Monthly Archives: October 2019

The RoboEconomy and ExtraEconomy Part 2

Economic thinking is incomplete, it takes the perspective of a hunter gatherer in a new unpopulated environment. This is a result of its deeply introvert attitude, as it has only one motivational drive profit. Every modern economic activity happens in the artificial context of bank financing. Projects will always go to banks to ask for a loan in order to build capital to do whatever it tries to do. There are exceptions once a company or individual can amass enough cash. Whatever activity is done with cash directly can be very disruptive, as we have seen with Tesla and Apple in its haydays.

To drill down to what an economy is about we would define it as a process of combining three factors to generate wealth for people. These are :

  • Energy -> muscle energy, electricity, steam pressure, solar heat, fire
  • Skills -> brain power, intricate mechanisms, computer power
  • Materials -> all stuff that grows, walks around, flies or lies around or can be dug up etc.

Wealth  = Energy + Skills + Materials

Originally it was a human being that combined skills and energy to shape materials into whatever it needed. fundamentally a human being doesn’t need much more than food (energy) and a place to live to exist. Humans existed for milions of years just eating and being in all kinds of ways.

Recently we have seen the introduction of coal, oil, gas and before that of wood being burned. They are a source of energy. Used in machines one creates a source of wealth independent of humans. The machine can incorporate human control skills, like the governor on a steam engine, or the movements of sowing in a sowing machine. These mechanically implemented skills where transferred to all kinds of media until today they are mainly heald on silicon in computers.

Developments in AI are pushing the complexity of skills that can be represented in computers close to human skills. Autonomous robots that would create wealth that benefited humans would be the ultimate positive outcome. Right now autonomous bots that kill humans are the most advanced type though. This is mainly because wealth can be defined negatively, in the absence of consumption of resources by an adversary.

Modern economic thinking has been biased because of the desire for banks and fossil fuel companies to make a profit. and as they where on the top of the credit food chain they have been able to keep it this way until today. The economy does not strive for general increase of wealth, and it does not consider the context in which it operates. It only looks at the parameter of profit, which ensures security of banks, because when everyone wants profit, there is continued money shortage, and bank credit will remain in demand and a controlling factor of new activities.

The Transtion to the Roboeconomy

Renewable energy are changing the economic dynamics because they can be owned by individuals, companies or the state. Because most people don’t understand the occupying role of banks these ‘assets’ are currently mixed into the fossil based economy, loaded with debt by banks and thus owned and their existence managed by them. Privately owned renewable resources without debt are a threat to the credit hegemony of banks and fought. Ultimately this will be a losing battle and all individual owners of renewable energy resources will become creditors to the roboeconomy.

You would think the replacement of fossil by renewables does not change the lack of consideration of the economy for the environment, but it does, even if it is not the final answer. This is because renewable energy resources are still sized to the actual demand. This means there is no ‘economic pressure’ like with fossil energy. In the fossil economy banks can always take more fossil fuels out of the available resource pool or try to. They simply create credit and the fossil resources can be controled by the recipient of that credit. When this happens it means profit for the bank so this is why all kinds of projects are being pushed and why “economic growth” is the main goal of governments dominated by the fossil economy. There is even an 18 month lead time before profit or demand is to be expected. These kind of rules where made up to drive fossil fuel use expansion for decades. With renewables there will be no pressure to do more, at least until we have 100% replaced fossil fuels. This “economic pressure” also means we could save enormous amounts of emissions right away by stopping economic activity that has insufficient benefits, or is are simply wastefull (like 80% of holiday air travel).

Credit in the Roboeconomy

Capitalism used to mean the management of production resources to maximize wealth. This included everything that would not be consumed, so machines, labour, skills. The way it was allocated could be directly or through trade using gold and silver backed currencies. With the arrival of fossil fuels this became a limit on development, as the extention of credit was limited by the amount of gold and silver (a problem already addressed with fractional banking). So the gold and silver standards where abandoned and today a US dollar is not backed by anything, at least so it seems. Now money is considered to be capital, and banks can print dollars and hand them over to allow projects to go ahead.

The fossil based economy depends on cooperation between oil companies and banks. This cooperation can be managed even if none of the players is explicitly aware of it

This only works because the credit buys fossil fuels or some other form of energy (renewables are still caught ni the same debt based credit system). This is not evident to most people but it is true. You can buy a running shoe, but if the money you buy it with does not allow the manufacturer to buy new plastic for more running shoes, and if it doesn’t allow the supplier of said plastic to buy the oil it needs to make the plastic, the manufacturer would be a fool to accept the money. Every product in our fossil based economy has a fossil fuel cost, often many types, and the money needs to be able to buy that fuel, and this is possible of a fundamental deal made with fossil fuel companies who gain only very little from it. Credit is carboncredit.

