Peter Feltham

On cycles of computing revolution, the history of AI, how decentralisation transforms the management of assets and collaboration, universal basic income, how technology changes society, and more.


Jason: I’m here at the Internet of Agreements Conference in London, and I’m sitting here with Peter Feltham who has a long and illustrious background in cutting-edge technologies. He’s seen new technologies emerging since the 1970s and he’s been involved at the cutting edge since that time, and has an incredible perspective and long view of how technology has changed our society and how it will continue to change our society. Thank you very much for speaking with me! Maybe if you want to start off just talking about your background a little bit.

Peter: Okay – thank you and thanks for inviting me! I started off in the mainframe era, what we used to call in the computer industry “big iron”, and, of all things, I started on a Burroughs mainframe.

Jason: That’s the Burroughs calculator that was invented by William Burroughs’ grandfather, right?

Peter: Yeah, but when they did a mainframe computer, it was really a very sophisticated machine, especially what you could get from other competitors such as IBM in terms of the operating system and so on – very nice computer. That turned out to be useful, because not much later I actually got involved with a project during the development of the Police National Computer Unit, which is the UK-wide system ~for PLOD~. Unfortunately, before we had invented the term, I invented a fuzzy logic database to help them pattern match for the detectives when they were looking for clues, trying to see whether the same person always did similar things, what they call modus operandi in police speak. As I said, unfortunately we hadn’t invented the term “fuzzy logic database” at that point ~so nobody got the~ credit for it, but that’s okay – they were happy, that’s the main thing.

From there I went through other interesting projects. As they say in the trade, if you’re in the consultancy business, a year of experience is worth 6-7 years. If you’re working for one particular customer, you drill down deeper in terms of one particular customer, but the consultancy gives you very broad scale inputs in multiple industries. More importantly, when you’re a youngster, different types of people and how they react and interact and what kind of a pain in the backside they can be, etc. – that’s all good experience. You lose a few notches and get a few arrows in your back, but you learn fast. I’ve always been on that side of the business.

Then we had the mini computers, so-called, so the Digital Equipment Corporation, the Sun Microsystems, all those good things, which grew and grew and grew and eventually ended up almost as mainframes as well at the top end. Then we had the personal computer revolution, and after that the mobile telephony revolution where we also did some interesting things. In amongst all of that I was doing AI development way back when, in the days of expert systems especially, and we did some quite nice solutions, sort of mission impossible stuff that other people would run screaming away from.

Jason: How so? What do you mean by that?

Peter: For example, scheduling all the shift workers at Schiphol Airport, which was done by some wizened chap with a pencil behind each ear and an enormous piece of paper and coloured markers and that sort of thing. He was the only person that could do it and he was about to retire, and Schiphol Airport panicked because they didn’t have any means to do as good a job as he did, so we invented a system that did that for them and charged them lots of money for it. [laughs]

It’s a question of being in the right place at the right time, a question of looking back, seeing the patterns emerging, seeing, “You know what? 5-10 years ago I was thinking xyz is likely to happen, and here it is on the table, we’re all using it. That’s kind of interesting.” Also, especially, looking at the differences between what we imagined would be the outcome and the actual outcome that we see in the market today. For example, in today’s world people sign up with Google and Facebook and all that, they don’t have the time to go through the small print, and the result is that those big five companies own us and sell us and our data to all-comers, to monetise our worth for their purposes, not for ours.

Jason: Is that something that you saw coming ahead of time also?

Peter: Very much so, together with Vinay. We’ve had some good midnight debates on that particular subject going back years, because we both come from similar backgrounds in terms of the interest that we have, some of the weird and wonderful people we’ve interacted with, whether it’s spooks, whether it’s businesspeople, whether it’s government people, whatever it might be – we’ve had different but similar trajectories from that point of view. When I first met Vinay, I was at a conference, across a crowded room I looked at him, I walked up to him, stuck out my paw and said, “You’re a mischief maker, and I like that,” and he said, “So are you,” and we’ve been friends ever since! [laughs]

Jason: Very good. When we’re talking about all this data centralisation with the big five companies, do you think that blockchain is potentially a remedy for that?

