Category Archives: Uncategorized

   To our Podcasts

Drone Based Ecorestauration, Demi-Lune bombing and the Roboeconomy is developing..

This is it, a couple of optimizations, a seedpod that can be fired from the air to penetrate the ground, a drone that can follow a set pattern and preprocessing that can optimize the planting pattern. This system can plant 100.000 trees per day. It will only work in areas with suitable soil, and it won’t protect the young growth from bark eating animals. But it is definitely the way to go.

Seedbombs are Thailands idea of reforestation, trees are very resilient and strong when germinating, so you really only need to plant them for many of them to take root. Try it with an apple some time, most apple seed in your apple will become tiny stems.

Droneseed is a company that aims to automate treeplanting after wildfires. This is a growing problem as temperatures increase.

There are huge tree planting operations underway (like this one in Australia), but we need to plant much more. We don’t know the marginal cost of running a tree planting operation, so that it becomes extraeconomical, meaning it sustains itself without any interaction (or sale of wood) to the wider economy.

Demi-Lune Bombing

One of the successfull strategies to revitalize degrated land in practice since the 80’s are so called Demi-Lunes, which is french for half-moons. This simple solution is to dig a half circle with the straight side towards the top of the slope of the land, so that rainwater collects into the pit and sinks into the ground, this is a technique similar to countour trenching  (see Peter Westerveld). The principle problem in general is that the top soil compacts and water doesn’t permeate. It takes quite a lot of energy to break it up again. Demi-Lunes that collect water are a lot like bomb craters, except they hare half circular. It is imaginable that with a certain bombing pattern it is possible to create them quicker and in larger numbers than with human labour. If a machine can be developed that is solar powered which only moves around the land creating demi-lune after demi-lune, this would be a great investment.

The video shows that the land between the demi-lunes is still dry and barren, it should be a follow up action to create connecting trenches, simply to break the top soil. When trees are planted in this way they will thrive, and the higher the tree, the more wind they break and shade they provide.

In general it keeps popping up that our Earth doesn’t by spontaneous process become ideal for plants to thrive, even though all chemical constituents are present (at least some of the time).

   To our Podcasts

Elon Musk SpaceX and the Roboeconomy

SpaceX with chief engineer Elon Musk is making rapid progress towards its goals, to make humanity a space faring civilisation. The idea is to populate Mars in the next decade, and green it by terraforming after that, so that humanity has a lifeboat when disaster strikes (as it is doing slowely but surely as heat is accumulating also known as climate change).

We see a process of relentless imagination and application of alternatives that have not been given room or been imagined before. Of course 3D printing and CAD and compuatational fluid dynamics as well as tiny computers didn’t exist in the Appollo era. When applied in other fields, not to serve personal ego or greed, but the driving ideal of a world without imminent threats which is sustainable into the far future, this approach can usher in a new enlightened period of advancing technology.

One of our topics is called the Roboeconomy, which is the now nascent economy based on robots producing nearly everything, and robots restoring the ecology using renewable energy. Human jobs will be a marginal factor in the survival of our species, Energy will be abundant (hunders of times more than our current total annual budget) and the whole planet will be within reach to hydrate and restore life to, including our oceans.

robotic excavators

To do this we need ways to deploy systems around earth. We need systems that will either bring water to places where it is too dry for trees to grow, or we need to pull it out of the air there, or we need to desalinate it (which is much easier and low energy if you use new technologies like ionic desal we wrote about). We need to shape the land so it retains the rain that falls and absorbs carbon through plant growth, which as Peter Westerveld showed will itself cause more clouds and rain.

The problem with all this are many. One is how to ensure the initiative in a world that is disorganized by the fossil interest (who like chaos with an elite on top and are creating it in the US as we speak) in a world with to few experts, in one in which road usually only lead to places where natural resources can be taken away. In some cases, like the North of France what you have is super fertile land, but the economic factors (using clearcut rainforest land and subsidizing the logistics) make the production on these lands so inefficient nobody can make a living! Also the effort needs to be global, reach reagions with very few people and be fast and sustained. How to do all that?

