2001 A Space Oddessey Was Not Wrong, or : AI will cheat!

Science fiction lovers know Stanley Kubrics movie 2001 A Space Odyssey to be one of the defining movies of its genre. Not only for its visual effects, but also for its plot : HAL, the onboard AI of a spacecraft send to investigate a possible sign of alien life, becomes problematic as it makes up its own mind and breaks the first rule of robotics as stated by Isaac Asimove : “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”. This definitely happens because HAL tries to protect itself.

The above report on AI algorithms finding ways outside the expected bounds, so in a way cheating on the challenge given to them shows that a scenario like in Kubrics movie is not far fetched. This can be understood if we consider that in many forms of current AI we do not restrict the use of the tools of the AI. The model of the AI can be simplified to

Input -> Processing  -> Output

In this model the Input are signals from sensors of video feeds or clocks etc. The output can be a datastream (words) but also angular momentum given to actuators, so the movement of a real or simulated robot arm, wheel axle. To the arms and wheels one can attach drills, or paintbrushes etc.  Most interesting AIs can observe itself or at least get feedback on the succes or failure of their actions.

An AI is asked to find the most efficient way to achieve an objective. But is the objective defined in such a way that it is safe to consider every possible avenue?

The implicit risk we take in building an AI and giving it ways to manipulate our world is that we may not have defined the objective in a safe way, and there are ways to manipulate the world to achieve the objective when it is interpreted in another way, more sparsely. A simple example is that you ask an AI to clean the room and you return to find the AI has remove all furniture from the room through the window! The mistake is to think the AI will take into account the constraints you take into account as a human.

A good recent example is that a bug in the Python programming language caused errors in scientific results. In this case even the human programmer who clearly understands the world and the objective did not realize the results where false because the tool used was faulty.

What if we ask an AI to use Python to build a new Hyperloop pod that keeps humans safe over the span of a 1 hour yourney, and the AI decides killing the humans right after the pod leaves is safest because it never learned about harm coming to humans after death?

This echo’s the case in which there could be no (positive) safety rating for Model 3 Teslas because there where too few accidents! Once you start thinking about it, weakly defined objectives and opportunistic intelligence is causing problems everywhere.

We thus need to brace ourselves for AI in the wild. An AI is basically us allowing things to happen we don’t really understand and which might even kill us, a bit like the global economy, which feeds the people who support it but destroys all life because it prefers fossil fuels.

Like laws governing humans a first step is to have laws governing the capabilities of AI, the access, the actuators and magnitude of angular momentum they can give to arms and legs. Also the failsaves. One simple trick would be to build in a breaker that stops a robot in public space if it comes to close to a warm body or smartphone, if the robot has no business.

Geimproviseerde Hepa/Koolstof filter

Wonen aan een drukke straat in de Randstad is niet gezond. Daar komt nog bij dat er vaak restaurants zijn met lage schoorstenen en dat het stoken door de buren een deken van rook over een wijk kan leggen. Luchtfilters zijn echter vrij duur en meestal niet gefocust op chemische vervuiling maar meer op stof, zn HEPA filters zijn dan de beste. We hebben maar eens een minimaal apparaat in elkaar geknutselt.


Hierboven ziet u een flinke koolstof filter, met flens en een ventilator die in de flens past..


Dit kan op twee manieren, maar de goede is met de blazende kant boven, zodat lucht via de deken in de filter naar de ventilator stroomt. De lucht is dan meestal vrijwel van chemische stoffen gezuiverd, koolstof filters zijn verbazend effectief!


Wat ontbreekt is de HEPA filter. Die zijn erg duur, maar voor 20 Euro moet je er een kunnen  vinden. De onze hadden we al een tijdje. De kunst is nu om alle lucht ook door deze filter te krijgen anders komt er misschien koolstof mee en dat is niet gezond.


Met wat geknutsel hebben we een doos gemaakt, die op de ventilator past en waarvan de bovenkant uit de filter bestaat. Lang leven ducttape!20191005_111124De verpakking van de filter wordt zo herbruikt. Het bodem stuk komt uit een sinasappeldoos.20191005_111226En zo is onze koolstof-HEPA filter klaar voor gebruik (snoer hadden we nog). Deze kan veilig blazen. Het geluid valt zelfs mee. Voor huisgebruik kun je hem natuurlijk in de bijkeuken zetten of in het ventilatie systeem verwerken.


