Category: ideas

P2P multicast

An existing friend-to-friend P2P ‘backbone’.

– Push-notifications of meta-data belonging to a specific ‘topic’
– Each peer acts as a router. Peers subscribe to listen to a ‘topic’ if they, or one of their peers wants to subscribe to a topic. Same as how multicast works now.

Some details
– topics are subscribed to by their ‘hash’, so it’s not obvious to casual observers/intermediaries what the topics are.
– topic metadata is sent encrypted (again so casual observers have no idea what is being sent).
– since you get the metadata directly from your friend – you have no idea who the originator of the topic data is (it may even be him, it may not be).
– only metadata is sent. It should be small with links to the full content to retrieve from P2P network in the usual way.
– the idea is somewhat similar to usenet, but without each node storing a copy of the entire set of data.
– metadata and data formats should be structured to encourage ‘machine friendly’ topics, i.e. stock prices, forex data, weather, etc.


P2P Money (version 2)

– Each peer has a PKE pair. This acts as their ID.
– When someone downloads bytes from a peer, then they ‘owe’ that peer download bytes in return e.g. if you download 1GB of data from me, then in the future I have the right to download 1GB of data from you.
– Peers grant credit limits. The limit is flexible. Strangers would have a small credit limit (possibly zero), friends of friend have a higher limit and so on.
– In order to download 1GB from a peer, you first give them a digitally signed promise to allow them to download 1GB sometime in the future (a digitally signed IOU).
– Credit/IOUs can be traded. Credit transfer transactions are done through the peer that granted the credit. e.g. Imagine 3 peers – John, Bob, and Fred. John owes Bob 1TB. Bob wants to download some stuff from Fred. He’s says to Fred (I’ll give you John’s IOU of 1TB if you give me an IOU of 1TB so I can download stuff from you). Fred agrees. They then contact John to make sure he is aware of this transfer. Bob can no longer try to ‘cash’ in the credit because John knows that credit was transferred.

Over time there would likely be large nodes with large number of connections. These would essentially become ‘banks’. Banks would likely enable convenience by evaluating risks and granted credit to strangers, perhaps required a ‘guarantor’. And so on …. P2P finance is born!  Credit is money …  

SciFi Story/Movie Idea

Some science grads are working on an experiment to intercept tachyons to ‘see’ into the future. They succeed to initially see a very short distance into the future (a few seconds). Immediately they get the idea to see if they can change the future. They have the idea to watch themselves on the future monitor and when they see themselves do something in the future, they will try to do something in the present that is different. When they try this though the future monitor image becomes blurry. They realize that their conscious attempts to see the future and change it has made the future uncertain, and they are seeing some sort of overlap of all possible future paths. It becomes a kind of Heisenberg uncertainty principle (the act of observing changes the observed).

Extremely excited, but also somewhat disappointed, they swear secrecy until they have done more research. They continue to work on the device and improve it until it can see almost 1 day into the future.

Some fun things that happen while they are working on improving future sight range:

– While experimenting on the device an interesting thing happens where an accident is observed (a student spilling coffee on himself). The student declares that “That’s weird, there is no way I’m going to let that happen now” and he walks with his coffee extremely carefully. Another student rushes into the room colliding with him and causing the coffee to spill on him. The student would have missed him if he hadn’t been walking so slowly with his head down watching his coffee.  One of the students has an epiphany, that you can see the future AND change it, as long as outcome that you see remains the same. This is interesting, but it’s not clear to anyone how this can be exploited.

– One grad gets the idea to try it on the stock market. He watches a penny stock at a company his dad works at and sees it crashing 90% in value. He immediately calls up his dad and pleads with him to sell all his shares immediately, saving his dad from a huge loss. His dad calls him later to thank him profusely as the stock tanks. Sometime later the dad calls and tells him he is being investigated by the SEC for stock manipulation and asks his son how he knew the stock was going to tank. Through some discussion the student finds out that his dad told some of his buddies (who told their buddies and so on). The student realizes that this future was a self-fulfilling prophecy. He doesn’t give up the idea, but realizes he must bet on large companies only, where his impact will be too limited to matter.

– Later on we see this grad pull up in an extremely expensive car.

The protagonist is watching the future news (the future of news on a tv in the lab) when the screen goes blurry. He thinks it’s strange as he can’t imagine any news he would see that he could change. Later the next day he sees the news just before where the future news went blurry, and then on comes breaking news of a terrorist event that occurred a thousand miles away from where he is. He discusses this with a friend as they try to figure out why he couldn’t see this news as he doubts he could have done anything to stop it or even affect it. “Maybe someone else has a machine to?” His friend suggests. The protagonist has the sudden horrifying realization that this must be true and that likely someone on their team has betrayed their secrecy pact and was working with the government. He suspects the guy with the fancy car who he always thought had low moral threshold.

