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Accelerating Uncertainty


Brett King & Robert Tercek

What happens when society is subject to accelerated change? Now we know: uncertainty and widespread panic. March 2023 was the month when the old systems began to collapse and entirely new systems were launched. In one month we experienced a viral run on banks, the launch of AI superpowers, and the exposure of systematic deceit at a major news publisher. In this special edition of The Futurists, co-hosts Brett King and Robert Tercek review current events through the lens of the future. Who profits from uncertainty and confusion? How do the merchants of doubt leverage social and traditional media to undermine faith in conventional norms and governance?  Can the trustworthiness of machine learning systems be certified? By whom?  Discussion topics include: democracy versus autocracy in a time of rapid change; the business of social inequality; the failure of Silicon Valley Bank; lies and manipulation at Fox News; the false dichotomy of political parties;  the inaccuracy of ChatGPT; the advent of robotic corporations in the clouds; why it’s more profitable to break consensus than to build it; and the greater chaos is yet to come.

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this week on the futurists Brett and Rob get into the news what I think that we
need to do is that we need to have a biological equivalent or imperative to
that which is that the earth needs its lawyers
[Music] okay well welcome back to yet another
episode of the futurists I am Rob tercik with my co-host and friend Brett King
here I am I hey live from Meredith Mexico right now so one of my favorite
parts of the world I love the Yucatan it's a great place to go if you've got the time you got to go look at some of
those ancient Mayan cities they're still there I know I'm not gonna I mean maybe maybe tomorrow I'll go out but yeah
because I've got to go to South Africa on Sunday so oh my gosh you never stop
wow amazing well keep going out there and finding more futures for us in all those corners of the world you know it's
Rapid change
funny when you think about those ancient civilizations like the Mayan civilization it's that they had
stability for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years and it's just so hard to imagine that
because we are living at a time of such tremendous change such rapid change every single day it's like drinking from
a fire hose now the news is so complicated and so confusing because things are changing so rapidly I thought
it'd be useful for us to have a conversation to catch up and just say wait wait hang on a second what's happening right now let's let's try to
get some perspectives about the the future is coming so fast um you've been on a while you know I
think yeah well you know look this is the thing is um now that I think there's General
acceptance that you know this digital transformation is happening everyone's panicking that they haven't done enough
you know that's what the pandemic produced and and so everyone's scrambling to try and respond to this
um which is not a necessarily very effective way of doing this but it's great if you're a speaker speaking about
disruption like you and I right um and but but having said that I think
um you know the of course the the big news over the last few weeks has been the silica Valley bag collapse yeah and
in you know to illustrate your point in conventional times Silicon Valley Bank wouldn't have
collapsed if Peter Thiel hadn't started a run on the bank and I'm going to put the blame fairly squarely on his
shoulders here and encouraged his portfolio companies to exit and that
hadn't spiraled on social media then Silicon Valley Valley Bank had already
made the moves to um you know reduce the the risks
internally but you know as we were discussing before we we kicked off the call you can't have billions of dollars
withdrawn overnight what was it 50 billion or whatever I mean that's an exciting areas yeah
that's an extraordinary Demand on any organization right no bank has that sort
of deposit flexibility liquidity right and and you know let's face it in a very
low interest rate environment the only way Banks like Silicon Valley Bank could maintain
their ability to pay interest rate on deposits and manage that is is by having
um you know the these um not not liquid Investments you know
illiquid Investments so whether that was stocks or whatever the case and you just can't convert those in 24 hours to to
cash they took a significant haircut right they they thought it a loss just to meet
the demands but it wasn't sufficient uh to to quell the tide yeah big challenge is there uh lots to unpack but one of
Social media as accelerant
the things you mentioned briefly we should spend a second talking about is social media as an accelerant there's a
lot of change happening but we also have other change other technologies that accelerate the pace of change and what
happened in this instance is that it wasn't just a bank run it was a bank run that was like kind of lit on fire uh by
social media you know part of that was uh part of that was the message to Founders fund the Peter Thiel company
where they you know they were instructed to pull their funds as fast as possible but then other people started piling in
you know Jason calcanus who's kind of a pundit or gadfly in the tech world he got out there and was like you know now
is the time to be afraid which is got to go down in history it's one of the most inflammatory tweets because he was
really promoting panic through social media which is yeah
frustrates me you've got these hedge fund guys and these other guys who are trading on the margin of this chaos you
know and have the ability to do that that that's you know and have huge influence in terms of markets and
um you know this is this is a a recipe for disaster when it comes to the stability
of systems but here's the really interesting thing is um you know for when I started the whole
Bank disruption thing you know just even 10 years ago the the claim by traditional Banks was a
fintech or a mobile wallet operator would never be as trusted as a bank
but we saw the trust of Silicon Valley Bank evaporate overnight and that can
happen with any bank today right and it's not necessarily just about liquidity it could be about digital
right if if they have a technology failure trust could evaporate overnight
and you know a run on the bank could uh could eventuate and so um when you look at the mechanisms we
used to have as levers for stability in the economy a lot of that is