We think Elon Musk is developing the technology we can use. He is after all making rockets that can land themselves. They are capable of pushing themselves and a payload of more fuel and satelites in to (at least) low earth orbit, then return and land on a flat surface of about 10 by 10 meter. Because they spend time in orbit they can travel enormous distances (going really fast, which is the key to being in orbit). We figure such a rocket could also deliver ecorestauration payload to regions where nobody lives, from a station that nobody can get to (so out of reach of the possible chaos due to climate change).

Make barren Earth your terraforming experiment

We see that we are making a small mistake her, nl that the returning stage was expensive, so one time uses are not economically attractive. But if you combine the idea with a few others you can make the value worth it, after all in the roboeconomy making things only costs the effort of a one time purchase of the energy source (f.i. solar panels that will be free very soon) and robotics who’s cost is also dropping. Now it still seems drones and robots are expensive, but that will change soon as toys like hoverboards are making the price of electric wheels drop f.i. We can also just decide we need to make massive amounts of ionic desalinators, which is a stack of charged membranes and some pumps and reservoirs (no high pressure), just like it was decided we need huge battery factories. It makes sense to organize the above chaotic thought process into a plan.

Nobody has taken the land shaping for water retention question to is maximum efficiency

Autonomous cars are also a perfect delivery system for water, seeds, materials to remote places. They are roadrobots. We already proposed to start a tree plantation in Mauritania close to a mine project, just becaus there is a long sunbaked road towards it (universities, please dont fucking steal this idea and tell the world you thought of it first in five years time, as you do with ideas all the time). A desal plant at the coast of Africa, driving water inland, irrigating trees where nobody lives seems a non-economic plan, and this is exactly what it is. It is called extraeconomics.

The idea of Extraeconomics is to add resources instead of having a net zero resource gain (which is almost never possible if you use fossil fuels) as is usual for any economic project. Extraeconomics strives to create closed regions where resources are added that are to forever remain out of reach of the wider economy. See here. The best way to do extraeconomics is to tell nobody about it. A bit like mines operate, shooting anyone that comes close, or loggers, killing tree activists by the dozens. We don’t advocate killing, but we do advocate secrecy.

Many trees produce molecules that help condens water and form clouds

You have many dry zones close to oceans, they can be irrigated with desalinated water. Using aquifers only makes sense if it can last indefinitely. One can also simply spray salt water into the air as the winds are land inwards, for instance in Tunesia and Lybia. Sure there will be a salt spray zone that will be impossible to farm on, but the water will be transported into the desert where it needs to be havested, or when there is enough will form clouds and rain down. Such fountains can be solar powered, cost nothing and actually create a healthy flow of some volume in the mediterranian.

But back to SpaceX reusable rockets. It is also a good test case for mars, although it seems Elon likes people not to wander to much and work on the exact goal they are trying to achieve. We believe you can build with sand by melting it in place. The main problem of extraeconomic activities is that there is no economic case for the logistics, or it would be economically viable. So getting stuff where you need it is the key, even if the stuff doesn’t cost that much. Of course people are a major challenge, and then you have to show them the world they create is immediately better than the ones on their screens.

It would be interesting to develop plans to do this. There’s an initiative we want to visit in Spain which is about ecorestoring the barren lands. The trick is to restore hydrology (so make the land retain water) and plant some trees. Peter Westerveld already showed this was the case in Kenya and we wrote about him here. Elon Musk can perhaps by spinning off some of his technology do more than populate mars, but also revive barren places on Earth, to do as we think is the principal goal : Maximize life.

 

 

 

   To our Podcasts

Mega Stables Poisoning the Enviroment

Brabant wil meer bescherming tegen megastallen

Holland as the inventor of intensive farming, is trying to deal with attempts to follow the model as it has swung out of control in the US. There you have calfs in fields of plastic boxes parked like cars being fed form birth to slaughter, some never feeling the soft grass or breathing fresh air in their short life.

In Holland forces are trying to push the same model where the animal is minimally considered, and the nr of them per m2 is maximized. We call them ‘megastallen’ or megastables. They exist for pigs and hogs. They generally cause air pollution in the vicinity which is, after causing irritation with the local people, is now also killing birds and plants.

