10 Great Ideas Someone Should Invent

This article might change your life or make you rich. It’s time to save the world. There’s a lot of bad news out there. Rising unemployment, soldiers being replaced in their jobs by drones that kill babies, a new housing crisis that will end all housing crisises, who is the real father of Kim Kardashian’s child, and on and on.

Meanwhile, many futurists are at work on “what’s new for 2013?” Will Lindsay Lohan play Princess Leia’s daughter in the new Star Wars movies? Will Tiger Woods make a comeback? Will the Middle East “have tension”?

Forget about 2013 and Princess Leia. While the futurists do their thing let’s actually get down to exercising our idea muscles.

The idea muscle atrophies, just like any other muscle. I need to exercise mine every day or it starts to not work. It doesn’t matter if you come up with bad ideas or good ideas. There’s no such thing as a a bad exercise session.

Let’s come up with some real ideas that can save the world. The only criteria – they have to help a million people. Or, if they don’t work, can be turned into a science fiction novel that one million people would enjoy. Don’t be afraid to come up with bad ideas. Here  are mine. Feel free to have idea sex between your ideas and mine so we can come up with even better ideas. This is just practice. Practice makes perfect.

A) I wrote down an idea here but I deleted it. I’m not afraid to admit when ideas are bad. More on this later.

B) Klout as currency. Think about it. It makes sense. If I give $5 to a donut shop that means a lot less than if Barack Obama gives $5 to a donut shop. Then that donut shop is “The Presidential Donut Shop”. B’s $5 was a lot more valuable than my $5. The $5 is just paper after all. It doesn’t matter who holds it.

Klout + currrency = value in today’s world. So it makes complete sense that people with higher Klout should be able to buy more things. Because their currency is more valuable than mine. And when they buy things, that infers Klout on the seller, who can now buy more things. The world is heading in this direction anyway. Look at Oprah. Oprah has an infinite Klout score. When Oprah reads a book, that book’s author suddenly gets wealthier. If Oprah bought a pencil from me my Klout score would go up 80%, give or take.  The middle class is disappearing. The temp staffers pay for goods with scrip and rich people buy twitter followers. We’re moving towards a Klout-currency world anyway. Now make it happen.

(In all respect to Josh Gosfeld, author of “The Art of Doing”, I just stole the idea you told me you were going to do a science fiction novel about. Sorry.)

C) Use Global Warming to Solve Global Warming. I don’t know why nobody has thought of this yet. Just look at the words “Global. Warming.” i.e. The surface of the planet is getting hotter. That means it’s giving off energy. Use photovoltaic strips  to harness the energy coming off the planet to reduce our need for carbon-based energy. BAM! Problem solved.

The beauty of this is that if there is no global warming then the technique won’t work. No problem! Go back to carbon then until the planet starts heating again. I am already to meet Al Gore now.

D) 3D Printing of Humans. “3D Printing” seems to be the latest tech fad. But whatever. I don’t even know what it is. But here’s what “3D Human Printing” is. Let’s say I can’t make a meeting tomorrow that’s in India, 8000 miles away. But I really want to go. I get in my virtual reality suit at home and turn it on. In the conference room in Bangalore, another suit opens up. It opens its eyes. On the video screen in my suit I see what those eyes see. I move my arms and that suit moves its arms. I talk and that suit talks with my voice. My entire awareness feels like it’s in the room in Bangalore.

Video conferencing can never replace face to face. And even though this is sort of like advanced video conferencing, the minds of the other people in the room are basically psychologically fooled into thinking I am right there with them. It’s just like if you take a robot and give it a human body, many people think it’s almost like an actual human even though it’s just a computer. This is one idea I can invent personally. And I have motivation. I don’t like to travel. I like to sit at home and do nothing. With this invention I can travel all over the world. I can even go to Easter Island. This is sort of like Teleportation 101.

E) Advertising in Houses. This sounds ugly at first. An ad on a wall in your house? Maybe in a frame like a picture. Or a mirror. But here’s the deal: I get the price of my house reduced if I agree to allow advertising all over the house. Like if I’m sitting in the bathroom and I see “daily deals” projected onto the shower curtain. The ad agencies agree to subsidize part of the price of my house. It gets better. As part of this, they have software that listens to all my phone calls. Forget “social media”. Let’s see what I’m interested in when I’m ACTUALLY being social, i.e. talking to people on the phone. If I say on the phone, “I’d really love to go skiing this year but I can’t afford it” I start getting offers for skiing trips at a discount on my shower curtain. It’s win-win-win. I make money while talking to my friends. My house is cheaper. And companies sell more, improving the economy, hiring more people, and life goes from “bad” to “good”.