disappearing because of this Global macro uncertainty and it's right now
it's things like social media but the next generation of uncertainty is going to be artificial intelligence right I
already see concerns about disinformation and all of that right now it's going to be um it's going to be
energy it's going to be climate response um you know it's going to be um programs for displacement of human
workers by AAA all of these elements are going to create this sort of chaos that
can undermine these traditional systems very very rapidly overnight as you pointed out this is the big concern
Merchants of uncertainty
that's why I wanted to have a conversation with you without a guest because I want to get my own bearings on
this subject I'm writing about it I'm thinking about it you are as well and I thought we'd share this with our audience right now we're living in a
time of accelerated uncertainty it's not just a time of accelerated transformation or accelerated change we
hear those terms all the time and I guess that's true I suppose that it is a time of accelerated change but the point
I'm focused on today is the uncertainty of it and as you pointed out a moment ago there are people who profit from
uncertainty they're actually merchants of Doubt merchants of uncertainty who are fueling it and now they have
superpowers thanks to social media they can really get out there and whip it up it's not just uh social media that's the
culprit here in a completely unrelated set of circumstances we have Revelations
coming out now about Fox News because of this lawsuit with Dominion right loading systems where it's becoming very evident
that it's an entirely cynical Enterprise where No One Believes the stuff that they're publishing but they're saying it
as if it's gospel truth then they're persuading people to get very fired up about it so in a way they're kind of
pandering to an audience but they're training that audience with tremendous disrespect and yet they fear Their
audience Steph that news organization is totally all the way up to you know that
was it the response of the the the organization was to Keep Their audience
happy despite the fact they knew that they were spreading lies and disinformation and when you think about
um you know the the we already see the problems with Chachi BT you know three
and and chechi bd4 in terms of the inaccuracies that AI can produce so if
you were to supercharge AI as an influencer as an ability to
um shape public opinion you can no longer guarantee that it's
going to be accurate information that is shaping opinion that that that's no
longer a given in today's society right I think it's the other way around
I think you have to assume that there is an element of of falsehood in all the information you're being given right now
whether it's coming from a government or a private business or some pundit on television or some random dude on the
internet on social media that some of what they say may be true and some of what they say is 100 Bull pucky and
that's a real problem right because we have the challenge of trying to distinguish between the two things and these artificial intelligence systems
they are not going to solve that problem because they're trained in the exact same set of data and so they're just
going to regurgitate and remix it in new ways makes it harder for us to sort out what's fact and what's fiction but
unfortunately that adds to the uncertainty so it's a strange time because it's not just the uncertainty from tremendous technology change that's
happening for sure the rapid introduction to technology is that we're not really ready for the Technologies aren't really ready but it said on top
of that there are merchants of dissent there are people who are profiting from the chaos they're profiting for the
misunderstandings and the confusion and they actually want to generate even more of that and for whatever reason yeah go
ahead I'm sorry no um so I just I I'm I'm not finished it yet but I'm I'm three quarters of the way through
um Eric Schmidt and Kissinger's uh recent book on the age of AI really they
propose they propose quite a elegant solution to this which is that AIS need
to be certified you know so when you think about ethical conduct ethical constraints guard rails and things like
that um they're proposing that we need some sort of certification process for AI to
attest to its accuracy and its performance and I think that that's coming from I think
yeah I think that's an elegant solution right it's a nice idea but what it means then is that we're going to trust some
centralized Authority and this brings us right to web three which is the whole point of web 3 is that we don't trust
centralized Authority anymore and so you know what what Kissinger and Eric
Schmidt are proposing is that some smart Authority with a bunch of smart people is going to tell us whether or not that
AI is trustworthy but how can you how can you create um like ethical Frameworks for the
operation of AI without some form of centralization I mean
um you know if you look at consensus-based sort of behavior mechanisms around defy and the crypto
Community you know you'd have to say that that's been a demonstrable failure you know the self-regulation by the
industry hasn't worked if you look at the fossil fuel industry um not only did they not self-regulate
but they spent 50 years trying to muddy the waters in in terms terms of climate
change if you look at the question on vaccines one of the problems we have
with people not trusting you know sort of the the medical system in terms of
the vaccinations was we we know big Pharma makes decisions to benefit the
corporation over in the health of individuals look at the price of insulin in the United States and so these these
systems are no longer credible on their own and and so self-regulation you're making my point I mean it's viable
you're making my point for me though you're saying that you know we we don't trust big Pharma we don't trust Big Oil
we don't trust these other why should we trust big AI then well this is where you need a social
Consciousness you know we need we we need um goals or objectives of these systems
that are bigger than making profit right and if you look at um you know the motivations be top
behind Peter Thiel and and uh Jason um you know talking about the the value
of Silicon Valley Bank and so forth you have to question their motives so let's take let's take individual motives out
of this to let's take lobbying groups out of the process of manipulating law as an example and let's say there must