We think this industry is insane, it is done purely for the money, and more fundamentally to drive fossil fuel consumption and to create economic dependencies for which there is a need for well payed lazy intermediary jobs (like banks, shipping companies). The economy is, however you may dispute this, designed to maximize fossil fuel utilization, not wealth creation. These tortured animals in Holland are fed with Soy grown in Brazil, in a region until recently run by a big soy planter (who didn’t mind cutting down virgin rainforest to make way for his business).

4 NH3 + 3 O2 =>  2 N2 + 6 H2O + Heat

But for us there’s another angle. This is about the stuff that is causing the irritation, the so called ‘Nitrogen’. Of course it is not nitrogen (N2) which makes up most of the air, but volatile nitrogen compounds, the most noticable being NH3, or ammonia. It stinks, it burns, it can knock you out. But there’s a thing. Ammonia is plant food, plant energy. Hogs and chicken make it and plants have learned to use it (nobody knows what came first). NH3 really is fuel though, and we should learn to look at it that way. NH3 in pure form is a diesel like fuel, it can run diesel engines with next to no adjustments. It burns CO2 free, because there is no carbon (C) in the stuff!

2 NH3 => 2 N2 + 3 H2 => Fuel cell => Electricity

Our economy designed products for maximum economic benefit, and in the case of fertilizer (ammonia), which turns into food for hogs, which turns into ammonia (and a lot of other stuff, for sure), it would not be ‘economic’ to recover the ammonia, even though the sugar in the manure is recovered and turned into methane of which one can once again make fertilizer. The point with NH3 is that it is also a good farm fuel, it is also possible to make it with a wind turbine, its use would cascade changes that would make farmers energy independent. Meanwhile a whole industry build around dealing with the ‘nitrogen problem’ would become obsolete.

NH3 burns like Diesel, most engines need next to no adjustment to become CO2 free!

So we are against megastables, but as they stand we also are against freely venting the nitrogen in the surroundings, they are a valuable fuel that can be used to heat the stables, burn lights (it can be split in to H2 and N2 and then go through a fuel cell) and be recovered from manure easily (we know how ask us). If this was done nobody would see nitrogen spilled on fields anymore, no stench, no polluted ground water. Industry really is an unguided nuclear missile most of the times : Only if it kills enough people to influence politics, it will respond.

Use of Ammonia is discouraged with the argument that it is unsafe, but research showed it is not less safe, indeed safer than diesel and gasoline. It burns less easy, it is highly noticable, but if you get a dose that knocks you out, you can fully recover. The name has to be made more precise, because real Nitrogen is also used to clean tanks etc. and there it regularly and tragically kills people who are tasked to clean those tanks (probably not in Holland anymore but elsewhere). The ‘nitrogen’ farmers spray is a mix of NH3 and other Nitrogen compounds, but not N2 which is the common compound associated with the name Nitrogen. We have mentioned this many times, we are polluting our land and water with something that is valuable and usefull to our farmers and which can replace dirty heavy fuels in our trucks and tractors.

 

   To our Podcasts

Cryptoinflation and the Roboeconomy (Renewables based economy)

In recent weeks cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin have risen in value considerably. Bitcoin’s dollar price reached $2600 from around $1000. There are several possible causes, one of which is the adoption and acceptance of Bitcoin as a currency (in Japan), the other it is the currency for the randsom payment of WannaCry, another is pump and dump buying and selling behaviour.

Cryptocurrencies are for all intends and purposes comparable to a tangible asset of limited supply. Unlike Dollars and Euro’s that can easily be created agains a loan with the (Central) bank, you can not bring cryptocurrencies in existence as they are needed or usefull. Bitcoin have to be mined, something that is still becoming increasingly hard. When bitcoin started many hackers could mine it, but now it requires such hardware and energy investment that it is out of reach of the common man. If you want to believe banks handle a limited amount of credit then a cryptocurrency is a currency system in which there are many banks. The reason being that some accounts will hold a gigantic amount of bitcoin, but selling those coins is only possible at the rate of the demand, and selling it under the going price will do little buy crash the value. This makes virtual currencies different from Euro’s and Dollars.

