and problem solving, as well as a reduction in anxiety. Proponents WIRED has spoken to – including software engineers, biologists and mathematicians – say that it induces a “flow state”, aids lateral thinking and encourages more empathetic interpersonal relations. Albert Hoffman, who synthesised lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD’s full title) in 1938, and who took what is considered the first intentional LSD trip in 1943, microdosed throughout the last couple of his decades of his life (he died in 2008). The father of psychedelics, who lived to be 102, found consuming LSD in small amounts clarified his thinking, according to Dr James Fadiman, a long-time friend. Fadiman, who has been researching hallucinogens since the 1960s and is author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, acknowledges that for certain Silicon Valley types, the practice is driven by the same impulse that leads healthy individuals to take prescription medications for attention deficit disorder, such as Ritalin and Adderall, to gain a competitive advantage. “What you get is the best parts of Adderall with none of the side effects. You function better physically and mentally. You ﬁnd the office jerk bearable and you’re more compassionate about the flaws of others,” he says. “You feel you’ve had a pretty good day.” There have been few clinical trials on the effects of microdosing, so much of the body of evidence is anecdotal. However, pre-eminent researchers in the field of psychedelics aren’t surprised by the glowing reports. David Nutt, director of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, has carried out groundbreaking imaging studies of the brain on LSD and magic mushrooms. “These drugs change cortical functions, making them more ﬂuid and less rigid. At least big doses do – that’s what our imaging studies tell us – and maybe low doses to a lesser extent,” he says. “This may help certain brain areas
work in more flexible and expansive ways that might give better outcomes.” It’s a view echoed by David Nichols, professor of pharmacology at Purdue University, Indiana, and an expert in psychedelics. He says it’s “quite possible” that low doses of LSD could have a stimulant effect by activating dopamine pathways in the brain. Like Adderall and Ritalin, it may excite the cerebral cortex, which controls high-order cognitive functions such as perception, memory and sensation. A 2015 study by scientists at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology at Trondheim found that more than 30 million people currently living in the US have used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin or mescaline. But as drug surveys don’t tend to differentiate between quantities of substances ingested, it makes it hard to know what proportion of those people have tried microdoses versus full, perception-altering macrodoses. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug addiction, up to 5.4 per cent of people aged 15 to 34 in Europe have taken LSD in their lifetime and up to 2.2 per cent have taken magic mushrooms in the last year, although they are not routinely included in general population surveys. A Reddit forum dedicated to the practice has grown its subscriber base from 1,600 at the start of 2015 to almost 7,500 in mid-June 2016. Google search volumes for the term “microdosing” have grown at a similar rate. Although WIRED found no completed clinical studies looking speciﬁcally at microdoses, Fadiman has been carrying out his own research by collecting anecdotal reports from volunteers who self-administer the drugs. Fadiman offers guidance to participants on how often to dose and, in return, asks them to keep a journal of observations. He started collecting these reports in 2010, following the advice of friend Albert Hoffman, who described microdosing as the most under-researched area of psychedelics. So far, Fadiman has reports from 125 participants, with 80 more on the way. In addition to this, he receives many requests for advice each month from people looking to try it safely. “It is no longer a fad. It is being accepted as a very different way to more safely beneﬁt from psychedelics
PHOTOGRAPHY: SPENCER LOWELL
‘YOU FUNCTION BETTER PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY. YOU FIND THE OFFICE JERK BEARABLE AND YOU’RE MORE COMPASSIONATE ABOUT THE FLAWS OF OTHERS. YOU FEEL YOU’VE HAD A PRETTY GOOD DAY’
without any ‘psychedelic effects’,” he says. In such low doses, psychedelics should be viewed more like antidepressants and cognitive enhancers. “Except you take them far less often.” Many of the people who contact him are experimenting with psychedelics to treat long-standing depression or anxiety following disappointing results or side effects with prescribed medications. But there’s also growing interest among those seeking a competitive edge, Fadiman says. “People report enhanced pattern recognition. They can see more of the pieces at once of a problem they are trying to solve.” The high-pressure startup culture of the Bay Area leads many participants to view their bodies and brains as machines to be optimised using all of the tools available – meditation, yoga, Soylent, intermittent fasting, so-called “smart drugs” (including off-label ADHD and narcolepsy meds), microdosed psychedelics and legal nootropics. “Mental creativity and performance is how people make their career here in Silicon Valley,” says Geoff Woo, the CEO at Nootrobox, which makes legal supplements claimed to boost cognitive function. “I liken professionals in industries like tech and finance to professional athletes. A slight edge over the competition can make or break the team, product and business.” It’s not exclusively a Silicon Valley mentality, Woo adds: “Being productive and smart is the new sexy, and everyone in the world will soon be using nootropics in one form or another.” Neuroscientist and neurologist Dena Dubal, who studies anti-ageing strategies for the brain at University of California, San Francisco, agrees. “In some ways we are all drawn to enhancing our brains. And our cleverness and ingenuity has enabled us to do so – particularly through the development of language and technology. “We, in reality, enhance our brain functions through good sleep, exercise, nutrition, social interaction, coffee… And many continue to try and enhance brain function through new technologies and, in some cases, medications.” The trend for using “smart drugs” can be traced back to schools, where Ritalin and Adderall prescriptions are rife, explains Anjan Chatterjee, a professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. Children even at preschool age ﬁnd themselves in competitive environments with dense schedules of study, tutoring, music lessons and sport. “You start people in a rat race of competition and
‘BEING PRODUCTIVE AND SMART IS THE NEW SEXY, AND EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WILL SOON BE USING NOOTROPICS IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER’
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM BARKER
Blake, London, June 13, 2016
that’s what they know for the rest of their lives. There’s this sense that there are a limited number of rewards out there and everybody has to compete for them,” Chatterjee says. “It’s tough – but you do it by any means necessary.” Those who aren’t already prescribed ADHD medication can buy it with ease; a series of surveys suggest that around 20 per cent of US college students have abused prescription stimulants. It’s something Lily, who has been prescribed ADHD medication since she was six, can relate to. At university she would share her prescription with friends seeking help focusing on assignments – something that she continued when she entered the working world. “It’s what fuels not just the tech community but any millennial trying to work really hard and make it,” she says. At the start of her career working in a tech startup, she found Adderall to be a useful professional aid. “It helped me launch a company. We went from three cities to over 30 in six months. I felt like a rockstar but I was being an asshole,” she says. Lily started to research microdosing psychedelics after experiencing unpleasant side effects from the amphetamine-based drug. “My heart would be racing when I took it, and when I didn’t I’d experience withdrawal and feel really dumb – it felt like my brain was slowing down.” Even though magic mushrooms and LSD are illegal in many countries, Lily views them as safer alternatives to her legal meds. Not only are the doses small and infrequent, she has found no evidence that psychedelics are physically addictive. “I don’t think we’re going to find out that microdosing fucks up your liver,” she says. Lily still takes her ADHD medication, but microdosing magic mushrooms has allowed her to substantially reduce her dose. “In a perfect world I don’t want to take Adderall at all,” she says. Lily’s case highlights how inconsistent policymaking around drugs can be. It’s ﬁne for six-year-olds to be prescribed amphetamines, but it’s illegal for adults to turn on, tune in and drop out. “As a society, we’re medieval in how we classify substances,” says Woo. “Some compounds are prescription-only, some are readily available, and some are illegal. And the classiﬁcation is pretty arbitrary if we really dig into their potency, addictive potential and harm risks to self and society.”
