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.


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


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.

The Next PayPal – Micro-Payments & Rich Descriptions

The first of two factors that I feel will be part of the payment system that topples PayPal’s crown is a no-brainer: make micro-payments a popular and real thing.

The other is something far less innovative.

When I look at purchases on my credit card statement, I see the name of a merchant and a dollar amount. Often the name is not one I recognise, and it can be difficult working out exactly where I made the transaction. And even if I know who the merchant is, there is nothing to tell me what I purchased.

Likewise, PayPal uses the same system. Yet in this data rich electronic age, there’s no reason why I can’t see the full details with one click:

  • the merchant’s trading name
  • their full contact details
  • list of the items I purchased
  • option to cancel (if it is a subscription)

Once we have all that, the data could be used for analysis – a home finance system.