BlockChain : A serially encrypted string of data blocks containing transaction records for bitcoins, because the encryption is nested older blocks can not be changed (so transactions corrupted) without it having an immediate effect on the validity of current blocks.

When a currency trader wants to sell Dollars and buy Euro’s, there is usually a market for that transaction, meaning there’s a place where one can observe prices of other similar transactions. However these markets are run for profit, and they (because they are run by banks) can create money to close a transaction even if there is nobody buying. This is called ‘market making’. You arrive with 1000 USD, the market buys it at the going price, holds it until someone comes along that wants them. This is done with all kinds of tradable goods, from stocks to commodities like wheat and oil. The oil is sold by someone that doesn’t have it, who hopes to buy the oil before you come to collect it.

The above market making has two effects : 1. It allows quick entry and exit from a currency position. 2. It creates fake prices, because at times the price of a currency will be zero, when nobody is interested in buying any. At other times it should be infinite, when demand is greater than can be met by those that offer to sell. We don’t see that price behaviour exactly because the owners of the market like to create trust in the currencies, they like to profit unobserved from the ‘spread’ (the difference in the price they pay to buy and of what they pay to sell their reserves). There are high speed trading algorithms that can use the ability to sell and buy without reserves to control the price, think the computer telling the market “I offer $4.000.000”, so a seller thinks “Wow! there’s already $4.000.000 for sale, I better drop the price”, and then the computer retracting the offer.

Cryptocurrencies are different in the sense that you can’t fake them. The blockchain (which keeps check of everyones crypto balance) IS the currency, the correct administration of positions is its core. If you fake Bitcoin in the Bitcoin blockchain, all peers will reject your block, the blockchain is fundamentally a mechanism to correct errors and disallow fraud, which is why Bitcoin is usefull as a currency.

After the 2008 crash many banks spend months ‘reconciling their positions’, meaning their clients traded in shares, stocks, while the bank didn’t own any of them for real. They now had to go look for them.

If a bitcoin owner wants to sell Bitcoin for Litecoin or Dollar, he has to wait in line, usually in a bitcoin marketplace. Not until someone pops up that wants to buy your Bitcoin (at a price you accept) can you sell them. If trading volume is high this may be instant, if it is low you will have to wait. A market can still accept your Bitcoin, but it takes a serious risk. It can not sell you any Bitcoin it doesn’t have. As a result prices are more volatile, and for some cryptocurrencies there may be no price at times. A sale of Bitcoin starts as an attempt to transact, and the Bitcoin mechanism has to run for some time (on all global peers) until you can see your transaction reflected in the Blockchain.

A flash crash in Ethereum actually happened (after this was written) due to a ‘multi million dollar sell order’

This ‘sensitivity’ also creates some opportunities. If I sell 100 Bitcoin for 1000 dollar the value of the coin could be considered 10 dollar. The price of the Bitcoin then becomes 10 dollar. But if I sell 1 Bitcoin for 10 Dollar the effect is the same. Also if I sell 0.001 Bitcoin for 0.0001 Dollar. This means I can create a price by making a number of losing trades. If I agree to do 1000 transactions in which the ‘price’ of the Bitcoin is 10 dollar, It can be that I only ‘spend’ 0.1 Bitcoin to create that illusion. The next trader doesn’t know, so he sees the new price in the market. This is exactly what happens in the real banking system, but in Cryptocurrencies it is usually fully transparent.

Cryptocurrency prices can be manipulated, but their blockchains will show it immediately

But Bitcoin has in recent years become an established crypto currency, even though the underlying code has flaws and has been improved on in other currencies like Lisk or Ethereum, Bytecoin etc. The use case for Bitcoin is varied. The basic property is that you can trust the numbers add up.