utside of Silicon Valley, there are pockets of microdosers experimenting on their own. They are easy to ﬁnd through online forums and by asking participants at (unofficially) psychedelic-friendly festivals such as Burning Man. New York-based research chemist Joseph (not his real name), 31, describes microdosing magic mushrooms as “like tuning a guitar”. “I still feel very present and have a sharper edge,” he says. “I feel more energised and experience even the mundane in a way that feels new.” He is evangelical about his habit and says that he’s surprised by the range of contacts who are asking him about it. “Older folks, very sensible professionals in hedge funds or the medical industry. They are not looking to have a trip with their friends out in nature – they are looking at it as a tool.” Daniel (not his real name), 30, from Berlin, works in a business intelligence company. He found out about microdosing from Reddit three years ago. He buys tabs of the drug from Dark Net markets, cuts them up carefully and puts them into gel capsules, which he takes every third day before work along with his multivitamins. “It has become part of my life – almost like a better, magic cup of coffee,” he says. “It makes it easier to tackle complex projects that require me to keep a lot of different things in mind.” In London, 34-year-old Blake (not his real name) works at a mobile startup as a software developer. He has been microdosing on and off since October 2015. He takes tabs of LSD, also bought on the Dark Net, from an online dispensary known as Nucleus Market for around £5 per tab. He divides each tab into ten, taking one dose in the morning, once or twice a week. “It makes me work in such a focused way,” he says. “It gets your brain out of its regular grooves and helps you snap out of unproductive trains of thought.” It’s part of a range of techniques he
uses to optimise his mental prowess, including playing instruments, exercising and brain games. “I try to get as good as I can at everything I do. It’s a natural attribute of many software engineers, especially when it comes to optimising mental activities,” he says. Another person who learned about microdosing on Reddit is Alex, (not his real name), 29, a biologist at Edinburgh University. He read up on the topic for a few months, but was convinced enough to start taking small doses of acid after speaking directly to proponents at Breaking Convention, a conference on psychedelic drugs in London in July 2015. Alex typically uses 1P-LSD, an analogue that metabolises in the body in the same way as LSD, but which slipped under the legislative radar, and so is relatively easy to buy online. “I work with theoretical computer science and cells, and the microdose makes me more productive and gives me outside-the-box thinking,” says Alex. “When programming, it’s useful to just see how the logic is supposed to flow. It’s like if you were playing chess and were able to see a few more steps ahead than normal – and you don’t even realise, you are just ﬂowing. “With a microdose you don’t get the overwhelming rush of emotions and feelings. You don’t get hallucinations nor do you feel sleepy,” he says. However, Alex will also take up to a third of a full dose when he is seeking to solve complex problems: “I’ve had a few breakthrough moments.” When he was preparing a proposal for his masters thesis he set aside time to take the larger dose and try and visualise ideas. “My mind became a supercomputer. It allowed me to visualise ideas, shuffle them, put them into multiple combinations,” he explains. Alex says that he’s noticed a marked improvement in the feedback from his supervisor, who is none the wiser. “Maybe I could have got to the same result on my own, but it comes faster with the drug.” The benefits aren’t restricted to work, but spill out into the rest of his life. “It makes me more happy and social,” he says. Blake agrees: “I listen to people more, I have an appreciation for simple things, and an inability to eat unhealthy food. Looking at fried stuff can be repulsive.” Daniel is also turned off by junk food on days he’s microdosing and notices an improvement to his stamina for
n the face of it, such a utilitarian approach seems a far cry from the counterculture of Haight Ashbury. But the hippy movement and Silicon Valley are connected. The Bay Area’s love for LSD began in the 1960s, when numerous organisations were legally administering psychedelics to human guinea pigs in the vicinity of the Stanford Research Institute – the eventual birthplace of personal computing. These organisations, including the International Foundation for Advanced Study, introduced some of
Silicon Valley’s brightest engineers and developers to acid, including computer visionary Douglas Engelbart, who invented the mouse. Technology journalist John Markhoff writes In his book, What the Dormouse Said: How Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry: “It is not a coincidence that, during the 60s and early 70s, at the height of the protest against the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement and widespread experimentation with psychedelic drugs, personal computing emerged from a handful of governmentand corporate-funded laboratories, as well as from the work of a small group of hobbyists who were desperate to get their hands on computers they could personally control and decide to what uses they should be put.” At about the same time, there were clusters of academics around the world experimenting with psychedelic compounds. Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was a regular user of LSD. He conﬁded to fellow scientists and his biographer that he had used small doses to boost his powers of thought since the 1950s. American biochemist Kary Mullis, who also won a Nobel Prize, described his doses of LSD during the 1960s and 70s as “much more important than any courses I ever took”. Over the course of two decades there were more than 1,000 clinical papers discussing 40,000 patients who were treated with LSD and other hallucinogens, along with several dozen books, and six international conferences on psychedelic drug therapy. Supporters believed that the drugs facilitated the psychoanalytic processes and found they could be useful for treating conditions such as alcoholism. The study that has captured the attention of today’s productivityminded microdosers is one that took place in the summer of 1966, at a research facility in Menlo Park, led by a then 27-year-old Jim Fadiman. The question he set out to answer was whether psychedelic drugs could help solve hard science problems. Volunteers for the study had to be dealing with a problem – something that could be measured, built, proven or manufactured – that they’d been stuck on for at least three months. Twentyseven men, including engineers, archi-
ILLUSTRATION: PETER JUDSON
running. “That nagging voice that tells me to stop is not there at all,” he says. For Lily, microdosing fits into an overall mission to be more healthy. “I have the physical wellness bit down, but the mental wellness is something I’ve struggled with. Microdosing helps manage my anxiety both in the short and long term.” These reports correlate with what Fadiman has found in his research. “People tend to get healthier. They report sleeping better, eating in a more healthy way and taking up more exercise,” he says. It’s not all plain sailing, of course. Getting the dose wrong, which is easy to do without sufficient preparation, can make for a challenging day in the office. “Sometimes it’s so intense you wish you could turn it off for a moment to relax,” Blake confesses. Fadiman’s research revealed other side effects: “Several people reported uncomfortable sweating on dose day, but they continued dosing. And two subjects reported increased anxiety. One person reported more migraines.” Furthermore, we don’t really understand the long-term impact of taking these drugs every few days. David Nichols carried out an experiment in 2011 in which he gave rats doses of 0.08 to 0.16mg/kg of LSD every other day for three months. Over time the animals became aggressive and hyperactive, showing behaviours that closely resemble psychosis in humans, brought about by changes in the circuitry to the brain. “Using these drugs once a month is one thing. Using them every day, I’m not sure they are completely innocuous,” Nichols says. “They may bring about subtle behavioural and hormonal changes that we don’t yet fully understand.” Fadiman dismisses this study, arguing that no-one ever takes psychedelics daily for three months and that if individuals don’t feel as though their microdose is beneficial, they should stop. However, drug charities are more cautious. Although there’s currently no evidence that LSD and magic mushrooms do any long-term damage to the body or directly cause long-term psychological damage, in large doses they can lead to unpleasant hallucinations, flashbacks and exacerbate pre-existing mental health problems. “If you are going to take a moodaltering drug there will always be an element of risk, particularly if you have an underlying mental health condition. But compared to the risks attached to other drugs, this is at the lower end of the scale,” says Harry Shapiro, director of UK charity DrugWise.
ALL ABOARD THE MAGIC BUS: LSD AND ITS APPLICATIONS ACTIVATING THE BRAIN LSD affects the brain’s serotonin, dopamine and adrenoreceptors. The mechanism isn’t clear, but in a 2016 study co-authored by neuroscientist Enzo Tagliazucchi, fMRI scans of LSD users showed an intensiﬁcation in brain activity, including in how visual information is processed, which may account for the hallucinations and reported creativity. PSYCHEDELIC/PSYCHOLITIC THERAPIES LSD was used in conjunction with psychotherapy during the 1950s and early 60s – doctors hoped to probe their patients’ subconscious more deeply, have them recall memories more vividly, or bring about a behaviour-altering “awakening”. Some contemporary therapists have found LSD to be an effective treatment for alcoholism and anxiety. WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY Microdosers report that their (typically) bi-weekly LSD regime results in greater focus, “ﬂow” of productivity and problem solving, and improved empathy and interpersonal skills (the latter two being in arguably short supply in Silicon Valley). But without laboratory testing, this is purely anecdotal and the effects – long- and short-term – remain unknown.