Peter: It is and it isn’t. Yes, it’s a means of saying who owns what and what stage the ownership goes through through all the stages, whether it’s tracking a blood diamond or a piece of property or an asset of any kind or even an intellectual asset, so I think that’s good. Where it isn’t there yet is as a mainstream means of monetising and paying back people for what they have put in either willingly or unwittingly. That’s an area a lot of us are working in, in that particular scene, and doing some quite interesting work, to think about an ecosystem whereby “Okay, I’ll let you, Mr Giant Corporation, make use of my data up to a point, and that I decide what that point is, and if you do make use of my data, even if you anonymise it and aggregate it,” none of which actually anonymises the data, let’s be honest about these things, “Then you need to pay me for your use of my data, my ideas, my intellectual capital.” If Google wants to read all my emails, as far as I’m concerned a) that’s an insult, and b) they should pay me a lot of money for the privilege, because otherwise I will not use email as a communications channel for important stuff. And it slows everything down, because some of the people I talk to are not very technologically on the ball, and it would be far too great an imposition to ask them to make use of crypto in usual ways and so forth.

I’m reminded of when I worked in Italy in the 80s – which was a lot of fun, I have to say – but in those days the attitude of the bosses was sit the secretary on the boss’s knee and let her do the typing. Because the boss didn’t know how to type, didn’t know how to turn the computer on and thought the CD player was a cup holder, those stories were literally true out there. Because it’s a generational thing, and the youngins coming up in the organisation would sort of shake their head in bewilderment at the old chaps and top guns not understanding, to a large extent, the potentials. A few visionaries did. I worked for a fellow called Carlo De Benedetti, who owned Olivetti, a very interesting businessman, very cultured gentleman, multilingual, taught me a hell of a lot about a lot of things that were very important to me in life going onwards. But he was more well-rounded than most, and he had a great team of people that would keep him up-to-date in terms of the potentials and the meanings of new, emerging technology.

I mean, we were one of the first into the fault-tolerant computing scene for example. I and Carlo went over to Marlborough, Massachusetts on the day when we funded Stratus Computing, which was a fantastic company, wonderful software, and a machine you couldn’t kill with a stick. The demo you’d do is you’d get the database administrator and the chief analyst and all the IT guys in the room, and they’re watching a demo and bla-bla-bla and doing all the marketing, and then I would wander in, wearing a brown coat with slide rules and stuff, and in the top pocket I had the magic key that opens any Stratus computer, I still have it, opened it up and ripped out the CPU board which was still steaming hot, you could hardly hold the bloody thing it was that hot, and then sort of say, “I don’t think this is very well. I’ll just go and check that for you,” and sort of disappear and jaws would drop, and you’d do the same for a disc controller, and then you’d give that to the database administrator and say, “Hang onto that and don’t burn yourself.” [laughter] Very effective demo.

Jason: Interesting. Having seen all these progressive revolutions in computing and now looking at blockchain, do you see repeating patterns from earlier cycles in this computing revolution?

Peter: Kind of. I see the same enthusiasm, I think that’s a common factor and that’s good. I see the same evangelism and evangelists, and that’s good too because you need those guys. I see some very big wide-scale thinkers doing some very deep thinking about this one, blockchain, because it is a little bit different from previous revolutions. It’s not just the fact that Moore’s Law has kicked in and we can do more bang for our buck computing-wise; this is something of a step change, this is something new. By using the distributed power of the blockchain network, we can say, “Yep, we are sure that that data that we’ve recorded on the blockchain at this point in time, under this signature and authorised and encrypted and everything else, at this point in time that was the status and no one can say it wasn’t, because millions of computers around the globe have the same status.” It’s not the centralised “Oh, we’ve decided in our mainframe this is the truth,” because life isn’t like that. Actually, we’re a network society, whether big business likes to admit it or not, and blockchain fits into the network society.