  • Replace Euro, Dollar, Yen in your internal accounting with bitcoin (at a fraction of the value equivalent, say 1/100th). This is usefull for big companies or conglomerates.
  • Use it to transact with low banking fees, buy Bitcoin, send them, let the other side cash locally. This does cause problems (for others) which will be discussed below.
  • Use it as currency. This is only possible if all your suppliers accept it. Usually the gas station or energy company do not accept bitcoin as they are the reason we have the Euro, Dollar etc.
  • Speculate on its value. So buy low, wait, cash in. This is a reason for people to create price illusions. To sell you have to be close to a buyer, some owners of cryptocurrencies are closer than others.
  • To save. In the case of Bitcoin some people really made a fortune, even thoug cashing in can be a slow process.
  • A professional community, or a specific functionality is offered only in return for a specific cryptocurrency, therefore creating solid demand for it. Ethereum is an example, if you want to use the ether smart contracts you have to pay for transactions in Ether. Equivalently all PHP coders can decide they need to be payed in PHPcoin only, and so the demand for that coin follows the demand for PHP coders.

The job of our current financial system is to manage and facilitate the consumption of resources, primarily fossil fuels. Therefore no crypto currency is likely to be accepted to buy fossil fuels, unless its price can be controlled by the fossil banking system (through the fact they own a lot) and the trade is closely tied with the existing currencies. This is more or less what happened to Bitcoin. Not all cryptocurrencies will be given this opportunity, and banks have no problem creating their own.

The cryptofinancial system however can enable renewables based local economies, and there are many examples where the need to get ‘real’ currencies to administrate exchanges of products and services is a big restriction. So a local village can organize work by asking and paying f.i. Ether (the currency of the Ethereum mechanism), and all those involved can be sure they do not work for nothing. The more local the resources are the more fit for a local currency a market is. As renewables and the local economic resilliance (against fossil fuel price volatility, including entire countries ‘economies’) grows, the adoption of crypto currencies will also grow. We have written about the Euro, the Auro and the Joule also because alternative currency systems are the best solution to managing an economy with heterogenous value creation mechanisms.

Now let’s say all bakers decide they will only accept bakercoin, and all farmers that supply them with eggs and wheat and biogass to bake will also accept that coin, and sell it to all the people who need bread. A small economic island forms that doesn’t need Euros or Dollars. Those Euro’s and Dollars stay in circulation however and thus cause inflation of anything bought with them. Banks will see a reduced need to extend credit, and so a reduced control, for sure they don’t control what the bakers and the farmers do anymore.

[Cryptocurrencies already cause problems because a person that buys currency in the US and uses it to buy something in China replaces a Dollar cashflow that would be available in China to buy fossil fuels from the world market, thus starving China from it’s ability to produce.]

Extend the above thought and every time people adopt cryptocurrencies for one of the reasons listed above banks see more money in circulation than they anticipate, and inflation will occur. All Euro’s Dollars etc will eventually be absorbed by debts and energy cost, but even this process will slow because of the adoption of more renewables which lower the price of energy. Thus the introduction of cryptocurrencies can cause ‘traditional’ currency inflation.

Renewables are a key to the full functionality of cryptocurrencies as was intended, as an alternative to banking. This is because the fossil fuel sector has a deal with banks on which currency to sell their assets in, at least per power block. We used to have the petrodollar all around the globe, now oil is sold in other currencies, but only when the government that issues the currency also owns the fossil fuel wells. Where markets are denominated in Dollars the US basically owns them. Our currency systems are ‘carbon-credit’ systems, or energy credit systems, where the primary purpose of the currency is to distribute and allocate fossil resources, from the fuel powering the chainsaw in the forrest of Kalimantan to the gasoline in Trumps limosine to the oil used to make plastic or gas used to make fertilizer.

Because these days humans create most value with the help of some machine or chemical process, the driver for that process has to be attainable with the currency. If we can’t buy gas with Euro’s we can’t bake bread and sell them for Euro’s.  Renewables will be the driver that will bring value to cryptocurrencies, and which can allow spawning arbitrary numbers of local cryptcurrencies that are used in local renewables driven production chains. The wind turbine owner sells Windcoins, so the baker can buy wind electricity to bake in his electric oven. The solar thermal heat storage service sells SolarthermalCoin, which is used to heat greenhouses or homes, in which case the occupants of those homes will have to work or do something to earn the SolarthermalCoin, or maybe they work for PHP coin which the issuer of SolarthermalCoin will gladly trade his coins for, knowing demand is reliable (for now).

