Taiwan Story… in progress

There is limited time to catch up with the the whole story but here’s what’s going on briefly.

May 17th

Arriving to Taipei from Seoul with the plan to organize a large event in October. Things go back to last year October when I was in Taipei for the first time to spend a week meeting with the startup community and host a gathering.

Spending the first few days to settle in, find an accommodation

Finding a way how to best organize Taiwan’s own national flagship startup event. Lots of meetings start to take place around with different individuals and organizations within the community and “outside”.

There were a number of candidates who were showing interest in taking the lead on this.

Friday June 5th 1am

In 6 hours we are going to visit NTU, one of the main universities here in Taipei, to meet with the students to talk about synergies.

I know I don’t know

I drew some ellipses to describe what happens when you are constantly on move, wake up alone in a strange new city, not seeing sights but feeling the change that goes on and on. Very little familiar and nothing to be taken granted.

The initial circle of IK, I Know, first expands almost equally on both sides. In other words you will learn to know things as much as you will learn to know the things you don’t know. Soon you will actually experience the scale of the potential unknown, after which your growth is more towards left. Naturally some things make sense retrospectively, thus your growth to the right side picks up the speed but still not equally fast. The gap between the leftmost ellipse and IDK will decrease however it never closes, in other words you will never fully know everything you don’t know, that is absolutely impossible.

The risk I’m afraid of is whether your mind can eventually break off the journey. You will certainly change.

becoming the dinosaur parent

What will be the thing my grandkids would do that I won’t have any clue. Same way my parents today don’t feel comfortable with Skype-calling me on a smartwatch, or even buying things online. My mother few days ago laughed and said it’s ridiculous that I was sending voice messages using a watch,

There has been a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence and whether it’s possible to program a general intelligence. For example one proposed method is scanning the brain and creating a complete neuronal network, then connecting that with a supercomputer and start running the simulations.

None of that has yet led us to the holy grail of AI. I saw a table based on four different polls taken 2 years ago, first two were at academic conferences, PT-AI. Third at AGI conference in Oxford. Fourth with the members of EETN. A combined result said a human-level machine intelligence will be achieved in 2075. By then I would be 88 years old,

I’m thinking that I will always keep up with the latest developments in technology, and if such level will be attained then it’s theoretically available for me to use, since it’s a machine. But maybe there will be something already earlier that is just not possible for me to update. For example biomedical enhancements of a brain when baby is born, in other words simply manipulating with genetics. We see a rapidly falling cost of gene sequencing (I’m very excited to visit Biomedicum in Helsinki this week, it’s a research institution for medical sciences). Here I’m only writing about brain enhancement, nothing about body nor appearance, e.g. no giraffe gene to make you taller or “gorilla uplifts” for stronger security guys.

When this becomes reality, it will probably be available only for wealthy families. When personal computers came to the market, first to the wealthy of course, then it increased inequality of wealth dramatically. This topic has been a top priority at least in the past two World Economic Forums that I’ve participated. Imagine what will happen if the future kids of wealthy families are born with double or triple IQ levels. Hypothetically enhanced humans will sprint ahead in evolution and form another branch of superhumans and people like us today will be seen the same way we would see Neanderthals today.

I would not like my grandkids compare me with a Neanderthal. So I hope if they get the bio enhancements by default then I at least get some sort of machine-level intelligent interface to communicate with them.

Interrelation of innovation

Nothing could be fully understood without a relation to the others, naturally. We have by now seen Oscar nominations like The Imitation Game and The Theory Of Everything. Very good individual stories, no doubt, but lack the relation with others at the time, before and after. I would like to see the background system to each of those individual stories.

I’m writing here an open letter to Walter Isaacson, the author of The Innovators, thinking he could direct such movie, since his book is about the relations and collaboration between many geniuses and non geniuses who created the computer and the internet. Including of course other key players throughout the recent scientific revolution, not directly related with internet and computer but things that lead to it and things that didn’t but for example kept the geniuses alive or saved them. As an example, Fleming, Chain and Florey discovering penicillin.