Read what Jon Husband and ~Harold Josh~ have been writing about wirearchy for years and years. All these things are starting to in a way converge and in a way diverge, converge in the sense of there’s a technological platform emerging that we’re not yet completely agreed upon – we’re working on it, and there are many ways we can do this – and it’s diverging in the sense of incredibly useful offers, ecosystems, new ways of looking at the world, new ways perhaps of monetising, to everyone’s benefit, the assets in that new world, and I think that’s incredibly exciting. It’s almost like a potential for rebooting society and getting away from command & control as the dominant species of government, of the military… The military industrial complex, big business works under command & control structure “We delegate.” Yeah, right, up to a point.

But in this new networked world, if you’ve got a colleague… This used to happen to me in Rio de Janeiro. In Olivetti I had a colleague who was in Rio de Janeiro who was on our X.400 worldwide network, where we were developing office tools that we still haven’t got close to yet, and I knew that this guy was a really good expert on document linkage, like hypertext and all that stuff. If I wanted to, I could just say, “Right, save to Roberto’s workbench,” which happened to be in Rio de Janeiro and I was in Ivrea, Italy, and it would go on an optical disc as it happens sitting beside his workbench, with a flag waving, saying, “Peter wants you to take a look at this and come up with [~2, 15:22].” I didn’t have to say any of that, the system would do that for me, because ~I’d fire a status~ across the network and get it stored remotely 10,000 miles away, and that was what we were used to. So then when the Internet appeared, and we went to Ethernet rather than ISO-OSI protocols, Stack and all that, we kind of lost that argument, but we did the same thing using Ethernet. We didn’t mind what the protocol was; the actual idea and the technology was so groundbreaking that it worked no matter which platform you put it on.

There’s a funny corollary to that story: I went to my office in the ex-lunatic asylum in Cambridge, UK, which was the venue for Olivetti Research building in the UK, because I worked for Olivetti Research, officially, and I went to my desk, expecting the computer to jump about and put my work status as it was in Italy that I’d left a few hours previously when I flew over, because our systems did all that… There was a chap sitting at my desk and he looked vaguely familiar, I knew his face but I’m terrible with faces and names, so I kind of stumbled in and said, “Hi, I’m Peter,” and he said, “Oh, it’s your office. I’m Bob Metcalfe.” He was one of the guys that invented Ethernet, he’s one of my heroes, and I could not remember the face to the name because my memory doesn’t work that way! How embarrassing was that? He said, “Do you want me to move?” and I said, “Good lord, no! Please, make yourself at home!” It’s just wonderful how so many different divergent minds working in different disciplines, the Cambridge Ring chaps in Cambridge and the Ethernet fellows and the Stanford University and DARPA and all that stuff, all kind of converged and we all said, “Yeah, we need a way to communicate better than we have been.” That was the beginnings really of getting everybody wired and connected, and it’s remarkable, looking back, how all those things did have their moment in time and they suddenly became important to everybody.

Jason: And you think that’s happening right now with blockchain?

Peter: Yes, with blockchain – we’re on the brink of the next revolution. Now, either the government tries to surveil it out of existence, which is their usual…

Jason: Do you think that’s possible? Because it’s decentralised.

Peter: No, it isn’t, but they will make a damn good try. Either they do that, or, if they’re smart, they’ll get behind it and say, “You know what? This is something of interest to society in the large, we’re a big player in that society, so let us work together with everybody to make this happen as a benefit to us all,” and if they do that, then we can go places.

Jason: Do you think that’s likely to happen?