#cryptoinflation is inflation of value of traditional currencies because economic activities are conducted increasingly using cryptocurrencies.

in this ‘Roboeconomic’ system the role of banks is once again to store real assets and to apply them when there is an opportunity to increase the wealth creation capacity. Right now they are basically shopwindows for fossil fuel access, where the metric is the amount of fossil cashflow generated (which determins the banks fees and salaries), not the amount of wealth. Banks will lose this privileged ‘niche’ to owners of renewable energy sources. The process will cause a surplus and miscalculation in the requirement of traditional currencies, which is one of the reasons banks want to see smartmeters in every home, so they can accurately price renewables to protect their business (sometimes pricing it negatively!).

The role of politics, our role is to prevent any obstruction to truely free trade amongst local and regional communities. We also need to prevent regulation of the crypto currencies, the more recent ones have in build decision making mechanisms that ensures that any change that may affect the value (for instance making it easier to create new coins) is made with the consent of a majority of currency holders. This opens a perspective of truely democratic management of local value chains, as opposed to current ‘flash cash’ sensitive markets. Governments are making local banking systems and businesses more resilient against a sudden influx of (foreign) cash, cryptocurrencies can certainly assist with that.

One thing is sure, the Roboeconomy (where robots running on renewables create most of the wealth and restore the ecology) will do away with fossil credit banks, financial markets as we know them and it will be a vast improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

   To our Podcasts

Trees in the Desert

Fighting climate change will require us to plant more trees. Some may calculate that the warming effects of trees are higher than that of other measures, but we believe that as long as you store the grown tree and you maximize growth of the trees you will store significant amounts of CO2. Also the secondary effects of trees, to bring shade, moisturize the air have been shown to be very effective ways of greening and cooling a region at the lowest possible cost.

The main problem is that land is usually owned by people. These people need to be convinced. So the best place to plant trees is on land nobody cares about, which is also the hardest  places to plant trees. Dry and rocky regions can sustain trees, China has shown that in its tree planting project (the ‘Great Green Wall’ which aims to combat desertification). Fighting the deserts is not a choice, it is absolutely vital because if you don’t fight climate change, you lose.

Luckily there are new technologies that can help us helping trees to grow in hot, dry, rocky regions. Solar for one can help pump water and power desalination installations. Ionic desalination is much more efficient than RO desalination, and small installations can irrigate a lot of saplings. Another idea is to cover the root to retain water and protect against the sun. This can be done with small plastic cones, and in some cases with a dug in container of water.

Trees to plant are these

Trees like the Acacia can bring shade which reduces water evaporation from the soil (of course there is evaporation from the leaves).

Texas ebony tree with a dense cover.

We would not seek profit from growing trees, we would create covered areas with trees, where they are grown and cut (the wood being dumped for carbon sequestration) and regions inbetween that can become habitat for people now that the region cools. This is following the extraeconomic pattern where the trees grown are not an asset, nor they are loaded with debt from the wider economy.

 

   To our Podcasts

Hydrino

Cranbury, New Jersey-based Brilliant Light Power Inc. (BLP) has announced that the firm has continuously generated over 1 million Watts of power from a new primary source, with enough power to eventually vaporize their test apparatus.

According to the company, the power is released by the conversion of hydrogen atoms from water molecules by lowering the hydrogen nuclei’s orbiting electron into a lower energy level producing something called a “Hydrino.”

More  here

   To our Podcasts

The Virtual Reality Empowerment Wave

Virtual reality is here, its much more attractive now than it was two decades ago, mainly because of the development of smartphones and mems based accellerometers. You can now put a cartboard box on your face and with some forgiving believe you are flying and doing all kinds of tricks. Virtual reality content development is still in its infancy, we wrote about it, it’s not easy and it is likely that developing efficient methods to render VR will also give a boost to AI.

