#1294 - Jamie Metzl

May 9, 2019

Jamie Metzl is a technology futurist and geopolitical expert, novelist, entrepreneur, media commentator, and Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council. His new book "Hacking Darwin" is available now at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  

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ladies and gentlemen my guest today is the author of hacking Darwin and we had a fantastic conversation about genetic engineering about more talk even this week about artificial intelligence and and even some deep insight into his the time that he spent in North Korea I really enjoyed talking to him it's brilliant guy and I hope you enjoy the podcast as much as I did please welcome Jamie metal Rogan Experience trained by day Joe Rogan podcast by night all day

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and we laugh hello sir how are you I'm pretty high that great uh thanks what you do eating chocolate when you got here and you told me that you are a cacao Shaman and I said those are strong words they are what does that mean so I was in Berlin last year giving a talk at a Tech conference and somebody invited me to a sacred cacao ceremony never heard of it I thought wow that sounds awesome I love chocolate I went it was so wonderful and at the end they were talking about these people these great cacao shamans and I thought what is that I got to be one of those since I came back I look for certification there wasn't certification I self-declared and then I started doing cacao ceremonies in New York and I have hundreds of people who come it's really wonderful and it's exciting like if you want to be a doctor you got to go to medical school right and one of the comedian you got to be a become a professional you gotta put in your time cacao Shaman just show up it's like putting a jingle hey I'm like a shaman if anybody shows up and they have a good time then your real know how much do you need to know about cacao like the nutritional properties of

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okay cow is amazing it's great stuff it's incredible and and so definitely cacao and people have been using it ceremonially for about 5,000 years so it's incredible chocolate makes people happy it helps your brain function your circulation there's all these kinds of incredible things but in the ceremonies that I do have two key messages one is you are the drug mean we all take people take drugs people take Ayahuasca and psilocybin all these kinds of things but I also think that we have for the things that we take drugs for this kind of release and happiness and joy we have those things inside of us and we just kind of get out of our way we can experience them the second thing is I believe that there are no I say this in my chair was there's no such thing as sacred cow or sacred plants or sacred mountains or sacred people if we don't treat life with sacredness but if we recognize that everything is sacred then we Infuse life with sacredness and meaning and that's anyway that's why I do it's a lot of fun that's very interesting from a

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who specializes essentially in manipulating life well you know we have manipulated life as humans for a very short on time but it's but it's interesting yeah you know the idea of things being sacred but your specialty is manipulating genetics right yeah well so that is this strange moment that we're in Belize for about for about 3.8 billion years our species has evolved by this set of principles we call darwinian Evolution random mutation and natural selection and it's brought us here we used to be single cell organisms and now look at us mmm and there's been a lot of magic in that process and there still is but we humans are deciphering some of that magic we are like looking under the hood of what it means to be human and we are increasingly going to have the ability to manipulate all of life including our own yeah that is very unnerving to a lot of people it's uncomfortable and scary and yeah

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it is they like things the way they are we only had like to stay the way I am we always think that there's really always think that because there's a built-in concernment conservatism in our brains and yet we live these lives that are entirely dependent on these radical changes that our ancestors have created I mean we didn't find this building or agriculture medicine in nature we built all those things and then everybody gets a new Baseline when you're born and you think well you know I'm I want organic corn mmm I want whatever but all these things are created we live in entirely created world and our ability to manipulate and change that world is always growing and I think we need to recognize that but there's being afraid is okay and being excited as okay and we need to find the right balance between those two emotions I think for a lot of people they feel like so many changes happened in particular when you talk about genetically modified foods so many things happened before they

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lies they had happened so when they're like hey man I don't want any eat any GMO fruit well then you probably shouldn't eat any fruit yep because everything that you buy has been changed like every orange that you buy that that's not what an orange is to be like yeah goodbye and apple Apple's didn't used to be like that Tomatoes didn't used to be like that now I know that's what we reset our Baseline just from when we were kids so if you went back 12,000 years ago to the end of the last ice age and you said all right find me all these things that we buy at Whole Foods most of them didn't exist we've created them sure and then in the 1970s we had the ability to do what's recombinant DNA people call genetic modification and people are afraid because it's well that feels unnatural were applying science to to food and you know that's that's the issue and now we're entering the era of genetically modified humans and there's that same level of uncomfortableness but what happened the reason why I've I've written this this book hacking Darwin is that if we approach