Betere filter optie, iets groter oppervlak

Totale kosten van dit systeem zijn 70,- Euro ongeveer. We denken dat een kit met een paar onderdelen voorbereid 100,- kan kosten. Die kunt u bestellen via of met titel HEPA filter.

A Climate Challenge Related Currency

The world doesn’t seem to realize it but we are facing the biggest challenge to humanity since the bubonic plague. Society is carrying a large contingent of climate uncaring people with it, who don’t understand or care about the problem.Banks, oil companies, big corporations that don’t want people to stop consuming are all weakening retoric. Governments are staffed by seemingly greedy lackeys for industry, where the consequences of actions in two generations is not part of the bottom line. Money itself is still mainly carboncredit, and there is no easy answer to how credit is distributed if a society runs on renewables. We need a power grab by those that do care, but that is not possible in a world owned and run by banks!

The solution is to introduce a new currency, which can only be exchanged and shared by people who restrict their behaviour in ways that conforms with the challenge we need to meet. The greedy climate ignorers will immediately call it communism, but that is not what its about, it is about being responsible without suffering. If you want to meet the challenges you need to stop doing a couple of things, and start doing many other things. Work needs to be focussed on reducing emissions and pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. Work needs to be focussed on actively cutting emissions of companies, groups and individuals that do not restrict their behaviour responsibly.

This currency will meet strong opposition to begin with, it will be fought by the current carbon credit monopoly. On the other hand people will not think much of it, a cryptocurrency, who cares. Maybe it should not even be a crypto currency as they are known today because its undesirable to drive such an energy intensive kind of money system. Maybe it should be a coin. The coin would however come with a contract :

1. A person can recieve the coin or a balance in its account if he/she is actively driving real climate solutions
2. You recieve the balance from peers who measure your actions against the best scientific models of what the effects are democratically
3. Any balance can be taken out again by distribution over all others if enough holders agree and if there is a clear reason
4. At the time horizon of 2030 nobody will be allowed in government or positions of power who does not hold climatecoins
5. Anyone who wants to get elected needs to recieve climatecoins


Global Knowledge Hub for Shifting away from Intensive Farming

The world needs to shift away from intensive agriculture. Its been said as early as the 1980’s by people in the agroindustry that the model was not sustainable. They meant that they where making money by increasing the economic activity and cashflow in farming, but knew this would not last for the simple reason that fossil fuels would run out. Today for every intensively farmed calorie 10 fossil fuels calories are burned.

We wrote about this years ago, and in the mean time several tests shown that production of non-intensively farmed land is about equal to the intensively framed kind, except of course you need to rotate. The crops have become more productive through genetic modification for instance. and no matter how much you spray or fertilize, the weather determines a large part of how crops fare.

Reducing the fossil input in farming to near zero is possible with electric equipment, logistics, fertilizer production (using Wind also written about in this blog). Even pest control can be done by small robots, nutrient application can be highly efficient through the use of satelite or drone data analysis. There was never a better time for farms to go CO2 negative like now.

The biggest problem is the soil. The use of artificial inputs has depleted it, the carbon content is near zero, it has no fungal life to capture nitrogen. And it takes about 5 years to bring that back. The good news is that one can put fungi into the soil (there’s an example from Australia). This shift also makes sense from a water conservation point of view, good soil doesn’t dry out as easily as a lot of water is held as reserve by living organisms.

Now as we wrote earlier, if there was a catastrophic reason for a cut in fossil fuel availability the West would suddenly have a food production problem : The soils would not produce on their own! The “Post fossil food gap” would last 5 years in which the unlucky population would be decimated. Sadly this scenario is now more likely than ever, either because of rising global tensions and because a growing part of the public wants to cut emissions and be more secure.