We are also seeing the advent of almost better than human speech recognition, increasingly human sounding speech generation. No surprise we will soon see fully AI avatars in virtual reality, sounding like people, listening like one (of course not really). This will have two main effects : People will fall in love with VR, our brain not being capable of making the destinction between reality and virtuality. Some may become hooked and never leave their room again. Heroin withdrawl is so awfull because the system that is tricked into overdrive by the drug is similar to that which forms our social bonds. Imagine how hooked people will be on VR buddies and girlfriends..

Try Google speech recognition here

But a second effect is that people become empowered. This will happen because VR + AI allows the creation of tutors of all kinds. Without the limitations of reality people can be taught all kinds of things, all kinds of skills and explore the world in unprecedented ways. With speech functions and AI people will be able to discuss topics, explore verbally, act out verbal behaviours, run through interaction scenarios. Imagine the possibilities if you can interact with a tutor, and the knowledge is exactly what will work for you in reality. Or imagine what the effect if of a tutor walking a young vulnerable boy through every crime ever committed against his ‘kind’.

Augmented reality is awsome

We can all have a personal tutor, in karate, languages, sales strategies you name it. And we may find some political organizations will create ones that help women empower themselves, not have to content with seeing a conversation on TV or youtube they might miss or never find, for which they are not in the mood. Instead they may find a VR avatar able to show ways out of their problems, ones that teach how to have certain difficult conversations. The way AI and VR can help humanity is unimaginable.

Microsoft’s Hololens is the most advanced device for this application. It seamlessly melds reality with virtuality. The third itteration is about to be released. How will people respond if its technology drops in price. How will it work with future generations of VR and AR rendering engines, including speech and AI? It will be a revolution.

   To our Podcasts

The Waterdonkey

#autonomousvehicles #ai #water #ionicfilters #fujifilm #desertification

Our lush landscapes will dry up and become deserts, at least in many parts of the world. The only way to fight this is by irrigation, but this is a very expensive method, which will not work in the sparsely populated parts of the planet, where profit is not the motive. It is those places we should prioritize in development, because the remoteness and lack of people can protect whatever grows there.

Trees moisturize the air, cooler climate and clouds, so they create a positive feedbackloop in terms of ecology

A solution to quickly expanding the number of trees in remote regions needs to be scalable, so large infrastructure projects make no sense. Pipes are expensive so they require some kind of sustained economic activity to be the result, something that is undesirable. The aim is to create resources, capture carbon, and not remove them or consume them. A cheaper way perhaps is to carry water where it is needed, and use automated systems to irrigate and plant what can grow. A small team of careres, perhaps even remotely controlling the equipment used, may be enough to plant vast areas with new forrest, just like one farmer can work hunders of acres of land, using the right equipment.

Electric water trucks are for sale. Why not autonomous?

A waterdonkey is a smal four wheeled robot that can carry say a ton of water, 1000 liters. It is electric, it has a solar panel on top to power it, it finds its way autonomously. It doesn’t need to be fast, it just needs to move. It can carry water from the coast inland, where it is used to irrigate trees to get them through the rough first years of their life. Special covers have been developed to minimize water requirements. These covers can be moved once the trees have reached a certain age.


Trenching to ensure rainwater sinks into the ground

Carrying water may seem an elaborate way to promote vegetation, as making sure that rain gets into the ground and does not run off (countour trenching) has shown to be very effective. But that technique requires a minimum of rain that some areas don’t have. On the other hand : If we start planting where there’s plenty of rain, we will be bussy for a long time before we reach the dry zones. And those zones will shrink as we plant more trees. In thinking about this the vision of a lush green Middle East is appealing though, and possible (as solar renewables has such ginormous potential there). Deserts can be turned into plantations that with technologies like ionic desalination, which produces fresh water in a much less energy intensive way than reverse osmosis.

Nvidia Drive Module

Autonomous tracktors

Agricultural robots economic perspectives

#roboeconomy

 

   To our Podcasts

Crypto vs AI or how to meat the threat of dangerous AI

Computers are great tools and have become prolific in our society. Up until now they have mostly been deployed openly, meaning they have not been shielded from external tampering, mostly because most people are not experts who know how to do this. If we want to choose an analogy it could be that we still live mostly in a world without fences or barb wire. Our lands used to be more open and less fenced off, but economic forces conspired to put a price on every square meter. What was common good, used by the people best capable, is now hoarded for speculation, houses, farmland.

