AI Squared: AugMe

Scenario: it is 2am, you are drunk, you are asking Alexa to order the latest microscopic drone.

Without Assistance:

You: Alexa, order me that XYZ Zippy Drone please
Alexa: Sure, no problem. Do you agree to pay $800 plus a $65 expedited delivery fee?
You: Yep

With your own AI Assistance Bot:

You: Alexa, order me that XYZ Zippy Drone please
Alexa: Sure, no problem. Do you agree to pay $800 plus a $65 expedited delivery fee?
Assistance Bot: Rob, you only have $200 in savings, do you really want to go into debt for this? It only has a 3-star rating and has negligible utility value
Rob: I want it, whack it on the card
Assistance Bot: Delivery is free if it takes 3 days, would you like that instead?
Rob: Hell yeah!
Assistance Bot: Alexa, please proceed with the order but with the free delivery option please

This will be the next big thing, around  5 years from now РAugmented Me.

Imagine being at the supermarket, and your AugMe negotiates with the automated checkout:

Assistance Bot: He doesn’t want to redeem points, he is paying with this card, here is his PIN, he doesn’t need a receipt.



Social First, Secondhand Second

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 9.42.33 pm

I think Carousell has something. Used goods x social. eBay hasn’t even attempted this. Facebook has, but cautiously, as a side bet.

Do you know someone who goes to yard sales / garage sales all the time. They probably like similar people. Get them friendly online, and then get them sharing used goods vendors. This will be niche bigly.

AR Games Won’t Last

It’s mighty impressive what can appear to in you real world, looking through your phone (or glasses). Augmented reality will be a great tool for getting practical things done, and sharing data and information.

But for playing games, there’s only two real differences between AR and VR games:

  • You pretend that it is happening in your current real world environment
  • You walk around looking like an idiot to everyone else, and potentially harming yourself

Given that virtual worlds can look like anything imaginable, including the real world, why limit a game to the current surroundings?

Just like how very few people talk on phones in public without holding the phone up to your head, people won’t be playing AR games in public. They’ll play in dedicated spaces at venues or at home.

Sorry, Magic Leap.

Greening Deserts

Accepting refugees into your country is expensive, it isn’t a profitable exercise and yet we do it.

Greening a desert isn’t financially viable, but countries like Egypt are doing it because they have to.

Everyone knows that the Northern Territory of Australia has excess water, and a large portion of Australia is desert.

Water can be channelled from NT to the the nearest desert. Trees can be grown and fauna introduced. With time and money, the desert can be transformed into a place where people can live and thrive.

The technology exists.

See this (until the end, it starts slow…):¬†

If the workers are immigrant refugees, they can own the wealth that they achieve, and then stay or move on. What an amazing entry into a country to have created something from nothing.

For one expense, we can have:

  • More agricultural land
  • Work for refugees
  • Refugees proudly achieving

If a trial works, the potential is extraordinary. For example. we could welcome the entire Rohingya people.


Kitchen in a Box


Future: more food deliveries to homes, less eating within inexpensive restaurants.

Problem: certain products, like burgers, don’t travel well and don’t easily stay hot.

Solution #1: use industrial premises that are near residential. Lower cost buildings because they are purely cooking and delivery. No seats, no toilets, no public parking.

Solution #2: create self-contained kitchens that can fit in a garage. They use portable gas and the only external connections required water and exhaust.

Result: food created affordably, sold at eat-in prices, delivered quickly.

Possible issues: parking for deliveries and deliverers. Waste.

Advantages: a kitchen-in-a-box can be mass-produced to the standards of a major fast food player, and deployed (or redeployed) in days. Can also be used for food-truck scenarios.



We want everywhere we go, be and exist to be beautiful and natural. Seeing as that isn’t realistic in a modern city, where do we least care about aesthetics? Work.

Don’t get me wrong, workspaces should strive to be pleasant, relaxed and inspiring. Work is however a chore, and when you daydream about going home or going out, those places need to be more appealing.

So, work, put it underground.


With modern lighting technology, underground need not be so bad. And I don’t mean totally underground. I’m thinking major mounds surrounded by parkland. As the foundation of a city. Mounds of various shapes, sizes and heights, with parks and rivers in-between. Public and private transport can be beneath everything else…

On top of the mounds are 1 or 2 storey shops and restaurants, and 3 storey apartment blocks. Some apartment blocks are wider or narrower, but they are all 3 stories high. And every apartment block roof is communal.