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genetically modified humans in the same way they are we approach Negley modified foods which is the scientists say hey we've got this we're going to manage them responsibly and it just kind of happens to people people are going to go nuts I mean you imagine how agitated people are about GMO Foods if they don't have a say in how the genetic The Experience The Human Experience of genetic modification plays out people are going to go berserk so we have this window of time we can start bringing everybody into an inclusive conversation about where we're going because where we are going is just radically different from where we've been yeah I think it's an awareness issue and I also think it's a perception issue I think that everything people do is natural yeah well including cities I think cities are natural that's why they're all over the world yeah I think there is Naturals beehives and I think as much as we like to think that technology is not natural it's clearly something people naturally make of course they make it in every culture yeah it can it's the history of our species and we kind of misuse

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this word natural trunk is because what is natural I mean maybe natural was when we used to live and we were just part of of nature I always say it's like people say oh I love nature I love like going on hiking in the woods the reason you love hiking in the woods is that we've murdered all the Predators it's like in the old days in the you stay in your cave you're not going out and hiking in the woods there's stuff is gonna kill you at the I know that was a massive luxury to go wander through the forest with no weapons yeah nobody did that know exactly but he has oh I want nature I want my my natural corn I want my my natural Chihuahua even though 25 3,000 years ago there's no Chihuahuas there's wolves yeah and look what we've done to them I know well look what we have done to them yeah them pugs yeah if you had natural wheat like or natural corn and particular natural Cornish bit tiny little thing yeah it's a few are you weeds yeah weird gross little grain yep and then now we made it this big juicy sweet delicious thing that you put butter on

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which is great but we create we can't station of glyphosate least glyphosate but we can't we can't fetishize that there's some kind of imaginary world where kind of everybody was wearing Birkenstocks and eating and hope was that imaginary world sucked for us that's why we left it it's true but there's some sort of a balance right we know we do appreciate the nature aspect of our world and Eagles and salmon and all these wild things and to be able to see them as very cool yeah but yeah you don't want to get eaten by those things you don't want them everywhere you want to be able to go out and get your newspaper without being worried about getting attacked by a Jaguar it helps yeah you when you think about the future at least me the one we tell you my concern yeah I'm worried that rich people are going to get ahold of this technology quick and they're going to have massive unfair advantages in terms of intellect in terms of physical athletic ability also I mean we really

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have a grossly imbalanced World radically quickly if this happens fast when we don't understand exactly what the consequences of these actions are until it's too late and then we try to play catch up with rules and regulations and laws yeah that's a very very real danger and that's why I've written this book that's why I'm out speaking every day about this topic because we need to recognize that if we have if we approach these revolutionary Technologies using the same values that we experience today we're you know we're here and very comfortable but just down the road there are people who are just two are living without many opportunities there are people in parts of the world like Central African Republic where there's just a war zone kids are born malnourished if those are our values today we can expect that when these future Technologies arrive we'll use those those same values so it's real and right now we have an opportunity to say all right these Technologies are coming whatever we do these Technologies are

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me there's a better possible future and a worse possible future and how can we Infuse our best values into the process to optimize the good stuff and minimize the bad stuff and certainly what you're saying is a real risk think of what happened when European countries had slightly better weapons and slightly better ships than everybody else they took over the world dominated everybody and so yeah it's very real that's the government's need to play a role in ensuring broad access in regulating these these Technologies to make sure we don't get to that kind of dystopian snare that you've laid out well it's also in terms of governments regulating things like why are they qualified who are they who are the government's are just people right is there are people that are either elected or that you know are yeah some sort of a monarchy or you're dealing with either kings and queens and sheikhs or you're dealing with presidents and we've seen in this country that sometimes our presidents don't know what the fuck they're talking about right so who are they