tects, mathematicians, a psychologist and a furniture designer, signed up. Each participant was given 200 milligrams of mescaline – the equivalent of 100 micrograms of LSD – and left to listen to classical music with their eyes closed for a couple of hours while the drug kicked in. Then, they were let loose on their problems. The results were startling. There were breakthroughs or partial solutions to 40 out of the 44 problems the volunteers were collectively grappling with. “It’s hard to estimate how long this problem might have taken without the psychedelic agent,” reported one scientist who took part in the trial. “But it was the type of problem that might have never been solved. It would have taken a great deal of effort and racking of brains to arrive at what seemed to come more easily during the session.” Tangible innovations to emerge shortly after the psychedelic experience include a mathematical theorem for NOR gate circuits; a new design for a vibratory microtome; a space probe experiment to measure solar properties; a technical improvement to the magnetic recorder;
a new conceptual model of a photon; and a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device. Research came to a premature standstill as the US government classiﬁed psychedelic drugs as Schedule 1 substances, the most tightly controlled. President Richard Nixon’s subsequent war on drugs whipped up moral outrage among the socially conservative. This stigmatised psychedelics, causing funding for research to dry up, leading to a 40-year interruption to scientiﬁc advancement in the ﬁeld. “This is the worst censorship of science in the history of the world… since the dark ages. It’s worse than the Catholic Church banning the telescope in 1616,” says David Nutt, who is widely known in the UK for being sacked from his role as the government’s chief drug advisor in 2009, after claiming ecstasy was safer than horse riding. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that a few researchers tentatively rekindled the scientific study of psychedelics. Now the work that was terminated in the 1960s is being replicated or furthered by institutes including Johns Hopkins, NYU, UCLA and Imperial
‘I’VE HAD A FEW BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS. MY MIND BECAME A SUPERCOMPUTER. IT ALLOWED ME TO VISUALISE IDEAS, SHUFFLE THEM, PUT THEM INTO MULTIPLE COMBINATIONS’
College London. So far there have been positive results for treating nicotine addiction, alcoholism, depression and end-of-life anxiety. Even so, the studies aren’t funded by traditional institutions, but by non-proﬁts. “Most funders aren’t interested. When the drugs are illegal, there are so many more hoops to jump through. It takes so much more time and puts the price of research up ten-fold,” says Nutt, who turned to crowdfunding and charities to ﬁnance his research into psychedelic drugs and the brain. And whereas it’s hard enough to drum up resources to research psychedelics, it’s nigh on impossible to fund studies into “microdosing”, which stands to beneﬁt mainly overachieving types seeking a career boost. “It’s not a ‘condition’ that’s crying out for a solution,” Nichols says. Furthermore, the logistics of researching microdoses are more challenging. With full-dose experiments, human participants are kept in a controlled environment with access to medical professionals and a sitter who stays with them at all times. A study on microdosing would involve, in theory, administering a Schedule 1 drug to volunteers before sending them home – a tough challenge for risk-averse institutional review boards. Nevertheless, Fadiman says he is consulting on two studies involving microdoses of psychedelics – one in Australia and one in Europe. Compounding the issue is the fact that LSD was discovered so long ago that it’s off-patent. If it were to be commercialised today, it would be a less proﬁtable, generic drug. “A pharma company needs to ﬁgure out how to make an obscene profit – that’s what gets their attention. The problem is that these drugs are not addicting and you don’t need to take them very often,” Fadiman says. In the meantime, psychonauts like Lily, Daniel, Alex, Blake and Joseph plan to continue their quest for personal development by taking tiny doses of mushrooms or acid for breakfast, despite the fact that they remain illegal. “If I learned it was dangerous, which I don’t think the evidence right now shows, I would stop,” says Joseph. Blake agrees: “If there were research showing negative long-term side effects for the brain, I wouldn’t do it. But until then it will be something I’ll continue. I can’t see the novelty wearing off.” Olivia Solon is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She wrote about Hampton Creek in 03.16
The hidden entrance to The Pierre, a residence 105km north of Seattle, designed by Olson Kundig
ARCHITECTS WEâ€™RE WATCHING FROM BOLD USE OF MATERIALS TO RE-IMAGINED SPACES, WIRED PRESENTS OUR PICK OF BUILDERS AND THEIR BUILDINGS BY NICK COMPTON
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
EMPLOYEES: KEY WORK:
THE NATURALISTS / OLSON KUNDIG HQ:
EMPLOYEES: KEY WORK:
140 ROLLING HUTS; SOL DUC CABIN
Seattle-based Tom Kundig (inset below right, with co-founding partner Jim Olson, below left) of Olson Kundig has re-worked the American cabin in rusted steel, concrete and reclaimed wood. He made his name in 2007 with Rolling Huts (above), six shacks on wheels that are almost monstrous, in a charming way. In elegant contrast is The Pierre (opening spread). Completed in 2010, this is a sublime domestic insertion into a rocky outcrop on one of the San Juan Islands, 105km north of Seattle. From certain angles, the house is a beautiful single-storey concrete bunker. From others, it merges seamlessly into its rocky slot. “I am particularly inﬂuenced by nature and how people to respond to it,” Kundig says. “I think small structures in big landscapes remind us of our place in the natural order of things, that we are part of a larger system. It is important not to compete with the landscape and to acknowledge the place of architecture within the larger space. Materials that reveal their making unites architecture with its landscape.” olsonkundig.com
12 HILL HOUSE
The Los Angeles-based practice founded by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee has taken the distinctive California modernism of Neutra, Koenig, the Eameses and Lloyd Wright, and pushed it to new, sculptural places. They made their name with Hill House (right). Built in 2004, it’s a white mass of odd angles, cantilevered over a steep slope in Paciﬁc Palisades. “We see our projects as an extension of that legacy of Modern in LA,” Johnston says. “During the design process we looked at Case Study House 22 by Pierre Koenig – who was also Mark’s teacher. But the steepness of the hillside demanded a lot more steel and crossbracings than the Case Study House. Instead, we have a more monolithic and abstract ﬁnish to both the exterior and the interior. The only way one could sense that it is a steel house is from the long cantilevers and the lack of intermediary supports in the interior.” The duo are currently creating the Menil Drawing Institute on the same site as the Rothko Chapel and Renzo Piano’s Menil Collection building in Houston, Texas. johnstonmarklee.com
The carport on the hillside entry of Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee’s Hill House in California
PHOTOGRAPHY: (PREVIOUS SPREAD) DWIGHT ESCHLIMAN; DEREK PIROZZI; ERIC STAUDENMAIER
THE LA MODERNISTS / JOHNSTON MARKLEE
Sou Fujimoto’s House NA in Tokyo is split over 21 levels, and is mostly glass and steel frames
EMPLOYEES: KEY WORK:
40 HOUSE NA; HOUSE N
PHOTOGRAPHY: IWAN BAAN; DAVID VINTINER; BAS PRINCEN
Architects working in Tokyo often have to accommodate the tight, awkward plots of the crowded Japanese capital. Such restraints, paired with constant changes in earthquake-readiness regulations, means houses are usually knocked down and replaced every generation. New commissions are plentiful, as are opportunities to experiment. One architect embracing this opportunity is Sou Fujimoto, whose buildings appear to be barely there. House NA (2013, above) is a four-storey Tokyo house which has 21 levels constructed from a complex series of white steel-framed boxes – some glazed and others open to the elements. Fujimoto imagines the home as a sort of tree house, with the occupants living in the air and entirely visible – a gesture that is extraordinary in its openness, but also mundane, as the occupants go about their domestic routines. House N (2008), meanwhile, is a punctured white box inside another punctured white box, with an internal garden taking up the space in between. Fujimoto was also behind 2013’s Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park – a 3D, white steel grid that resembled a misty mathematical model. sou-fujimoto.net
THE THEORISTS / OFFICE KGDVS HQ:
EMPLOYEES: KEY WORK:
THE REBEL / SOU FUJIMOTO
25 OFFICE 39
The Belgian partnership of Kersten Geers and David Van Severen (inset below, left and right) – son of the late, celebrated furniture designer Maarten Van Severen – are rethinking minimalism and, more fundamentally, how spaces can and should work. As OFFICE KGDVS, the pair also design furniture, and you can see a product designer’s eye in the way they put together shapes and unusual materials, from aluminium mesh walls to leather ﬂoors. Their work includes a new ofﬁce for the Chamber of Commerce in West Flanders and an architecture library for the University of Ghent. Domestic achievements include OFFICE 39, a villa in Buggenhout, Belgium (below). A two-level home surrounded by a plant-entwined steel fence, the 312m2 villa’s ground ﬂoor is largely open to the elements. The ﬁrst ﬂoor is a plywood box wrapped in waterproof plastic and sat on a polished concrete plinth. Split into a series of compact rooms, it provides a set of versatile spaces. ofﬁcekgdvs.com
The upper floor of OFFICE 39, a split-level residence that uses waterproofed plywood and concrete
Alejandro Aravena’s 14 -storey Innovation Centre at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago
THE CRUSADER / ALEJANDRO ARAVENA HQ:
EMPLOYEES: KEY WORK:
19 UNIVERSIDAD CATÓLICA DE CHILE INNOVATION CENTRE