There is another aspect of the ability to fence off something, and that is that we are less able to control what goes on inside the fence. In the case of a computer, we will be less able to control what goes on inside it, or its abstract equivalent, a worker thread in the cloud or Internet of Things device that accepts tasks. This also has an analogy, namely that of intelligence. We may not notice but a large part of what makes us intelligent hinges on the fact that we evade or prevent disruption, that we are able to pick up where we left even if we are distracted. A wildebeast would not last very long if it did not have a tough hide to keep out the claws of lions.

Nothing can exist if it does not protect its integrity and/or strategy

My definition of intelligence is that it is ARGO, Autonomous, Robust, Goal Orientation. The Robust part is very important, not only does it mean you can’t break into the substrate (a processor of some kind), but also that it has multiple ways to continue if one is sabotaged. A good example is the cruise missle, which can navigate on stars, GPS, maps and compass to get to its target. Jam the GPS and it keeps flying (not sure if that’s possible btw). To qualify as AI you only need those four aspects. Goal orientation seems one thing, but a system that only tries to stick to a set parameter has no real goal, no real representation of what it tries to achieve. It can ‘orient’ but it has can only orient in one way. There is usually an easy way round such systems.

Cryoptography is the digital fence, the computer can now protect itself, by adding more time to accessing its data, sometimes more time than our universe has left. This is possible because hard computational problems exist, ones where the only way to a solution is by trail and error, and the space of possible solutions is ginormous. Cryptography does another thing which is to introduce one way transformations, so you can make a hash (a random condensed sting) of a text, but you can never deduce the text from that hash. Its like a digital valve. It has introduced time in computation. Where from a computational standpoint you can’t figure if your computations run forward or backward, now, to our eyes, you can clearly see that a text to a hash is easy, the other way around is impossible. This is what blockchains are about.

AI is a threat to all of us, but not in the way most people imagine, as a thing roaming about the internets. This is because of cryptography. Maybe not today, but certainly as cryptography becomes the fence system in cyberspace. As more and more data and systems become unreachable unless you have explicit permission, we will find that any AI that roams open data sources or tries to manipulate industrial or health care systems through the net runs into walls it can’t break.

Police allowed to use weaponized drones in urban areas

The economy, those still strongly advocating economic thought and practice, does not like this very much, it wants us to share as much of our lives, because this makes us easier to direct and exploit. Many startups are trying to mine that vulnerability to make us engage with payed services, and because if its economic value many politicians are allowing the collection of all kinds of data on us. Fact is that unless data is encrypted there is no way to secure it from eavesdroppers, that’s the whole reason encryption was developed. If we are truely valuable there are computer viruses for sale and a raft of other technologies to break through our weak (and economically weakened) protective barriers. The more we become aware of this, the more we will embrace encryption.

As algorithms and AI evolve they will increasingly be used to make their owners rich. Reasoned the other way around, if you have an intelligent drone that can autonomously break in and steal valuable things someone will start using them. The risks of AI are from petty to that of triggering a possible global thermonuclear war. Nobody restriced AI to any substrate, so it might as well be an intelligent chatbot that directs real people to achieve its goals. The mess AI will create ranges from the Godzilla killerbot to undetected manipulations of data that can have serious repercussions.

It seems the best strategy to aumated systems emporwering immoral people, or a robot that wants something that threatens human lives, is to start to use the digital fence of cryptography, especially around industrial systems that are now very weakly protected. Once controlled or autonomous robots that can invade into homes and factories undetected become prolific we will be at war with them until we (imho) reduce the availablilty of the supporting technology. naturally the dominating individuals will try to keep the biggest weapon they have handy, so eradicating lethal and perhaps overpowering AI will not happens. We are wise to make the digital realm more of an obstacle course, and to keep track of AI developments as if it is weapon technology.