Sunday, February 19, 2017

Futurist: Drone Helpers

Simple idea.  Everyone has a small quadcopter that helps them.  Picks up small things, takes pictures, reminds you of appointments (makes appointments … with other people’s helper drones why not), what’s that song, etc.  Everything a smart phone does and more.  Why not just use a smart phone?  The drone doesn’t accidentally fall into water.  What happens if it does?  Well we just have a bunch of micro drone stations everywhere.  Your new drone shows up in minutes if not seconds and you never know that something was up with the previous one.

Now the important part.  Customization.  That’s right you too can have a Bit from Tron floating around.  Or Navi from Zelda 64.  Or whatever.  

Futurist: Commoditize Everything

So with the last two futurist posts I made I was suggesting that we might be able to use technology in order to radically change unskilled to semi skilled labor [1] and certain problems that are otherwise computationally difficult [2].  

Now let’s imagine that this process is generalizable.  In other words, for any significant job that exists there also exists another corresponding job that allows you to completely remove the first job from the industry in which it exists and place it in a new speciality industry that only exists to service the previous industries that relied upon the job.

So in the commoditize everything universe corporations really only exist as a collection of other more specialized corporations.  Creating products where the producer, the customers, and the processes are not well known to any one organization.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Futurist: Sudoku, inc

Computation theory turned up an interesting property of problems.  Namely that there exist some problems that are going to be difficult to compute the answer to regardless of the computation medium that you are using [1].  One interesting category of computationally difficult problems is the NP class.  All problems in the NP category are equivalent to all other problems in the NP category (after some transformation).  And the final piece of the puzzle is that solving sudoku is in the NP category.

What I’m suggesting here is that a company could leverage human talent for solving problems like sudoku puzzles to handle computationally difficult problems for their clients.  We actually see this already happening in small cases [2], and the idea is definitely receiving some research focus [3].

Imagine a company that sends out consultants to client sites in order to help them understand how to map their problems into a form that can be solved by some sort of human playable game.  The client can then send their data back to the company.  The company will send the data to a number of games that they create specifically to find solutions.  The company can have their own gamers.  And we’re not even talking one game being equivalent to one solution.  Very complex problems can be broken up and gamers and machines alike can both try to solve subspaces of the problem.  The client might not even need the final solution; they might just need to know where some of the incorrect solutions are in the solution space.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Futurist: Surrogates

So virtual reality and augmented reality technology is starting to crop up again.  This has happened in the past a few times and normally people get bored by the limitations, but this time it might be different.  

The main difference this time is Steve Jobs.  Well, the introduction of the iPhone really.  Because the iPhone was wildly successful, multiple large corporations entered into the mobile technology space.  So now we have a bunch of very impressive mobile display and computation technology that has been commoditized. 

So if you happened to have a lot of free capital floating around AND you were sufficiently imaginative AND you had enough connections, then what might you use commoditized mobile computers and displays for?

Commoditized unskilled labor.  Here’s what you do.  Take a motorcycle helmet and put a good display inside of it.  Now grab some sort of motorcycle like suit and fill it with haptics.  Finally, offer consultant services.  You tell us what problem you need unskilled labor to solve and we will generate an interface that will tell someone in our computerized motorcycle suit how to solve that problem.  The laborer can get away with zero training because the computer suit will monitor and supervise 100% of the job.  The laborer can now do anything any day any where.  

With a sufficiently good system the laborer might not event know what job they’re on.  All the laborer sees is a virtual reality display of where to walk and where to put their hands.  The suit will make sure the job gets done correctly.

Second thought:  Surrogate telepresence.  Let’s say you have an unskilled laborer who also happens to be good at pantomiming.  Setup the system to have a series of icons which will tell the laborer how to emote.  Then take an OLED and wrap it around the helmet.  Now you can have a “dummy” person that can be “driven” by someone on the other side of the country via the internet.  You don’t need to travel across the world in order to be present in a meeting.