Author, Speaker, and Consultant on Hyperinnovation, Future Studies, GigaMarket$, The New Industrial Revolution, and Advanced Robotics and Intelligence Revolution.
Monday, 20 February 2017
World's First Taxi Drone Coming to Dubia
A growing number of companies are looking at the viability of airborne, autonomous taxis as a way to ease urban congestion and transportation woes, but the city of Dubai could leapfrog those with a plan to deploy a passenger-carrying drone as early as this summer.
Uber, Airbus and others are still talking about creating test vehicles that would begin transporting cargo first, but Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency lead announced (via Mashable) at the World Government Summit in the city that they’re going to begin operating passenger service along predetermined routes starting in July, using the Ehang 184 autonomous quad-opener electric drone to ferry people through the air.
'Seasteading' is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. Most proposed seasteads have been modified cruising vessels. Other proposed structures have included a refitted oil platform a decommissioned anti-aircraft platform, and custom-built floating islands.
What's coming net may be revolutionary. Purpose built cites in the politically unclaimed territories the planet large oceans.
One organisation (there are many) is The Seasteading Institute, who work to enable seasteading communities – floating cities – which will allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government. The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world. A big idea indeed. Click here to view their site Also see Seasteading report on flouting cities.
'Claire Lomas of
Leicestershire, England has just completed the Great North Run, the biggest half marathon in
the UK, despite being both paralyzed and 16 weeks pregnant.
Wearing a bionic
suit by ReWalk Robotics and assisted by her
husband Dan, Claire reached the finish line in 5 days. The course runs for
21 km (13.1 miles) from Newcastle to South Shields.
was paralyzed after a horse riding accident 9 years ago. Prior to the incident,
she was a professional event rider. During an event, she was thrown from
her horse breaking her neck, cracking her ribs and back, and also
punctured a lung.
Like a fairy
godmother granting a wish, the ReWalk exoskeleton made moving again a reality
for Claire . Equipped with motion sensors, the suit makes it possible for
users to lift their own legs. The sensors are located on the
feet, the hips, and the upper body, giving the user control over movement.
Claire also used crutches to assist with keeping her balance.'
5 Things Your Kids Really Need to Master, and Continually Learn and
Develop in the Coming Era of Ubiquitous Strong Artificial Intelligence.
Do you have young children, or an extended family of kids?
Because if you have, you and the family need to think about and act on what I
Because your kid’s future will be fundamentally different
when it comes to work and the workplace, as they are going to be busier than
ever without what we call work today!
Work as we know it is going to
disappear, as automation is rapidly replacing jobs in the factory; and now in
the service sector (how did you book your last holiday? Go to a travel agent,
or do it via your iPhone and a Net App?). Mass production driverless cars, are
just a few years away! Next, buses, trains, taxies, and all and sundry delivery
systems become autonomous (there’s ~one-hundred thousand taxi drivers in the UK
alone! What’s next for them?).
Schools, health-care, and security
provision are about to go Botmatic! Why learn from a teacher, when you can
learn at home with AI cobot? Why go to the quack when prognosis and
prescription is carried out by an AI? And would any one mess with a Superstore
Security Robot made of Titanium, or rob a Boutique when every (every) product
has a Smart GPS Tag (in fact why would any shop need a metallic Robot? By the
time the assailant get home, Robocop is waiting at his door step, ‘Prisoner,
you have the right to remain silent, or get your Butt kicked).
OK, so here’s the rub.
Not all jobs will be automated
and augment with AI. As what can be automated (all repeatable processes) is
different from what should be automated (working down a mine). And that comes
down too moral values, even ethics. But in the end, most maker and service jobs
will be Robotised!
So what are your kids going to do
for work, and the major reason for work in the first place: earning a liveable, even higher wage? The jobs of the future will not
look like the jobs of the past. In fact, they will not resemble anything like
work as we know it today.