F) Happiness Hotspots. For ten years I’ve been getting business proposals like “with our product you will get alerted when your friends are close by”. I actually think now is the time this will  actually work because of the rise of phablets like the Galaxy Note II. But forget that. When I want to see my friends, I’m not an idiot. I just call my friends and say, “hey, let’s meet for coffee.”

But let’s make this localization thing really life improving. “Studies show” that it’s better to be around positive people than negative people. Positive people uplift you, negative people bring you down. So let’s do this. Everyone wears an earplug that takes constant scans of your brain activity. The brain scans are matched against a database of 10,000 brain scans labeled “happy” or “sad” and then use standard speech recognition techniques to classify the user brain scan as either “happy” or “sad”.

NOW, on my Google Maps on my phone I can see shades all over the map. The brightest colors denote areas where the happiest people seem to be. The darker colors denote areas where negative people are. So if I’m trying to decide today, “hmmm, uptown or downtown?” I can look at the Happiness Map to see where the happiest areas are and go there. Who cares if my friends are there or not? I’ll make new friends in the happy hotspots!

G) 40% Unemployment. The reality is, most people should not be at work. Why? Because they are bad at it. It’s rare that someone is actually good at what they do. I know maybe ten people that are good at their jobs. This is not a criticism. It’s just a fact. And basically, robots are better. That’s why Apple is moving production back to the US. Because too many Chinese people were killing themselves in their factories. Robots don’t kill themselves and they get the job done faster.

So what society really needs is 40 or 50% unemployment. Here’s how you do it. My solution starts off communist but ends up libertarian. Basically, companies get incentivized to replace all humans with robots. The excess profits you get from firing people gets taxed at only half the rate. All of those “robot taxes” get put into a government fund that is used to subsidize the people who are fired (just like farmers are often paid subsidies not to farm). The subsidies, though, run out after three years. So you have three years from the day you are fired to start a new business. Hopefully the business uses robots instead of humans else you won’t be able to compete against your higher margin competitors. If you can’t start a business then you end up being a temp-staffer somewhere. Don’t say this is heartless. This is the way the world is going. That’s why the middle class is disappearing. Robots are the new middle class. And everyone else will either be an entrepreneur or a temp staffer. Don’t shoot the messenger here. It’s already happening. I’m just trying to figure out a way that we can actually accept the 40% unemployment or “underemployment” (which is already at 20%) which is coming.

H) Brain Dating. This is a slight take on “G” above. No dating service works. The divorce rate is going up. Many people are not happy and end up cheating. For the first time, five star hotels like the Parker Meridien are charging by the hour because of cheating dating services like AshleyMadison.com.

So let’s solve this and end a lot of misery. Take the brain scans of 1000 couples who are happily married after 40 years. You know the couples that say, “well, we’ve had our problems but we’v’e survived.” Get rid of them. NO PROBLEMS. They are out there. Just a 1000 couples of the 2 billion couples on the planet. Now average the brain scans together.

When you sign up for the brain dating service, you have to submit your brain scan. It averages your brain scan with the brain scans of all the women in the database. Then it matches the results against the database of 1000 happily married people. Whichever combination for you results in the closest match to those 1000 brain scans, you then get set up on date with the woman (or man) behind that brain scan. Price: $10,000. Guarantee: life-long marital bliss or your money back.

(successful result of “brain dating” from an ancient scientific civilization that disappeared)

I) A “Like” button in my contact lenses. I just read they are making contact lenses that can read SMS texts. That’s nice. I like to be in constant communication with everyone I know all the time. But let’s take it one step further. I meet you, I like you, BAM, I blink twice quickly and my contact lens registers the like. Now you go about your day and other people who meet you can immediately see, “Sharon has 158 Likes today”. And I can also see which of my friends like you.

If you’re having a bad day maybe you have only “5 Likes today”. No problem. People will avoid you on those days and give you your space. Life is stressful and maybe you need a break. Tomorrow you might be refreshed and get more Likes again. I don’t want just “social media”. I want social LIFE.

Before I get to “J”, I want to explain about “A”. The original idea was “Wifi with protein”. When nomad tribes got to a new area 15,000 years ago they would think, “Where’s the food?” Now, in my nomadic wanderings (i.e. NYC Starbucks locations) I think, “where is the wifi”. Wifi has clearly replaced food in our minds. So Wifi with protein would solve the problem, right? But here’s the issue. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how you would do it. With every idea above I can think of the next step. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s all about EXECUTION. I just looked up everything I could about molecular biology on wikipedia and I simply cannot figure out how to make Wifi with protein. So I deleted that idea. No good. By the way, if you are Ridley Scott please call me about licensing any of these ideas for a science fiction movie.