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disrupt science to disrupt this natural flow of Technology well we decide we need somebody to do it we need some representation of our Collective will be just to avoid some of the things like you just like you just mentioned that that's the reason why humans banded together and made these kind of the made created governments and the reason for democracy especially if you have more functioning democracies is that your government in some ways reflects the will of the people in the government does things that individuals can't do and I know there are other libertarian arguments why everyone should just like if you want a little road in front of your house either go build the road and pay somebody but there a lot of things in even in that model that won't get done there are a lot of kind of big National even global concerns that you need some kind of Regulation because what we're talking about is the future of life and when life on Earth and there have to be some kind of guard rails and that's why what I'm arguing for is we really need a bottom

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mating we every person and that's why I'm so thrilled to be here with you today Joe every person needs to really understand these revolutionary Technologies like genetics like Ai and all of our responsibilities and opportunities to say hey this is really important here are the values that I think that that I cherish and just like you said I don't want it to be that the wealthiest people are the ones who have kids with higher IQs and live longer and healthier than everybody else and then so we have to raise our voice and our needs to be a bottom-up process and a top-down process and it's really hard the many people have a concern that someone else is going to do what we're not willing to do first yes right there worry China and Russia those the Penguins China and Russia especially China yeah they're very technologically advanced and and their Innovations off the chain when it comes to the Quality just recently surpassed apples the number 2 cell phone manufacturer right in the world five years ago

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had some like a single digit share of the market place now their number two on the planet Earth I mean they they hustle and if they just decide to make super people and they do it before we do that's what people are worried about right there were the worried about theirs trivial things were seemingly trivial like Athletics and then there's things that are really clear like what's to stop people from just becoming the Hulk what's to stop people from becoming Immortal what's the starting weight is well wh two questions first is is China because I think it's a really big issue the 21st of the story of the 21st century one of the biggest stories of the 21st century will be how the US China rivalry plays out and the playing field will be with these revolutionary Technologies and China has a national plan to lead the world in these Technologies by 2050 the putting huge resources they have really smart people they are really focused on and it and it's a big deal yeah

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genetic Technologies when last year of the my book hacking Darwin was already in production in November when it was announced that these first genetically engineered babies had been born in China and so I called the publish I said we need to pull this back out of Productions I need to reference this but it didn't require much of a chance I'd already written this is happening we're going to see the world's first United humans it's going to happen first in China and here's why sighs had had had to add a few sentences saying and it just happened in October of 2018 so China is on that path and we need to recognize that on one hand the United States needs to be competitive on the other hand we don't want a runaway arms race of the human race and that's why we need to find this balance between National ambition and some kind of global rules that's really hard to do yeah and the other thing is that we're competing with them yeah and so if they decide to do it first we're almost compelled to do it second or

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how to try to keep up yeah but how far away do you think we are from physically manipulating living human beings versus fetuses versus something in the womb so physically manipulating living human beings we're there so yeah so that's it may often it's called gene therapy so for example there's a whole class of treatments for for treating cancer called car T therapy so you have a cancer when you're younger your body is better able to fight cancers what you can do some of the cancer you take their cells you give their you manipulate their cells to give them cancer fighting super powers and you put them back into the person's body and now the person's body behaves like you're a younger person you have the ability to fight back so Gene therapies are already happening a relatively small number of them have already been approved but there is a list of thousands of them with Regulators in applications to Regulators around the world so the era of Jim making

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Eric changes to living humans that's already here like what can they do with it so far so so far our most of it is focused on treating diseases but a lot more is is coming because when people think about the the human genome our genome isn't a disease genome it's not a healthcare Gene in the genome it's a human genome and so we are going to be able to do things that feel like crazy things like changing people's eye color changing people's skin color to Funky things I mean there's a lot of room there weren't stuff that we're not doing now that we will be be able to do and that far away do you think we are for something like that ten years so in 10 years were going to have green people if in if someone so choose if someone searches and it sucks well they'll be able to go back to normal color well if it's a good question if it's with this kind of gene therapy and it's a small number of genes probably but we are messing with very complex systems that we don't fully understand and that's why there's a lot of unknowns it coming back to your point on regulation that's why we don't