They will look like play, fun,
hobbies, interests, passions, obsessions, even delusions (for many) as we know
For sure, the first 3 eternals
skills/knowledge and application set will become ever more relevant. That is, Mathematics,
Language, and Science. But two more ‘need-to-understand’ bodies of know-how are
rapidly becoming an imperative: high-level software design/development, and the
core processes of innovation, enterprise, and entrepreneurial-ship.
Because without these five bodies
of knowledge your kids won’t have a job of any kind.
Especially the new kinds
of jobs now emerging.
Think of the English farmer two-hundred
years ago, would he have any idea what new
jobs will come into play in 20, 30, 40 or 50 years from then?’ To the
farmer, the industrial revolution was nowhere in sight 200 years ago.
Now ask yourself, ‘what short of jobs will be around in 20,
30, 40, 50 years from today?’
What’s different today, with
regards this question, is our technologically enabled capability to forecast
technological trends with finer and further accuracy than 200 years ago. Big
Data, the World-Wide-Web, and Cloud Databases, are tools that enable the
mapping of technological trends with reliable accuracy.
We can forecast many of the new
jobs in the years to come because of this capability. We know for sure that the
AI and Robot Revolution is happening now, and will carry on into the distant
future. AI will be everywhere, robots and automation will be ubiquitous.
So programming and maintaining
bots and writing AI code will be a must. Most factory and service jobs will be
out the window. So innovating new kinds of jobs, businesses, whole industries
will be sacrosanct.
So maths, language and science, augmented
with high-level software
design/development, and the core processes of innovation, enterprise, and
entrepreneurial-ship, will be a must have skill set.
Hence, ‘You Incorporated/You-Brand,’ creating unheard of value through the invention of extraordinary new applications and custom programs for AI and Robots in new technological arenas not insight now, is how will be how our children make
a living in the future.
The body of knowledge of combined
innovation, enterprise, and entrepreneurial-ship, is easy to reach
these days. Millions of books (try mine), websites, and conferences are
available at reasonable prices (go figure).
But consumer and high school level
programming of Robots and AI is still in its infancy. So how do we get started
on all this (see post below)?
Do you remember whiling away the hours playing with Lego bricks as
a child? I do! On my 10th birthday, my mother took me to the famous Hamleys Toy Store, Regent Street, London. Where she bought me a
huge box of Lego. To say I was hooked, is the least of it.
Well, things have not stood still for Lego since the early 1970s.
Lego has become intelligent! And for the aspiring Robotologist; or indeed,
budding Robotics design/industrial engineer, they would not go that far wrong by
learning the elementary ropes with a range of intelligent Lego sets called ‘Mindstorms.’
One thing is rock sure, that young people today – that is tots and
teens and adolescents – will be swamped in Robot technologies 10 years from now
(2025). A child going through his education; or indeed a young adult going
through college education without any engagement with and/or learning about
Robot technologies is the equivalent of not learning to write in their native language;
or indeed ignoring the universal language of mathematics. They just will not cut
it in the future of work (as I will explain later in this book).
Even for me, more than halfway through my career, I am having to
start a new engineering apprenticeship in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (and
Biotechnology and Nanotechnology).
is a sequence of toy kits that include hardware and software that allows the
would-be Robotist to build a vast array of customisable, programmable toy Robots
out of a combination of traditional Lego bricks and advanced Lego components.
can manipulate intelligent Lego-brick computers that command the systems;
attach sets of modular sensors and servo motors; and click together Lego parts
from the Technic line (such as gears,
axles, beams, and pneumatic parts), to tailor mechanically unique Robot systems.
Mindstorms, as the name suggests, is both fun and taxing to learn.
can be used to build a model of embedded systems with computer-controlled
electromechanical parts. Many types of real-world embedded systems, from programmable
vehicles; devise controllers for miniature elevators, carrousels, conveyors,
and rotary systems; to mock industrial Robots; can be put together with Mindstorms.
is primarily a recreational toy. Little’ens are fascinated by it. But it is
much more than time killing amusement. It is in fact a highly addictive
learning and discovery tool. Various kits are sold and used as educational tools.
