Memia 2021.46: Tech island utopia?🏝️🕵️// no-queue-r code🔳// cool desert❄️🏜️// 5G mining⚒️📶// haptic happiness👋// redefine meat🥩

All join in with the metachorus

Kia ora,

Welcome to this week’s Memia newsletter - scanning across emerging tech and the unfolding future, from Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • A special haere mai to a large number of new subscribers this week … thanks for being here! (What took you so long?😜) Remember to follow Memia on Twitter and LinkedIn for regular links / updates as well.

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Weekly roundup

🦠The most clicked link in the last issue (7% of openers ) was the wonderful NumNumCat Tiktok Duet.

Also in the last week:

“The international system is moving inextricably towards a greater period of instability and uncertainty...When we combine the sheer number of interconnections, activity, complexity, and New Zealand’s over-dependence on international connections/logistics chains to drive its economy, all of this adds up to a recipe for more global shocks on a more regular basis in the years to come. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the confluence of negative trends, great power competition, and more predictable and unpredictable global events or developments...could occur and intersect to threaten our seemingly secure and stable position down here and challenge our growth-led way of life.”

  • As the country gears up for the just-announced nationwide 3 December “traffic lights” system go-live, there are (obviously) lots of uncertainties about how the vaccine passes will operate in daily life. After day 1 overload issues, the My Vaccine Pass system seems to be working smoothly, I was able to download mine into my GPay wallet, took all of 1 minute.

[Weak] signals

After a deluge of high profile tech developments over the last few months, this week has felt quieter than usual. Calm before the storm maybe…

🏝️🕵️Tech island utopia?

Rest Of World is a refreshing journalistic voice, “documenting what happens when technology, culture and the human experience collide, in places that are typically overlooked and underestimated”.

This article delves deeply into the modern society petridish that is the technophilic island nation of Singapore:

“[The] government’s ambitions have grown since [2014]. Under a “30 by 2030” initiative, vertical and smart farming will produce 30% of the country’s nutritional needs by the end of the decade, up from the current 10%. More than 100,000 “smart lamp posts” will monitor traffic and environmental conditions (and people). In a rapidly ageing population, robots will help the elderly stay fit, healthy and upright. A nationwide biometric database will speed up processing at the already snappy border points, and improve security at banks and public services.”

However, the darker side of this story is a growing imbalance between ubiquitous state surveillance and individual privacy.

🔳No-queue-r code

  • New tech adoption is happening in the UK hospitality sector in response to staff shortages and pandemic restrictions. Customers at cafes and restaurants can now avoid queuing, order and pay from their table just by scanning a QR code.

    • I remember having exactly this software startup idea around 10 years ago when QR codes — “2D barcodes” as we called them then — were just starting to get consumer device support and it seemed a blindingly obvious use case… but at the time no hospo businesses were interested in being early adopters…(as usual, way too far ahead of the market…)

    • Another clear sign that the pandemic is forcing digital innovation onto otherwise change-resistant sectors. Expect apps like this to roll out across all Aotearoa hospo in the next year…

❄️🏜️Cool desert

  • Saudi Arabian researchers have developed a NESCOD (“No Electricity and Sustainable Cooling-On-Demand”) system which runs only on sunlight, a potential replacement for air conditioners and electric fans which account for 10% of the world’s electricity consumption (a number expected to grow as average global temperatures rise).

⚒️📶5G mining

👋Haptic happiness

  • I gave a shout out to Aotearoa MoCap hardware startup StretchSense a few weeks ago… meanwhile Meta’s new haptic glove prototype points to even more realistic VR experiences:

🏗️More charter cities

🥽More metaverse $millions

🥩Redefine meat

“the resemblance to meat, in the grain, the way it pulls apart, the mouthfeel, is absolutely uncanny.”

Mind expanding

A couple of longer form think-pieces to share this week:

  • Futurist author and former Managing Editor of Wired Magazine Peter Leyden was pretty spot on with his predictions for 2000-2020 back in 1997:

  • Earlier this year, Leyden presented to The Long Now Foundation, making the case that we are in the early stages of another tech and economic boom in the next 30 years that will help solve our era’s biggest challenges like climate change, and lead to a societal transformation that will be understood as civilizational change by the year 2100. Uplifting.

“The tech giants are paying millions of dollars to the operators of clickbait pages, bankrolling the deterioration of information ecosystems around the world… MIT Technology Review has found that the problem is now happening on a global scale. Thousands of clickbait operations have sprung up, primarily in countries where Facebook’s payouts provide a larger and steadier source of income than other forms of available work. Some are teams of people while others are individuals, abetted by cheap automated tools that help them create and distribute articles at mass scale. They’re no longer limited to publishing articles, either. They push out Live videos and run Instagram accounts, which they monetize directly or use to drive more traffic to their sites.”


“Steven reimagines better businesses, with keen insights, practical ideas and deep humanity.”

Shamubeel Eaqub, Sense Partners

(Free to download from the link above).

Hidden gems

Bubbling up into my feeds this week:

How fragile we are

  • Aotearoa’s national security dependency upon a very small number of undersea fibre optic cables is laid out in plain sight in this hypnotic animation (with the earth spinning backwards for some reason):

Got my Big D

  • My top pop song of 2021 by far from UK indie twosome Wet Leg. Check out the attitude on this:

All join in with the metachorus

  • 🤯Final profound words this week go to Kelly Pendergrast:

That’s a wrap for yet another week…not long until Summer holidays! As always 🙏🙏🙏 to everyone who reaches out and gets in touch with thoughts, feedback, links, appreciated!

Ngā mihi