be a consensus mechanism which is built based on you know what this Corporation
or Market function does for the society as a whole yeah if you if you look at the problem we have in capitalism with
wealth distribution this is because the people who are making decisions in terms of how wealth is distributed are the top
you know point one percent of of the community and they're not necessary
but that's what kessinger is recommending for AI is another one percent uh Elite is going to make the
decline whether it's a trustworthy AI uh yeah I see what you're saying your point about the decentralized consensus system
Decentralized Consensus
is a very very very relevant Point that's what I'm working on now for my next book and it's a subject that I care
deeply about because I see that the old consensus mechanisms that govern Society
are broken and actually it's very profitable right now to break them uh so for instance if you're running a big
business and you don't like regulation then you can buy a politician for relatively cheap and assure yourself
that that person is not going to vote for regulation that controls your business it's just it's a really smart investment for the company it's terrible
for the environment you know if it's about environmental regulation um but it's pretty easy and kind of a
no-brainer move and you wonder why do corporations well you know part of the reason Silicon Valley Bank
failed also was that the Basel risk um regulations which were
ensconced in the Dodd-Frank um you know laws in the United States
that Trump actually rolled back those regulations so that's 100 right 20 20 banks in the United States had had to do
that the biggest banks in the U.S had to be compliant and Silicon Valley Bank just fitted under that threshold so part
of the reason Silicon Valley Bank failed was because of lack of Regulation so I
don't necessarily think that no regulation is good I think we are going to have to have more centralized
regulation in governance in terms of ethical standards in terms of
um you know environmental standards in terms of how we respond to things like
you know the coming immigration Eco Refugee crisis you know uh you know
other pandemics we we need to have more um
planning and systems of response that are sort of coordinated at a society
level um but geared towards benefiting better fitting Society how do you get the small
function of government that decides on those mechanisms to make them appropriately inclusive well this sort
of comes back to consensus-based government and real-time governance right where you re you have you use
technology as the power of the people if you want democracy demos Kratos right we
don't have you know the if you look at um you know the us as a system today
um the vast majority of Americans are not happy about the inequality that exists the vast majority of Americans
aren't happy about the lack of Health Care the the vast majority of Americans support the right um for women to choose
but this is not reflected in the legislature
um because the the mechanism of Representative Government doesn't fully work so I guess that question is how
would you use Technologies to create that more representative form of government
Fixing a Broken System
so some folks would say that that system's broken and and they want to see it broken I'm not in that camp but I
hear that quite often where people say trying to fix a broken thing you're just you're trying to patch something that's
outdated um and and by some extent you know some extent if you if you consider that the
U.S it's kind of remarkable um you know a democracy written on paper that was written 250 years ago
still manages uh to find a way through to muddle through I wouldn't say it's doing a perfect job but back to the old
Winston Churchill saying it's uh you know it's the worst form of government except for all the others and it has
been fairly durable democracies are being rolled back you
know the what's Rising is authoritarian government right where they concentrate power in a fewer hands
but but I think part of the problem here is um you know I I go back to the days of
Aristotle and Socrates and and Plato is we valued a function of society that
would sit and think about these things that would model new approaches that would try different thinking we we don't
have that today we try and reinforce these tribalism views and these systemic
views you know like if you look at the conversation around reform of capitalism today you know I posted something on
Twitter early today you know a couple of days ago about this and suddenly I've been accused of being a communist right
because you're either support capitalism or you're a communist which is you know not really you know in any remote way an
accurate view of the world but for us to have realistic conversations about the
reform of these systems we need to actually value a function of society that thinks about these problems and
models different solutions instead of right now where anybody that tries to
say let's tweak this system to improve it oh you're a socialist oh you're a communist or whatever
um you know and it's not going to work so I I think we need to return to those sort of at that age of philosophy and
thinking about you know how do we explore the the sort of configuration of the
human species and society and you know um you know what can we imagine that's better yeah there are some people that
Stop the Thought Process
don't want to have the conversation and they want to stop your thought process and so they just lob in a uh you know a
thought terminating comment like you're a communist and then that just blows up the whole conversation you can't pursue
it any further even though whatever you're proposing has absolutely nothing to do with Communism or state-controlled
apparatus or state-controlled capital and Industry uh you know if if the
person on the other side knew what the hell they were talking about they wouldn't use that term but right now it's just a way to stop a conversation
um why does that happen why do we want to destroy the ability to thrash through ideas wouldn't it be more healthy for us
to be able to argue both sides of the argument to actually entertain both perspectives I mean that's the best
way there is yeah but there is that argument from Thomas Jefferson
um you know you know Jefferson argued that the reason education should be free
in the United States is you want an Engaged um citizenry that and an Engaged
citizen citizenry that has the responsibility to vote should do so on the basis of Education
