The Future of Mobility and The Connected City with John du Pre Gauntt

This week on the Tech Cat Show:

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Audio 2: Welcome to the Tech Cat Show with host Lori H. Schwartz. Each week, we hear from established leaders in the technology and consumer industry. Finding out the scoop should never be this much fun. Now, here is your host Lori H. Schwartz.

Lori: Hi everybody and welcome back to the Tech Cat Show. We have an exciting couple of weeks heading into November in Los Angeles with a lot of fabulous events in town that really circle around a lot of themes that we’ve been discussing on this show as it relates to immersive content, and connected devices, and artificial intelligence, and blockchain. So, this weekend, I’m participating in the Infinity Film Festival. We talked to the founders of that show a couple of weeks ago. Today, we’re talking to another gentleman who’s participating in another big event coming to town that’s all about mobility. So, we’re going to hear from the fabulous John, and tell me if I’m saying this right, John duPre Gauntt. Is that right?

John: Perfect.

Lori: All right, John, let’s have a big hand for John. So, John is the host and curator of a very popular podcast called the Augmented City Podcast, which is a multimedia series exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence and urban life. He’s going to fill us in on all the wonderful things that he’s doing, as it relates to cities and what’s gonna happen as all this new technologies impact the direction that our lives take within cities. So John tells us about your background and how you came to be, this most connected man.

John: Well actually, rather than do kinda the resume thing, let me start with a quote from a Japanese guy named Akio Morita, and he was the founder of Sony. He said “with a machine you can be entirely rational, but if you deal with people sometimes logic needs to take effect so you can understand them”. One of the things that got me into story telling about technologies and the Augmented City Podcast is that I’m looking at story telling communication as that bridge between logic and understanding. And no where is that needed more than what we’re seeing happening around artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. Because more or less, we’re asking people to literally trust their lives, your website crashes you could be very inconvenienced, you could be out or money, but if your car crashes is a whole different story. So there’s a big trust issue here, and I’ve never seen trust truly boiled, regardless of what the people say. I’ve never seen trust among human beings really get down to mathematics and logic, it’s gotta be on the understanding side.

John: So we started Augmented City about two years ago to more or less start exploring that interplay between what the technology capabilities can do, combined with what we’re asking people to do, so that these technologies are gonna actually: a- work as advertised, b- not have, you know, unexpected outcomes. And so, fundamentally I’m telling people this is more of a story telling challenge as is an engineering challenge to make this stuff work. So you gotta have people involved.

John: So that’s where we started from, and then have focused specifically on mobility, healthcare, and education as sort of the three big things that we need to get right our cities. And if we’re gonna use AI to get those things right, then AI, is going to be a strong candidate for, to extrude world saving technology like people are saying. Otherwise if we’re doing it wrong, or bad, or indifferent then AI system of the platform.

John: So that’s where the challenge to lay the technology and to strip it off. So to lay that challenge down to brands in general. And we use the podcast as a way of talking to both.

Lori: And you have a journalist background, is that correct? I mean, you have a really interesting background, but is that where you sort of hung to your story telling skills?

John: Well actually no. I mean, look, I was the kid who told such whoppers that the teacher finally called home and said “[crosstalk 00:04:57] … by the way this is a family show, is the ability to scale BS that’s got us worried”, so I’ve always been around story telling. I grew up in east Tennessee and there’s a large group, of story telling festivals where you listen to the people who are telling mouth tales and such. So at very early age I got an appreciation for oral story telling.

John: Now from the journalistic point of view I did, I basically my apprenticeship at the Economist Group, telecommunications, mobile and specific. Near the end of the 90s, when we really didn’t know what mobile telecommunication really was gonna do, so I’m like “hell yeah, ill take that beep”, then ran with that for specialist publication, out there is called Public Network Europe, basically completely diving into the telecommunications’ industry and how they were trying to get their head wrapped around this mobile thing. Then basically built on top of that and did a lot of costumer search and analyst work for Economist Group, GigaOM, you know, a lot of the usual technology suspects.