Peter: I think there are some glimmerings. But if not, we will set Vinay on them. I was just talking to Vinay earlier: we’re going to have some public arguments, him and me, and argue both ends of the case and see whether we can start a fight in the audience or something interesting, you know, being mischief makers. But the point is that people have passions: if they’re passionate about something, then that is a very important factor and that actually helps move things along much, much quicker than if everyone goes, “Oh yeah, that’s jolly good. Academically I’m very interested in that but I’m not actually going to do anything about it.” When they start jumping up and down with their tails wagging, or not, that is the moment that it actually does move, and I think that’s the point that we’re approaching.

Jason: Interesting. Looking at blockchain, what do you think are the biggest ways that blockchain is going to change society?

Peter: Asset management and ecosystems for doing that. I didn’t define what I mean by assets, but it could be anything: it could be a ship, it could be the contents in the containers of that ship, as well as the containers, or it could be the owners of the ship… There’s loads of assets out there doing things, or should be doing things, and I think it’s important that we really get a good feeling for how all this fits together, so that’s one. Another one is monetising the value of the various assets involved, which might belong to an individual, might belong to a corporation or might belong to a charity, not-for-profit you’d say in America… Those things risk getting sort of cast aside and swept aside by the waves, if you’re not careful. So being able to actually say, “No, that belongs to that chap over there and he needs to be paid for this use of that thing,” I think is interesting, and I think that brings up a whole new dimension.

I think for the rural economies, this is a way perhaps for them to become part of this modern life. They’re not very well served at the moment, whether it’s public transportation, which has been cut and cut and cut… Where one of my cousins lives, I think there’s one bus a week that serves that village, which is not right, and there are some old people living there and they’re basically stuck. And they don’t really get on terribly well with the Internet, because no one has actually got the patience to sit down with an old person who has never used a computer before, even though it can be fairly easy to do from a tablet, and explain to them what benefits they can have. “By the way, if you need to do some shopping, you can actually do that in a safe way if you do this, that and that. Or if you want to keep in touch with your relatives in Australia that you kind of lost contact with, apart from a Christmas card, why don’t you call them up on Skype or whatever?” There’s a friend of mine in the North of England who is doing some great work with the seniors, getting the unwired into a place where they can actually use the Internet for what they need it for. Wonderful John Powen, lovely guy, he’s up in the North East. He’s doing some tremendous work, going to old people’s homes and holding little sessions with them where they all get hands-on with an iPad or an Android tablet or a phone or whatever it might be, and, before you know it, old Gladys in the corner, who is always the bossy one, kind of takes control, learns more than anybody else and becomes the local guru, you know. And that’s great, that’s her job. [laughs]

Jason: How would blockchain serve those communities?

Peter: I think it’s going to become so ubiquitous to us all in terms of its effects that they won’t be able to avoid it. But then again, blockchain is not necessarily going to be waved in their face as a flag, saying, “You are now using blockchain,” I don’t think that’s going to happen; I think it will be in the background. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” as Arthur C. Clarke said, and that’s exactly right. You see some of this stuff going on and you think, “Wow, that is superb!” It is really quite extraordinary what you can do nowadays. I mean, the things that we are recording on, professional-grade equipment not that many years ago is now regarded as, “Well, it’s quite good consumer equipment. But if you really want to pay some money, let us sell you this super-duper thing,” and god knows how many thousands that would be. But hey, it’s there if you need it, and if you’re making effectively movies using video technology, as a lot of them do these days, and green screen and all the rest of it, then go for it. A friend of mine in Georgia has one office wall set as green screen so he can do whatever the hell he wants in there, project himself as part of some scene or be at a conference that he’s not at or whatever he wants to do… It’s just wonderful. We didn’t have that technology 5-6 years ago, nothing like it.

Jason: Yes, yeah. You mentioned the difference between decentralised and command & control. I’m wondering, we’re talking about the blockchain rolling out into society, if there are going to be not just technological but social ramifications, if it’s going to reorganise how we… Like you said, it’s going to reorganise how we interact with each other as a society potentially.