and at a time when um education should be freely available in high quality
we're actually seeing you know deterioration of the results at a mass
level so that's part of the problem is if you do want true representative consensus-based governance you have to
really educate people about the real problems we don't have that at the moment we have Echo Chambers follow the
Game the System
money well whose interest is it to have a bunch of stupid uninformed voters who can't even articulate the facts or
handle a reasonable debate well obviously there are some powerful interests that would prefer not that it
have not to be challenged by a thinking public right so for those folks It's relatively cheap to game the system I
think right now I would say observation at least about the United States is that
it's easier and cheaper to bank on disruption and the fuel disruption and
dissent uh and to break consensus than it is to build consensus consensus is a
very delicate thing and it requires cooperation and it requires people to play fairly uh if people want to bend the rules or
Break The Rules you're not going to get to consensus then you're going to get to you know something short of that and probably some kind of dissent or you
know some kind of year you certainly will be thwarted in your ability to do more so what we end up doing is presenting
yeah the entire political system in the US right now is powered on this you know
red versus blue you know uh sort of concept if you look at it I think you
know if you look at the core in terms of political ideology um you know Americans on you know from
you know far left far right or whatever you would call it in the debate they probably agree on 80 of policy right and
so there's you know Americans probably agree on more things than they disagree on but as you say it's that trading on
the margins of you know and amplifying these differences rather than amplifying
the things that we have in common it's a very divisive how is a human species
going to progress to the next level if we're fighting amongst each other you know this is one of these things these
Red and Blue
two categories red and blue what do they even represent anymore right exactly neither neither party is going to take
on the banking industry in a meaningful way neither party is going to take on the energy industry in a meaningful way
neither party is going to fully promote the kind of equality that we're talking about neither party is for Universal
Health Care right now some are some politicians are but neither party stands for that so these red and blue
um classifications I think are a distraction it's not going to get us say yeah it's not and and where people do
have a lot of uh you know Collective interest is um when it comes to inequality inequality of access not just inequality
uh Financial inequality uh and you can see that cutting across
um race and gender you could see that cutting across lots of different socioeconomic classes and by the way the
people who benefit the most from the status quo or from putting sand in the gears of the Machinery of government are
the people who have the most to lose so that would be your wealthiest people right there they benefit the most from this current system particularly since
the Ronald Reagan tax cuts which skewed so heavily in favor of wealth creation
and aggregation of great deals of wealth for a small number for those folks it makes all the economic sense in the
world to freeze things with the status quo to prevent any kind of progress so
what's odd about the moment that we're in right now Brett is that we have tremendous technological process progress happening on a daily basis it's
really hard to keep up with all the new technologies that are coming we'll talk about that more in the second half
but our institutions that govern Society they're frozen they can't adapt and
there are many people who are working hard to stop that to do everything they can to prevent those the systems from
adapting there are a lot of people in the United States who think it's illegal to start a third party like they
literally believe that they are not allowed to start a third party in this country of course they are well some I saw someone trying to pass a lawyer in
Florida that would make uh Democrats illegal you know which is just like so they're
trying to get rid of the another party it's like make it a one-party system well that's that's autocratic system
right well you know that's working in China but I I have my doubts about those autocratic systems because historically
they get brittle and break uh particularly when they're organized around an individual
um well we don't have time to do the the quick questions or our typical wrapping now but let's questions yeah but Let's
do let's do this let's take a break and when we come back um let's get into where where the chaos
is is likely going to emerge in the system where the system's most likely to break and then
um you know let's talk about how long it's going to take to fix it wow great
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Chaos in the news
futurist with Rob turcic and Brett King and we're just thrashing through the
chaotic landscape of the news this week we decided to skip having a guest because there's just so much change in
the air everything from extreme climate conditions to the Advent of of uh
artificial intelligence assistance now with gpt4 and some advances in
mid-journey we were talking about the people that are producing or maybe profiting from fake news which isn't
just social media it's also in the Broadcast News really recently this month with news about Fox News
disseminating knowingly disseminating false information and there is a real
impact as Brett was saying before the break uh this recent run on banks that's
undergoing right now uh you know the last two weeks it was Silicon Valley Bank but now it's spreading to other banks around the world that's
interesting in Europe yep that's fueled in part by social media and by the
dissemination of fake news so these things all fit together in a way to create a chaos field a big and it seems
to me expanding chaos field where previously we had stability previously you could go to bed at night and expect
to wake up in the morning the world would be reasonably similar now you wake up in the morning look at your phone
you're like what fresh hell is being delivered to me today by my iPhone I'll tell you man it's exhausting
looking at the news I'm enjoying well you know unfortunately it's not gonna We're Not Gonna really
The greatest chaos yet to come