Alejandro Aravena, the Chilean winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize and director of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, is the photogenic poster-boy for architecture with a conscience. Best known for his social housing, including proposals for hurricane-damaged New Orleans, Aravena is not without his critics, who accuse him of designing buildings that look like they are helping, but aren’t practical for those who have to live in or use them. However, there’s no doubt that Aravena knows how to design a striking, formally complex structure. His Innovation Centre at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago (above), completed in 2014, is a monumental, 14-storey concrete cube, punctured by multi-ﬂoor-spanning windows. His Siamese Towers, also built for the university and opened in 2005, are a pair of beautifully bifurcating classroom buildings. Their pinched-waist design enables the structures to cool themselves by creating a venturi effect between an inner and outer skin, drawing air up and through the building. alejandroaravena.com
THE WORKERS / BARKLOW LEIBINGER
Barkow Leibinger’s Loom-Hyperbolic in Marrakech
BERLIN & NEW YORK
EMPLOYEES: KEY WORK:
73 TOUR TOTAL,
For more incredible architecture, buy our WIRED DESIGN 2016 issue, out September 1
ED WIR IGN DES 2016
PHOTOGRAPHY: JOHANNES FOERSTER
A German/American practice with ofﬁces in New York and Berlin, Barklow Leibinger was founded in 1993 by husband and wife team Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger. They’re best known for landmark ofﬁce towers such as the Tour Total in Berlin, a Miesien slab with a rippling concrete façade and matching interiors, completed in 2012. “Whether the ofﬁce or the factory, the workplace is in transformation,” Barkow says. “Non-hierarchical spaces emphasise communication, visual connectivity and the possibility of overlap: the exchange of ideas. A building’s interior is now less characterised by compartmentalisation than a ﬂuid and open system that is ﬂexible and dynamic, communal and individual.” Beyond the workplace, projects include the Loom-Hyperbolic (2012, below). Created for the 4th Marrakech Biennale and set in the grounds of the Koutoubia Mosque, it draws on local loom-weaving techniques and the mosque’s architecture. Meanwhile, from June 10 to October 9, Londoners can explore Barklow Leibinger’s steel-and-plywood ribbon design for one of the four Serpentine Gallery Summer Houses in Kensington Gardens. barkowleibinger.com
BY SHRADHA SHARMA
ALMOST HALF A BILLION INDIANS ARE NOW ONLINE – NEARLY 400 MILLION OF THEM ON MOBILE DEVICES. MEET SOME OF THE ENTREPRENEURS SERVING ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT GROWTH MARKETS ILLUSTRATION: SHANTANU SUMAN PHOTOGRAPHY: MARTIN PRIHODA; SAM MOHAN
OPENER ARTWORK PHOTOGRAPHY: ASHEVILLE ART FAMILY
THE HEALTHCARE DISRUPTOR Shashank ND, Practo <
Health company Practo matches demand with supply; in this case, d o c to r s a n d t h e p a t i e n t s w h o want to consult them. The eightyear-old company has impressive reach – in the past year, there have b e e n 4 0 m i l l i o n a p p o i n t m e n ts b o o k e d w i t h , i t s a y s, 2 0 0,0 0 0 doctors on its ﬂagship platform. Its acquisition of four companies in 2015 has enabled it to expand into pharmacies and preventive healthcare. The goal of the founders, Shashank ND and Abhinav Lal, is to create a “Practo hyperloop” that would put consumers and enterprises on the same platform: consumers will create and update personal health records that medical professionals will be able to access. Currently operating in 35 Indian cities, plus Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, Practo says it will expand to another 100 cities by the end of the year. “Lifespans are increasing, and it’s important to make sure that longer lives are also a lot healthier,” ND says. “That can only happen when patients and medical professionals have access to health-related data.” practo.com THE ADVERTISING MOGUL Naveen Tewari, InMobi A rare technology unicorn from India, InMobi arrived in the ad tech space with a bold vision and a product strategy that set out to make consumers love something they hate – advertising. And it’s doing that on a global level: InMobi is in direct
competition with Facebook, Apple and Google, and counts Ben & Jerry’s, Kia and Spotify among its clients. The company’s discovery platform, Miip, learns and reﬁnes its recommendations according to
consumer response to conversational prompts. Users are able to purchase from within the platform, meaning that e-tailers can drive sales beyond their online stores. The Bangalorebased company claims to serve
more than 120 billion impressions per month for more than a billion users, and that it is now the biggest mobile advertising platform in China. “If you focus on building the best product, proﬁts will come,” Tewari tells WIRED. inmobi.com 145
THE SOFTWARE CONCIERGE Girish Mathrubootham, Freshdesk
Ola, India’s largest cab-hailing app, is holding its own against Uber. Its advantage? An understanding of the Indian market. Only three per cent of Indians own a car – its cities simply don’t have the space to park them – and Ola’s strategy is to offer cabs of all sizes (sedans, compacts and hatchbacks) as well as shuttle services and auto-rickshaws. “We will leapfrog the phase of car ownership and instead consume transportation as a service,” says Ola’s founder Bhavish Aggarwal. The company claims to have a market share of 60 per cent, with more than 200,000 vehicles across 85 cities. “When Uber came to India three years ago, we were tiny,” Aggarwal says. “We were doing 2,000 rides a day and had two crores (£207,000) in the bank. They could have crushed us within 15 days. But what worked for us was that we’re built ground-up for India, which is reflected in the breadth of our platform. It’s how our brand connects in the real India and how our drivers think about us. Everything is very local. That’s the trick.” With more than 65 per cent of the Indian population under the age of 30 and the economy growing quickly, accessible and affordable mobility is a key lever for development. Ola, which has raised $1.5 billion (£1.04bn) in funding, was the first Indian company to develop the concept of driver-entrepreneurs, giving them access to training, technology and a livelihood. “My parents call Ola a travel agency, they think I’m crazy,” Aggarwal says. “Until last year, my dad would ask me, ‘When are you doing your MBA?’ And now he’s asking me when the company will turn a profit. Most Indian middle-class families have an attitude like that. But it’s becoming more acceptable to launch a startup.” olacabs.com
however, was never needed, after the startup raised a $94 million from, among others, Accel Partners and Google Capital. It has a valuation in excess of $500 million and claims a client base of more than 70,000 – including brands such as Honda and Hugo Boss – across 145 countries. freshdesk.com
THE CORPORATE MINDER Jaspreet Singh, Druva “Traditionally, enterprise data protection has been complex, error-prone and expensive,” says Jaspreet Singh, the co-founder of Druva, a mobile data-protection service. “It was built on dated technology and created independent
storage silos that prevent a company from doing more with valuable corporate data.” The company, founded in 2008 by Singh and Milind Borate, manages business-critical data in the cloud for 3,500 clients, including Nasa, Pﬁzer, Tesla and PwC. Now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Druva has raised over $70 million in funding. druva.com
ILLUSTRATION: JAMES ALBON
THE TRANSPORT VISIONARY Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola
Freshdesk is on a buying spree. Since August 2015, the rapidly growing customersupport platform has acquired an online collaboration software company, a live videochat provider, a social recommendation app and a messaging app. In 2010, its founders, Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy, gave themselves nine months to make a success of the business or they would return to their corporate careers. Plan B,
THE SIGHT MAKER K Chandrashekar, Forus Health Forus Health’s ﬂagship product, 3nethra (pronounced “three-nay-thra”, an allusion to the Hindu god Shiva’s third eye, signifying all wisdom), is a portable, lowcost device that detects common eye diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and corneal problems. The founders
K Chandrashekar and Shyam Vasudeva Rao say they have prevented 300,000 people going blind in a country where 80 per cent of blindness is preventable and the doctor/ patient ratio in eyecare is 1:60,000. A technician can screen a patient in less than ﬁve minutes using
3nethra and a basic PC, before uploading patient ﬁles for a doctor to access the records and provide a diagnosis. Since the company was founded in 2010, its 550 3nethra machines have examined 800,000 people in 25 countries, at one-ﬁfth the cost of a similar machine made
in the developed world. “In India alone, the diagnosis of such cases of preventable blindness can save $500 million that is lost in productivity each year,” Chandrasekar says. Worldwide, that ﬁgure climbs to $5 billion. forushealth.com
Until recently, the fashion e-commerce market in India was dominated by e-tailers like Myntra that sell well-known offline brands to affluent online shoppers. However, a large market – women with limited budgets – was underserved. Voonik has created an online marketplace that brings together the limited-budget shopper with the unbranded supplier while delivering a high-quality service. It launched its Android app in September 2014 and, at February 2016, had eight million customers. “Young Indians aspire to better lifestyles than their predecessors,” says Sujayath Ali, co-founder of Voonik. So the best way to appeal to them is to combine value with a best-in-class experience.” voonik.com
THE MONEY EXCHANGER Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm With the world’s second-largest amount of people accessing the internet – and 94 per cent doing so on mobile devices – Indians are embracing mobile wallets. Paytm is one of the fastest growing, with 120 million wallets in use.
