Howells, a computer engineer, started his garbage disposal mission in 2013 when, while cleaning his office, he accidentally dumped a hard drive containing all of the 8000 Bitcoins security tokens. At the current price, it would be worth between 170 and 180 million euros today.
Howells has asked the Newport City Council for permission several times over the years to graze the local landfill. The trash bag with the precious disc was going to be thrown there. But the municipality refused to enter it every time: too expensive, too stressful, and too bad for the environment.
Now the 37-year-old Welshman has a new plan that he hopes to reconcile with the municipality. A total of 100,000 tons of waste must be excavated in parts by a large robotic arm. This dirt is dumped onto an adjacent plot on a conveyor belt, where other specially trained artificial intelligence (AI) robot arms filter promising bits of debris from the masses.
This first selection is then subjected to a second scrutiny by both robots and humans.
In order not to give any hijackers a chance on the coast, the search is secured – yes – robotic dogs from Boston Dynamics. Their dog Spot can be seen in action in the photos in this tweet:
The unfortunate Howells has since found a funder willing to invest €11 million in the technology and programmers needed for the research. Among the experts he wants to hire are environmental experts, in order to reduce the environmental impact as much as possible. The project will take about a year to complete.
If the hard drive is found, it is by no means certain whether the data on it can still be recovered. If so, Howell promises that some of the money will benefit the Newport community. He wants to create a data mining center, the profit of which will go to the community. He is also thinking of facilities that generate green energy, such as wind turbines.
Meanwhile, the municipality doesn’t seem inclined to give him what he wants. “We must do our homework,” a municipal spokesman told the British. The Guardian newspaper“And part of that is managing the environmental risks to the population. Howells’ proposal poses a significant environmental risk, and we can’t accept that for the sake of our job.”
“Infuriatingly humble social media buff. Twitter advocate. Writer. Internet nerd.”