I've been thinking about this recently and I don't think we're going to come out of this period of chaos for another
15 to 20 years I think you're right because because the greatest chaos is
Yet to Come and that is twofold right um which you you'll hear as Central themes on the futurist all the time you
know one is artificial intelligence and it's broad impact on on systems and society and the second is simply climate
change you know um the massive displacement of Eco refugees food
scarcity um you know I've been listening uh to this oil and gas commentator on Tick
Tock recently we must get him on the show actually can't bring his name up but he was he was saying that what's
already happened is investment is pulling away from fossil fuels because hydrocarbons are bad for banks you know
the ESG initiatives banks are not Lending to Coal plants and fossil fuel companies anymore because of this but
it's costing a lot more money to extract oil and gas today than it did 20 years
ago so you've got the price of the oil and gas sector going up a lack of
investment in this so what happens five ten years down the track is that the
price of fuel just spikes incredibly um and you know there's margin to be
made in in that area obviously but we haven't replaced those systems fast enough because we haven't been investing
in the last 20 to 30 years in Renewables and Next Generation nuclear and you know
electric vehicle infrastructure and things like that as we should have to have an orderly transition and so a lot
of the friction and Chaos we're going to face whether it is displacement of human workers from artificial intelligence
where there is the impact of you know um rising sea levels um you know the collapse of fossil fuels
all this sort of stuff a lot lot of this is because we have just too short-term in our thinking as a as a species
um and yes that's true because the systems reinforce the existing players
rather than Democratic Democratic systems in particular have this flaw which is that they can only respond to a
problem they're not very good at dealing proactively with an issue that might emerge part of that is because of it
because people debate whether it is going to happen right we don't know whether climate change is real well and
then there's always going to be a Lobby from some industry or another that says you know you're going to interfere in the free market and you got to stay away
from that and that you know right now that's like a third rail most politicians don't want to be seen to be monkeying around within the economy in a
way that might shrink it or damage it in some ways so they stay away from that uh and so and then finally you know the
futurist the future doesn't have a lobbyist this is an important Point like no one is in Washington lobbying for the
future maybe that's what you and I should do maybe we should do the futurist Lobby I spend plenty of time
I've tried these days talking to governments and I got to tell you it's a thankless task you know they hear you
they're just not going to do anything about it because nobody is whispering in their ear nobody's putting ten dollars in their pocket nobody's it's not going
to get our vote right exactly yeah it's not gonna and it's not going to get money you need an educated populace to
demand it and actually every time there's been major change at least in this country it's because a large number of people came out in the streets and
demanded change but right now people don't know what the Demand right because there's a lot of confusion we're not sure what what well the the populist
movement was part of that right you know if you look at protests globally in the in the last 20 years we've seen the the
volume of uh Pro or the frequency of protests increase 200 percent based on
the 50-year average of the 20th century and we've seen participation or the volume of protests
um increased by a thousand percent so people we haven't had any there's been no impact there's been no improvement in
governance right so so those in fact you could argue has been
yeah those those were populist movements that were misguided they were co-opted and some you know in some respects I
don't think you need to be a conspiracy theorist to think that certain interests managed to get control of those movements and direct them in a
certain direction that served their interests you know I I think it's actually quite
quite likely to be the case so you've got the ineffectiveness of government
and then its inability to adapt even when there are strong signals coming uh
as you mentioned before what the U.S what the U.S population wants versus what they're getting from the government
there's a gigantic Gap there well here's where AI makes this
Effective Resource Management
interesting if we're going to talk about the solutions to these problems
um you know a core focus of AI which aligns with the whole market theory is
effective Resource Management one of the reasons we are going to implement AI is
because it will produce incredible wealth and
incredible opportunities for taking really sticky systemic problems and fixing them with sort of high levels of
automation exactly in the process of well let's take let's take let's take um
resource management at a city city state level right um you know sanitation water water usage
Energy Management in a in a climate um you know World
um you know uh infrastructure resilience all of those things so you what you're trying to do is yes you're looking at
resilience but you're also trying to make it more efficient and reduce the cost of government with with automation
and in the process of doing that you really have to look at system design you
know large-scale system design and we really haven't done that in very
effective ways except for during the Industrial Revolution in the industrial revolution we had these pushes by
governments to for example for the first time put in running water and sanitation and put in electricity you know instead
of um you know localized gas lanterns and things like this and and suddenly you
have people thinking you know very rapidly in many cases having to deploy new systems that worked in respect to
the the Industrial Revolution leaps in technology the same is very true for artificial intelligence because as
you're trying to build these systems to be highly automated and more effective you have to take the laws and
regulations and the infrastructure that we have today and parse it through some lens that can be translated into code or
that AIS can um you know manage and and chaos is not