Lori: So interesting. And then do you still live in Tennessee?

John: No, I live based out of Seattle Washington. We have a recording studio in the South Lake Union area, just about four blocks from where the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence is. Is on a marina, so after we record we go out on the deck and we’re able to see the water, and the mountains and the life. So it’s a nice place, I get a lot of time for the specific northwest.

Lori: The show that you’re doing started in the spring of 2016, tell us a little bit about it. Because I know you’re covering sort of the center of the swirl on the show right now and then there’s a lot of events work and different things that you’re doing that are sort of the offspring of that. But tell us a little bit more about the show.

John: Okay well, the show is looking at how can we use audio multimedia, and by that, that’s a podcast lead, but then also support that with, show pages that’ll have, curated videos, infographics, white papers. The kinda things where you can start to dice deeper into the topic after you’ve made an initial emotional connection plus kind of frame work. So that’s how, that’s kind of the structure of the show, topics and people we’ve spoken to. Interviews range from someone like Alvin Wang Graylin who is the CEO of VIVE in China and so you can talk about VR, not only everything to do with Virtual Reality but also how’s it being applied in China. We’ve got interviews that range from him, all the way to a Brooklyn magician who starts telling us about how people think from a kinda neuroscience and cognition point of view.

John: Because one of the thing that is really fundamental to the show is this idea of we are weaving human culture with machine code. It sounds a bit kinda like one of those new age west coast type of contest. When you start really thinking about how well can machine code really work unless it has human consent to sort od play ball. To put it this way, you’ve been in airports that work, and you’ve been in airports that don’t work, and the experience is fundamentally not just a technology experience it is both a technology and behavior experience.

John: In taking that background, specially when we start dealing with artificial intelligence, we’re saying “well wait a minute, if the internet are things and AI is pushing all this date and algorithms into our lives, how are we pushing the way we wanna live in the design of product and services?”.

John: So there’s always that type of tension between the two, again between logic and between understanding. That’s where we wanna play with the show. Along with the interviews we some in depth original thought leadership. I mean, one of the things they should do for economists and also eMarketer, is try to develop long term themes that you can return to. That’s why we’re focused very heavily into mobility right now, but healthcare is a close second. We’ve done some education shows, but we’re gonna keep bouncing between those main three main poles in the people that we interview and of all the topics that we cover, because we see those as sort of the nucleus of what kind of new culture is gonna come out of this AI powered world that we’re building. That gives sort of the general background of the show.

John: More specifically in mobility and for next month, for LA CoMotion we have, it’s gonna be from, I think the 14th of November to the 17th. We made a long form, 5 part podcast series, which is sort of a lonely planet guide to next generation mobility. We interviewed across the industry at their event last year, took selected audio cuts, added our own research, and such and basically made sort of the equivalent of an audio white paper about what is autonomous mobility, how’s the sharing economy set, what about bike sharing, what about car sharing and then how does all this stuff affect real estate, how’s it affects innovation. Then finally once our capstone show is gonna be, what kinda of data are we gonna be exchanging to have this sort of utopian mobility world that everybody’s talking about with the self driving cars. We published three on Monday, and we’ve got two more to go.

Lori: That’s exciting. Now before you continue, we need to take a little break, and when we come back we can dive more into, your mobility guide as well as some of the other content that you’re generating. I would also love to get into more of what you’re doing for LA CoMotion which is the event that you where referring to, which I’m really excited about, which covers some of this in Los Angeles, which certainly is a mobile city. We’re gonna be back in a moment with John digging more into artificial intelligence and the urban life and also the runner of the Augmented City Podcast. Bach in a moment on the Tech Cat Show.

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Audio 2: This is the Tech Cat Show with Lori H. Schwartz. If you wanna find out more about our show, or to leave a comment or question, send an email to, that’s

Lori: Welcome back everybody, we’ve been talking to John duPre Gauntt and he is an expert really in the intersection of artificial intelligence in urban life and runs the Augmented City Podcast. John was just going over some of the larger initiatives wrapped into all of that, including his AC mobility guide. I know you have some other things, initiative going on inside of that.