Where the academic version is called
Lego Mindstorms for Schools, and comes
with the programming software.
For youngsters, the Lego software is fairly easy
to learn, and more than enough to get to grips with the basics. But for the
inquisitive 20/30/40+ something, the Lego software can be up-graded with third
party firmware and/or programming languages; including some of the most popular
ones used by professionals in the embedded systems industry. Java and C for example.
The only difference between the educational
series, known as the ‘Challenge Set’,
and the consumer series, known as the ‘Inventor
Set,’ is that the education set includes more touch sensors and several
more gearing options. Opening up the prospect for more adventurous Robot
As I said, reading this right now, might seem that Lego Mindstorms
is a past-time toy, to occupy inquisitive young minds. But Mindstorms is the
result a LEGO and Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab joint
venture. To bring LEGO-based educational products to market based on
leading-edge and highly effective ‘constructivist’
Lego Mindstorms has been named after the 1980
book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas; by Seymour
Papert. Papert proposed a unique computer-based learning environment called, ‘Microworld.’ His primary belief about
the Microworld's design is that it complements the natural knowledge building
mechanisms of children, known as a constructivist
approach to knowing and learning.
primary implication is that Microworld learning profoundly affects the quality
of knowledge gained. This work is one of the first large-scale attempts to
mediate educational computer-based technology with Piagetian-based theories (just
below) of learning and knowing.
timing could not be better, having been at the centre of three learning revolutions: child development psychology, artificial
intelligence, and computational
technologies for education.
fundamental research on applied human-and-machine intelligence and cognition
has touched children around the world. For those in the know, it is difficult
to envision a school Robotics subculture without Papert. Or for that matter,
most of technology-enabled project-
Born in 1928 in Pretoria,
South Africa, eventually a philosophy student at South Africa’s University of
Witwatersrand, where he received a doctorate in mathematics in 1952. As part of
his doctoral work, Papert had spent time at the Henri Poincaré Institute at the
University of Paris. It was in Paris that he would meet the renowned Jean
Piaget; the original architect of the theory
of cognitive development stage theory:
a comprehensive thesis of the nature and development of human intelligence.
Piaget held that one's childhood plays a vital and active role in cognitive
development. But, in fact, it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how
humans come gradually to acquire, construct, and use it.
Another influential chance
meet-up, came at the 1960 symposium on Information
Theory, London. Where Papert bumped into the marvellous Marvin Minsky (Don Professor
of AI, at MIT); whereby they both coincidentally presented papers on a similar
Later in close partnership
with Marvin Minsky, Papert became co-founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence
Lab. Further, ‘Perceptrons,’ the
groundbreaking 1970 book co-authored by Minsky and Papert, was possibly the
first look at AI to gain widespread notice beyond domain experts.
Papert crafted ‘Logo,’ a revolutionary programming
language, the first designed expressly for use by children, at a time when
computers used to fill entire rooms and were impossibly complicated.
Papert’s vision was that
children should be programming the computer rather
than being programmed by it. In 1970, Papert convened a symposium
at MIT called ‘Teaching Children Thinking;’
where he laid out his case for children teaching computers.
This radical idea would float
around for nearly two decades before digital tools would become commonplace in
the classroom. And yet to this day, there is still a great gap between
paradigms: Is the machine driving the child or vice versa?
Its applications to learning
and teaching in 2015+ are no less than startling. Mindstorms ranks in the top 10 education
books I have read. It describes not just how children develop intellectually,
but frames the role that educational technology plays in teaching and learning.
Millions of kids are now
being exposed to advanced ideas and technologies such as Robotics, Multi-agent
Modelling, Systems Dynamics, and Digital 3D Printing. The Lego company is
transforming many of these ideas into their products under the title ‘Mindstorms,’ in honour of Papert.