Peter: Very much so, especially when we get ecosystems appearing that actually make sense to people doing things. If an entrepreneur, a startup creates an ecosystem that monetises and gives value back for what people have put in on subject xyz, and you get somebody out there in consumer land or business land or government land that wants to do something involving those assets, then I think blockchain, especially as part of an ecosystem, is a very, very interesting collision of two dynamics. Because you get the benefits of large scale and growth and all those good things on a controlled environment which, admittedly, we’re inventing as we go along. But there’s some very, very good minds involved in this that probably, fingers crossed, don’t tend to make huge mistakes, and if they do, they’re pretty good at rewinding and going backwards and then forwards again.

So I have a lot of faith that actually we’re at a pivotal societal ecosystem asset valuation type point, and either we all retreat into our caves, because everything else goes down the tubes, or we take advantage of these new dynamics and invent newer ways to collaborate with each other, as citizens, as members of tribes, however we define that. I’m a member of an artist colony based in Lewes and Sussex, with some very interesting life forms down there, and that tribe is very dear to me and I collaborate well within it. But I’m also a member of professional tribes relating to computing or future of society or whatever it might be, and I can happily collaborate in those as well, because the rules of engagement are slightly different, the benefits of so doing are slightly different. Some might be a bit of evangelism on my part, some might be a bit of monetary, hopefully, gain on my part.

There’s a variety of reasons people do things, and we should be flexible enough to a) admit that, and b) make use of that, because motivation is a complex subject, as we know. You can learn an awful lot from behavioural theory and all that stuff, which I studied years back because it just a) appealed to me, being a social animal, and b) I thought, “You know what? This is going to be very useful to me career-wise, understanding a little bit better how teams work, what team dynamics occur, how the big boss feels about his life, and he’s actually probably quite scared about some aspects of it. But without sticking his nose in that, let’s see if we can work within that?” etc., etc.. There’s loads of benefits from actually studying related topics that people say, “Why are you reading that book?” or “Why are you studying that thing?” through an open university course or whatever might be, and you can just be like Yoda and say, “It’s important.” “Important is it?” [laughter]

Jason: Excellent. Getting back to the idea of repeating patterns you’ve seen from earlier cycles, what do you think the biggest challenges are going to be of big adoption of the blockchain? We’ve touched on government surveillance and whether or not that’s possible, and we’ve talked about maybe the potential for people to retreat into their caves instead of fully embrace these new technologies. What do you think the big challenges are going to be going forward?

Peter: Societally, I think we need to beware the “us and them” syndrome, whereby there are some people that get it and are part of it and are happy with it and are using it and all that, and then there are others who feel totally excluded from it, confused, fearful and so forth. We need to find ways to bridge those gaps. As I said, there’s people like our friend John Powen up North helping senior citizens to actually feel comfortable enough with the Internet as it is today to make use of it for their purposes – keeping in touch with family and friends, buying things from Amazon – we can get them that far, and I think that’s very positive.

Where it all gets a bit interesting is you take the big retailing efforts like Amazon and the like that are killing the small specialist shops that used to be in the high street everywhere. Although there’s a lot of choice for the consumer, societally there are some secondary effects of that. I’ve been all over my local area trying to find some coffee pots for one of my coffee machines, because I run on espresso, and I can’t find it. Why? Because I’m in a minority of people that buy for that coffee pot platform, so the supermarkets have said, “Go away.” I used to be able to go to Tesco, there’s big Tescos near me, and it’s not on the shelves anymore. So I’m forced to actually purchase them from Amazon, whether I want to or not, because I have a great idea of shop local and support your local people; whether I want to or not, I’m forced to go down the Amazon route, because otherwise I can’t get hold of this life-sustaining thing that I need to run on.