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we want a total free for all but feels a I'm going to edit my own jeans yeah you don't want some backyard Hustler yeah it's true lab it's because they were saying about the Hulk I mean I just think that they're all kinds of we're humans were diverse any kind of thing that you can think of there is a range and there's the crazy on the left and crazy on the right and craze of the top is so people are going to want to do things and the question is if we're the any society what do we think is okay and what do we think is not okay and maybe there should be some I believe there should be some limit to how far people can go with experimenting certainly the possibly likely on themselves to certainly on their future children certainly on the future children yeah but once you're 18 I think do whatever the fuck you want if you really well maybe 25 25 we're gonna have a lot of 25 girls with gills like I probably will like it seemed like the tattoo seemed like a good idea yeah well we probably will yeah

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so you think we're probably like 50 years away from that being a reality so I think that we are the genetic revolution has already begun and it's going to fundamentally change our lives in three big areas the first is our Healthcare so we're moving from a system of generalized Health Care based on population averages so that when you go to your doctor your treated because you're a human just based on average and we're moving to a world of personalized medicine and the foundation of your personalized Healthcare will be your sequence genome in your electronic health records that's how they know you are you and that's what they can say this is a drug this is an intervention that will work for you when we do that then we're going to have to sequence everybody so we're going to have about 2 billion people have had their whole genome sequence within a within a decade and then we're going to be able to compare what the genes say to how those genes are expressed and then humans become a big data set and that's going to move us from Precision to predictive Health Care where you're going to be just born and you're going to have all this information

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your parents have all this stuff about how certain really important aspects of your life are going to play on some of that is going to be disease related but some of that is just going to be life-related like you have a better-than-average chance of being really great at math or having a high IQ low IQ or being a great Sprinter and how do we think about that and then again a revolution that's already happening room is going to change the way we make babies we're going to get away from sex as the primary mechanism for conceiving our kids will still have sex for all the great reasons we do and that's going to open up a whole new world of just about of applying science to what it means to be a human with a lot of new possibilities that's what's going to be so freaking when people stop having sex to make kids and they make ends in a lab every kids made in the lab we're not only that I think we're going to move to an Era an era where people who have who make babies through sex will be seen as taking a risk kind of like people who don't vaccinate their kids where it's natural to not his

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natural to not vaccinate your kids then to do it but people say wait a second you're taking on a risk on behalf of your kids about 3% of all kids in the world are born with some kind of harmful genetic abnormality using in vitro fertilization and embryo screening that 3% can be brought down significantly and what happens if you see somebody 20 years from now who has a kid with one of those preventable diseases do you think that's fate or you think well I'll wait a second those parents they made an ideological decision about how they wanted to conceive their kids I think we're moving towards some really deep and fundamental changes hmm some well yeah that's that's an interesting conversation of whether or not

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you wonder what if we're ever gonna get to a point where people don't allow people sort of like people don't allow people to not get vaccinated right now like there's a lot of that going on it today right

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which is great right you don't want diseases floating around but what if that gets to the place where we do that with people the people creating new life-forms what if you say Hey you are being irresponsible you just having sex and having a kid I know that's your grandma did it we don't do it that way in 2099 yeah I think it's going to be hard to do that in a society like the United States but in a country like North Korea they'll be able to do that what you or if a country if they said look you can make babies however you want but if you make babies the old-fashioned way and if you have some kind of genetic your kid has some kind of genetic disorder that was preventable we're just not going to cover it with insurance so you're going to have a $10,000,000 lifetime bill you don't need to you don't need to require something you can create an environment where people's behaviors will change and then there will there will be increasing social pressures I mean right now you know somebody sees some little kid riding around their bicycle without a helmet they're kind of looking at the

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it's like hey what are you doing how come you're you don't have a helmet on your kids and I just think that we're moving toward this kind of societal change where people will I believe see conceiving their kids in lab as a saiful safer alternative and it's not just safety because once you do that then that opens you up the to the possibility of all other kinds of applications of Technology not just not just to eliminate risks or prevent disease but you have a lot more information so already it's possible to roughly rank order 15 pre implanted embryos tallest to shortest in a decade from highest genetic component of IQ to lowest genetic component of IQs me this stuff is very real and it's very personal what do you think would be the first thing that people start manipulating I think it's certainly health health is will be the primary driver because that's every parent's biggest fear and that's that is what is going to be kind of the entry at