From his book, Mindstorms:
children are held back in their learning because they have a model of learning
in which you have either “got it” or “got it wrong.” But when you program a
computer you almost never get it right the first time.
to be a master programmer is learning to become highly skilled at isolating and
correcting bugs ...
question to ask about the program is not whether it is right or wrong, but if
it is fixable. If this way of looking at intellectual products were generalized
to how the larger culture thinks about knowledge and its acquisition we might
all be less intimidated by our fears of “being wrong.'
Papert was perhaps the first
interaction designer especially concerned with digital tools and children. His
awareness that children effectively think differently than adults, and that
their cognitive evolution requires designing rich toolkits and environments
rather than force-feeding knowledge, has set the tone for decades of research.
And now, the rich form of constructivist
learning is literally being embedded in Lego
Lego Mindstorms Robotics activities are concrete,
contextualized, and provide immediate feedback – important factors in
satisfying a student’s desire for success and creating the motivation to
continue learning. Students also learn about the Robotics technologies themselves,
which impact all modern industries, from agriculture to healthcare, banking,
manufacturing, transportation, energy, and security.
The Introduction to
Programming curriculum is just that: an overture. For many teachers – and
why it is important – it will be their first experience at instructing Robotics
and Programming. However, the Robotics Academy has plenty of free resources on
its website and regularly offers teacher courses.
first generation of Lego Mindstorms was built around a brick known as the RCX
(Robotic Command eXplorers). It contained an 8-bit Hitachi-8/300
microcontroller, which acted as it CPU. Including 32K of RAM to store the
firmware and user programs; the brick is programmed by uploading a program from
a Windows or Mac computer to the brick's RAM via a special infrared interface.
the user starts a program, an RCX-enabled Mindstorms creation can function
totally on its own, acting on internal and external stimuli according to the
programmed instructions. Also, two or several more RCX bricks can communicate
with each other through the IR interface, enabling inter-brick cooperation or
addition to the IR port, the system includes three sensor input ports and three
motor output ports (which can also be used to drive other electrical devices
such as lamps and so forth). An integral LCD can display the battery level, the
status of the input/output ports, which program is selected or running, and
1.0 RCX bricks feature a power adapter jack to allow continuous operation
instead of the limited operation time when using batteries. Power adapter
equipped RCX bricks are popular for stationary robotics projects (such as Robot
arms); or for controlling Lego model trains. In the latter context, the RCX
needs to be programmed with Digital Command Control (DCC) software to operate
multiple wired trains.
Lego Technic control centre was the
first programmable standalone Lego product, in the sense of being able to store
sequence-based programs and run them. It featured three output ports and manual
control, and it was only capable of storing linear sequences of manual input
plus timing information. It could store up to two programs at once.
is a broad community interest of all ages engaged in the sharing of
construction concepts and schemes,
programming methodologies, generating third-party software and hardware, and
contributing of other ideas associated with Lego Mindstorms (see video on bespoke Mindstorms Game).
Lego Mindstorms initiative has a great
website, very much organised like Wiki; harnessing the creative potential and
collaborative efforts of Lego Mindstorm contributor. Lego also supports open
innovation by encouraging open-software code for downloading; and by holding a
range of competitions and promotional events.
evolution of Robots, it seems, holds no bounds. If applied intelligence and sophisticated
mechanics is being embedded in objects as humble as the Lego Brick, then what ends are there insight for our understating
and application of high level artificial machine intelligence?
know this, surly we must come to grips with what intelligence is, how it works,
and perhaps, how we can improve upon it. And one way to begin doing that is to
understand the human mind. The most advanced form of mindstorms we know of.