John: Right. A second initiative, which is related. We’re building a portfolio of AI stores from China. I was in China this year, most of the month of April, some into May. A to of traveling along the Shanghai and Anhui providence, Since Shanghai is a big hot spot, so it’s Beijing, so it’s Shinzen, yo know the usual suspects. I wanted to make sure with this particular trip that I didn’t get, that sort of glace from too many airports and to many changes. So I mainly focused on the Shanghai scene, which brought me into contact with huge, not just native talent there, but also Chinese diaspora but overseas Chinese who return to the country to work.

John: For example, one of the major AI companies in China it’s called iFLYTEK. One of the main things that they do is natural language processing for automated call centers et cetera. And you’re sort of like yeah, yeah, yeah versus the. Then you start looking at their volumes and this is a company that on a given business day, their chat bots and intelligent interfaces, basically kinda the AI computing iron that takes … I coined a new phrase maybe … takes care of these conversations. We are talking 350 million, 400 million, simultaneous conversations that are going on, that their bots are participating in.

John: You start looking at that kind of scale and they’ll show, like a heat map of the country that is showing in and where all these conversations are happening, and you’re like “man, it is a new world”.

John: There I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Shupon Lee, who previously was one of the top researchers for Microsoft. One advantage of being base din Seattle is not only is a major technology center with, but Amazon and Boeing, Microsoft et cetera. There’s also a large overseas Chinese presence here in the tech industry. One of the main thing we’re doing is building up a portfolio of English language, stories about AI in China.

Lori: Oh interesting, so that’s kinda of another bridge, so that every one understands what’s really happening.

John: Well fundamentally, if you were a martian and you were orbiting the planet trying to figure out how homo sapiens are dealing with this AI thing, you’ve got certain hot spots of activity that are going on in specific countries. Israel for cyber security, also a lot of robotics and stuff. But as far as like the two areas in this planet, where sort of the general purpose artificial intelligence platforms are being built its United States and China. It’s a [crosstalk 00:17:14], is not a G8.

Lori: Interesting. And is there a specific reason for that?

John: Well, one of the things is simply the complexity that, of sheer numbers that are dealt with over in China. Plus a lot of push so that China’s technology, I guess we say technology based on, choose my words carefully because in 2018 there’s some strong feelings on many sides based on that. But China has basically made the strategic decision as a government and as a business culture, that they’re going to be seeing not as, sort of a fast follower or a secondary actually, they’re gonna pioneer new technologies like artificial intelligence. It’s not just simply pool kinda power politics, but it’s simply that they’ve got to. It’s an aging society that also is trying to transition you know. We have these discussions about “oh, robots are gonna eliminate jobs” well, imaging of the numbers you’re talking over in China.

John: There already heavily robotized in such, but still there’s no magic that’s happening in either country. We have these fantasies, these cabals of Chinese leaders meeting in a closed room deciding how they’re gonna defeat the west’s artificial intelligence, that’s a cartoon. They’re deep trying dealing with amazing sustainability challenges, population growth, population aging challenges and they’re looking at artificial intelligence not just simply that we want it, but that we need it. That was one of the things that struck me in this latest trip. By the way, the last time I’ve been in china was 30 years ago, so I’ve seen it in both sides, right after it opened up and then recently for its AI reasons.

Lori: That’s fascinating. So do you see and maybe you’re witnessing this, or you’re part of this. China and the US working together to solve these issues that to me seem fairly global. I mean, we’re facing similar issues, aren’t we?

John: Right. The aging of population and the sustainability of our cities. Again I like using that idea of orbiting and looking, just forgetting the political maps, if you look at the light signature of cities at night, that’s humanity’s direct imprint on this planet. It was only in the 1950s that we had two cities that we’re over 10 million population. You’re talking about Tokyo and New York. Now 2018 we’ve already climbed pass 30, and then if you can forward you’re going to have 40 and 50 cities that have 10 million plus population that are responsible for half the global economy. So it is true, cities are the direct expression of humanity’s imprint on this planet, but we really don’t have a playbook for handling that kind of hyper-urbanization, its never happened, its never happened that fast.I think AI is got to be foundational to cities just as electricity and steel were.