The protagonist discusses this problem with his friend and feels that this technology is too dangerous in the hands of the government. The protagonist realizes that he needs to destroy the technology, but how? He friend agrees, but can’t think of a way either. He lies awake in his bed staring at streamed view of the device (which is in his lab) when suddenly he sees movement. A person in a mask comes in to the lab and shoots him three times. He watches his laptop in disbelief as he lies there dead. He glances at the future delay time and sees that this occurs roughly 17 hrs from now. He sees his friend wander into view and walk over, look into the device, and shut it off.

The protagonist panics and heads out into the night on his motorcycle riding around to clear his head. We see him the next morning sitting on a park bench feeding looking calm and at peace. He gets a call from his friend about a meeting he is late for. He calmly replies that he slept in, and he’ll be there soon. He carries through the day looking relatively calm, but with piercing eyes and a smile ‘mask’ when he looks at his friend.

He works away at his computer in the lab. He’s alone. A person in black comes in and shoots him three times, just like he saw. He lies there dead. His friend enters and starts talking logistics about packing up the machine. He walks over and turns it off and is shot in the back by the stranger, who packs up the machine and leaves with it.

Later we see the protagonist eyes suddenly open and then his face wince with pain. He slowly sits up, opens up his shirt and we see three bullet marks on his bullet proof vest. He gets up and leaves. We see him at the bank asking to withdraw money. “How much sir” – the teller asks. “All of it.” As he walks out with a suitcase we are left with the impression that it is a large amount of money.

Sometime in the future, we see government officials watching the future device when it starts to get blurry. “What’s going on they demand!”. One agent looking at his tablet says “I think I know” as he throws down his tablet. We see a website that says “Build a device that can see into the future”, with detailed plans and instructions.

We see the protagonist sitting at an outside bar in some tropical paradise. He has sunglasses on watching tv news with reporters talking some physicists. “So can this device really see into the future” … blah blah. He gets up, leaves a 100 bill on the counter and walks away.

P2P file sharing currency

– Imagine a files are broken into standard block sizes (say 1MB)
– Imagine using the mechanism described below (mechanism for distributed redundant storage) to split files into pieces of this size.
– Imagine a well known server where you can buy tokens to download 1MB

These tokens can then be used like money to buy download blocks from other servers. These servers can choose to charge less, or more … depending on the value of the blocks of data they have.

Some amount of tokens could be charged for storage and/or other services as well. People could sell storage and download blocks (in exchange for tokens) on their own personal machines. They could then turn around and use these tokens to purchase download rights on someone else’s machine.

The tokens have value as they can always be redeemed at the ‘known’ server to download blocks.

The blocks have no obvious meaning. They only mean something when combined together in the right way. Some block might come from server A, some from server B, and so on. Only those that have a ‘link’ file (that gives block IDs and mixing matrix) know which blocks to get and how to combine them together.  This way, data is just data. Without this additional information it has no other meaning.

Virtual Graffiti

Tie anonymous messages to a physical (latitude/longitude) location.

When at a location, people can leave an anonymous message and read anonymous messages tied to that location.

– Only 1 message per phone number allowed per location
– A location would be within a certain radius (like 30m)
– Messages can include photos.
– The best effort would be made to ensure people actually are at the location and filters to take out spammers that try to hack the system (claiming to be everywhere with some advertising messages).

The idea is that people can see what others wrote about where they are. Like if they are at a restaurant, they can leave comments about the food, the staff and so on for others to read without having to have a social connection to these people. The posts are anonymous to encourage the outrageous.

Twitter for police scanners

Problem – the news covers only a tiny fraction of police events. They are also too verbose and too ‘story’ oriented (rather than fact oriented).

  • A place for volunteers listening to scanner to report events
  • Event reporting would follow a strict ontology. This way: events are easily searchable. it’s easy to see if someone has reported the event already. easy to find and update with more info. easy to scan events and get a feeling of what is happening in your city (the larger picture).
  • A webapp would be a simple dynamic teletype-view so one can see events as they are reported. Real-time.

Send files on event trigger

Idea for a website.

Problem – you want some action to be taken in case of your death or other event. You don’t want this action to be blockable by third parties.

Solution – you have distributed the information across many participating users computers, the ‘key’ to which will be published if you do not enter the correct code e.g. once-a-week before 12:00 Saturday.

I believe that wikileaks and others have done a similar approach. They put the encrypted files out as a torrent. Then if the website is taken down, or some other aggressive action by the government against them, them publish the encryption key somewhere. This idea is essentially the same, but make automating it for simplicity and making the key-release automatic.