Sleepovers at the Office

Projects Ideas to Bring up at Slumber Parties

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Sleepovers at the Office is my weekly newsletter. It's a collection of tech-related project ideas that I send out every Monday.

There are many reasons why I wanted to start this newsletter, but the largest one is that I want to see these ideas come true. I can't work on every project, but I hope someone reading this can.

Why is it called Sleepovers at the Office?

When the Coronavirus came, the CEO at Lumina graciously allowed me to stay at the office to shelter from the disease. I was without words when they offered me a place to stay, so I decided to name my newsletter after what happened.

Here's what an email might look like:

Technology to Divert Hurricanes

Sleepovers at the Office

• Idea #98

Hurricanes suck.

What if we could redirect them so that instead of hitting Florida, they remain in the Atlantic before dying off?

Here's how we might do it:

  1. Predict where/when a storm will form.
  2. Send a fleet of 50 planes near that area. They will create clouds to reflect sunlight and change the temperature of the water below.
  3. This change in atmosphere will deviate the storm from its initial path, saving billions of dollars of damage.

The hard part is telling the planes where to fly. We'll need the following:

  • A model to predict the storm's future trajectory given the current measurements.
  • A reinforcement learning algorithm (Monte Carlo tree search?) to determine the best locations to “remove heat” and redirect the storm away from people.

It'd be breathtaking to see aircraft carriers launch hundreds of jets to redirect the tempest.

We may not even need planes to fly; autonomous drones could be enough. Since this is a control problem, we'll need extremely responsive agents, i.e. computers.

On the other hand, this technology may encourage more development in hazardous areas because people may falsely assume that this technology will work all the time. There are also ethical concerns. If you can redirect storms away from people, you certainly have the means to direct them toward people…

Concerns aside, I need to find out if this fiction is the future. I hope it is because it feels like a fun problem to solve. I wish you the best of weeks!

- Curtis

Thank you so much for reading that and I hope to land in your inbox!