Lori: Is it challenging for some cities because there’s legacy infrastructure, so they have to look at the new technology but also keep everything going and then figure out how to merge the old with the new, or are cities just starting from scratch. I mean, how do you, you know …

John: Well you’ve got a combination of both. The episode three that dropped last week, sorry on Monday, was about mobility and real estate. In that show we cited a research study by the OECD about how the use of shared and autonomous vehicles in the downtown of Lisbon, Portugal, could not only reduced the number of cars they need by 80 to 90 percent but, could enable Lisbon to claw back equivalent of 200 football fields worth of lands in downtown.

John: If you take a look at Manhattan from space, over 20 percent of the surface area of Manhattan is take up with parking. [crosstalk 00:21:39] having lived in Manhattan and having try to find parking is also, I think the whole blood pressure would go down.

John: Imagine if Manhattan could gain back another Central park worth of land. One of the things we always explore in the show and I always try to explore it in my research analysis, was not just look the first order effect of self driving cars, but what’s the second order effect of having more land. Or being a drive in restaurant and now you’re dealing with people who mostly are not drivers …

Lori: It just changes this idea of looking at things …

John: …that leads into the rest of what we explore here.

Lori: I was just literally thinking about that if you look cities not from your own personal perspective but to your point from above, then all these references start to make more sense. Then you get this bigger picture of everything, cause they never really though about how much parking takes up Manhattan. But you can see it if you’re that high up.

John: I think the single best image to look at is a nice shot of North and South Korea, where you see the light signature there. Then just on that, or you can take a look at the light signature, the lighting, the coast of China versus the interior of China, or Japan. Intellectually and emotionally quite frankly is a great way to take, a half hour out of your day and get on a night, high-definition screen and just go to NASA and just start taking a look at the Earth at night. [crosstalk 00:23:30] I can’t say in Tennessee they’ll look at me weird.

Lori: Now also we have, we might have to take a break before you finish this, but we have LA CoMotion coming up, in about a week and a half or so. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and in what your involvement is?

John: We went to LA CoMotion last year, and that was the first year that it happened and covered it wall to wall. Basically you’re talking about a four day festival of all things mobile, so you know. You’ve got autonomous cars, cargo robotics et cetera. What we’re doing this year is, we are publishing a white paper based on a lot of lives and also curator research, about the mediate environments for shared autonomous vehicles. Basically when drivers become riders, and riders become audiences, how does that really change median marketing that are going to be done inside these vehicles.

John: So we’re going to publish that white paper over at LA CoMotion but we’re also gonna have an expert meeting of about, 15 to 25 heavily curated leaders from the mobility space, and sort of the associated, people who are really into computer vision and et cetera. Have an expert meeting around that topic and actually use their perspective to understand at least the people who are building the autonomous vehicles, or building the mobility service type of businesses, how they’re thinking about media. Because anybody who thinks we’re just gonna shrink wrap episode of Seinfeld and put them on a screen that people are gonna watch in traffic, I think they’re gonna be in for a rude surprise.

Lori: Right, there’s a lot of changing models coming. Alright, we’re dig more into some of trans that are going to be seen and discussed and explored at LA CoMotion when we come back. And also more on this topic of the passenger economy which I think you were just talking about and some other interesting behaviors and technology models that are gonna be coming out all this wonderful stuff. Its just so interesting. So we’re gonna be back with John duPre Gauntt, who is the hosting curator of the Augmented City Podcast, and just a guru about how AI is going to impact cities. So more exciting information on the Tech Cat Show.

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Lori: Hi everybody, we’re back with John duPre Gauntt, and we are talking about the future of the city and John was just going to start to dig into a bit of the trends that are happening. Because of all these technologies and infrastructures of the city and just the impact that this is going to have on mobility. So John, I know one of the first points that you were referring to earlier, pieces of it was the passenger economy. Can you tell us a little bit about that trend?