A global expertise center needs to be created to guid countries that are willing out of their fossil fuel dependence in agriculture, and establish renewable sources to replace for instance the gas inputs into fertilizer production. Other base nutrients have to be recycled and collected using renewables as well. This is a huge undertaking but it can not be started early enough. The positive side is that is is relatively cheap to do it.

Deep Ocean Fertilization Revisited

For years oceanic biologists have studied the potential of the oceans to absorb more CO2 and convert it into carbon through its normal biological life. It turns out that iron plays an important role in the metabolism of pythoplankton limiting it to a large extend. It is found that adding even a small amount of iron can increase life in some parts of the ocean significantly.

Apart from this finding its also found that increasing sulfur and nitrogen can increase ocean life.

iron fertilization

Scientific Research

Patents (should be irrelevant but ok)


Humanity is slowely becoming aware to a major threat to its existence. But every individual is different and if you group them there’s a large part that can’t do nothing, a part that can but doesn’t want to do anything, a part that can and does and all the forms inbetween. Why? Because there is a route to herd people into the fossil fuel economy, which requires consumerism, but also because some parts of the world are soo poor nobody there that makes it into some money is going to reign themselves in because of something that may only have consequences in about 50 years time. Even though that timeframe no longer holds many are still unwilling to do anything they are not forced to do if it doesn’t make them more rich.

Oil rich countries are not interested in climate action by selling less oil. Resource rich countries like Indonesia are not interested in not selling land for palm oil, or not selling coal reserves. Australia is a good example of a continent that is run by coal lakeys at tremendous cost to its own citizen. The people that do know what’s going to happen and that do care about it have more or less been waiting, trying to sway a right (pro fossil) government. In de US, UK, Holland, Italy, we still have the economistic approach that touts growth over survival, that looks at fossilfuel cashflow, the GDP as an indicator of succes, not even mean productivity per sqaure km of the land which is after all what has to keep the citizen alive. Fossil fuels completely distorted the picture.

The fact is the world, all of us will have to see enormous projects to recapture CO2, and some organization will have to execute those projects. And within that organization factual empirical truth extended by high quality models need to guild the allocation of resources towards those projects. That is serious stuff. That is something that needs to be monitored by the sharpest intelligent people in order to work. It is something that needs to go on for a long time (hence our proposal for millenium projects run by automated systems).

But what can we (those that care about the future) do in a shorter timeframe. We think that it makes sense to cut of oil from anyone who doesn’t use it for anything else than to “grow its economy”. That’s tough but instead we can supply them with renewable technology. Its much harder to revert to a rural existence than to never leave it. This will happen if the price of oil rises, if trade from those countries is reduced and if the World bank doesn’t fight “poverty” there. This is harsh but it makes sense. Don’t help countries to get addicted to oil, coal or gas, help them to build renewables, who’s capacity is much larger and which they can own themselves.

If a country is fossil fuel rich and if the companies involved in getting oil out of the ground are still operating freely what can you do? Oil corrupts, it does so everywhere. If you have oil you can buy anyone because our world is soo addicted. Now that Jeff Bezos decided to order more than 100.000 electric vans, diesel sales to Amazon will slow down. Use of electricity in other places also reduces demand for fuel. But an unenlightened country like Indonesia will simply sell its gasoline to its citizen, and export it and mine its coal and burn its rainforests, while moving its capital to Borneo because 1. Jakarta will drown, 2. That’s a big Dubai style building project. Asia has taken the lead over its own future, we don’t realize it yet.

Some countries will have to have its development halted by force. That is if there is enough countries that can project force that can unite to do it. Here the energy imbalance becomes a problem. Traditionally countries that have the most energy resources win wars. Even Spain lost the 80 year war because it ran out of gold, the unit of payment for physical labour (energy) in the 1500s. Germany lost the battle for Africa because it ran out of fuel, It lost the war with Russia because it could not reach oil wells. England projected great maritime force because it used Iranian oil. How do you fight a war with a country that has its own oil?

It seems Iran found a way.. it destroyed a refining facility in Saudi Arabia halving its output. Saudi Arabia is already in financial distress, its Prince (Mohammed bin Salman or MBS) recently fired the energy minister because revenue from oil sales where problemantic. Now the output is halved which is surely won’t help. Saudi Arabia may not be able to fight a war with Iran, even if the US wants to help, because with current weapons many installations are just too vulnerable. Also you don’t really want to knock out the fuel supply before we have sufficient alternatives. Its not fair to the people of Suadi Arabia as well, who have after all shared their oil wealth willingly or unwillingly for decades.

