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


Robot Wheelie Bins


In Australia the way of getting rid of domestic trash in cities is pretty standard: empty your kitchen bin into the wheelie bin outside, and once a week wheel that bin the kerb outside of your home where the “garbos” will empty it into their truck.

Why not give these bins wheels, powered by solar?

The kitchen bin will need to be connected to a power socket, but that in turn can be solar-powered. When it is close to being full, the kitchen bin rolls out to the wheelie bin outside (which is solar powered). A hoist, just like those used by trash trucks, empties the kitchen bin into the wheelie bin.

Once a week the wheelie bin goes for a wander to a local, designated spot. There, the trash truck empties all of the wheelie bins that have queued up, and then they go home.

This is more efficient for the trash truck, especially if it will be self driving in the future.

And it saves humans the tedious task of taking the trash out.


No Longer a Smartphone


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.

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.


Seeding the AI in your life


Without a doubt Artificial Intelligence will have a strong presence in our lives for the next few decades (and after that we will be inferior, and their intelligence won’t seem artificial any more…)

I’m fairly sure that mass-produced AI, whether it is in a device or a physical robot, will come in different flavors, just like cars come in different colors with different trims. The flavors will be very generic versions of types of knowledge, experience and personality that market research determines will sell best.

From the base configuration, all AI will learn from their interactions with humans, what they find online, and to a lesser extent the real world around them.

Siri already learns…

So here’s the idea. Whatever the AI first encounters out of the box, will have a disproportionate influence on how its personality develops. 

So we seed the AI by getting it to read a book (I suspect it will have pictures, as pictures and imaging the real world will be very important for AI to learn). We buy a book created for the sole purpose of seeding AI. And there will be thousands of such books, written by people who are perhaps unpublished novelists today.

Just like screenplays have a format and conventions, so will AI seed books.

It won’t be so different to the storylines that are created for entertainment in Westworld.
This idea is very different to an AI which improves itself by recursively rewriting its own source code without human intervention.

Posted in AI

SmartFill for Quicker Signups and Purchases

This for one of the behemoths that already have us logged in during most of our web journeys. Google, Facebook. Microsoft/MSN/Live/Hotmail…


When making a purchase or signing up for a subscription, you get a page pre-filled with all of your pertinent info:

  • name
  • email
  • address
  • credit card
  • age
  • mother’s maiden name

and so on…

The sign up page is controlled by Google, Facebook, whoever.

Each field has a statement alongside it specifying how the data would be used. This forms part of a legal agreement of the same. Not unlike when you get an Apple app and you are told which aspects of your iPhone/iPad would be open to them. But take it step further and state precisely what the data could/would be used for.

Just using tick-boxes and extended info from the merchant, you can quickly decide which data to let them use, and which to not.

The tick-boxes can be pre-filled, but if they are, the merchant must allow ratings from every user regarding how they feel about those preselections. Ask for too much unnecessarily and feel the backlash.

PayPal could do this. The key problem – credit card details – would be already out of the mix. That’s a bold sales pitch – we already protect your credit card details, let us protect everything else.