There seems to be more to learn today than ever before. Every day there’s another tech being launched, another acronym to learn only to be replaced by a different acronym days later. Long Story Short is a series sifting through the nonsense and providing you with a go-to-glossary that makes your world much more simple, even when the rest of it is not.

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Arcologies can be considered a precursor of today's smart cities

What is Arcosanti?

Arcosanti is a projected experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business in central Arizona, which was posited by Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri.

Hundreds of years old disease tracking goes digital

What is contact tracing?

When it comes to 2020 and Covid-19, tracing the path of contact with anyone who might have the virus is being used as a public health tool for controlling the pandemic.

Envisioning a perfect future

What is technological utopianism?

Science is a guiding star, capable of leading humankind to a new condition. This faith in scientific progress may be the only attribute that techno-utopian thinkers have in common.

From Party Line to WhatsApp: A look at our ever-changing ways of communicating

A History of Instant Messaging and Chat

The first instant messages were for programmers, emergency communications, and computer chat rooms, until they entered the realm of our everyday lives. How did we get from there, to having full chat conversations in tiny boxes on our mobile phones?

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What is longitude?

John Harrison's quest to solve the problem of longitude and how it changed the future of navigation.

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The book that changed everything

Time travel is one of humankind's most daring, ambitious, and haunting dreams. Here, we see how it is explored in literature, philosophy, and science.

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What is Advanced Fission?

Advanced Fission is an array of new research and experimentation, mostly developed over the last two decades, which was meant to achieve an outstanding goal: that of producing plenty of cheap and clean energy to cut dependence on oil and gas. It is not a dream: it is the only way to avert climate change.

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Critical design will make our lives better

Our intrusion on nature occurs in two distinct, but complementary ways. On one side, we produce goods and services that require enormous amounts of resources and energy; on the other, we profoundly impact nature to get better performance. Therefore, the need to find a balance between these components becomes crucial.

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What is Boston Dynamics?

The robotic dogs from the “Metalhead” episode of Black Mirror aired in 2017 are not entirely the fruit of the imagination of its screenwriters: very similar four-legged robots are actually one of the most cutting-edge products of Boston Dynamics, a company which is making your most terrifying robotic nightmares come true.

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What is the Future of Sex?

Sex and the ways in which we become intimate are changing, but for better or for worse?

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What is Asteroid Mining?

As the increasing demand for on-earth natural resources is set to reach the dead end of their finiteness, what seemed to be a harebrained idea meant for science fiction might end up being crucial to our future as a species.

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What is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past three decades. It is centred around the belief that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.

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What is Smart Dust?

Smart Dust is a system of many tiny microelectromechanical systems such as sensors, robots, or other devices, that can detect light, temperature, vibration, magnetism, chemicals and other stimuli.

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What Are Deep Fakes?

Deep fake, a portmanteau of "deep learning" and "fake", is an artificial intelligence-based human image synthesis technique. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos.

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What are Synthetic Embryos?

Synthetic embryos are embryos which are created without fertilization​.

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What is Shadow Banning?

What is the purpose of Social Media? Recognition and reach. So, what if a social network removes a user's recognition and reach without their knowledge? This, in effect, is shadow banning.

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What is IOTA?

Another day, another cryptocurrency. In seemingly endless supply these days, cryptocurrencies are taking the world by storm, and with each new instalment, we see more regulation, wider adoption, and increased hype around why this is the economy of the future.

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What is the AI Black Box Problem?

Artificial Intelligence’s black box problem is the unsettling realisation that we do not fully understand why the algorithms behind AI act the way they do. As these algorithms continue to permeate our lives with increased vigour, this is a problem which we cannot continue to ignore.

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What is UBI?

Universal Basic Income has the potential to ignite the flames of an age of creativity and abundance, a utopia of leisure and free time. But it is can also be used as a model for meaninglessness, a dystopian fugue state for humanity. This LSS explores a new model that has wide-ranging support from all sides of the political spectrum.

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What is the WeChat Ecosystem?

The WeChat ecosystem is the herculean cross-functionality of what was once a humble messaging app.

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What is BIoT?

Blockchain Internet of Things (BIoT) is a viable answer to the ongoing security concerns faced by IoT.

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What is General Data Protection Regulation?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals in the EU. It is set to be implemented on 25 May 2018.

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What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a method for creative and practical problem-solving that finds its roots in a plethora of subjects ranging from Architecture, Engineering and Business.



Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR as many of us know it, is one of the most crucial pieces of hardware behind the success of self-driving cars.

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What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning (ML) is the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that equips machines with the capability to learn behaviours without being explicitly programmed to do so.

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What is Direct-to-Consumer?

Direct-to-Consumer is the establishment of more transparent, quick and more concise supply channels that cut out the middlemen and provide a more robust customer experience.

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What is Predictive Policing?

Predictive policing is the use of analytics and mathematical techniques to predict crime before it even occurs.


What is Blockchain?

Blockchains are tamper-resistant means of keeping records, linked and secured through the use of cryptography.

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What is an ICO?

An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a crowdsourcing mechanism that is now at the heart of the blockchain discussion.

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What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that all data is equal and must be treated so accordingly by Internet Service Providers.