John: Passenger economy was a term that was coined by Intel corporation. They did a referred study that was looking at what’s the potential economic value of all the products and services that we get when we use shared and autonomous mobility. I’ve spoken previously about Lisbon, clawing back all this downtown land, that’s one aspect. But Intel’s estimating we’re talking about something that could be in the multi trillions, about 7 trillion dollars over the next 30 years. A third of that is gonna be kinda of what we’re thinking for passenger economy, the Ubers and Lyft and autonomous vehicles, and all the mobility technology that the bigger chunk, the far bigger chunk is going to be to services that you wrap around the idea that most of the people in motion are going to be in a passenger economy.

John: Now let’s remember, we deal with passenger economy. Every time you take a flight, you’re participating in a passenger economy, you’re literally a passenger. We can go into the differences between airlines and autonomous vehicles well later, but the service landscape that is built around intelligent physical mobility is going to behave, I believe, like the service landscape that was built around the internet economy, which was about better networks. So we’re talking about indirect savings of time. Key point, one of the points that when I was reading that study and validated, I said “We at Augmented City Podcast have gotta go 90 degrees into this media service for autonomous vehicles”. If Intel is estimating that just in the US alone we’re talking about 250 million to 300 million hours of saved time. Basically boiling down the question. If I gave you and hour or 90 minutes back to your day, because you’re not physically driving, what would you do with it?

John: Sort of that golden hour perhaps as a new prime time. People that are goin to be in traffic. Because autonomous or not, you’re gonna be in traffic. All that, just like you can watch the Sunday afternoon football and all the car ads are about taking your pickup truck across the great expanse of the Arctic tundra, well that’s not the live reality of mos people, specially if you live in Los Angeles.

John: So this idea of giving people back and hour to their day, something that we are also calling the 25th hour of the day. We we’re saying “what if we conceive that that extra hour as a new prime time, as new media time.” What can I do in an hour with a combination, of user interface, media content, and associated e-commerce, and social media services. Wrap that all together. What could I do in that new golden hour if time?

John: That’s really what launch our efforts to understand at a deep visceral level what kind media and marketing is gonna be native to that shared autonomous mobility environment. If you think is gonna play big in the US, you ain’t seen nothing until you go to China, we’re is going to be even more normal for people to not own or drive cars. So LA CoMotion is just, it is an amazing nexus where you got not only the technology sector and such, but by being in LA you’ve got a situation where, LA’s gotta solve the problem of mobility a lot better than the past. Because if we look, what’s going to go forward, and we quoted this in our first episode of the mobility guide, there’s gonna be 3 times more cars or more vehicles in the next two decades, on the streets. So imagine LA with three times as many vehicles. Imaging the same thing in same thing in New York, in Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro. I mean that’s just a non starter.

John: So LA CoMotion it’s been really important because not only are you getting that community together, but you’ve also got support by Los Angeles city government. And you’ve also, and we’re hoping to start bringing that in, the media industry, because that’s another huge industry in LA.

John: I’m really excited about coming down there, not just from the point of view of, LA in November is a little better than Seattle in November from a weather point of view, but mainly from the fact that I wanna see what lessons learned in LA might apply better in Seattle and vice versa. LA CoMotion’s big, but that’s why we made the mobility guide and why we’re running the media workshop there.

Lori: Do people understand that the word mobility, what it really means? Because it comes up a lot now, when we’re talking about technology trends, or business trends, or when you’re looking at anything from a content creator or marketer’s perspective. Mobility is sort of a new thing that everybody’s trying to wrap their head around. Do you think that everyone knows what that means now?

John: It’s a bit like when we sed to talk about connectivity and the internet. Basically I look at mobility like two flavors. Is not just taking me, my physical self from where I am to where I wanna go. Mobility is also bringing stuff to where I am right now, as Amazon’s delivering to your door. Mobility of people and mobility of goods, has been a founding principal of all cities. Sorry sent that to voice mail [crosstalk 00:34:18] …

Lori: Cause I am, what I see that.