a good um lens for AI to build systems on so you're going to be looking at ways where
are the biggest gains that AIA can produce in terms of government and efficiency as an example so if you look
at Healthcare um you know there's some really obvious areas better Diagnostics you know
immediately you know 40 of Diagnostics in the healthcare industry in the US are wrong today which is why you always ask
for a second opinion the administrative costs of Health Care in the US are higher than any other of the oecd
Nations robotic process automation can attack that but you have to attack the system in
terms of its design and this is where we're going to have the the battle over the next 10 20 years apart from climate
you're going to have this push to make the economy more resilient and more
automated because that's where the massive wealth creation is going to be but to do that you have to undermine the
existing power structures and in existing systems Yeah you mentioned Healthcare and energy a moment ago in um
in water right these are three systems that are highly contested right now and what I'm seeing is uh governments at
least in the United States they've lost a political will for the fight they don't even want to take on
those entrenched interests so they're simply really relinquishing the decision making to those groups if you look at
Healthcare right now you've got you know insurance companies private insurance companies an anomaly really the rest of
the world doesn't operate their insurance that way their health insurance is provided through a central entity not through uh not through a
bunch of competing firms that make a 30 profit margin then you've got the providers which is really hospitals and
doctors these groups are fighting with each other constantly who gets left out in the middle is the consumer the
patient at the at the end they're not represented in that debate at all uh so for us what happens is health care costs
continue to rise and rise and rise and I'd say the quality of the coverage hasn't gotten better it looks like our health care outcomes are getting worse
on average if you're very wealthy in the United States of course you get access to a different kind of Health Care System where you get superb outcomes but
that's not what most people get to enjoy unfortunately so we have a distribution problem as well but I wouldn't look to that system to do effective or Fair
redistribution of resources are you proposing that you could accuse
Big System Thinking
well this this is this is what I mean is is um I think one of the really most valued roles that
we have in in society in respect to AI integration will be big system thinking
um and how we sort of create this sort of transformative view of how do we transform the system so
instead of today where it's like injecting um internet into the business to revolutionize Commerce or injecting AI
to make your business smarter I think let's take that to the next step which is how do we really transform our
thinking about how this system should work and that requires two things it
requires a technology that can really disrupt and we've clearly got that but
the second thing is what is the purpose of the system and that's what I think is
also part of the uh the outcome at the other end of this disruption we're
seeing in terms of the disinformation the fake news you know manipulation of
behavior and social media coming out of the other side of this will be a Reckoning with the powers that be
um that you need a genuine social conscience Consciousness behind
corporations behind governments that you know you know this is what we argued in in the new book The Rise of
technosocialism is that um if if the economy doesn't serve the citizens how can you
say it's successful yeah I'd say right now people cut the economy is about
harvesting citizens right now but you know you're harvesting people for fees if it's a bank you're harvesting people
for fees if it's an insurance company or health care provider and in the case of Technology you're harvesting people for
data patterns that can be mined and you're repackaged repurposed and sold back to them in a new format uh so I
don't think that there's any Advocate there in the private sector for people or for society uh that you're looking
for now if we look to government well government's co-opted right it's it's not clear the champion is going to come
from there either it's hard to say that we can point to the government and say oh there's going to be enlightened leadership there that rises above narrow
self-interest or economic interest to try to serve equally all the population I don't see that any place in the world
right now so you need a Groundswell right you need you need it right you if people need to demand you need a you
Information Revolution
need a information revolution right you need a web people demand out on the
streets that you know and what's going to get us to this point um you know two things are going to get
us there I think one is the high levels of unemployment generated by artificial intelligence and the effect of climate
change both of that is going to produce sort of a revolutionary shift in in the
role that government and Regulation and Technology should play at a society level at least that's that's my belief
it'll create an opportunity for something to fill in a void right it creates a void a vacuum it creates a
panic which is could be energy that could be directed in One Direction or another uh that's true right great
displacement in terms of jobs and great displacement from from climate change is
going to cause people to panic and freak out and look for leadership my fear is that historically in times of great
chaos what emerges isn't a better democracy from chaos what emerges is a charismatic dictator
uh who tells people the things they want to hear and then charges ahead and does what he wants to do and unfortunately
around the world we're seeing that happen again and again and I think AI actually does not redistribute power or
knowledge I think it reinforces it does yeah it does right now and it can be
weaponized of course um you know in in many ways but ultimately
if it gets to that point where I I can't get a job
and that means I can't feed clothe and how's my my family because I'd been
disrupted by this how much of that am I going to accept politically just because the other guys
are the bad guys they're the guys look we have a system for that today we Warehouse those people in prisons for
profits it's actually pretty good business to put to take unnecessary people put them in a warehouse and