The Watertrap

Around the world countries are drying up, the rising average global temperatures cause water to stick around in the air, instead of raining down. Australia is one of the hardest hit, where the natural graslands used for cattle is simply turning into desert, and farmes are crying because they get no more support.

Water has been touted as a commodity, where the CEO of Nestle said of course everybody has a right to a basic ration of water, but above that, its a free market! We are now seeing all the signs of an attempt to corner humanity as a whole in a scarce water market. If the global economy has any power, it will succeed in forcing us to pay for every drop in the near future. After all being fossil credit slaves, we will become water credit slaves.

How do we know? Because the videos about desalination are misleading. Below video is called “Solving the worlds water crisis” but it is actually a story of two technologies, one really and how there are drawbacks so we should not want either of them. True.

Not all options are mentioned..

The options described are evaporative desalination and reverse osmosis or RO. RO is the most common form and there is a simple reason for it : It is complicated and generates (fossil) cashflow. It requires high pressure pumps and pipes and a lot of energy. This is the dumbest thing to do if you want to be water secure, but if you want to get rich as an industry cooperating with banks and energy companies, its the bomb.

The risk of this ‘economistic’ approach is clearly demonstrated now in Zimbabwe. It has a big desalination plant serving millions, but it can’t afford the fuel anymore, so now millions are suffering, the elderly dying, because they adopted a technology that is economically desirable, but existentially risky. And this is the technology that is put forward to ensure money will always play a role in desalination.

We notice that descriptions of other ways to desalinate are disappearing from Youtube. One very good example we can’t show but it was one of the cheap methods. There are three at lease :

1. Freeze desalination
2. Vacuum evaporation destilation
3. Ionic desalination

Freeze Desalination

Simply put when water freezes it forms a lattice that pushes ions out. Salts fall apart in water, into Natrium Na+ and Cloride Cl- for example. These ions are what makes the water salty. If you freeze water the molecules H2O get closer together, and squeeze the Na+ and Cl- out. So you can simply cool water until you get an ice slush, pick out the ice, thaw it, repeat the cycle until the ice is fresh enough. This is waaay more energy efficient than boiling water, or RO.

Vacuum Evaporative Destillation

Water boils at about 100 degree Celsius at sea level. On top of Mount Everest it boils around 71 degree Celsius. The energy required to make water boil is enormous. So boiling water to desalinate is very energy intensive. The simple solution is to lower the air pressure so water boils at a lower temperature. Create a low enough air pressure and water boils at ambient temperatures or even below freezing! Of course it is easier to create such a vacuum than to push the water through a RO filter at high pressure, it is waay cheaper!


Its know technology

Ionic desalination 

Ionic desalination comes in several forms. The key idea is to pull on the Na+ and Cl- (which we will allow to stand for all salts in this post). They are charged particles. If you create an electric field through water the + particles will move in the opposite direction of the – particles. The water itself will stay where it is. This is one way to separate out the salt from the water.

If you let the water with the salt flow thorugh a magnetic field you will also cause the + particles to move in another direction than the – particles, and the water will again flow as if nothing happend (even though it is a polar molecule, we are no 100% sure). This is also a way to separate out the salt! It is even a way to generate electricity!

Last but not least the – particles will be able to move through a positive charged membrane, while the + paricles will be repulsed. Same with a negative membrane. If you create a setup where the water can flow straight but the particles can move to a positive or negative compartment through a negative or positively charged membrane, you are also desalinating!

temperature swing solvent extraction (TSSE)

Salts bind to amines, which can be separated from the water by increasing the temperature (not boiling it)

The Roboeconomy

The fossil fuel economy wants to sell fossil fuel, and this is done by promoting technology that consumes fossil fuel. Why would it want this? Because the fuel is traded in USD, credit and banks live off supplying and managing it. Renewables will cause a serious drop in work for banks! The products we are supposed to buy today all have this ‘bank tax’ build in, and this is why the stories about water do not include ‘low yielding’ technology, meaning low yielding for banks!!

We are however moving into the Roboeconomy, which is the economy where robots running on renewables make almost everything and are also restoring the ecosystem. Renewables change the equation, and banks are NOT part of that equation.

Right now all technology has to make money for banks, has to be super optimized within that constraint, all because even though banks want to profit, they also want to last long, so the rate of consumption of fossil fuels should be low. In reality the oil and gas companies are flaring (even without burning) 8 million car years worth of methane every year, but that loss doesn’t hit them. The take home message is that with renewable energy you don’t have to be super efficient. The irony is that all of the above desalination technologies ARE more efficient, up to 80%!!

So water is becoming more scarce, and if we all listen to the mass media we feel there is no way out. That is because they help capturing us mentally and physically so we can work in the water economy. This economy is mostly created out of a misplaced extrapolation of current economic thinking. If you want to escape that scenario help promote the above better ways to desalinate, you will certainly save lives and make people happy. And you will help usher in the Roboeconomy!

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