But what can one do? Letting Saudi Arabia persue its desire to meet the demands of its bankers is not the wisest way forward. The Saudi People, used to airco’s big SUVs and all kinds of other perks can easily bear much less luxury, if that was even needed. Who moves the mind MBS into a direction where he feels strong because the future of Saudi and the world is more secure, instead of feeling strong because he did the easiest thing and required those working for him to perform towards a financial goal, the capturing and supporting oil price? It doesn’t help that these princes are highly competitive and pretty brutal.

It would make sense that the group of climate aware and responsive governments combined forces to direct governments towards climate aware policies. The cost effectiveness and ease to do that may far out weigh that of actual carbonsequestration measures (even if those are still needed). What this means is that there should be a new type of colonialism, where foreign forces will tell you what to do with your country or economy. The goal only not being to extract your resources, but to drive your carbon footprint into negative numbers. Also land may be usefull for carbon sequestration projects, and as these projects will be outside the economy (extraeconomical) selling the land for a projected value after use (as is the habit with building plots) makes no sense. The land needs to be made available. This is nothing new, we have seen countries in Africa give up land for foreign industry to operate without taxation or benefit of the population (probably because some officials received serious cash). This climatecolonialism will likely happen, at least we hope. Someone always needs to want to restore the climate and its not sure who will want it if things get bad. In any case the group that needs to start thinking about this is now at the UN Climate Summit in New York.

The Petrification of China

China is allowing the growth of its surveillance and sensorship system. It spans every communcation channel normal chinese people have. If you irk those managing the system you are visited, your bank account can be blocked and your freedom to move can be restricted because you can not board trains or airplanes. Not only chinese citizen are victimized by this system, also foreigners living in china. In the video below a chinese blogger explains.

Now the reasons to do this are clear, its to maintain stability of China which as a big country with many ethnic groups is fragile. US analysis stated that China ran a risk of falling apart if growth slowed down too much. But there is a risk in trying to be too stabile or uniform, just like there is a risk in trying to stand without moving.

The system in China now includes street surveillance, whatsapp monitoring for keywords, and no doubt use of AI in profiling people and analyzing conversations and chatter. This is done by many different individuals and groups who each have relatively well defined tasks to complete, for instance group one installs cameras, group two monitors the video feed or runs the AI to recognize and track people, group three recieves reports in each city or region. Group four dispatches police to check on a blogger or someone conversing with someone else. These groups form an organization that performs the task. It is easy to imagine a playbook of how to set up a society with such surveillance, and of course this is nothing new in the world.

But as you see in the video above in China people are not allowed to use the names or discuss certain topics related to government. People stop talking about certain things and try futile ways to avoid being caught by the algorithms. It causes a chilling effect on public discourse, and this will continue and increase as groups that are tasked with detecting these thoughts do their simple job. It is easy to see that after a while people will only talk about their work, food, family as if there is no government. It is also easy to see that the absence of thought about society and where it leads cause it to petrify and freeze and halt its adaption to reality.

The more data is gathered on indivuduals, the stiffer a society will be, behaviour will be more coerced, less voluntary less appropriate.

This petrification effect will be even stronger if the groups that run the system are themselves subject to the same scrutiny. If the worker installing the camera or the police officer arresting the blogger can not express any moral judgement or opinion about the proces the proces becomes frozen in time. The question then becomes : Who changes it. Who shows compassion if a situation changes, It is completely clear from history that if a leader or anyone who CAN change things does not suffer to much from whatever is wrong, change won’t come.

As was shown in the soviet system all kinds of information that people have ties into their human desires. It leads to abuse. The disabling of moral judgement attracts individuals with weak moral judgement, who can do the job with ease and enthousiasm, and so any repressive surveillance system will harden and become more vigilant to justify its existence. Self monitoring will only increase this. The fact that some profit from selling surveillance material or developing more sophisticated AI also works to consolidate its reach.