profit from it the government pays you for that and also when they come out they're not allowed to vote in some states and so you actually deprive them
in the franchise this is the crazy system that we have right now so you're right I mean one way to look at it I agree entirely with you surely an AI
could design a better system than the one we've created for ourselves I don't know if the AI has the power to do that
AI and Human Logic
I guess that's where the the debate needs to come in is
you know as we're looking at the impact that AI has the biggest impact it will
will have is really working outside of human logic
and um you know if if you look at the advances we're seeing in AI in fields of
diagnostics for example um you know what's happening in the medical Fields with new proteins being
discovered new medicines antibiotics being discovered the examples where AI
is really um you know making advances is not necessarily following human logic yeah
or you know um and uh already
they have ai right we already we have AI That's demonstrating different thinking
from humans so the real question is are we grown up enough as a species to
recognize that the things that we've been married to you know are ready to be displaced by new thinking and are we
prepared to um you know let AI come in well the real the problem we have in the short term is
that we we can't necessarily guarantee that AOA is going to come up with a better solution
um you know but but at the same time I think we have
a fair basis for saying that human logic um and human operated systems have
reached reached their limitation from a design perspective well and then they're and they're
falling down right they're breaking now because we're stressing them to a point where they can't keep up uh they're slow
they're slow to change they're poor at adapting they're poor at anticipating uh
so the systems we've got right now that we've developed basically the best we've been able to do as a species isn't
enough to keep up with the rate of technological change so we're going to need help this is this is the hardest AI
to do that this when you start talking about U.S democracy as an example or capitalism
and when you have that you know I I see it all the time because of the the you know talking about this disruptive stuff
you know you'll get these people immediately jump to defending the system
but then I just asked that simple question is in a thousand years or ten
thousand years do you imagine that this is the very best system that we could ever come up with and you use the
Churchill quote right yeah um and and but and the answer is no it's not the best of course not of course not
I promise everybody wants to change a different thing and so like the reality is not everybody wants to change everything in fact nobody wants to
change everything everything is changing but not everyone wants to change everything everybody wants to hang on to something from the past but we all want
to hang out to different pieces and that's where the fight fits in we don't have a common vision for a future
and we haven't found a good way to articulate a common vision for a future that people can buy into uh so you end
up with these you know kind of point-by-point battles over a policy where it's like well we'll give you that
we're going to take away this piece doesn't change the big arrangement in any meaningful way it's all incremental
it all feels like we're moving around deck chairs on the Titanic is there is there a generational shift to this I
mean you've got yeah you know you've got kids I've got kids our kids think about this differently right my kids are not driven
by this need to create wealth and and um you know get assets right you know
um I mean my my son for example who's 20 in Australia you know he's now a seller
manager at this this upmarket wine bar and restaurant in Sydney he's doing quite well for himself but he sees the
job as a mechanism to create experiences that allows that is going to allow him
to live the life that he wants to live He's not thinking about it like you know when when we grew up as kids thinking
about buying the home you know the white picket fence you know and all you know investing and having a good retirement
that you know our kids just aren't thinking thinking like that and okay but this is the danger it's a danger to
extrapolate from your own kids because they might be coasting unprivileged in a way that might ultimately be detrimental
to their future right and as parents were supposed to be concerned about that we want to see your kids plan and so on probably every generation has had this
exact same conversation I'm sure our parents had it about us as well my son Brett wants to be a future what the heck
is that you know you can imagine that conversation going on so I I I'm hesitant to try to generalize
about Generations but I am optimistic about a couple of things first of all
the baby boom generation had a transformative effect there's no question about it there should be books
written about it the sweeping change that that generation Had Each decade as it moved through you know from in
education in the 60s and 70s and then into Finance in the 1980s the Revolutionary we could do with the new
baby boom and um well you have it right you have it coming the millennial generation is quite big
um so they kind of the baby boom kind of recasted institutions in its own form and it's also been incredibly
destructive and self-obsessed uh group of people now they're coming to an end so now they're going to retire every
year now from now on there will be more baby boomers retiring um from the workforce and so their
influenceable diminish they're not going anywhere because they're the healthiest and richest generation in history so they're gonna be around for a long time
they have a lot of resources so they'll speak with it but in terms of policy setting you know they're going to get less influence and more of the younger
generation you know you got like there's a lot of debate around people like AOC in the US and others but you know and
um you know look at uh Jacinda Arden in New Zealand and the the Swedish prime
minister and all that sort of stuff you know you do have this next generation of policy makers coming in it's true it
seems to me that other countries have mastered this transition a little bit more gracefully than the us we're we're
still fighting like kind of the last Generations battle it seems I mean come on dude you know we've still got the
Second Amendment and we're arguing it well I'm a militia you know it's like it's it's it's pretty crazy