It sounds like a super long documentary, since writing a compelling story including the dramas of each individual gets probably too complicated, but not impossible. That’s why it should be someone like Isaacson.

It could be a trilogy, like The Godfather, a 10-hour compilation.

The capital of fashion technology

I don’t know much about fashion, but I’m curious about the intersection where it meets with wearable sensors, washable RFID tags, transistors made of cotton etc. If we would have to decide a fashion capital where all that can be presented, then where would it be?

‘Fashion Capital’ page on Wikipedia has an annual ranking of the leading fashion capitals, produced by an Austin based tech company that tracks trends through language use worldwide. In this case, 1.8 billion English speakers talking fashion on gazillion web pages, blogs, social media and print.

TOP20 is New York, Paris, London, LA, Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, Sidney, Antwerp, Shanghai, Tokyo, Milan, Florence, Madrid, Sao Paolo, St.Petersburg, Moscow, Singapore, Miami, Hong Kong.

florenze view

I disagree with the ranking, having been in those above-mentioned cities, I think the most authentic and genuine of all is Florence. The other top ones are perfect candidates but just too noisy or lack the foundation. Special credits to Paris and a French businessman Louis Vuitton, who’s name is on the most valuable fashion brands in the world, worth $30 billion according to Forbes.

Let’s go back in time bearing in mind that we are looking for a place to combine fashion and technology. We should go as far back when these two fields were close to each other.

 the roof   museum wall

Landing in the 14th century, the beginning of Renaissance, in Florence. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were polymaths, not bad in art and technology. Renaissance marks the period of scientific revolution which saw significant developments in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology – good step forward leading us to fashion technology wearables.

Centuries later Florence gave the world brands like Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Pucci, Ferragamo and several other perhaps less known designers.

 gucci car   the bridge

Today’s polymaths and fashion technology enthusiast, the modern day da Vincis will design some cool gadgets and it would be a nice continuation if this would take place in Florence, where the concentration of art, fashion, science is the highest.

For someone who is not a geek, wearable technology must be invisible. Fashion has the power to drive the acceptance of those smart elements in wearables.

Maybe I should move there, oh and the ocean isn’t too far. I forgot to mention the wine and food in Tuscany, sorry :O

romania, when the smoke clears

An ethnic German physics teacher, Klaus Iohannis, recently became the president of Romania, that sounds like a good start. I looked up his Facebook page and it has 1,5M followers, compared to Angela Merkel almost 1M and Barack Obama 45M. That makes him at least on Facebook the most popular European politician.

Many see Romania as a perfect place to outsource their IT development (read more here). For example few years ago when I was still working for a Finnish software company Tekla, our unit had a strong team based in Brasov. But is it good or bad to be an outsourcing country? Probably it will naturally shift into own IP development at some point. After all you see several startup co-working spaces and accelerators here in Romania. Assuming if not already then soon Romanian outsourcing companies start developing their own thing parallelly with the comfortable revenues from outsourcing services.

The old town here in Bucharest still needs serious renovation. Seems like a good opportunity to flip some real estate. The oldest structures, I quickly googled, date from the 15th and 16th centuries. I have always dreamed having one of those renovated houses in a quaint comfy town.

For example, yesterday I noticed a long queue on a street right in the heart of the old town, everyone trying to enter a shiny white house. Someone had transformed an old building into a bookstore, a very nice one. Right in front of it there is an empty piece of land, sweet spot.




I wish soon they ban smoking in the bars and restaurants. Right now it’s hard to find a place with clear air. Seatbelts are not compulsory is what you hear from a taxi driver, they don’t even have one in the back seat. What’s that, like I’d wear one because it’s a law, no it’s for safety don’t you understand, same thing in many Asian countries. Three locals have told me they don’t like living here and would like to leave, one of them was a young doctor.

new and old   yard

long street   ordinary corner