China is thus moving towards being a rigid, harsh, incorrigable monolith that stifles its intellectual development and is inert to challenges to its dominating elite. That elite itself may find itself forced to either stay the course even if it hurts billions or lose its position. It turns itself into a pressure cooker just like the Soviet Union or North Korea. It becomes easier and easier to stoke unrest especially when people grow hungry or are stuck in some place.

Chinese rural life isn’t all suffering

The answer to this trend will probably fall on deaf ears. But it is simple : Realign the population with the carrying capacity of the land, return people to rural areas to do what they need to grow what they eat. Disband large cities and the illusion of economic modernity. It is much easier to manage dispersed groups who basically feed themselves than bunched up concrete jungles where repressed groups try to find a way out. This doesn’t mean that any of the modern conveniences need to be missed or people have to return to a primitive state. It just means the abandonement of cities. Two tools necessary are default land ownership and default income.

The big question is : Will anyone in China be allowed to come up with and discuss this thought.

India is going down the same path

The RoboEconomy and ExtraEconomy Part 1

People will wonder what to do now, with the prospect painted by the IPCC. The predictions are dire, we all know it and actual reality seems to move quicker than most models predict. What to do if you are in a normal job with a wife and kids and a mortgage..

Humans are not made to change things when everything seems fine. Everything seems fine, except a couple of hot days, maybe a storm and a forest fire if you are unlucky. Its very hard to throw everything overboard and its not even clear if that would make any sense. You may have worked years to achieve your current position, or your current level of excellence and expertise, and now it seems there is a risk that needs to be neutralized, and it requires big changes.

Two new concepts

Before we get into how things will go down lets talk about the title of this piece. The RoboEconomy and the ExtraEconomy first. The two terms where made up to signify two systems in the world dealing with climate change. One is as system a lot like the one we call our economy today, the other is one which is explicity out of reach of that system. The RoboEconomy is simply an economy that uses robots and renewables instead of fossil fuels while maximizing jobs.  The extraeconomy consists of climate mitigation projects that are generating resources that are NOT to be consumed in processes that are NOT to be interrupted. Ever in some cases.

The question is how to move from our current economy to the RoboEconomy, how to start the projects of the ExtraEconomy (So called Millenium projects) while still having a reasonable life, or one that is pleasant and exists at least. How fast can that be done is also an imporant question. Also what needs to be done. The scale of the problem is underestimated. It can become effectively unsolvable in the next thousand years.

Humans may find a way, but how many and what about the rest of life?

To be sure, the world still looks really nice in most places, some are seeing forest fires, some are seeing melting of snow and ice, things are changing, but you can live. And if you take human ingenuity into account, and assume we will keep access to technology on the current scale (which is unlikely) then we will find ways to adapt, even in the absolute worst case scenario of a hot house earth with H2S in our atmosphere. Then we will likely also live on the Moon and Mars and Space in an orbit around Earth.

The above is technological optimism, It applies correctly to the survival of a small part of the current population in the extreme scenarios. It is nothing to be elated about, like the techno optimism preachers hope for in their following. The singularity as a concept but also a tool for mass hynosis. They want you to buy the books that tell you humans invented so much so we will surely invent a solution to climate change. Maybe. But in reality our expectations should be much more modest, because those preachers don’t create or imagine technology, they just talk about it. It is hard to make technology, it is hard to deploy it. So the baseline for succes is survival of people, fixing climate change is going to be a millenial challenge.

What we experience influences our behaviour

Back to the lives of everyday people, the Roboeconomy and Extraeconomy. Perhaps the most important aspect of our economy is its media. The media constitute a datastream that shapes and controls our minds. Social media is a part of that. It occupies part of our mental capacity and it provides examples of behaviour that we subconsciously immitate to understand, so which can become part of our behaviour quite easily. They create an illusion of stability, like an environment, but an artificial one where the relative amount of attention ideas and events get does not mirror any practical need for it. To the media, including the social media, your engagement with it is being maximized. Through that engagement your behaviour can be influenced, and this is an ability that has value in the economy. Time spend with media is time spend with little return, and it is likely to lead to more time wasted. Wasting consumer time is on average good for the economy. It makes us more needy.