Ten Mental Performance Concepts that Make Champions Watching the Rio Olympics? As any athlete will tell you, competition is a
mental game as much as it is a physical one. Whether you can throw a discus or not, there are
mental traits of champion athletes you can learn to adopt and emulate to help
make you a champion in your own life:
Champions believe in the future. Of course, athletes have to train in the present. You can’t expect
to deadlift 500 pounds today if you only did 200 yesterday. But they keep
their eye on the prize. Many do visualization exercises where they picture
themselves winning the gold or breaking a record in minute detail. It becomes a
matter of when, not if they will achieve their goals.
Champions embrace conflict. Most people look for the fastest escape route when they encounter an
obstacle or conflict, but champion athletes relish these challenges for the
opportunity to break through and improve. Many also credit friendly (and maybe
not so friendly) rivalries for pushing them to the next level. They’re not
spoiling for a fight — but they’re not backing down, either.
Champions stay focused. Swimmer Michael Phelps said that he “buckled down” on training
before the Rio olympics because he wanted to go out on a high note — and he’s
certainly succeeding. Champions understand that they have to focus on the
fundamentals and make consistent, incremental improvements in order to win.
Champions are held accountable. Olympic-level athletes have so many levels of
accountability. Of course they have their public scores, but they also have
teammates, trainers and coaches to whom they are accountable every day, not
just on race day. Building your own accountability team can help you show up
with your best effort and stay focused every single day.
Champions take risks. There’s no such thing as a sure thing; even Michael Phelps
and Simone Biles knew their gold medals were not guaranteed. Champions are
known for taking (calculated) risks that have the potential to propel them to
success. And when they fail, they carefully analyse what went wrong and try
Champions are disciplined. Elite athletes may practice the exact same stroke, technique, or routine
daily for months or even years. And yes, doing the same thing over and
over again can be boring — but they understand the importance of diligence
and hard work. The discipline to show up every day and do your best applies to
Champions are always learning. When an Olympic-level athlete isn’t actively training his or her
body, he or she is studying technique, reviewing footage, researching
competitors, and searching for that one bit of information that could give them
the edge. They live and breathe their goals, and that goes for their brains as
well as their bodies. If the average person dedicated themselves so totally to
a goal in this way, it would be astounding what we could accomplish.
Champions are coachable. Those who think they know everything are the most foolish of all.
Every Olympic athlete has a coach — sometimes several — and they know how to
take criticism and suggestions to improve. Imagine an athlete who thought he
knew better than any coach; how far do you think he would go? The same is true
of any profession. No one knows everything, and even the greats have mentors.
Champions compartmentalize. If you’ve ever watched an athlete perform incredible feats despite
whatever might be going on in his or her life, you know how important
compartmentalization is. Champions understand that a huge part of their
physical success is mental, and they have to get in the zone and focus on only
the task at hand. Divorcing what’s going on in your personal life from
your work life, for example, can lead to greater success.
Champions dream big. How big are your dreams? Are they Olympic gold, best-in-the-world
big? Champion athletes dare to dream that they could be the best in theworld. They don’t think small. If you want big things,
you have to dream them for yourself — no one else will.
Those Magnificent Men and their Flying 3D Machines
‘Those magnificent men in their flying machines, they go
up tiddly up up, they go down tiddly down down. They enchant all the ladies and steal all the
scenes, with their up tiddly up up and their down tiddly down down. Up, down, flying around, looping the loop and
defying the ground.’
Well, those magnificent men have
invented a new kind of flying machine: Drone 3D Printers! There
are number of efforts here, aimed at different outcomes!
College London have built autonomous ‘flying 3D printer’ drones, which could
protect people from nuclear waste. The
drones can print ‘sticky’ foam on dangerous objects before attaching themselves
and lifting the hazard away. The engineers hope that the drones will one day be
capable of printing nests in treetops to enable them to rest and recharge
In a video demonstration, a quadcopter (a
drone with four rotors) can be seen printing a sticky foam substance onto a
small block, before flying away. Then a Hexacopter (six rotors) takes the
quadcopter's place, landing on the sprayed object and waiting for the foam to
set. The Hexacopter flies off with the foreign object.
