Imagining Success for Today’s Startups

Imagine 20 to 30 years out and pretend your favourite startups today have been wildly successful. What kind of world will they have created? Google seems to be on a quest to develop AI and provide it to everyone for free. SpaceX is aiming for a thriving Martian colony by using rapidly and completely reusable rockets and spaceships. Tesla is working towards most ground transportation being fast, electric and solar. Planetary Resources will mine asteroids for rocket fuel to build deep space gas stations, and for precious metals to return to Earth for manufacturing.

If each of these endeavours is successful, the 2030s are going to be an incredible time: commonplace AI, spaceships, renewable energy and cheap, clean transportation. What kind of society will we be? Will those technological changes shape humanity as a group?

I took a pretty narrow focus in picking the examples above; what startups do you imagine 20 years out, and what happens when they succeed?

Crowdsourced Weather Forecasting with Google Glass

Google Glass creates more opportunities for live crowdsourced weather data collection. An app built for Glass could make use of the accelerometer and camera to automatically take a photo of the sky when the wearer is outside and tilts their head upward. The data would be collected and processed and added to existing weather data collection efforts. Algorithms could automatically detect weather features such as sky colour  cloud types, precipitation type and amount, maybe even wind speed. If this app were installed by a significant number of Glass wearers, the amount of data could be significant.

From the Developer Guides it doesn’t seem this app is possible with the Explorer Edition. However, I would expect that the right APIs would be enabled in the near future, potentially for the initial public release.

In their initial video for Project Glass “One Day…”, Google shows the trigger of looking at the sky to display weather information. Perhaps they are already thinking about snapping a photo at the same time, but it hasn’t been built yet as far as I can see.

Since Glass is an Android device, it will be very simple to integrate with pressureNET. Our data collection and analysis system is already in place at Cumulonimbus, so we could provide the Glass wearer with additional data to improve their personal forecasts.

If Google would like to pass me some Glass I’d love to build a prototype. I promise not to name it SkyNET.