The company’s founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, loves tweeting about how Paytm is gaining acceptance with small vendors. That might well become a fulltime job, given that Paytm carries out more transactions than any other bank or card network in the country. The next step: taking on the banks. “We’re building a
mobile bank to take ﬁnancial services to half a billion – a little under 50 per cent of the population – by 2020,” Sharma says. paytm.com
Buying contemporary furniture in India used to mean an extensive search, followed by having to work out how to get your purchase home. Rajiv Srivatsa and Ashish Goel went through the process when setting up their homes in Bangalore in 2010, prompting them to leave successful corporate careers to change the furniture-buying experience. Launched in July 2012, their web store, Urban Ladder, offers 5,000 items of affordable, high-quality furniture. “Our designs are backed by extensive consumer research,” Srivatsa says. “This has helped us carve a niche for ourselves. We converse with the best designers across the globe to interest them in creating products for India.” Core to the startup’s strategy is its delivery service: Urban Ladder has built its own logistics team to serve 19 cities, rather than relying on third parties. This means that it’s able to control the customer experience and reduce damage to goods. Urban Ladder has also developed technology to address the “touch-and-feel” gap by enhancing product visualisation through augmented and virtual reality. Those initiatives have translated into a net promoter score – a measure of customer satisfaction – that Srivatsa says is, at 0.75, higher than those of Amazon and Apple, suggesting that even high-value large items can successfully be sold via e-commerce. urbanladder.com Shradha Sharma is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogs about India’s startups at yourstory.com
ILLUSTRATION: JAMES ALBON
THE FURNITURE DEALER Rajiv Srivatsa, Urban Ladder
THE ATELIER OWNER Sujayath Ali, Voonik
RICHARD BENSON : DAN BURN-FORTI
THIS IS FROM THE UKâ€™S FASTEST-GROWING NEWS SITE FOR YOUNG MEN. MOST OF ITS CONTENT IS SCRAPED FROM SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE WEB. SO HOW EXACTLY DID THELADBIBLE BECOME THE ONLINE VOICE OF A GENERATION?
ONE SUNNY FRIDAY MORNING IN MAY THIS YEAR, Alex “Solly” Solomou and Mimi Turner – TheLADbible’s co-founder and marketing director respectively – passed through police security at the entrance to Downing Street in Westminster and made their way to the prime minister’s residence at Number 10. They had been invited to a meeting with David Cameron and about 40 people from technology startups, at which Cameron would encourage the companies’ attempts to persuade young people to register to vote in the EU referendum. Civil servants considered TheLADbible influential, as its 13.5 million Facebook followers included more than half of the UK’s 18- to 24-year-old men. The site had already been running articles intended to inspire interest in the subject with a distinctive tone. These included “What The Fuck Is The EU Referendum?”, “Oi, Ref! The Arguments For And Against Leaving The European Union” and “How The EU Referendum Affects The Stuff You Care About” (subhead: “Pints, footy, summer holidays – it’s all on the table”). During the meeting, Solomou, who is 25 and solidly built with a faintly distracted, lone-wolfish air, kept thinking how strange it was to be somewhere he had seen so many times
on television. Turner, an experienced corporate performer who prefers not to give her exact age but has a CV that suggests she is in her mid-forties, was at first so nervous she thought she would be unable to speak. Three weeks later, over a Nespresso in TheLADbible’s offices in Spitalfields, London, she reﬂects that “it was an interesting example of how tech companies are now at the table, in terms of civic activation”. Turner, formerly a print journalist at The Hollywood Reporter and communications director at Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, home of The Daily Express, discusses the potential of digital communications technology with the fervour of a recent convert. “We’d really like to do an interview with the prime minister to give him the opportunity to answer questions about what our audience want to know about the referendum,” she says. “But he wouldn’t be able to come to TheLADbible as someone who gives a speech – he would have to come to listen.” The recognition by Britain’s political establishment marks a high point in a long campaign by Solomou to establish TheLADbible as a respectable media brand with scale. Four years ago, the site, and other titles such as UNILAD, were
LADBIBLE STORIES #1 “Man Reportedly Grows Breasts After Going Vegan When 60-yearold Bernard Grice turned vegan for his health, he didn’t realise that he would be prey to some unfortunate side effects, as reported by Sick Chirpse. He had switched from dairy products to soya milk and ﬁrst noticed he felt more emotional than usual, and that his breasts felt tender.”
publicly blamed by Laura Bates, founder of campaign group Everyday Sexism, and the National Union of Students for contributing to the growth of sexism, misogyny and what Bates described as “rape culture” on university campuses. In a piece for The Independent, Bates referred to a TheLADbible article setting out a “holiday points system” that included three points for anyone who managed to “slip a ﬁnger in on the dance ﬂoor”; one comment suggested adding “a straight 20 points for cherry picking. (Smashing a virgin.) And having the blood stains to prove it.” In 2014, the growth in traffic to TheLADbible’s owned platforms and follower numbers on social networks led Solomou to believe that the brand could attain the scale and proﬁtability of major international media titles. He also realised, as he told The Guardian in 2015, that “certain things needed to change if we wanted to compete with those guys in the States”, meaning digital media players BuzzFeed and VICE. TheLADbible’s content became milder – or “more inclusive”, as team members like to say – and there were more stories about serious topics such as mental health. Staff numbers grew from 30 to 100, including data scientists brought in to identify the kind of content that trafficked well. By the summer of 2016, TheLADbible had 26 million followers across all social networks, and an average number of shares per article of more than 6,000 (by comparison, the two top UK newspaper sites, The Guardian and MailOnline, average around 1,000, Buzzfeed has under 3,000, and VICE around 330 shares). The platform’s Facebook reach – the number of feeds in which its content appears – is more than 400 million, the equivalent of a quarter of all the social network’s global users. The site is the 13th most visited in the UK, according to Alexa, and is the second most-visited British-owned site after the BBC. The debtless parent company 65twenty, mostly owned by Solomou, is preparing for a fundraising round that it hopes will give it the resources for continued fast growth. Industry estimates, according to Digiday, suggest it currently turns over between £2 million and £4 million per year. The extent to which TheLADbible can increase those ﬁgures over the next year or so will reveal a lot about the state of media, the needs of brands and perhaps even the nature of mass audiences in the age of mobile-ﬁrst media.
TheLADbible co-founder Alex “Solly” Solomou: “I can’t claim to be the genius who sat down and created this strategy. It was instinct, just moving.”
