Snowcrash the book: Explore the Metaverse origin story

This week marks four years since the blog started and 20 plus years since I read a book that anticipated the human and citizenship dimensions of an immersive, online, digital and connected world hosting rival frameworks commanding human loyalty and shaping identity that still interest me today.

From the moment Hiro Protagonist crashed into a pool, mid pizza delivery ‘Snowcrash’ captured my attention and held it, in full defiance of my usual disinterest in sci-fi in ways not seen since ‘Star Trek Next Gen’.

If you’re a fan of the book, come visit the book club at the Metaverse store on 11 August, 318 Little Collins Street, Melbourne,

Register here

Monitoring the Moratorium on use of Genetic Test Results in Life Insurance

One for the ages: Genetic Discrimination in Australia.

Join Deakin Science and Margaret Otolowski (UTas) exploring the use of genetic test results in life insurance, and the moratorium introduced by the life insurance industry peak body, the Financial Services Council (FSC) in July 2019 and how this came about.

Tuesday October 19  10:00 AM AEDT

Register here

In Conversation with Annabel Crabb | Counterpoint: Women in Government

AusInnovation hosts the inimitable Annabel Crabb free and in person.

Join in for ‘Counterpoint: Women in Government’.

Click here for tickets and details.

Registration essential.

Date: Thu, Sep 23 2021

• 4:00 PM AEST

Monash Uni presents ‘What next for robots in public space?’

This week’s theme is public use of technology.

First it was IoT and emergencies in Lake Nona, with Verizon, now it’s Melbourne with “What next for robots in public space?”

Wed, Jun 4:00 PM AEST

Location: Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Details and bookings on Eventbrite here

Can’t make the gig? Find something else to do.

Free afterwork events covering everything from AI to Zoom in the Tec and The City Calendar.

Is the future of funerals virtual?

This week I attended my first online funeral, and it went very well, considering only the other day I shared a post about online funeral etiquette.

Livecast on Facebook, by my mentor in technology and optimism*, and family, the funeral is available in replay on YouTube for his dear Mother, Lilia.

The moral of the story is that a right of passage doesn’t have to adhere to convention.

Indeed, in many ways an unconventional approach is exactly what I think Lilia Perton needed to do her justice.

Not for the first time during this pandemic, though, I admit to being more than a little bit surprised that the potential for technology to enhance and disrupt an industry that’s been driven for decades by economic rationalisation, by consolidation, restructuring and cost savings, hasn’t meant that the remaining homes (why are they called ‘homes’?) aren’t already delivering services that forgo travel, and allow more people from disparate locations to ‘be’ at the funeral virtually, without the real estate and labour overheads to deliver that experience on the supply side, and the travel and organising that it takes to be on site on the receiving.

My own Grandmother, who died in 2016, wanted to be “put in a cardboard box” and insisted that she not be physically, personally present at the funeral service.

Whilst the funeral director didn’t question her personally not wanting to be present, that didn’t stop him traumatising me with a detailed explanation concerning what happens to cardboard that has been left in the fridge (meaningful eyebrow raise) when you set the combination of damp cardboard and dead weight onto a set of industrial castors that pinch at the bottom of it repeatedly during its short trajectory into a furnace.

Who knows if Grandma did or didn’t get the same casket as Grandpa? I can only hope that the sales targets for her service were met that day, as it seemed to me that they were more important than avoiding any additional personal trauma.

A quick Google search suggests I’m not alone in considering the possibilities

Article one on the legal treatment of virtual tributes and are they digital equivalents to physical graves enabling the Electronic Transactions Act to apply.

Article two from SBS on how a virtual graveyard in Hong Kong is sitting with Chinese tradition of visiting grave sites once a year.

For myself, I will be making arrangements though RIV or its Australian equivalent, to be pressed into an LP record, with the intention of shelving me and my musical taste in the State Library for eternity.

Being agonistic and pro-technology, it would make me perfectly happy for my entire service consist of someone playing my record in the Domed Reading Room (both sides) and this to be cast on the web.

So far, the playlist includes ‘Real Life – Send Me an Angel‘ because well, duh, really.

Also Thompson Twins ‘Lay Your Hands,’ because it’s the song that inspired the idea in the first place.

Chicane’s ‘Saltwater‘ (again – obvs.); Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself‘ (the Girlie show version); The Waterboys ‘Whole of the Moon’; ‘Wonderful Life’ by Black; Debra Conway with Do Re Mi – Man Overboard and also on the title track to ABC TV’s Sweet and Sour series; and ‘What About Me?’ by Moving Pictures, so that the good version is the one that is preserved.

The rest of it is a work in progress, but it’s likely Duran Duran is going to have to be in the mix, (probably this one), as I’m insisting on being cremated with all of my DD music: CDs, records, DVDs, VHS, hard drives and cassettes because there is no more fitting epitaph for what it was like to be Gen X, than owning the same music in multiple formats.

Working title: I am a DJ I am what I play.

All of that aside: will we see a ‘virtual only’ service on the menu in the future?  I would say so. But a few million Australians are doing a pretty good job of proving me wrong in virtually every other sphere, and that might mean I’m way off base.

* I have my copy of ‘The Optimism Bias’ by Tali Sharot open on the desk as I type at the very page discussing optimism and how it manifests in people’s mindset during times of economic crisis. It isn’t pleasant to see how predictable we are as humans but at least I can account for my hope that things will not be too bad, at the same time as I think that this result is highly unlikely.

#startupidea #virtualonlyfuneral #RIV #RIVAustralia

Digital Government: Trick or Treat?

Day four of five days of free PD for bored directors.

29 September – from the model pupil to the troubled child, it’s a look at government services of the future.

What’s the sovereign risk profile and can you relate?

Register on Eventbrite or click here.

Up-close and Personal: Data Privacy Management

Day three of five of free PD for bored directors.

6 October – get the low down on data governance.

Check out this Meetup with Melbourne Data Governance Meetup Group

A Start-up is born.

Found this story in The Guardian online. Two guys meet at a party and get chatting. The next thing you know, a start up is born, upcycling takeaway coffee cups into bitumen for roads.

And whaddya know? It performs better than the existing competing product using new, raw materials.


Australians finally doing recyling right and putting the pieces in place at home, that mean we all ‘do the right thing‘.

How to start a Tech Startup as a non-technical person?

Surprise Saturday.

1 August. Ylemer. Hard to pronounce, cool people going where few incubators have gone before. Register here.