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Cajun people wanting to make sure that they are kids don't suffer from terrible genetic diseases and then I think the second will probably be longevity me right now there's a lot of work going going on sequencing people the super ages people who live to their late 90s people do a hundred to identify what are the genetic patterns that these people have so it's like to live to 90 you have to do all the things that you Advocate healthy living and whatever but to live to in 200 you really need the genetics to make that possible so we're going to identify what are some of the genetic patterns that allow you to live those kinds of long lines but then after that then it's wide open I mean it's higher genetic component of IQ outgoing personality faster Sprinter mean we are humans we are primarily genetic beings and we are going to be able to look under the hood of what it means to be human and we'll have these incredible choices and we have it's a huge responsibility how long do you think before we have a person with

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arms I think it's going to take a long time couple hundred years well the thing is here's how I see it so the real driver there's two two primary drivers one will be embryo selection so right now average woman going through IVF has about fifteen eggs extracted and then in IVF in vitro fertilization those eggs are fertilized using the male sperm and an average male ejaculation there's about a billion sperm cells so men are just given it away women human female mammals are a little bit a little bit stingy but then the next killer application is using a process called induced pluripotent stem cells and so shinya yamanaka is great Japanese scientists won the 2012 Nobel Prize for developing a way to turn any adult cell into a stem cell so a stem cells a kind of cell it can be anything and so you take let's say a skin graft that has millions of cells you induce those those

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skin cells into stem cells use these four things called yamanaka factors and so now you have let's call it a hundred thousand stem cells and then you can induce those cells into egg precursor cells and then eggs so all of a sudden humans are creating eggs like salmon on this huge scale so you have a hundred thousand eggs fertilize them with the male sperm in a machine and automated process you grow them for about five days and then you sequence cells extracted from each one of those and the cost of genome sequencing in 2003 it was a billion dollars now it's $800 it's going to be next to nothing within a decade and then you have real options because then you get this this whole spreadsheet and algorithm and then you go to the parents say well what are your priorities and maybe they'll say well I want health I want longevity I want high IQ when you're choosing from big numbers like that you have some real options and then on top of that then there is this precision

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editing the stuff that happened in China last year I think it will be and they re coming back to your question about forearms I think it's going to be varied people have this idea that tools like crisper going to be used someone's going to sit at a computer and say like four arms and three heads and wings and whatever it's pretty hard because human biology is incredibly complicated and we always know more the were at the very beginning of understanding the full complexity of human biology enough to make these big kind of changes but if you're choosing from a hundred thousand fertilized eggs those are all your natural kids yeah and then you would get the best of that and then work on those exactly that's exactly the moment you get that and then you say all right what if you had like 20 sons that were awesome and they didn't tell you about 18 of them you kept two of them than 18 of them to shipped off to some military industrial complex turned them into assassins any kind of crazy thing you can think of that's the problem right it's all this stuff will be

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and so and a lot of Technologies you can imagine all kinds of crazy stuff and that's coming back to your earlier point about regulations we want to live in regulated environments mean so like now think of the internet and you know in the beginning days the internet people thought oh just let the internet be let you know just let it play out it's going to liberate all of us and now China is showing how the internet can be actually be really actively used to suppress people Facebook is taking people's information in Google in a way that's frightening a lot of people and feels like hey it shouldn't be that these companies can do whatever they want we have to have some way of establishing limits because not every individual is able to entirely protect themselves they don't have the power they don't have all the information we need some Representatives helping us the real concern is the competition right the real concern is whether or not we do something with regular in regards to regulation that somehow another stifles competition on our end and doesn't allow us to compete with Russia and China yeah technically China yeah that's exactly right and so what we need to do is to find that balance