Money has become our significant other

The second most important aspect of our economy is money. The primary goal of the economy is to make us fully dependent on money. Its goal is to “install” money as our primary driver. To achieve this it needs to turn anything we pay attention to into a product or service. The drive to do this comes from four sources :

  1. Someone wants to exchange a product or service with you, but there is no immediate need for it, so money is used to bridge the time difference
  2. Someone wants to make money of selling you something you already have or considered of little value.
  3. Someone handling the money (a bank) wants to handle more money.
  4. Someone selling primary resources like fossil fuels wants to sell more fossil fuels.

We need to clearly separate these motivations, because some benefit all and others only a few.

Money is an organizational tool

Motivation nr. 1 is the real reason we have money, to organize our activities over time. Even gold as it was used in ancient times functioned to motivate a person to do something at the chosen time, and the amount was of course related to what that person knew another person would do for the same amount. A person would not do more or less than he expected someone else to do unless other circumstances compelled him/her to. Motivation nr. 1 is so true that if you have a group of people now cooperating in some way you can easily introduce a currency to do the above. This offers everyone freedom and flexibility, but also introduces the risk of inequality.

Money can be used to achieve egotistic outcomes

Of course it is clear that money in the sense above can control people. And if we have control over things it is more likely we achieve outcomes we desire, so money becomes a thing of value to hold irrespective of its exchange value. This introduces egotism in the social system, something that would be much harder without money, there egotism can only be realized through action by the egotistic person, which requires effort and is thus an exchange within the person him/herself. Gaining money to gain power and control is synonymous with profit seeking. In a normal society with money in circulation profit could never be excessive. But as money is a token that is introduced, and the amount of money is arbitrarily controled by those that coin it, the amount of profit and the meaning of profit can become hard to define.

Moneylenders and creators have taken extraordinary control

Motivation nr. 3 combines the control motive with the extaordinary privilige to create money. This is what banks can do today. They not only handle our money, they create it. Their motivation is entirely based on control and profit seeking. They do not form a basic part of a functioning society of equals, they have placed themselves above it, and because they usually behave very decently, most of us are unwilling to accept there’s anything wrong with that. Of course normal desire for safety and security drives banks to try to gain more control. Banks control our money supply and can simply decide to cut it or extend it or make it more expensive or less expensive. Because of that they can grab control of assets, drive up prices, create false competition and distort markets. To say however that profit seeking banks are something we should or could eliminate today would be wrong, and this has to do with motivation nr. 4

Our money is fossil fuel credit

Not all producers of primary resources are equal. Oil, coal and gas are both raw materials for plastics and other chemicals but also the source of energy we use to manipulate, facilityat and create our products and services. What’s more some countries depend heavily on fossil fuel sales. Saudi Arabia has a barrel price for crude oil in mind that maximizes sales and their revenue. This implies that there is a constant pressure to sell oil, to use it in as much situations as possible. If we could suddenly fly electric oil companies and oil countries would have to find a new use for their oil or go broke! Banks have a strong interest in this process, because they handle the money that is used to buy and sell oil. Their ability to create money amounts to taking oil from the producers at will, and thus in spite of what they say there needs to be an understanding between oil producers and banks, and this is having serious consequences in the fight against climate change. Money in this role is “carboncredit” and its cashflow is the oxygen for banks.

Fossil fuel credit is special

Fossil fuel credit as described above does not obey normal rules of exchange. It is easy to see that if Saudi Arabia produced all the oil the world had, it would profit so much from selling it it could basically buy a large portion of whatever is produced with their oil This is clearly not the case. This is in part a result of banking tricks, books have been written about how Wallstreet disappeard much of the Saudi wealth. But more fundamentally fossil fuel does not fit in an economy that exchanges human productivity and results of human skills. We burn oil. Oil is like a crop that grows without a need to tend it (much). But unlike real crops no person can make oil. On the other hand for millenia nobody had any use for oil. The egyptians had tar and oil and used it to waterproof boats and burn in lamps, but other than that they didn’t care about it.

