My permanent coordinates:
San Francisco, CA
<my first name> @ <my first name> .com

My current coordinates: San Francisco

Upcoming Speaking & Travel:
January 25-29: London, UK

Blockchain bots: Why we need a decentralised and open AI future

My article in the International Business Times… Blockchain bots: Why we need a decentralised and open AI future Nathan Shedroff is Executive Director at Seed Vault Ltd By Nathan Shedroff November 14, 2017 12:02 GMT Today, if you want to engage with Artificial Intelligence your options are limited. You might have access to Amazon’s Alexa or perhaps a bot delivered through Facebook Messenger. What’s almost certain is that you’ll be talking or chatting with one of the five Internet giants and their AI systems behind the scenes. This isn’t all bad, as those companies have designed some powerful systems that will make our lives considerably easier and arguably more interesting. But I’m worried. Seriously worried. We saw this same path trodden with social media and web 2.0, where we happily signed over rights to our data without receiving anything beyond the digital products in return. This deal has created the world’s most valuable companies in Google and Facebook with a typical Facebook user’s data representing approximately $300 a month in advertising revenue. Just consider that for a moment. $300 a month is akin to the money a typical British family spends on overseas travel every year. In fact, the Office for National Statistics finds the average UK household spends somewhere in the region of £2,800 annually on overseas travel. I think this situation is wrong and we mustn’t repeat it with the next phase of the internet. In a future where chat and conversational bots provide the interface to highly valuable AI systems, there’s a host of new data up for grabs. A ‘multimodal’ conversational bot receives data from... read more

Everything Grows From SEED

For the past 6 months, I’ve been working on a fascinating and exciting new project. I’ve dipped more than my toes into the digital currency world, I’ve dived in and started swimming around. We just launched a digital currency initiative called SEED intending to build a token and network to democratize bots and CUIs (conversational user interfaces). I truly believe that CUIs will do for computer what GUIs did to the command line interface: tons more users, uses, and services. I also think that we’re at a critical time when interfaces to AI-related technologies may fall firmly in the exclusive grasp of a few multinationals that have the resources to dominate, own, and effectively regulate this important technology.... read more

Business Today Needs Deanna Troi

When Paramount debuted Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, it included not only new characters but new roles for those who commanded Starfleet ships. Among the most original was the character of Deanna Troi, ship’s “counselor.” Many, including the writers for the show, weren’t quite sure what to make of this new role. It was part psychologist, part diplomat, part lie-detector, part-HR Director, and more than a little part eye-candy (she was originally supposed to have four breasts). This role was so misunderstood, that the character didn’t even appear in some of the first season’s episodes.... read more

Aspen Design Conference 1981

I just found this poster online and it reminded me that my design journey really started at this conference in the Colorado Rookies in 1981. I hadn’t heard of the conference but I went on the recommendation of our family friend, Karen Laubhan (who had attended a few years earlier). The theme for that Summer was The Italian Idea and my favorite car designers were scheduled to attend so it felt like a must for me. My parents couldn’t take me so they sent me on my own and my entire world opened-up. It was there that I first encountered Missoni, Alessi, Bellini, and so many more. It was also there that I learned about Art Center College of Design and I visited Pasadena later that Summer, as a result (and later applied and earned my bachelor degree in Transportation Design there). It’s funny, now, but at the time I knew about architecture, car design, fashion design, and interior design but it never really occurred to me that people designed furniture or flatware, or so many other things. I certainly didn’t know that there were other professions that I might do... read more

Teaching Sustainability

Last week, I participated in a webcast for Sustainable Minds on using their tool for teaching and, non general, how we teach sustainability to our students. Creating Knowledge Workers for the Greener Product Marketplace, Part 12: Creative innovation educators championing lifecycle... read more

IKEA Instructions Proposal

Way back in 1998, I and a three others at TheUnderstandingBuinsess worked on a quick proposal to IKEA to redesign their assembly instructions (just imagine if they had taken us up on the idea!). To send it to the corporate office in Sweden we designed the entire proposal as a long FAX (this is when FAX machines used rolls of paper instead of separate A2 and letter-sized sheets). I have a full copy of the roll but attached is an image of the start. It was a great, fast project the pushed us to think past the traditional... read more

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