I think that is something we need to look at, re-evaluate, come up with some better ideas for that, and I’m seeing glimmerings of it. Where I live, the local traders have all got together and done a sort of Internety local businesses association on a fairly informal basis. It’s not organised through the Chamber of Commerce or anything like that; it’s just the local guys saying, “We feel a bit excluded, people can’t find out enough about us or even where we are or if we exist. Let’s do something about that,” and I think that’s very good.

Jason: You really touched on such a central and critical point, which is that as this technology speeds up, there’s going to be such an increasingly huge gap between people who have adopted and profited from these technologies and those who feel excluded, and I’m thinking particularly of automation and AI and self-driving cars. I think that in the next 5-10 years there’s going to be such a profound gap between those who are able to profit from those technologies and for whom those technologies appear utopian, and for those who feel completely excluded and left out, which I think, unfortunately, is going to be the majority of people.

Peter: Well, that’s where we disagree.

Jason: Okay, alright. How do you see it?

Peter: I think there are some aspects to that that are valid, but I don’t really think that robots are going to take away as many jobs as people fear and the media hype promotes, because new jobs will appear. One interesting data point for you: in India they’re very short of workforce people for various fairly low-level industries. So what are they doing? They’re stimulating the females to get back into the job applicant pool, to very great effect, they’re actually growing faster as a result of that than anything. And by the way, if you take a male and a female in general and you give some money to the female, she’ll be better at looking after it than the male, that’s well-proven by all sorts of microloans and all that business.

I’m a great believer that we need to think about these things in new ways. Yes, there will be some job losses, but there will also be new jobs that appear. Where is the army of people smart enough to actually go through the training of these AIs and to help the AIs to learn in the most effective means possible? You don’t just throw data at an AI; you need knowledge engineers, you need domain experts as we used to call them, people that understand the business of flying or driving or whatever it might be, so there’s going to be an enormous demand at that level. So all this black and white “Robots are going to remove 80% of our jobs…” I don’t buy it, not yet, not yet. I think we might be many years away from that, and that gives us time to figure out better solutions.

Jason: Okay, and maybe better social models.

Peter: Yeah, definitely. Because it’s not just a technology problem, this is the big mistake that a lot of people make; it’s sociology, it’s society… It’s: what do we want to be? How do we want to live? The Dutch years and years ago, when I lived in Belgium, they had a kind of referendum to say, “What do we want Holland to be?” and distilled down into the basics, they came up with one very interesting and rather good conclusion, which is: we do not want to keep pedalling faster and faster on the same treadmill to achieve our goals. We want quality of life. We’re quite happy to work hard to make our earnings, but there is a point when the life-work balance comes into play, when things in the environment can hurt us. We don’t want to be on that treadmill,” and that is the fundamental decision the Dutch came to, and I’m going back 25-30 years on that. I think that was a very interesting sociological thing.

Nowadays you see things like the ~Borgman Initiative~, which is palliative care in nursing which is taken away from the central bodies and it’s gone down locally to the local clinic and staffed in a completely different way, with a different paradigm, and is a very, very nice model of a difficult area of healthcare, far better than the institutionalised rubbish that everyone else does, and that’s making some traction as well and many countries are starting to become interested in it. They tend to pay lip service to it and do lots of studies and write consultant report… “On the scales, two kilos: yep, that’s a good consultant report.” I would rather that they actually got around to doing something about it and doing some trials and comparing apples and oranges, the old way of doing things in the health service and this new way with a local community society dimension to the care that we provide to people that are really in trouble and need it, and I think that is a far better way to go about things. I’m very much into that side of it. And by the way, that’s another set of jobs that emerges. [laughs]

Jason: That sparked an idea, when you said, “We need to ask who we want to be.” For the longest time, certainly since the Industrial Revolution, people have been put on a treadmill where they have to work so much that they never really get to answer that question. I think certainly for young people, only a few people really ever get to fully ask and then fully answer that question, where everyone else for the most part is kept busy working. So maybe the idea of AI and automation and maybe even basic income will give us enough breathing room where we can actually ask ourselves that question as a species, instead of being caught in the treadmill of labour. Obviously this has been the dream for decades, that our devices will liberate us from labour, although it never seems to quite work out like that.