Public transport consists of on-demand shuttle pods and the occasional private pod for those rich enough to need such a thing. They will get you to within 100 metres of where you are going. Above-ground will be buggies for those who aren’t able to walk.

Shops will have a maximum size restriction. This won’t be much of an issue, as most goods will be ordered online and delivered, using the same public transport system (and robots).

Above ground will be open air, with a focus on capturing rainwater through permeable surfaces. Civic centres will have roofs and temperature control, yet open at the edges.

Occasional 5 and 7 storey vertical farms will punctuate the landscape and provide fresh, local food. Meat will be grown deep down in Basementland.

All available surfaces will generate solar energy.

Suburbs will basically be self-contained, and between each suburb will be a forest, a real forest with wild animals. Sporting fields will exist near the edge and alternative culture will thrive deep within.


Self-Driving Car as Video Studio

Self-driving cars are coming…
Some people already record themselves using dash cams while driving…

In the future, some people will have self-driving cars that are essentially a video studio where they can film themselves. That way the hour of commuting is use efficiently by those who want/need to video themselves everyday.

  • One bench seat at the rear of the car, or a pair of swivel seats
  • Green screen behind the seat
  • Microphone above the seat
  • Multiple cameras
  • Blacked out windows

You could even have a teleprompter…

Urban Planning – 10% Chaos

With urban planning, it is quite normal to have separate zones for retail, residential, commercial, industrial and leisure/parks/social.

Sometimes these are ingeniously blended.

Often parks are designated to fill a certain percentage of the locality, say 10%.

I suggest a similar area be designated for chaos. Not complete chaos, for obviously certain activities will be forbidden, like nuclear weapons testing or pig farms. The best way would be to have an application / review system, where a committee has guidelines regarding public utility versus public disgust.

The 10% chaos zone would of course operate on a commercial basis – only businesses that people want to use will survive.

It should be wedged between two industrial zones so no neighbours can’t complain. The “dangerous” nature of the zone will mean that rent is cheaper than elsewhere, which means more crazy concepts and businesses with lower profit margins.

Here’s the key – the 10% chaos zone will reflect and amplify the persona of the suburb. And it will act like a startup incubator.

Some possibilities:

  • Alternative accommodation
  • 24hr hour bars
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Entertainment spaces
  • New retail brands
  • Charities
  • Marijuana dispensaries
  • Brothels
  • Freak shows (just kidding…)


Posted in Gov

AI Checking Startup


Artificial Intelligence will have a major influence on everyone’s lives (yes, even not digital folk, who apply for a mortgage) very soon. The problem with AI is that it makes decisions that can’t be deconstructed. We just need faith…

While the decisions can’t be deconstructed, they can be tested. I propose a service that tests and rates AI-based services.

The testing will be done by an automated system, guided by real people in real time.

For example, a restaurant booking system. A script will try booking restaurants at various times and locations, for different cuisines and numbers of guests. A human observes the process and rates the service on accuracy. The human also looks for bias and favouritism.

Or for a system like Amazon’s Echo, the test can be for finding obscure music using a strong accent.

Users can leave feedback that give the business new aspects to evaluate.

Monetise? Free for everyday folk, and for a fee businesses can have their products tested prior to launch

Universal Income x Cryptocurrency x Food Stamps

We don’t have food stamps in Australia but they seem to work well in the USA – I don’t hear anyone complaining about them. Australia is trialling something similar for people who are receiving benefits and have repeatedly failed a drug test.

Universal income has received a lot of discussion recently, and is being championed by Silicon Valley.

And of course BitCoin is still doing well.

Why don’t we combine all 3? Everyone receives a universal income, via purpose-made crypto-currency, that can only be spent on certain items like food and rent.

Using crypto-currency to distribute universal income is not a new idea, and it has been discussed in a comprehensive article at Vice.

My two cents is that:

  • it is easy to implement, and harder to cheat, for making it available for only certain categories like fresh food, public transport, and rent
  • because it will be a government that creates the currency, it is more likely to be adopted as a general digital currency for everyone to use
  • welfare payments and the salaries of government employees could be achieved with it. See my idea on this an Ordu