Lori: Go ahead, I’m sorry.

John: Mobility [crosstalk 00:34:23] founding principal of cities since the get go. If we think more about how people should be using mobility in the states. Those are the two things, people and goods.

Lori: Right. I think, the thing that I’m encountering just as a regular human being are those Bird scooters everywhere. Then also you know, people trying to wrap their head around do I buy a car? Should I lease a car? Do I even need a car? Should we be a two family, a two car home anymore? Should I try one of these new models where I rent a car for an hour and I leave it wherever I want? How do I budget and think about how I’m moving myself around in my life now. Because its not just a set column on your taxes anymore, right? It’s a real interesting thing to be thinking about in terms of investment and time.

John: Right. Well one thing, just anecdotally, my son didn’t even get his drivers license till he was 18. And I was mainly, I told him because I didn’t want him carrying around his passport for ID. He likes driving well enough, but he and his friends have already changed a lot of the habits that where, forget about my teenage years, I’m talking about recently, like back in the 2000. Going back to the second order effect, one of the things that I’ve done is sort of fixed on his variable, to say shared autonomous transportation, more intelligent mobility. And it can be cars, it can be scooters, it can be all those other different options for actually moving it. But it’s also, how do I access it? I finance cars? Giving a short example, you can imagine that by model year 2025 – 2026, you can probably get a car financed if you’re willing to let someone else borrow it. Like an uber and operate it as a fleet, as part of a fleet, while you’re at work so your car works for you.

John: Now how does that translate into, not only how would you finance the car now that it can actually earn you credits, but also how are you gonna insure the car? Will the fleet operator insure it? You open … These new capabilities, also open up a whole set of new issues. So one of the things that I always try tell all of the AI utopians as such is, lets imagine your solution works as advertised. That’s wonderful, amazing. What new pain have you created along with the benefit? Because we do live in a rational universe. So now if we’re gonna have these autonomous cars that are owned sort of like time shares, they’re not sitting parked like they usually are 90 percent of the time, but they’re actually out there working. Well okay, how does that change insurance? How does that change licensing? How does that change the way you finance them? Additionally, whose gonna service them? What’s gonna happen to the dealerships?

John: We saw when we were doing our research that mobility is actually a very good, concentration for understanding the acceptance of AI in general. Because it has so many knock on effects.

Lori: Right. It’s something everyone, as just human being can relate to. Is not some weird deep inside the weeds of business category. Is actually something that literally impacts you every day.

John: Yeah. I mean you can have, an example. Let’s say I was wanting to talk about intellectual property. There are places in LA where people are going to be ribited, and the vas majority of America couldn’t give you know what, because it does affect them. But if I talk about the traffic, in one perverse sense its still pretty democratic. You can be in your Maserati but we’re stuck. I’m in my genuine used car that’s all beet up, and you’re in your Maserati but we’re both stuck in traffic, that’s the democratic part. Then of course it gets unequal, I still want your car more than mine.

John: But the fact is that mobility is one of those platforms. We look at healthcare as a similar one. Rich or poor regardless, healthcare is both democratic in the sense that it affect everyone. Then it goes highly unequal once you get sick. So healthcare is another proxy for general acceptance of AI.

John: Finally, what are we going to teach the kids? Education is the third one. And at that point I’m like “we’ve got enough, we’re gonna stop here”. But between those three [crosstalk 00:39:29] we look at the general acceptance of AI.

Lori: Well we’re gonna take one more break. We’re with John duPre Gauntt who is filling us in on artificial intelligence and connecting it back to the future of cities and other business categories as well. When we com back John is gonna share with us some of the companies he thinks are doing really interesting things. And just what are some of the surprises that are bubbling up in your world because of everything you’re looking at. So well be back in a moment with John duPre Gauntt from the Augmented City Podcast which is multimedia series exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence and urban life. We’ll be back in moment.