um but um that's the problem with having a constitution from the 17th century my goodness you know we're just encumbered
by all these artifacts from the past and they doom us to this day they always end up being the guy who's most negative and
pessimistic about these things hey Brandon last idea here for you so um artificial intelligence
it's clearly a tool for profit maximization so it's also as you mentioned a way to do scenarios you can
query it you can ask for you know different points of view it can help you in many many ways but it's clearly a way
to automate some of the higher order reasoning that we usually pay white collar workers to do so it's clearly got
a disruptive effect or it's going to displace a lot of workers that's causing a lawyers accountants doctors yep and
maybe those Industries are ripe for this disruption so maybe that maybe the time has come for that to happen um but as I think that's through I think
about it a bit more and I say you know if corporations adopt this
wholeheartedly and they go for full-on automation every job that can be automated will be I think that's a very
likely possibility right I think that's that's what the market is going to drive it's going to drive right and we have
this kind of you know uh Milton friedman-esque Mantra in the United States we've had for 50 years which is
all about shareholder you know return on to shareholders and maximizing shareholder return uh that's the guiding
ethos of the corporation that it's not about social impact it's not about stakeholders it's not about ESG it's all
about just return to shareholders if you buy that and I think a lot of managers do more than they say
um people say things about ESG but they really do things to support that William that Milton Friedman Mantra then The
Logical conclusion is that we're going to automate every job in the corporation that the successful Corporation of the
future will be a robotics be a doubt it'll be a doubt it's the original idea
of the government the government okay so if you buy that then
um I've been reading a fascinating book called we the corporations which is a history of corporations in the United States and
the history of how they became persons and it's quite an interesting story because we think it was all citizens united but they happened actually
started way back some of the very first Supreme Court cases were argued by the
best attorneys in the United States because corporations have always been able to hire the best legal talent and it turns out most Supreme Court
decisions that affect rights the rights of individuals rights of people were argued by the best attorneys in the
country on behalf of Corporations so even like um our equal rights here in the United States were argued by uh by
great attorneys like Thurgood Marshall on behalf of a corporation the NCAAP and
so of course you have corporate rights increasing even as individual rights are being produced so this is how this is
how AI rights are going to um Corporation Society hire the best
attorneys and they will get rights and you're going to start to see something novel I think we're at the birth of a
new kind of person a corporate person that will have its own intelligence and its own set of defined rights I know
that sounds Preposterous but we're talking about the future that's my scenario for today that we're going to
soon have corporations uh robot corporations in the clouds that have the same rights as Citizens in
democracies and uh that process has been underway for more than 200 years it's going to just continue as these
corporations get more and more powerful as the as a robot's uh increase in power and as they join together
Biological Equivalent
I I can't argue against that what I what I think that we need to do
is that we need to have a biological equivalent or imperative to that which
is that the earth needs it's lawyers yeah that argue for its
rights the other species we share the planet with there is
and and ecosystems have rights and attorneys are trying to make that case courts haven't been very favorable it's
certainly not as favorable as they are to corporations but watch this space because I think the point you're making is right it's like you know it's someone
has to begin this is how we're going to drive a social Consciousness you know is
um you know you can have the richest corporations in the world but if you can't feed your citizens you know at
some point um you know the the system's gonna break so um hopefully that'll be be the Catalyst
but I I just like to think that if AI does automate all this part of society
then then what are we what do we do with that time and I think this is the great shift that
AI should enable for Humanity is that we'll have the time and uh you know
flexibility to really think deeply about what sort of future we want to build for
the species and have bigger aims than just making profits I think I think
that's a very limiting view that um that Human Society has today in terms of that
market-driven approach there must be more to human existence and the future
of humanity than just making profit you know what do we want to do I'm with
you from your lips to chat gpt's ears I'm with you my friend it's a it's it's a it's a good vision for the future we
need an optimistic Vision to be pulling toward because God knows there's enough chaos we're staring down a
double-barreled shotgun full of chaos and more coming as you point out crazy times
better but I am optimistic that we can come out the other end of
this with something better for our grandkids may not be for our kids but for our grandkids Brad it's what I love
about talking to you man you're always optimistic even in the face of the craziest times
well uh thank you for making time to catch up with me as you're traveling around the world I'm always eager to hear about your Pursuits and all the new
people you're meeting um I think that's probably it for this week we have just been thrashing around a lot of topics that both of us have
been texting each other about for the last few weeks and uh we'll be back and we didn't even you know we were going to
do this show on climate change impact right we haven't started this idea and we haven't even we haven't even touched
that so that's the next one we've got to get into climate in a big way we'll do it all right my friend safe travels and
for the folks who are listening thank you thank you all for tuning in Brett and I love recording these shows
and of course we will see you in the future in the future
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