WHILE SOLOMOU AND TURNER take their seats in Downing Street, TheLADbible’s content director, Ian Moore, and head of video, Alex Connock, are sitting in the glasswalled meeting room of the company’s head office in Manchester. The space, which includes an area waiting to be developed into a video studio, occupies three ﬂoors of a converted warehouse in the Northern Quarter, an area of the city centre known for its nightlife. The office is true to media-company type: colourful pop-culture artefacts, rows of crowded desks with no landlines, Radio X playing in the background, a bottled-beer bar and the faintly musky tang of twentysomethings working long hours. The walls are decorated with framed football shirts, a mural featuring Pelé, Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane playing table football, and another showing a book entitled TheLADbible. “Thou shalt always live life by TheLADbible,” it reads in a gothic script. “ Th o u s h a l l a l w a y s a cc e p t t h e opportunity to suit up for an event. Thou shall always understand there is no such thing as one quick pint.” Moore, 30, was formerly deputy managing editor at VICE. Connock, 51, was managing director of TV and branded content at production company Shine North, and is a veteran of the “Zoo TV” shows of the 90s such as The Big Breakfast and The Word. They are discussing recent figures for video views and shares across TheLADbible’s various channels – a key area for both content and growth. The most popular of the last week has been Dinner In The Sky, a 51-second clip showing a dining experience organised and promoted by
a Belgian company that allows 22 people to eat a meal while suspended from a crane 40 metres in the air. The story is ten years old, yet the video – which has been overlaid with LADbible captions – has had 800,000 shares and been viewed 60 million times, according to Moore. “It matched the rules of what keeps people watching: about a minute long, very simple proposition, very clear picture at the top, very clear text, three to ﬁve seconds of pre-title sequence footage, then a title card to say what it’s about,” Connock says. “It works well viewed without sound – people mostly watch video on their phones
TheLADbible marketing director Mimi Turner: “We probably know more about young men than anybody has ever known, ever”
with no sound now; we’re actually in a new silent movie era. Also, it has something great 35 seconds in, which helps because that’s the point at which people tend to stop watching.” (In the case of Dinner In The Sky, the 35-second shot is a vertiginous one of a young woman seated at the suspended table with an enormous drop beneath her). “We’re edging towards two types of video: longer pieces that may not get so many views but are editorially really interesting, or about a brand or an issue we want to be involved with, and then short, punchy news-type videos which are your classic social or viral videos of about a minute in length,” Moore says. They discuss recent examples of both genres: documentary videos about mental health for Instagram and Facebook, classic virals, including one about a toilet-themed restaurant in Taiwan, and another called Drunk Britain, “which is a compilation people who are obviously drunk around Britain,” Connock explains. Content for TheLADbible and its spin-off sites – TheSPORTbible, Th e O D D S b i b l e, Th e L E N S b i b l e, TheGAMINGbible, TheFOODbible, TheLADbible OZ and women’s site Pretty52 – is produced on the busiest of the three ﬂoors. Each platform has its own editorial team: the technologists and data scientists sit close by, ensuring that the operation is tightly integrated. There are around 20 people at their desks today, a Friday, but numbers can vary as content is uploaded 18 hours per day in shifts. A screen carries the ﬂuctuating number of people on the site – around 17,000 when WIRED looks, but Moore says it can reach 150,000. Behind the writers is a whiteboard covered in red marker script with suggestions for suitable subjects grouped under headings: “Current Trends: Making A Murderer, Top Gear, Star Wars, Deadpool, David Brent film; Funny/ Weird: WhatsApp group chats, dream Glasto line-up, Popular/Weird Sex Fetishes, How long has the DFS sale been on?; Issues: Mental health, Fathers 4 Justice, Bullying, Homelessness, Gym!” The approach is social-ﬁrst. Content is scraped and aggregated from anywhere – social media, Reddit, TV, radio, writers’ ideas – then written up with a consciously conversational tone. “I wouldn’t fancy it myself, but that’s life,” a writer might sign off, or “I’m sure all this could have been avoided, to be honest.” Content is also bought from agencies, and Moore says that the team
LADBIBLE STORIES #2 “Latest Epic Food Challenge Is A One-Kilogram, 6,300-Calorie Steak Pizza Every time I ﬁnish a steak I always look around the table in the hope that someone I’m eating with is struggling and I can just pick off their plate. Don’t even try and judge me, I just fucking love eating so much.”
“TheLADbible holiday point system Any female proving hard to bed shall be referred to as a Nobstacle course.”
receives around 1,500 proposals daily from readers. Crucial to the editorial process are the two data scientists, who apply sentiment analysis to comments to discover why users share stories. New content is then created to tally with the emotions in question. According to Sean Durkin, 27, an astrophysics graduate who established TheLADbible’s data science department, the feeling that most drives virality is “shared reminiscence – content that evokes a memory of having done something with someone else is absolute dynamite”. Similarly, stories that make viewers want to plan ahead to do something with someone else in the future also works. And competitive things – downing pints, say, or football tricks – that prompt them to tag a friend and say, “You need to up your game.” “What they don’t share are stories that make them lose faith in humanity – sad stories are OK, but not ones that make them think, ‘I can’t imagine why anyone would do this,’ because if they can’t imagine themselves doing something, it’s not relatable, and the main thing is, it has to be relatable.” Such uplifting stories are much in evidence, although the nature of online media means that readers are never far from another intriguing link. “A Lad Living With Depression Explains Why it’s Time For Young Men To Talk”, for example, offers links including “Downing Beer Off A Pair of Boobs Is Latest Viral Challenge.” The story – #BOOBLUGE – is presented as inclusive. “The thing I like about #BOOBLUGE is its versatility,” says writer Josh Teal. “It’s not just guys motor-boating lager, but girls too. This is the greatest party of 2016 and every fucker’s invited.” While Moore and the content team are focused on meeting audience desires, Turner likes to talk up a sense of mission and social purpose. Mainly based in the smaller Spitalﬁelds office, where an in-house agency creates native ad content, and favouring heels and designer dresses over the rest of the team’s jeans, T-shirts and trainers, Turner is not afraid to make bold claims. “We probably know more about young men than anybody has ever known, ever,” she says one afternoon. “What they think about, what they care about, what they respond to. “There are about 5.3 million people [in the UK] actively talking on social networks. Social media is about people talking for themselves, and that has
never, ever happened before. The youth audience that we speak to is big – just over 50 per cent of the world’s population is under 30. Those people talking for themselves is a political movement of people invested for the future. It is tomorrow’s future today. I think if we talk to them in ways they want to hear, we can unlock something that has never been unlocked before. What we think is: ‘How do we use our inﬂuence to get people to tell us what they care about?’” Of course, media owners have been claiming they give the public a voice since the invention of the printing press, and MailOnline, to take just one example, makes similar claims. And talk of political movements is all very well, but shares and comment ﬁgures suggest readers care more about DFS sales and #BOOBLUGE than Brexit or Bremain. Turner, however, argues that you have to make a connection before you can build on it, and in any case having a laugh can be political in itself. For her, the Boaty McBoatface ﬁasco was “a deliberate testing of the authenticity of a supposedly democratic offer”. The real achievement of TheLADbible, she says, is to have represented a worldview, interests and talents of ordinary people in a relatable way – which is not as easy you might think. “When I met the team, I just thought the stuff that I saw on the site was brilliant,” she says. “To be funny about the everyday takes a special kind of brilliance; we tend to celebrate the brilliance of Olympic athletes, and of football players who can get the girls, but the brilliance of a guy who takes a photocopy of his face and then cuts out the eyes and sticks them on his spectacles so he can lie down in his call centre job and it looks like he’s awake – that’s special kind of brilliance. Or take the guys who went to a prom on mobility scooters they had pimped up. This is a brilliance that we can all relate to.” Turner cites the ﬁgures. TheSPORTbible alone averages just over 3,000 shares per article; Pretty52, just under 1,000. On Instagram, one in 150 of all users worldwide follows TheLENS Bible, a photo-sharing channel – which launched earlier in 2016. On Snapchat, TheLADbible has 1.2 million followers. In the 28 days before WIRED’s meeting, its videos have had more than one billion views. The dozen long-read articles about the EU have reached more than 23 million, and 100,000 people voted in online EU-related opinion polls.