It took a century of increasing our use of fossil fuels to reach the point where we are now. It was a self amplifying process and it would be foolish to deny that the lives of people improved. But today the primary method of this “economic expansion”, namely fossil fuel credit, means the tool we use to organize our activities is tied in for 100% with an energy source we can no longer afford to use. Our money and the way we create it is fundamentally expecting the availability of fossil fuels in the market. The easiest way to see this is if for instance a bank finances some new waterworld amusementpark. The money will go towards buying resources. But how come they are available? Because the money buys the fuels to create the cement, haul the concrete. That’s a lot of energy needed to do all that. Would that energy be available if we only used solar and wind (and some battery storage) ? Nope. The energy production capacity would have to front run any development and as a consequence any ability of a bank giving credit. Oil, gas and coal are stored energy, and this is what makes it possible for our bank to say “Here is 1 million go ahead and buy and use that oil”. With renewables they could only do that if they owned stored energy, or the energy source. And with renewables this would not be an exclusive privilege of banks! Our money is fundamentally pro fossil fuels.

To be continued..

A Sunlight Charging Battery Design

For a couple of years the author of this piece wondered why there where no liquids that could store solar energy into some usefull form. Of course there is water and oil as a heat transfer liquid, but we never read about a liquid that for instance would catch photons and store the energy to release it as heat through the use of a cathalyst. There are chemical reactions you can promote with heat, that are reversible, for instance combining H2 and N2 generates heat, so you can make a closed system where N2 and H2 store the energy and sunlight splits NH3 into these two molecules.

Illustration of lead acid car battery showing lead dioxide plate, lead plate and sulphuric acid

Illustration of lead acid car battery showing lead dioxide plate, lead plate and sulphuric acid

One shape of the question would be an battery in which the electrolyte can be charged with sunlight. This can be so that at one pole the light causes a reaction by which a molecule accepts an electron, and then the molecule needs to go to the other pole to deposit it. Or there is a molecule that is broken into pieces by sunlight but will rejoin if it gets an electron or something. If the above doesn’t make sense its because we really don’t know much about chemistry..


My explanatory drawing

We just can’t believe however that its impossible. To find out more we used fiverr, which is a website where you can find all kinds of experts willing to do work or answer questions. A chemist was not difficult to find. We found Fati, in Multan, Pakistan. With her still limited experience she pointed out that there is a proces called Halothanation, which is replacing a Hydrogen atom by a Cloride atom in molecules under the influence of heat or light. Heat sounds great, if a battery could charge from heat that would be a major thing. Then there is a process called Hetrolytic cleavage. This is when a molecule splits in a way that leaves one or both parts with a charge, positive or negative.


Heterolytic cleavage

There are a number of substances which can be in liquid form that have these two processes, one of them is good old Chloroform. Chloroform is CHCL3, basically a methane molecule with three Hydrogen replaced by Chloride. According to Fati if you expose Chloroform to sunlight is Cl- will go into solution and start traveling around, at least, looking for a positively charged place. The left over Methane will be attracted to electrons. In order to keep the Cl- in solution (it can bind with itself and form Cl2 a toxic gas) we need to add a little bit of NaOh. Worst case salt is fromed which stays in solution.


 The two electrodes need to be of Copper and Zink, now there may be a catch here, because it may be that the battery eats away at the Copper and Zink, or Copper eats away at the Zink, we can’t say for sure. But the interesting property of this battery should be that it gains charge as the sunlight hits it. The sunlight will try to marry Cl2 to the Methane, but also break it apart.


He haven’t constructed the battery yet, and we are very curious what you think about this, or if you know any other molecules or materials that could make up a solar battery. This type of battery could take the form of a solar collector panel, be mounted somewhere and charge itself during the day. No need to have as PV panel and separate batteries! Of course the voltage of such systems is usually low, say 0,5 volt so you would need a number connected in series, as is the case in almost all batteries. The toxicity of chloroform is said to be modest, its a fire hazard as well. Fati tells us it will be ok.

images (1)

Solar thermal panels

According to Fati most photosensitive chemicals are pretty toxic, but we just don’t know. Maybe there is an entirely other method that can cause solar energy to be stored in a liquid. Let us know if you have any ideas!

