Tech Lives: David A Stewart
T3: And, obviously, I can see you have got an iPad. Do you have apps that you use on a daily basis?
DAS: Oh, yeah. Hang on, I can’t see with these sunglasses – th’y're polarised so I can’t see my screen properly. Well, I use all sorts of crazy sh*t for music. I was making a tune on this earlier today, so, you know [plays a beat on Garageband].
T3: How much has this changed the way you compose?
DAS: Well, it means I can compose on the plane; you go on Garageband on the plane.
T3: Do you use apps for music, too?
DAS: Oh, yeah. I use all sorts of crazy sh*t for music. I was making a tune on this earlier today, so, you know [plays a beat on his iPad]. I can be on the plane and use GarageBand. Did you hear the Gorillaz thing?
T3: The album they did on iPad?
DAS: Yeah, they used MorphWiz, it lets you sit with earphones on and write a song and then you can play it into a huge system.
T3: Are you into social networking?
DAS: Ooh, yeah. Me and some pals have created something that’s going to alter a lot of stuff about the web. I wrote a book called The Business Playground, a business book, and it’s in ten languages right now.
[Brings up app on iPad]. So this is my book, as an app, you see. It has games in it; these are games. You can play the CEO game or whatever [background music plays]. You have to pick a character – that’s me, that’s you [starts to play game]. You have to hop – we invented something else. But then, you see, you spin this [roulette wheel sound]. You have a certain amount of time to pitch things to the CEO, so you have to think…
But in that app, the most amazing thing is this: study a page, and highlight a word, any word you want, and it’ll build a webpage about the word, usually in seven seconds. I can then publish that webpage and if anybody buys anything from it, I get paid. Every word in my book, I can get paid for – not from the book, but people buying things inspired by the book.
T3: Is that a new thing?
DAS: It’s a revolutionary thing, yeah. Nobody’s ever done everything like that before and it’s only in my book. I can make it work with any word... What I’m showing you is actually like a mini-Facebook environment. This is total revolutionary thing. That’s an economy, laid over the top of the web. So I suppose that’s the best gadget. I co-own it.
T3: Okay, here are the big ones: which games console is best?
DAS: PS3! But I have high hopes for PS4 having a PS Eye-type device linked to a smartphone and other stuff that’ll make kids and parents go bonkers for different reasons.
T3: Can you remember the first person that you decided to follow on Twitter?
DAS: The first person I tried to follow? Yes, it was – oh, what’s his name again? I’ve known him for years and years and years, he’s a comedian, he’s a playwright, he writes books, he’s an actor. Stephen Fry. He was the one who told me about it.
T3: And are you an iPhone or Android man?
DAS: Neither. I use an iPad and a very old BlackBerry. Pretty cool, right?
T3: What gadget would you invent if you could?
DAS: Well, it’s coming, actually. They’re gonna make a drink – it’s not exactly a gadget – where you can just, like, drink this one drink and you’re sober. I get Scientific American all the time, and New Scientist, and they’re bringing it out. It’s gonna stop a lot of traffic accidents. Cos it’s a big problem at the moment, with binge drinking, and people get killed in car crashes. And the simple thing, rather than breathalyse people, is drink that, wait for ten minutes and it just all wears off.
T3: It’s a brilliant idea.
DAS: But it’s not really a piece of technology. I’m very interested in nanotechnology – tiny robots that can go inside your body. They already have ones to monitor your heart and all of that stuff. But I think it’s going to get more and more refined and detect things very early on, so that people don’t get into years of illness when it could have been avoided very early on.