J) I don’t have a “J”. My brain is hurting. If you can come up with a good “J” to help me round this out into 10 ideas I’d be really grateful and if I ever make a company out of it that makes a few billion dollars I’ll give you a small piece of the company and part of my Klout score. Please follow me on Twitter so my Klout score goes up. I love you.

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  • Nikhita Natha

    Decentralised Voting systems where we vote on individual laws and to be allowed to vote one needs to pass a quiz or a test on the issue at hand, and Decentralised trade networks allowing investment into people, places, or companies, with the investment funds going 100% into the fulfilment of the plan provided by the entity, if not fulfilled within a certain time frame, then the entity loses the remaining funds left and also gets a lower rating on the reliability scale within the platform. Both of these for obvious reasons, would be built based off of blockchain technology.

  • Raj S

    My crazy thoughts on your ideas:

    A: Wifi with protein?
    Why? Can I not just buy a Wifi hotspot?

    B: photovoltaic strips are not yet efficient enough. Only a percentage of radiation gets converted to energy. Also, not all types of radiation can be used for this. So using the heat generated by Earth and the heat trapped in the atmosphere won’t be able to produce energy.
    Electricity is the flow of electrons. When a radiation particle strikes an atom in a photovoltaic cell, an electron escapes from the atom. When a bunch of such electrons escape, electricity is generated. Hence, the radiation should be strong enough to knock out an electron from an atom. This means that the radition should be strong enough. Heat from Earth is weak.

    Alternative idea: Have huge (or small but many) solar panels in space. Since the solar radiation is much stronger in outer space, lot more current can be generated. Save this generated energy in some satellite device in space and have the device use this generated energy shoot a strong beam to Earth. On the receiving end at Earth, have a photovoltaic cell to catch this beam and convert to electricity.

    Cons of my idea:
    100 units of solar energy will produce about 50 unites of current in the satellite. Assuming that the satellite uses all 50 units to shoot a beam to Earth, only 25 units can be useful. A solar cell on Earth can generate 30 units by itself. So this elaborate plan won’t work until we can increase the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Plus, repairs in space are expensive!

    D: “My entire awareness feels like it’s in the room in Bangalore.”
    Trying to understand this idea…
    Are you saying that you in US will feel what this 3D Printed James A. will feel in Bangalore, like wind, humidity, etc.? If you calculate the data that needs to be sent over to you, you will see that it is not efficient. I am from Bangalore. My internet connect at home was at 4 Mbps. I recently switched and got a 50Mbps connection. And even with that, sometimes Netflix stutters.
    You will need a high bandwidth connect. You idea is possible. You can definitely do it. But what value does it add as compared to a web conferencing using Skype? Is the ROI high enough to invest in the execution of this idea?

    “the minds of the other people in the room are basically psychologically fooled into thinking I am right there with them.”
    Do you mean you have not told them it is a 3D printed copy of yours? I think I would value your thoughts and inputs much more than the fact that you are in the room.Our conversation would be:
    JAMES: “I don’t like to travel. I want to stay home and attend the meeting over Skype.”.
    RAJAT: “Sure James! You are a good friend. I want your inputs. That is all that matters. You can dial in from anywhere you want in the world! You can also use a Wifi hotspot from Bhutan if you want which is powered by the energy beams from space.”

    “I can even go to Easter Island. This is sort of like Teleportation 101.”
    Again, internet is too slow for this right now I think.

    E: This can be a product soon! :)
    Good idea!

    F: Move to Bhutan. Learn from them and adopt their lifestyle. A much more permanent solution for finding happiness.

    H: Brain scan will only show how the brain is now. In a 40 yearlong marriage, at the 20 year mark, the brain would have been different from now. Also, people are unhappy in marriages not because of just their brain but also their attitude, support structure, careers and other external factors. It would take more than a brain scan to match people and expect them to be happy.
    In other words, I do not see a link between the working of a brain and happiness in a relationship. Perhaps the people in Bhutan may know.

