Opt-In News

Step zero is only accepting news from legit sources. Not using AI or anything – just make a list of legit sources.

The first step is to create a very fine hierarchy of news story categories. For example:

Death or Injury > From Nature > Animals > Sharks > Injury
Death or Injury > From Nature > Animals > Sharks > Death

The key is understanding the psychology of what people like to see in news. A wrong way of doing it would be

Animals > Dangerous > Sharks


Recreation > Water Sports > Surfing > Mistaken for a Seal

The second step is to make it proactively opt-in. Basically just copy FaceBook. Users discover stories in general, and then choose to receive more of those finely tuned story categories (when they like or follow someone).

Like: Death or Injury > From Nature > Animals > Sharks > Injury

Prompt: Do you want to include:
Death or Injury > From Nature > Animals > Sharks > Death as well?

Prompt: Would you be interested in other Death or Injury > From Nature > Animals?

The end result is (the same as Facebook) except it is just news from legit sources. You get too see all sorts of news because your friends like it, or it is like what you have liked, or it is trending or regional.

You also get to see very precise stories from niches you have opted into.

And some hashtags and easy social sharing and you have the easiest most trusted source of news there is.


Augmented Reality Improv


It is prediction time again. Consider the following:

  • Improv comedy has many fans
  • Flash mobs still occur
  • Augmented reality glasses will be commonplace

At work, at a bar, at a sporting event, two members of #ARImprov are in the same space. Their glasses identify the other, and a role is assigned. Nobody else knows, except the participants and their private AR views.

They then play randomly assigned improv roles. They could be former lovers, long-lost cousins, or undercover agents. Could be anything. Then they play their unlikely roles totally straight-faced, for as long as they like.

I once lived in a backpacker hostel with lots of long-term residents. I was chatting with a newcomer, and a friend asked me “who’s your friend” and I made an impromptu lie – she is my sister. We were both from NZ but that was the only commonality. It was accepted by everyone, for months. And it was a fun little inside joke. Until we drunkenly pashes one night and the truth had to come out, and many people refused to accept that we weren’t related.

This is a powerful and subversive concept, and therefore I figure it will certainly become a thing in the near future. And if it doesn’t, I’ll start it.

Real-Time Video Status Using Avatars

I dreamt I was at a tech conference developing this service, so I thought I should share it.

Although FaceBook and Twitter have become sharing services, they became popular as a means of providing timely updates about your life.

The next step forward would be real-time video updates – literally push a button and people you are connected to online can watch what is happening.

For example you might be shopping for clothes, and looking for the opinions of friends regarding which to buy.

Now there are some downsides to this:

  • privacy of others in the vicinity
  • hard to film yourself

So the solution is to use sensor technology combined with spectacle cameras, avatars and 3D modelling.

This is what you do:

1. Activate your recording via voice or dedicated button, via your wearable smart device
2. Indicate the type of share it is – for example shopping

This is what the tech does:

1. Locates where you are in the world
2. Uses sensors to build a 3D description of the local environment
3. Generate a cartoon-ish video representation of where you are
4. Show you in 3D avatar form
5. Show anything specific (like an item of clothing you are holding up) as a real image within the cartoon-ish video

Your friends will see your avatar in a semi-realistic 3D world, hear what is going on, and see for real any objects specific to the type of sharing.

This is a continuation of my idea that mostly-realistic avatars will have a future online.


Real ID / Real Avatar

Here’s an idea for the future – grown-ups playing dress-up online. Initially it would be for virtual social environments and virtual business environments.

It will depend on two other technologies becoming every day:

Real ID – an international, verifiable ID for online purposes. The sort of thing that could be used for online voting, and serious discussion forums etc.

3D Full Body Scanning – so that your avatar can be created. This already exists to make 3D models of small objects.

So, the idea is to enable people to use avatars in online 3D environments, but keeping their look close to reality. After being scanned, users can tweak their avatar as much as they like in terms of:

  • hair
  • clothes
  • skin color / complexion

Additionally, they can change one other part of their body, for example:

  • nose
  • breasts
  • butt
  • cheekbones
  • chin
  • biceps

You should be able to recognize someone in real life from knowing their avatar. But by changing the one thing that irks them the most about their looks/body, and giving everyone nice skin (tan optional), and an unlimited range of clothing and hairstyles, people will be tempted to play dress-up. With renewed confidence, while still being true to themselves, they will feel like meeting others in online environments.

It is perfect for online dating – singles parties. It could work for business environments as well.

With time the same technology used to capture people and represent them in cartoon form in movies should be available to consumers. Software and a Kinect device will enable your mannerisms to be authentic.