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 – Augmented 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.

 

 

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…

AI Checking Startup

AI-Democracy-6

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

 

No Longer a Smartphone

smart_ring

Sometime in the next 5 years the device will be essentially the same, but no longer called a “phone”. I expect a brand will be the new moniker, like Hoover or Band-Aid.

Your “smartphone” will be your digital conduit everywhere, but when you get home it will sit in a holster (or on a charging pad) by the front door.

It will be seamless paired with your home system, either because they are the same system, or because they are linked – either could happen depending on what the market gets to choose from.

Seamless – anything you were doing on your phone, and anything your phone knows, will already be in the home system. The trend towards this is already strong.

But here’s the twist – I envision a third device, a ring. It works within so many metres of your home. I’d like to think 100m, but technology will decide. It sends location and activity data, as well as recording sound, to your home base. This completes the picture.

It works where your phone doesn’t –  swimming, sex, showering, sleeping.

Example – you take the dog for a walk and you encounter Mr Jones and his Chihuahua. You’ve left your phone on charge and are only popping out for 10 minutes…

  • Your journey is recorded
  • That you are with your dog is recorded (device in the collar)
  • Your dogs behaviour is recorded (based on your ratings of past walks)
  • Your interaction with Mr Jones and FiFi are recorded (FaceBook friends)
  • If there is something urgent to attend to, your ring flashes and vibrates. You are only 100m away, false alarms are tolerable and sometimes welcome (a family member can trigger it)
  • If you hold the ring to your ear it can talk?

When you are at a friend’s house the ring will also work within a set radius. Example – at a BBQ party with people who are mostly your FaceBook friends:

  • Every physical interaction is recorded via GPS locations
  • Every conversation is recorded via your ring
  • You can replay the occasion, especially so if there are linked cameras at your friend’s home

Safeguard – anyone can set their ring to “do not record” and this is abided by friend’s devices and local cameras. Recording an evening would be considered risky and rewarding and uncommon.

Spoken Navigation for Websites

I don’t think websites will be going away any time soon, but I do think that within 2 years a new way of navigating them will emerge: a Siri for site navigation.

After enabling it from a top-level menu or a prominent button, when visiting a site you simply talk to your screen to get to the page you want more quickly.

“Search for grey singlets size 11 with a pocket” and the search results appear.

“How long will a singlet take to be delivered” “What is your postcode” “90210” “5 working days or 1 day with an additional fee

“Take me to your latest Instagram pics” and it does.

The reasons for this prediction are:

  • There’s a definite need, especially on mobile. One voice command can cover a sequence of taps and page loads
  • If it starts as a WordPress plugin, that covers a lot of the web
  • The microdata requirements will have other uses, like Google Shopping
  • Website navigation is quite limited in scope, so it is very achievable
  • One of Apple / Microsoft / Amazon / Google will quite likely offer 3rd parties access to their AI / chatbot abilities
  • At the very least there is a market from government websites, who will want to cater for the visually-impaired
  • The same system can be used for when people haven’t actually visited your site, but make a general query to an all-rounder chatbot

Combined with a universal login like Facebook, the navigation bot can already know your delivery address and so on.

Augmented Reality Improv

improv-everywhere-twins-rehearsing

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.

Enhanced Hearing at Consumer Pricing

The product is called Here, and you can learn about it at KickStarter

$249 ear buds, so not too different to what people are paying just to listen to music with.

Using the computational power of your smart phone, you can:

  • turn up/down the volume of the world around you
  • equalize the music at a live concert to suit you – such as turning down the bass
  • turn down specific frequencies, like the rumble of a jet plane or train – or a crying baby?

More at Wired.

Digital Implants (in your fingertips)

 

Push hard on my skin, and you’ll find that the source is two lumps of glass, metal, and plastic embedded in my right hand: a years-old magnet in the ring finger and a newer NFC chip in my thumb webbing. Before getting the magnet, I read paeans to the coming cyborg revolution. After putting it in, I had people tell me my hand would fall off. Since getting the NFC chip in June, I’ve read that I’m carrying the Mark of the Beast and found instructions for how to disable it with a taser. Well, I come from the future, and I’m here to tell you: transcending the limits of the flesh can be downright dull.
Source: The Verge 

The woman writing above can sense/feel local magnetic activity – whether it is microwave ovens, hard drives, regular metal or other magnets. It has added another dimension to her senses, and likes it – although her friend who had the same magnet inserted is now over it.

And her NFC chip – it is pretty much useless at present, not enough uses for it. And situations where she would love to use it, like replacing her employer’s security keycard, aren’t an option because it is non-standard. Still it is interesting that she purchased the chip and installation kit online and inserted it herself.

You can guarantee one day there will be an Apple of implanted chips that will provide you with secure identification that can’t easily be stolen from you. Just not yet (except for that Spanish nightclub a decade ago!)

 

360 Degree Cameras on our Heads

I’m really going out on a limb with this prediction – but to achieve some things with human bodies we will need to adjust.

Right now Google Maps has cars that drive down every road and capture street images. They achieve this by using a special camera mounted on a small tripod above the vehicle.

They also have a “self-driving” car which has a 64-beam laser on the roof:

The car has been driven for thousands of miles without an accident, but the key to this is 360-degree views.

When humans want to combine computers with their real-world activities, they might find that products like Google Glass are too restricted – that you need to look at something for the system to know it is there.

I suggest that the need will arise for a 360-degree sensor system, using cameras and/or lasers, microphones and so on. The only easy place for it is on top of your head (or perhaps a necklace of sorts.

Eventually ways will be found to make it look cool, perhaps like elongated skulls wearing beanies. There won’t be much use for it when you are at home, so it will be removable.