Another potential applications could include ad-hoc construction of
first response structures in search-and-rescue scenarios, as well as
"printing structures to bridge gaps in discontinuous terrain.
Thomas Creedy, a student working on the project at Imperial College
London, says ‘This is an exciting first step in the lab's development of
co-operative robotic systems for building structures inspired by the natural
But the one outstanding application for Flying 3D Printers, is that you
will be able to rent them on a time share basis. Click on-line and off a F3DP
goes direct to your business, or home, or school, etc, for a few hours, days,
weeks, etc. Giving flexibility and near instant access to such magnificent flying machines (up tiddly up up)!
Back in the 1940s, science fiction was fringe and boyish! Hence, thinking
of and forecasting the long-term technological future was nonsense in the
context of a world when tomorrow’s technology was pretty much the same typology
But one man brought the idea of
incredible futures as a serious subject into the public mindset -- yes, A G.
Wells and George Orwell had already made their indelible classic mark.
Isaac Asimov, was different! He based his work not merely on wild imagination
and classical science; but fervent mix of revolutionary emerging science and contradictory
In 1964, at the World’s Fair
in New York, Asimov was asked to predict technological life in 2014. While
many of them never saw the light of day, Asimov, who died in 1992 at the age of
72, made some stunningly accurate predictions. Here’s 10:
·Communications will become sight-sound and you will
see as well as hear the person you telephone.
·Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014,
but they will be in existence.
·Satellites hovering in space will make it possible
for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in
·Computers, much miniaturized, will serve as the
brains of robots.
·Flat Screen TV wall screens will have replaced the
·By 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on
Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works.
·Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great
difficulty and there will be 'farms'
turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed soya, yeast and algae
products will be available in a variety of flavours.....’mock-turkey’ and ‘pseudo-steak’.
It won’t be bad at all but there will be considerable psychological resistance
to such an innovation.
·An experimental fusion-power plant or two will
·Self-driving cars. Much effort will be put into the
designing of vehicles with Robot brains.
·In 2014, there is every likelihood that the world
population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will
be 350,000,000. Not all the world’s population will enjoy the gadgetry world of
the future to the full. A larger
portion than today will be deprived and although they may be better off,
materially, than today, they will be further behind.
Wow! And all this imagined back at the beginning of 1964. To
the point, Asimov predicted the rise of a powerful Robot industry back in the
days when owning a TV, Holidays abroad, or go to University, was exclusively
for the well heeled. He forecast, that Robotics would advance and scale faster
To be clear, Asimov did not invent the words ‘Robot,’ orindeed ‘Robotics.’ What he did, was clarify
their meaning and relevance. He put the concept of Robot and Robotics in a
rational light and context that impacts on individual humans and wider society
in large scale ways.
But the real lessons and questions we need to ask that stem from
the great Asimov’s work in predicting the future of Robotic, lie in the famous ‘Three Laws of Robotics.’ A ‘Zeroth’ law was later added (Law zero
·Law One: A robot may not injure
a human (or humanity), or, through inaction, allow a human (or humanity) to
come to harm.
·Law Two: A robot must obey orders
given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with a higher
·Law Three: A robot must protect
its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with a higher order
·Law Zero: A robot may not injure
a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm,
unless this would violate a higher order law.
It seems to me that Asimov –
when he put the first three laws together back in the 1940s – saw Robots as
mechanical machines that might evolve to a point where they become ‘automaton machines that automate work freely
under their own control and power,’ that aid
mankind and therefore would need a set of laws to govern their actions when
living amongst and serving humans.
However, there is much contention about the laws today. Some say
they are floored, and even completely wrong for both Robots and us humans.
Because Robots might evolve not just higher skills and capabilities, but their
own will, with their our values,
goals and expectations, which might go against human values, goals, and