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Audio 2: This is the Tech Cat Show with Lori H. Schwartz. If you wanna find out more about our show, or to leave a comment or question, send an email to, that’s

Lori: Now it is so rare on a Tech Cat Show that I don’t budge somebody’s name, and I think that’s because you’re saying such interesting things. We have on the line here John duPre Gauntt who is filling us in on AI and urban life, and all the interesting things that are circling around artificial intelligence. And why some of these things are ways for us to understand, cause they directly impact our lives just as human beings, even if we’re not technologist or strategists. John what are some of the interesting companies bubble up in this world? Because I bet you meet a lot of them, you must be advising a lot of companies right now. And if you’re not, you should.

John: Well actually for cities let me give you two companies, one in mobility and one real estate. Because those are two sides of the same coin. Everybody like to talk about how bad the traffic is, and where they wanna live, they’re gonna live in a city.

John: The first one is, lets stay with mobility, and actually they’re an LA based company. They’re called Divergent 3D. What they do, is they print cars to put it in one center. But they use 3D printing technologies to help make these reference sings for automobiles. To where you can, is not like a kit car or anything, is like a full kind of sports car, some people can drop different engines in, they can even get a super car. But the important thing is that they are pioneering a method of using intelligent 3D printing and AI to shrink the size of an automobile factory from, 500 millions or billions into something more like about 70 or 80 million. Then that’s a car factory, and you start making the cars. I mean, you gotta remember that eventually computers had to get that cheap. Well, cars are gonna get that cheap too. So they’re based out of LA, they’re called Divergent 3D. I really think you should, you’ll have a great time talking with them, and understanding a bit more about how the manufacture of cars’ gonna change.

John: If you wanna look at, how am I gonna get my car from Orange County to the top of a LA, might look beautiful but there’s gonna be a lot of traffic. You’ll have to check out another LA company called Arrivo, A-double R-I-V-O. This company was started by people who where working on the hyper loop project with Elon Musk. Basically what they’re trying to do is create a medium distance transportation network where you’ll be in your car or AV and you drive up to the equivalent of the sled that would then take you from, let’s say the bottom of Orange County all the way up to the northern part of LA county in 10 minutes, because you’re going at about 200 miles per hour. Fortunately your in a track, and when you get to your end point you just drive your car off the sled and you move on. Those are some interesting transportation ones, and they’re LA based companies.

John: On the real estate side, oh god I’m gonna have to say the B-word. There’s a company called Knotel, K-N-O-T-E-L, and their major competitor, we where. But they have launched a non-profit block chain initiative called Baya. What that is is how to use block chain technology to actually change the way commercial real estate is negotiated. If you can appreciate, big renters like WeWork or Knotel or anything like that, they’re all basic models. They go out and rent 250,000 square foot of real estate, office space. Then they will partition that and you’ll come in either as a startup or as a company. Pretty simple business model.

John: Try doing that in practice, where when you’re gonna rent significant commercial real estate you need to know how is the Hback unit, is the elevator on floor number three? Is is malfunctioning? What is in the description of the space I can trust? Most of the time you can’t, so you send somebody out there. But imagine you wanna be closing on 20, 30, 40 leases, commercial leases and you need to do it in two months time. That way lies madness if you do it manually.

John: So what Baya is all about is hoy we can start to create a distributive ledger of, does the description given digitally match the reality on the ground, or actually in the space. Let’s say you’re doing an inspection and you see that elevator three is malfunctioning. You take a picture. You submit that information into the network, it gets time stamped, it gets marked, it becomes that single version of truth for that day that elevator three in this office building was out. Then the landlord can come back and say “hey, we fixed it” that a new block, life goes on at the same time if the landlord says “the elevator works just fine”, well no, you’ve got an immutable record that other people can look into. Effectively what it does is accelerate the due diligence process of doing a commercial real estate lease. So you can get a lot more velocity in how these big buyers care able to use a block sing network like Baya, and its spelled B-A-Y-A. It think there’s some kind of tree like that in Asia, baya tree, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a rich origin story to that word.