The War between AI and the Blockchain

Deepfakes are developing fast, and although faking video and audio is not new, experts agree that we can’t win this fight. Machines will be able to create digital media that can not be recognized as such by a normal human consumer. We have written about this threat because it spells disaster. Chaos is what we expect to be the result in any media/public relation, motivated by malignant attitudes, desire to have fun or the desire to exploit.

Fake news is already a problem, leading to lynchings in some countries, based only on accusations. Inter tribal tensions, racism, every kind of tension can be stirred up by faking news and faking video. Imagine a video of Justin Trudeax kicking a cat as he walks home, low quality surveillance cam footage, but all fake! It is AI, learning to imagine using the same building blocks as us, resulting in the ability to rebuild imagined scenarios. Now it’s only faces that are matched with the originals, but it will be entire persons. The tech to remove items from a video stream, like a rock from an ocean shore already exist.

How to deal with this?

Surprisingly there is a technology that can help us, namely blockchain. Blockchain is the name for consecutive blocks of data that are encrypted as a chain, meaning an encrypted fingerprint (so called hash) of the first block is part of the second. The important quality of a blockchain is that its blocks of data have a specific order and content, and you can not change any of the data in the chain without this resulting in an invalid chain. Blockchain gives direction to data like a diode or a water lock can.

The peculiar ability of blockchain to create a temporal direction in a data chain stems from the way it calculates the fingerprint of the last block, it is a lossy way. So to explain it super simple, if you have stored the phrase “Hi there!” the fingerprint can be “ABC”. This however would also be the fingerprint of “SAO sa@ f”, or several thousand other meaningless phrases. Now we can run the fingerprint algorithm, insert “Hi there!” and confirm the output is “ABC”, but we can not take “ABC” and in any practical way return the input “Hi there!”. Its a one way process.

How does this help? Well if we make a new phrase and we say “ABC, Now this is new data”, so we put the fingerprint in the new phrase, then if we fingerprint that phrase the output may be “XYZ”. The ABC is part of the reason the output is XYZ, but like above we can never find ABC if we start off with XYZ. However if anyone has stored the data (and this is the case with blockchains) it is easy to verify that XYZ is the correct next fingerprint.

Once the chain has completed a number of steps as it stores data it becomes impossible to alter this data because it is stored in many peers and it has this internal fingerprint directional integrity. In short if you store data in a blockchain you can be sure that is remains unaltered. The older it is the more secure the data becomes.

The only way to deal with deepfakes and fake information is to add its fingerprint to a blockchain, as it is created or a ‘official version’ is released. Any digital audio or video clip can be translated in a code, a hash as the fingerprint is also called. You can see an example of how this works on our site , Just type in some text in the textarea and submit. The long code that appears is the fingerprint. If you change the text it changes, if you enter the same text it is exactly the same.

Hi there!  -> 396199333edbf40ad43e62a1c1397793

Now if we add this fingerprint or hash to a blockchain transaction, it becomes data stored in the blockchain. We can use the Ethereum blockchain for that, but any other active blockchain will do as well. Now if you take a video and you store it in this way, any viewer can verify if the content is unaltered and unfaked by the following steps :

  1. Create a fingerprint
  2. Check the blockchain to see if it is the same as the one introduced by the author

Today encryption is already used to secure data, this is the practice of scrambling a message or data so it becomes unreadble, and unscrambling it at the recieving end. This also prevents tampering with data. The weak point is that both sender and reciever must be in contact with a central encryption authority that will manage and validate the encryption keys. This encryption authority (or Certification Authority as it is called) has to be reachable, online and requests to it have to be secure and untampered with. A reliable system of encryption can be created (which does not mean that eavesdropping is impossible in other ways). But what if you find content in the wild?


Click to visit

A blockchain based system is the most practical solution to deepfakes and doctored content. The author of the content stores the fingerprint in the blockchain, the consumer can run the same process before consuming the content. There is no way to create a matching fingerprint of content when its altered. You can already use to secure your content. We will be adding a service for video fingerprinting (hashing) soon. If you want to invest let us know send us an email at