    Idea J:
    Everything we do is in the conscious world. If we sleep 8 hours a day, that is 1/3rd of the day that hasn’t been touched yet.
    — How about adapting the dreams of a person to teach them a new language?
    — How about adapting the dreams of a person to teach them writing or coding?
    — How about playing with the brainwaves so that a person can have a more relaxing sleep. So that when he/she wakes up after 5 hours of sleep, the effect it had on their body is equivalent of an 8-hour sleep. That is saving 3 hours a day!! 1095 hours a YEAR!!!
    — How about embedded positive affirmations in mind while a person sleeps?
    *Meditation had shown that a few minutes of meditation has same effect as a few hours of sleep.

    Can this be made in to a product?

    Happy with the Idea J? :)


  • Michelle

    Think Bigger.

    C. Global warming is already solved.
    What eats co2? Trees.
    There is no money in planting / preserving trees and plant life.

    10 Ideas to make money planting co2 eating flora & fauna.
    Step 1 – create a generation of humans who were told they are our last hope. Done
    Step 2 – create a generation of humans who care more about the enviroment than accumulating piles of stuff, humans who turn their lawns into gardens, humans who think of innovative ways to get the swirling plastic garbage out of the ocean, turn a billboard into a method of pulling h20 from the air & filling a bucket for the village, …. Done
    Step 3 – give them billions of dollars for apps & startups. Done
    Step 4 – influence them to use their vast wealth to create, maintain, cultivate, Earth Gardens to keep the atmospheric balance to sustain human life. ToDo

    G. The days of lords and surfs are over.
    I know it looks like we have come so far only to regress back to the ideas of the past. But that is just a symptom.

    Our capacity as a species is hitting a false-max. We are storing too much energy and attention in what is effectly acting as global Jungian Shadows. Just as when we personally his our false-max, humanity cannot continue to grow until we reclaim the locked parts of our capacity from Shadow.

    Thinking in exclusive “tribes”

    Failure to ask how our actions and decisions affect the globe and all of humanity

    Failure to explore multiple points of view and solve for X, Y, and Z rather than just X

    We are seeing the effects of neglecting these root Shadows in many many ways and especially in recent days.

    “Robots are taking our jobs.” Sort of. They are taking jobs from factory workers in 3rd world countries that we already outsourced. Twice as many humans on the planet since I was born. Double. It’s getting crowded in here.

    We haven’t solved for X when it comes to food, shelter, safety — Maslow’s Survive rungs. That is a Shadow many are screaming internally about right now.

    For Humanity to get its collective butt into the Thrive rungs seems insurmountable.

    There is an entire generation that cares far less about trinkets, cars, and money than ever before. Tiny Houses. 194sqft apartments. To my castle-seeking genX brain, this is abhorently absurd. To an entire generation this is “so cool! omg I MUST HAVE one!”.

    Portland. Artisan Portland. Watch Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episode where he went to Portland. “Hypster wait times.”

    This is an example of the Experience Economy James talks about. Your cup of coffee as a work of art created for your experiential pleasures. The Human Touch.

    Hamilton. It’s just a play. People pay gazillions of dollars to see it. Experience Economy. The Human Touch, Human Spirit, Humans Expressing their gifts and talents to the fullest capacity. It’s a living work of art. And that’s worth alot to experience.

    There is no need to create a world of billionaires and temp workers. And I submit to you that no one under 80 is going to stand for that anyway.

    Hobbies are becoming jobs. 1,000 True Fans. Or whatever your True Fan minimum capacity happens to be. The guy who makes 1-2 cents off of creating 18,000+ songs.

    I just saw a post yesterday, “who wants to meet regularly outdoors? just to hang out, enjoy outside, & each other, no gadgets”.

    Meetup(d0t)com – people can host whatever they want, charge whatever they want, find their Fans.

    We crave human connection. Without it we cannot thrive.

    There are people hosting Cuddle Parties and someone recently opened up a business, an official space for it. Respectful rules, expecting and creating good boundaires, filling that need of basic human touch for each other in a safe environment.

    What needs do all humans have? How might we go about filling them?

    When we push our 10 ideas into thinking up in Global Levels – solving for A-Z – we create the opportunity to truly Thrive – self, tribe, all of humanity.

    Multi-dimensional-solutions is the future.

  • Michelle

    Volcanoe’s cool the earth in a specfic way … so here’s your “J”, stratospheric spaceship emitting the appropriate levels of sulfur. Elon Musk will be SO JEALOUS!


  • Jose Pinzon

    Wow, great work Mr Altucher. I can probably help you with f minus the ear plugs, I have a G called “The Heart Economy” which allows people to spend the day cleaning the lakes, the oceans, the forest and meandering off to have sex in the bushes. And your idea for H might be quite doable without all the scans. See “F”