John: Anyway [crosstalk 00:48:08] Baya is a very interesting idea about using block chain to try to solve a pretty gnarly obvious problem that is hard to do. Which is to go inspect property at scale, so I like them. I like Divergent 3D, for cars. I like Arrivo.

John: As far as other AI technology companies that are specializing at sort of the component level, there a company called Clobotics in Seattle, C-L-O-B-O-T-I-C-S, cloud and robotics. Basically a bunch of Chinese engineers from Microsoft have developed a computer vision capability that does two things. Number one, like a, you’ve seen those wind farms? On the coast? We’ve got those gigantic structures. These guys, they have programmed drones to fly with AI all ups and down those wind turbines and inspect the blades. On one hand you’re like “wow, that pretty interesting” but niche business. But if you start looking at how you do the computer vision version of that. How you would take all these pictures of a blade and you’re inspecting it for cracks and flaws and things like that. Because you don’t want to send a human being 200 feet up, you send a drone. By doing that they’ve learned how to take that initial experience and now they’re applying it to retail.

John: Basically in China you can start doing an inventory count by standing in front of the rack of I don’t know, of water bottles, and beer, and Monster, and all the different drinks. Just taking a picture with a smart phone, send the thing in. Then the system sorts out and does the identification. So you’ve done your inventory, you don’t even have to scan your barcode or other kinds of SKU.

John: Those are some of the innovations that are happening both at the capability or component level, and that’s robotics of computer vision. all the way up to complete solutions like Arrivo, where you jump on the sled and zip fast on the track with your car.

John: Those are the kind of companies I like to track, both at the solution level and at the component level.

Lori: Where can we catch the podcast and you know, track all the different things that you’re doing?

John: The website is Theaumented, one word, dot city.

John: Then we go on sound cloud, we go on all the platforms you’d expect, iTunes et cetera. We’re going to be to publishing across all the channels with our white papers, with the audio multimedia. Then we’re very interested in working with, I guess you could say technology companies and services companies that have a difficult story to tell. That’s opposed to, we will give you your one story, no. We can work with them on a portfolio around this idea that we’re calling conversational Beta-B media. Because I think, if you look at the evolution of interphases, is all going towards eventual natural language interaction. By natural language I’m not saying say anything you want, but you can pretty much start either using voice control or having things read to you.

John: So conversational Beta-B media would be, you get the podcast, and you say “hey, is there a chart attached to this show?” Yeah sure, bam. Just take what people are doing now and share note with a bunch of other auxiliary content and turbo charge it and have that on the podcast. That’s basically the services that we are building for some brands.

Lori: That’s wonderful. So there’s a nice Beta-B component what you’re doing here. Because it seems like all the stuff you have access to, it’s just too interesting and too smart to only be about sharing the information but not to be providing services, so I’m excited to hear about that.

Lori: We’re gonna have to wrap it. We’ve been talking to John duPre Gauntt who is the host and curator of the Augmented City Podcast, who’s also providing services to help people move through this crazy space. Who has real, really strong overview in perspective on what happening in AI across multiple categories with the special sauce around the future of cities and mobility. So check out John at the podcast. Also he’ll be at LA CoMotion in two weeks, which also has a side. Also you’ll be at South by Southwest, and you’re going to the AI Med Conference in Laguna Beach. So you can find John in all sorts of interesting places, but definitely keep him in your world because he knows all there is to know about the future.

Lori: Thank you so much John. I’m looking forward to digging in more with you in the near future.

John: Well thank you very much Lori, I appreciate.

Lori: All right everybody, well be talking to you next week on The Tech Cat Show with someone hopefully as smart as John. So have a great week and we’ll be joining you soon.

Audio 6: Thanks so much for listening to the Tech Cat Show. Please join Lori H. Schwartz again for another great program next Wednesday at 4 PM eastern time, 1 PM Pacific time. On the VoiceAmerica Business channel and syndicated to the VoiceAmerica Women channel.

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