Golf bloke to Richard Branson: Get on board the future bus, where there's 'NO WEATHER'

Not Bong, actual quotes from tech startup love-in


George Orwell once said the future would be like a "boot stamping on a human face – forever". It turns out that he was totally wrong.

There won't be any stamping, but there'll certainly be shoes. Some of these will be 3D-printed, whilst others will be able to beam data back to Richard Branson – or rather a squad of number-crunchers who work for him.

This was the vision of Planet Earth in 2044 sketched out at a startup love-in branded "30/30", organised by Virgin Business to celebrate British innovation.

Firms working in media, technology, food, health and the social enterprise sector spent the morning crammed into pods on the London Eye, where they brainstormed plans for the future in the hour it took for the giant fairground wheel to rotate twice.

Sadly, the Virgin Business bods missed the opportunity to use the slogan "Two revolutions on the outside, a million on the inside." You can have that one for free, Richard.

Arnold Du Toit, inventor of an automated golf cart called the Rolleygolf, appeared at the event to discuss his vision of times to come. A vivacious, handsome and confident twenty-something with a lustrous beard and a self-confessed "allergy to negativity", he stunned Big Beardie Branson with the following speech:

I'm going to take you to a landscape 30 years from now. We are living wrong right now - all of us. We are working far too much and playing too little.

Playing is creating, so currency won't be the same. The distance between our minds and the way we create will be irrelevant. There won't be any distance or time equations, no 'How do I get there or here?' It's going to be all seamless in a totally controlled environment.

There won't be any weather. It'll be the perfect temperature and we won't have a home. We won't be in buildings, we'll be outside in the fresh air, where we can co-create.

Poor old Branson looked quite confused by this stage.

Later on, Du Toit told us that the event had proven to be quite inspirational. "When I was in that pod, it all went white," he gushed to El Reg. "I was in the past, but I was in the future. It all just collided."

We then took the chance to compliment him on his beard.

"It's had an explosive effect on women," he said. "But in a REALLY good way."

Most of the innovative views of the future involved big data and an even bigger intrusion into all of our personal lives.

The idea Branson was most keen on was a social media mirror, which could be used in clothing stores. The idea is that people stand in front of it and beam images of themselves to their chums. Once connected, said chums can then praise or critique the outfit.

"The whole idea of a mirror is that it helps you to have an opinion of yourself," said Joshua Okungbaiye of High Spirit, which also creates bags designed to foil thieves. "What if you see it as something people can log onto and say: 'Girl, that dress looks fine!'"

"I love the mirror, mirror on the wall. Get working on it and get it into stores right away," commented Branson.

Other bright ideas included clothes which could transmit health data back to insurance companies, which will be no fun for certain demographics after birthdays and festive occasions. Most of the projects discussed involved data of some sort, although all attendees were keen to insist the future would not involve constant surveillance, but rather an exchange of information for "added value".

The Register also understands that Branson is considering investing in the winners of a Virgin-sponsored tech competition called Three New Things. He has requested second meetings with 3DSat, which makes small, cheap satellites; BuffaloGrid, a solar-powered mobile phone charging solution; and Three Over One, which makes bespoke shoes. ®


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