Peter: You get one other effect from that, Jason, which is what about the artists and the dreamers and the makers, people that make things, recycling driftwood into beautiful items of furniture or whatever it might be? Those people, unless supported somehow, never have enough money to live on that. If you’ve got UBI, you can take a group of people that would otherwise be on the treadmill and say to them, “We will pay everybody an adequate but not amazing amount of income so at least you’ve got the basics covered.” If that means that you want to spend your time being a creative artist, being a writer, being a sculptor, being a painter, musician, playwright, that’s fine, because at least you’ve got some way to live, you’ve got just enough money to live on without having to worry about it, unless you go mad with the money that you have, but that’s your problem, as it is for everybody. I think that actually is a better balanced way of life. Then you get alt-right saying, “It’s socialism,” and all that other rubbish. Well, if you want to label it that way, you go right ahead. By the way, we don’t take a lot of notice of what you guys are trying to do. We just hope you basically crash and burn, leave us alone, lick your wounds and let everyone get on with life again, but we don’t buy where you’re going and all the so-called policy decisions you’re making. But hey, that’s another whole story.

Jason: I think anyone of a naturally artistic or even a spiritual bent would jump at that chance to take basic income, to be able to spend their life in the imagination and in the creative faculties. I think that that would be an amazing situation for a lot of people who are denied the ability to fully express themselves because they have to be making ends meet.

Peter: Yeah, I totally agree. Take kids on the autistic spectrum: a lot of them are actually very gifted, either mathematically or musically. My friend JV, who is a world-class percussionist, multi-instrumentalist in Geneva, discovered this, because his partner at the time had an autistic child, with all the social difficulties that that can imply. But JV was very good, being a musician and being a percussionist he did very interesting things. The child and he would make shakers, where they would get a stick and some Coca-Cola bottle tops and a few nails and make a shaker stick, and the kid was happy. Then the friends of this child started asking, “JV, in the summer holidays, could you do a course on percussion?” and he said, “Okay,” so he did, and lots of kids turned up and they all rehearsed everything and they started getting into it and they’ve produced some music with JV and they’ve put on a concert.

One night in Geneva, right by the fountain, there was this wonderful concert with the great and the good of Geneva society, the ladies wearing furs and all that, and did this fantastic thing. It brought tears to my eyes, not just the fact they did such a wonderful job, the kids, it was a marvellous concert, but actually what brought me to tears was seeing the parents of these children, all these elegant ladies and gentlemen fluttering up them and saying, “Your children are so talented!” Probably the first time anybody said that to them. That broke my heart, totally. As a result, he does it every year now, and it’s become quite a famous way to keep the kids amused, whether you’re autistic or whether you’re not autistic, doesn’t matter – all are welcome. His day job is he works for [~2, 42:50] as their musical director in the studios when they’re rehearsing. So he’s a serious musician, but he gives of himself and his time to do this, because he believes it’s the right thing to do at the society level, and I love that.

Jason: It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful. That’s very hopeful note, and I’m glad to get such a hopeful view of the future.

Peter: More hopeful than you’d think! [laughs]

Jason: Yeah, that’s very inspiring. So many people are concerned about the implications of I think particularly AI and automation. I feel like people are much, much more hopeful about blockchain because it has that inherent decentralisation. But it’s very inspiring to hear such a hopeful view.

Peter: Now let’s combine the two and see what happens!

Jason: What do you think is going to happen there?

Peter: New horizons, and I’m working on it!

Jason: Anything you can say?

Peter: Not at the moment.

Jason: That’s the real big show, when that starts. Peter, thank you so much for speaking to me!

Peter: Thank you Jason, it’s been a pleasure! I hope it was useful.

Jason: It was great – thank you again!

Peter: Alright my friend – cheers!