SOLOMOU PLAYED RUGBY Union for Cheshire and has the slightly cauliﬂower ears to show for it. Turner, whose brief is partly to represent the company publicly so that he does not have to, says he dislikes interviews. However, sitting in the Manchester office meeting room, sporting a ﬁne-knit black sweater, blue jacket and jeans and stubble, Solomou is relaxed. Born in Stockport, Manchester, in 1990, he grew up in Buxton, Derbyshire. His grandfather had immigrated to Manchester from Cyprus in the 1930s and made money selling shoelaces before becoming a waiter, then opening a Greek restaurant near Manchester Piccadilly station. His father ran a property lettings agency, in which his mother also worked. Solomou has not thought a great deal about inﬂuences from his childhood but, when pressed, says the sociability and close-knit ties of the Cypriot expats (“We never had an empty house when I was growing up”) probably made him like the idea of communities. He is also close to his mother, who effectively ran the day-to-day business with her husband, and who “could always find a way around a problem”. He was fascinated by the idea of business, and wanted to try it himself. At his Stockport grammar school he sold sweets his mother gave him to fellow pupils. He had little interest in media when he was growing up; he remembers his grandmother reading The Sun and his mum having lots of women’s magazines, but for him lads mags such as FHM and Zoo were just things passed around the coach for 20 minutes on the way to rugby matches. He preferred “tradeable things” like marbles, Pokémon cards
and Digimon, and then early online properties like MSN and MySpace. When Solomou began to use the internet on dial-up, it presented itself to him foremost as a business possibility: he researched where to buy wholesale clothes and sold them on eBay. “That kick that you get is very short, then it’s, ‘OK, how can I scale this up? How can I make it bigger?’” he recalls. “I’ll never forget the excitement of packaging something up, going to the Post Office and sending it off. This thing that you’ve done, they’d exchanged money for these goods that you’re giving them at a certain price, and you’re both happy.” He studied for a business degree at Leeds University, intending to become a stockbroker. He didn’t enjoy the course, and after doing work experience in Marks & Spencer, realised his restless, loner instincts came from a disinclination to work for someone else. Rather than take a placement in his course’s sandwich year, he set up his own business, a review/listings site called Rate Our Student Life, selling space for £150. Progress was slow. His mistake, he says, was to focus on product rather than marketing, a realisation prompted by a meeting with someone who ran an email marketing service. “They told me: ‘This is how you market sustainably to an audience: you have a bunch of people that are interested in certain things and you need to ﬁnd a way to connect with them,’” says Solomou. “It hit home, and I started to look into things that I was already on. Things like Facebook.” Rather than trying to grow a following from scratch, he bought one, in the form of TheLADbible – a website then mostly featuring user-submitted
LADBIBLE STORIES #3 “Apparently Rich People Will Hunt And Kill Poor People For Fun By 2100 What will the future look like? Dystopian or utopian? Cars that ﬂy? Quadruple HD porn? Technology so advanced I can't even conjure up what it'll be? People killing other people for fun? Wait...what?? Let's hope Dr Daniel Wright, from the University of Central Lancashire, is, unlike his surname, WRONG!”
content, set up by a student peer, Alex Partridge (who owns a similar site, UNILAD). TheLADbible began life in 2011 purveying curated and usergenerated content with often crude humour. So-called Cleavage Thursdays encouraged women to upload photographs of their breasts, and attracted strong criticism as well as followers. Solomou bought the name and assets (he declines to name the price, but it is said to have been around £300) in spring 2012. Rate Our Student Life didn’t take off, but by the summer TheLADbible was growing quickly. In 2012, the shift to smartphones boosted content consumption on social channels; that year 12 per cent of total media time was spent on mobile. By 2015 it was 24 per cent, with mobile used for more than 80 per cent of web browsing. Solomou was producing content with the help of interns from Leeds University, and they found that the right idea could drive spikes so high it would crash the servers. “I can’t claim to be the genius who sat down and created this strategy of getting to this exact point,” Solomou says. “It was instinct, just moving, making one step forward, one step forward, before you know it you look back – bloody hell, I’ve made all those steps.” He brought in a friend, Arian Kalantari, as a co-founder, employed students to develop software and concentrated on the site in his ﬁnal year. By the time he graduated with a 2:1, he was making money by advising ﬁrms how to grow social followings. At that point he still envisaged revenue would come from advertising to local companies. Turner joined in January 2015, following the recruitment of Tom Toumazis, a former Yahoo!, Endemol and Disney executive, to the board. Jonathan Durden, co-founder of media agency PHD, and technology investment bank GP Bullhound were also brought on board in an advisory capacity. Turner’s brief includes the establishment of the business and brand values; this seems to have included having editorial influence – she successfully lobbied for killing off Cleavage Thursday, and encouraged the EU and mental health coverage. Recent activity includes the June 2016 appointment of former Weber Shandwick head of digital Adam Clyne as COO – he is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations and driving its strategic growth. The laddish legacy brings challenges, and not only those to do with ethics and the anxiety it might cause potential
Below: TheLADbible’s Manchester ofﬁce remains faithful to youthful media-company type. Centre left: content director Ian Moore with Solomou and Turner
“An Entire KFC Meal Was Found Dropped On A Pavement
investors: the lads’ magazines of the 90s and 00s discovered that while crude, laddish content is attractive to young men of 11 to 16, the 18-plus segment is more sensitive about sharing. Damian McKeown is a brand consultant who was part of the ad sales team that launched Loaded in 1994 and now works in digital advertising. “With men’s media, you ﬁnd that over time your ﬁgures skew young, which puts off adult brands,” he says. It could even, he suggests, be more acute with digital media: platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are popular with younger teens, and Turner and Solomou see not just millennials but centennials – the generation born after the mid-90s who have grown up with the internet – as key to their audience. TheLADbible’s relationship with commercial partners and its audience is to acknowledge that its readers loathe intrusive advertisements; the platform remains very ad-light – for instance,
there are no programmatic ads in its app. The strategy for generating income rests on creating native content – particularly video in partnership with brands. In 2015, advertisers spent 18 per cent of their money on newspapers, which account for only four per cent of time spent consuming media; although 24 per cent of media hours are spent on mobile, agencies invest only eight per cent of spend there. As Turner points out, the ﬁgures are anomalous because advertisers believe print has better engagement levels. “I think print works too,” she says. “You pay more attention to things you hold closer to you. But in the end, money will follow consumers.” McKeown suggests the task might be more challenging for TheLADbible. “VICE is still the title that most youth brands aspire to be in, because it’s aimed at opinion formers,” he says. “TheLADbible is mainstream, though maybe it has mainstream opinion formers who
And The Tragic Events Have Left People Mortiﬁed The mood drops, a lowly man strolls across the road, ﬁghting back tears. The sky turns from blue to deepening red, as if splattered with tears of blood.”
“Thou shall always understand there is no such thing as one quick pint” – text taken from
can affect the behaviour of their peers. They have huge ﬁgures, and they’re very sharp on big data, so they will have an easy sell to brands like supermarkets and FMCGs [fast-moving consumer goods] who just want as many eyeballs as possible. But many advertisers want to work with media owners on more native editorial content that has strong attitude and tone of voice. To do that, you need media owners who can tell a story about the nature of their audience, their lifestyles and spending habits. They need to articulate their beliefs and attitudes. Saying you’re about positivity helps, but it isn’t all that distinctive. “Two great problems face social ads,” McKeown continues. “First, people who like and advocate brands online don’t necessarily buy them – you need only compare the Likes on Ferrari’s Facebook page with the number of Ferraris out there to know that. Second, the content is atomised: people relate to bits of content, but not always so much to the media owner’s brand. That weakens them when it comes to selling ad space.” Other approaches are being tried. Recently launched women’s site The Pool, co-founded by DJ and TV presenter Lauren Laverne and former magazine editor Sam Baker, is aiming for a smaller but tightly deﬁned highbrow audience. “The internet is obsessed with scale,” Baker says. “But if you think in old-fashioned terms, it’s like saying the only audience that matters is the one watching Coronation Street, as opposed to any targeted, quality audience.” Turner counters this: “Scale is how you reach those narrow segments of people, because those segments come through the big door. The reason we get a lot of people interested in the story of mental health is because they’re a proportion of an enormous audience.” McKeown points out they may not need to worry, “not with those ﬁgures, and being across multiple platforms – TheLADbible could well clean up. Make native ads, undercut the ad agencies, charge brands for managing their presence and social interactions across social platforms. Sell the numbers to people who want big numbers.” After meeting Turner and Solomou in Manchester, WIRED revisits the Dinner In The Sky video. It has 844,268 shares, and 349,000 reactions and has 65,096,108 views.
mural on the wall of TheLADbible’s headquarters
Richard Benson wrote about missiondriven businesses in issue 06.16
OVERHEARD AT WIRED THIS MONTH “Go in reasonable, but quickly escalate” – advice on effective complaining, courtesy of WIRED’s product editor. “Did we decide if it was ‘porn’, or ‘pornography’?” – discussing metadata tags on the redesigned WIRED.co.uk. Journalists: pitch stories to editorial @wired.co.uk PRs: contact us at email@example.com Reader feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
RECIPES THIS MONTH Try Elizabeth Peyton-Jones’s courgette spaghetti with tomato and pine nuts, as seen in Gear (p63).
