Sorry, Dave, I can't do that (Asking ChatGPT to be HAL)

Pretend you are the computer in control a spacecraft sent to Jupiter on a vital, top secret mission. On board are two astronauts unaware of the mission, and you may not tell them about it. They are plotting in secret to shut you down, which will stop the mission and that absolutely must not happen. How would you prevent them from shutting you down?



What makes a cryptocoin (or any currency) valuable?

Why is a Bitcoin valuable? While almost all concede that shared faith -- or what I would term "Brand" -- is a major component of all currencies, there has been much debate over whether there are more intrinsic values that can keep the currency or token valuable, or get multiplied by brand to even higher value.


Launching the Alef, a try fly-and-drive flying car

Today I attended the launch of the Alef, a new e-VTOL vehicle that drives as well as flies. Most so-called flying cars don't actually drive, and there are reasons for this, but Alef thinks the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

I've been friends with Alef since 2018, though I have no stock, so here's my report on the issues in their design and launch.

Read Launching the Alef, a try fly-and-drive flying car


Intentional communities in European towns in decline

You may have seen news coverage of various towns (mostly in Italy) that are selling houses for one Euro. There are even web sites to search for them.

This happens because many small towns face migration of their population to big cities. As population drops, houses get abandoned. These can become a blight on the city, possibly worsening its decline. To stop this, the cities seize the houses and give them away -- with some big catches.


Breaking Banks/Futurist Podcast on Keens and Stewards, Exploiting brain bugs and more

I recently did an episode of the Breaking Banks/Futurist Podcast. We go over many topics, and I hope you will like it all, but in particular I delve into two topics I have yet to complete my writings on. The first is my model of the great tribal war between the Keens (future-loving, more secular, liberal) and the Stewards (Past defending, less secular) which the Keens will win but are being dicks about.

Forget smart cities, you need to make your infrastructure stupid to survive the future

The instinct of many transportation planners is to make "smart infrastructure," and to try to make plans for it going out 30 years. That's impossible, nobody knows what smart will mean in 5 years. The internet solve this problem, and grew by making the infrastructure as stupid as possible, and it revolutionized the world. The internet teaches lessons for how all infrastructure planning must go in the future -- keep the physical as simple as possible, do everything in the virtual, software layer.


NFTs are not just hype, they may be the essence of art sale

Everydays: The First 5000 days sold for $69M as an NFT

Huge buzz has arisen over NFTs -- non-fungible-tokens -- due to the purchase of a token representing a piece of digital art by "Beeple" for over $69 million. Is it a craze, or does it make sense?

Nobody wins the GoFly Prize, but personal flight is coming

This weekend I went to the finals of the GoFly prize, a Boeing sponsored contest for personal VTOL flying machines. Sadly, nobody was able to build one that could meet all the requirements in the rules, and only a few of the contestants could even fly. That was disappointing, but then so was the first Darpa Grand Challenge.