MICRODOSING THIS MONTH Photographer Spencer Lowell met microdoser “Lily” (p126), shown here holding one of her psilocybin capsules: “I don’t take drugs now, but when I was younger, I really enjoyed magic mushrooms,” Lowell says. “Unlike Lily, I was all about macrodoses. Microdoses don’t make sense to me – if I like something, I want to take lots of it – though I’m not convinced it would have a very positive effect on my work…”
Ingredients 2 courgettes 2 tomatoes 50g pine nuts 150ml veg stock 20g ﬁnely chopped root ginger 8 basil leaves 1. Wash the courgettes and spiralise them. 2. Make a small, cross-shaped incision at the base of each tomato. Dip them in boiling water for
15 seconds, or until the skin begins to come away. Remove the tomatoes and then plunge into ice-cold water. Peel and ﬁnely chop. 3. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Set them aside to cool. 4. Put 100ml of the stock in a saucepan with the tomatoes and ginger, and simmer until the stock has reduced. Add the rest of the stock and the spiralised courgettes. Simmer until they wilt. Tear the basil and mix in. 5. Take off the heat and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
THE COLOPHON IN THE USA: Condé Nast Chairman Emeritus: S.I. Newhouse, Jr. Chairman: Charles H. Townsend President and Chief Executive Ofﬁcer: Robert A. Sauerberg, Jr. Artistic Director: Anna Wintour
IN OTHER COUNTRIES: Condé Nast International Chairman and Chief Executive: Jonathan Newhouse President: Nicholas Coleridge Vice Presidents: Giampaolo Grandi, James Woolhouse, Moritz von Laffert, Elizabeth Schimel Chief Digital Ofﬁcer: Wolfgang Blau President, Asia-Paciﬁc: James Woolhouse President, New Markets and Editorial Director, Brand Development: Karina Dobrotvorskaya Director of Planning: Jason Miles Director of Acquisitions and Investments: Moritz von Laffert GLOBAL: President, Condé Nast E-commerce: Franck Zayan Executive Director, Condé Nast Global Development: Jamie Bill
THE CONDÉ NAST GROUP OF BRANDS INCLUDES: US Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Brides, Self, GQ, GQ Style, The New Yorker, Condé Nast Traveler, Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Wired, W, Golf Digest, Teen Vogue, Ars Technica, Condé Nast Entertainment, The Scene, Pitchfork UK Vogue, House & Garden, Brides, Tatler, The World of Interiors, GQ, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveller, Glamour, Condé Nast Johansens, GQ Style, Love, Wired, Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, Ars Technica France Vogue, Vogue Hommes International, AD, Glamour, Vogue Collections, GQ, AD Collector, Vanity Fair, Vogue Travel in France, GQ Le Manuel du Style, Glamour Style
Italy Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Bambini, Glamour, Vogue Sposa, AD, Condé Nast Traveller, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, Vogue Accessory, La Cucina Italiana, CNLive Germany Vogue, GQ, AD, Glamour, GQ Style, Myself, Wired Spain Vogue, GQ, Vogue Novias, Vogue Niños, Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue Colecciones, Vogue Belleza, Glamour, AD, Vanity Fair Japan Vogue, GQ, Vogue Girl, Wired, Vogue Wedding Taiwan Vogue, GQ Mexico and Latin America Vogue Mexico and Latin America, Glamour Mexico and Latin America, AD Mexico, GQ Mexico and Latin America, Vanity Fair Mexico
India Vogue, GQ, Condé Nast Traveller, AD PUBLISHED UNDER JOINT VENTURE: Brazil Vogue, Casa Vogue, GQ, Glamour, GQ Style Russia Vogue, GQ, AD, Glamour, GQ Style, Tatler, Condé Nast Traveller, Allure PUBLISHED UNDER LICENSE OR COPYRIGHT COOPERATION:
Hungary Glamour Iceland Glamour Korea Vogue, GQ, Allure, W, GQ Style
Ukraine Vogue, Vogue Café Kiev
Recycle this magazine
Portugal Vogue, GQ Romania Glamour
Russia Vogue Café Moscow, Tatler Club Moscow
Czech Republic and Slovakia La Cucina Italiana
Turkey Vogue, GQ, Condé Nast Traveller, La Cucina Italiana, GQ Style, Glamour
Middle East Condé Nast Traveller, AD, Vogue Café at The Dubai Mall, GQ Bar Dubai
Australia Vogue, Vogue Living, GQ
China Vogue, Vogue Collections, Self, AD, Condé Nast Traveler, GQ, GQ Style, Brides, Condé Nast Center of Fashion & Design
Vogue Lounge Bangkok
South Africa House & Garden, GQ, Glamour, House & Garden Gourmet, GQ Style The Netherlands Glamour, Vogue Thailand Vogue, GQ,
Published by The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU (tel: 020 7499 9080; fax: 020 7493 1345). Colour origination by Altaimage London. Printed in the UK by Wyndeham Roche Ltd. WIRED is distributed by Condé Nast & National Magazine Distributors Ltd (Comag), Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE (tel: 01895 433600; fax: 01895 433605). The one-year (10 issues) full subscription rate to WIRED in the UK is £35, £48 to Europe or US, £58 to the rest of world. Order at www.magazineboutique.co.uk/wired/W173 or call +44 (0)844 848 5202, Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm, Sat 8am-4pm. Enquiries, change of address and orders payable to WIRED, Subscription Department, Lathkill St, Market Harborough, Leics LE16 9EF, United Kingdom. Change of address or other subscription queries: email email@example.com or call 0844 848 2851. Manage your subscription online 24 hrs a day at www.magazineboutique.co.uk/youraccount. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All prices correct at time of going to press but are subject to change. WIRED cannot be responsible for unsolicited material. Copyright © 2016 THE CONDÉ NAST PUBLICATIONS LTD, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU. The paper used for this publication is based on renewable wood fibre. The wood these fibres are derived from is sourced from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. The producing mills are EMAS registered and operate according to highest environmental and health and safety standards. This magazine is fully recyclable - please log on to www.recyclenow.com for your local recycling options for paper and board.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SPENCER LOWELL
158 / DETAILS / OVERHEARD / CONTACTS
160 / INFORMATION / WE SOURCE EVERY THING. SEE RIGHT
25 GRAMS 32 Amount of tea consumed per week and per capita in the UK in 2014. It’s down from 68 grams in 1974
The number of people kidnapped by pirates in 2016 so far, according to the Oceans Beyond Piracy non-proﬁt. In 2015, just 15 people were abducted
The number of electronic surveillance order requests by the US National Security Agency and FBI that were denied by the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2015, out of 1,457 sent
How much data is required to open the average web page, according to software engineer Ronan Cremin. It’s almost the size of the original 1993 Doom video game, which was 2.39 MB
The number of female chief executives out of 359 new CEOs in the top 2,500 global companies in 2015, according to a study by Strategy&. Out of the 87 CEOs appointed in the US and Canada, only one was female
20 448 MILLION The number of alleged Chinese government employees tasked with fabricating pseudonymous pro-People’s Republic posts on social media
The estimated number of pseudonymous proPeople’s Republic posts, per year, fabricated on social media by these government employees
The wages multiple of American CEOs on the S&P 500 companies list, compared to that of the average production worker in 2015. According to a report from the US AFL-CIO federation of labour unions, which analysed the ﬁgures, it’s down from 373 times the average worker’s in 2014
The number of Hollywood ﬁlms released in 2016 that contain a colon in their title, such as Captain America: Civil War
The percentage of US female doctors who said they have been sexually harassed during their career, according to a survey of 1,066 men and women by the University of Michigan Medical School
WORDS: PAULINE BOCK. ILLUSTRATION: GIACOMO GAMBINERI. SOURCES: REUTERS.COM; BRITAINS-DIET.LABS.THEODI.ORG; SCIENCENEWSJOURNAL.COM; STRATEGYAND.PWC.COM; OCEANSBEYONDPIRACY.ORG; MOBIFORGE.COM/RESEARCH-ANALYSIS/THE-WEB-IS-DOOM; AFLCIO.ORG; GKING.HARVARD.EDU/50C; THEWRAP.COM; JAMA.JAMANETWORK.COM
Annual forecast healthcare savings in the US if one out of ten American smokers kicked the habit