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and one of the big issues for this is privacy so if you kind of look around the world I'd say there's of the of the kind of the big countries in groupings that countries there's three models of privacy there's Europe which has the strongest privacy protections for all kinds of data including genetic data there's China that has the weakest and there's the United States that has the middle and the Paradox is from an individual perspective we are all thinking well we kind of want to be like Europe because I don't want somebody accessing my personal information especially my genetic information this is like my most intimate information but genetics is the ultimate big data problem and so you need these big data pools and you'd access to the these big data pools in order to unlock the secrets of genetic so these three different groupings everyone's making a huge bet on the future and the way we're going to know who wins like right now in the in the IT world we have Amazon and Apple and Google and those big companies but

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gets this BET right they will be the ones who will be leading the way and making a huge amount of money on these Technologies we're talking about is is a trillion multi-trillion dollar industry how do you think this is going to affect things like competitive Athletics hugely so right now we have this problem someone like Lance Armstrong is who is doing he's manipulating his his body and what he's basically doing is adding more red blood cells so that he can carry more oxygen and people feel that that's cheating and it's a different topic that probably everybody in the Tour de France was doing exactly that when he when he won but what if it which will be the case we're going to be able to sequence the people it's a nobody's doing drugs and we sequence all these athletes some of them will just have a natural genetic Advantage their bodies will naturally be doing what lamps are Lance Armstrong had manipulated his body to do you know that's happening with a sprinter right now yeah well that

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Burnett has high levels of test yes yeah no and it's Jenny I feel really sorry for her yeah but we have categories I mean you you with your world and mixed martial arts I mean I think I remember in the past there was some person who has who was kind of a borderline on a between genders and was just kicking the shit out of all of these women in cage fighting and it's like we have these categories of man and woman we know that the gender identities are our fluid but how do we think about it when these genetic differences confer advantages so if your body is primed to do something maybe you could have like a Plato's Republic world where everybody had fulfills a function that you are genetically optimized to do and that you could imagine that being a very competitive kind of environment but what do you do if we're now in something like the Olympics if somebody has this huge genetic Advantage should we let somebody else manipulate their bodies there's a thing called Gene doping

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in order to change the expression of genes so your body to act like you're as Jeanette naturally genetic advances somebody else it's complicated are they capable of doing certain physical enhancements through Gene doping right now yeah like what can they do right now notice how it's so the way it works is so your genes instruct your cells to make proteins that's that's its that's how the whole system works so you can change jeans or you can trigger the expression of proteins so you can get people's bodies to behave as if they had the these periodic optimization yeah yeah and so that's why now the the world anti-doping agency mean they are now starting to look at Gene doping and this is the first time that that's that that's even being considered as a category and then there are other people that have done that are there people that have done that successfully you know I don't know the answer to that I know that wada is looking for it which makes me

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assume that it must have done but I haven't seen I've looked for it I haven't seen any real china starts winning everything which I did is we so so my my rope my one of my sci-fi novels Genesis Code was about this so China as you know has their system of their Olympic sport schools and the way it works is they test kids all around the country so let's just say it's diving and they identify what are the core skills of a diver what do you need and then they go around the country and they test kids and then they bring a bunch of them to their Olympic sports schools and then they they get them all involved and then some kids are the best of those kids and the best of those kids and then you get with these Champs that's why China advance so so rapidly but what happens if you're doing that but it's at the genetic level and there are countries like Kazakhstan that are already announcing that they are going to be screening all of their athletes so that the science isn't there yet so it's really it's impossible right now to say I want me to do a genome sequence of somebody and I know this person

► 00:37:41

potential to be an Olympic sprinter but 10 years from now that's not going to be the case wow yeah it's sort of gonna throw a monkey wrench in the whole idea of what is fair when it comes to Athletics yeah what is fair what is human right what is human yeah I mean look it's not like people don't already alter their bodies by training by diet exercise all sorts of different recovery modality and cryotherapy yes on all of it you know high elevation training all these different things that they do that manipulates the human body but it's not like it would be kind of crazy if you had sports but you couldn't practice and you couldn't work out like we want to find out what a person's really like no practice no working out that's and that's the thing is like we are moving it comes back to what we're saying before about nature it's like we have this this feeling of nature somehow feels comfortable to us that's what we're used to with all this stuff that you're talking about it nobody was doing that

► 00:38:41

10,000 years ago it's like hey I'm running after a buffalo yeah and so and so as these boundaries change as the realm of possibility changes then we're going to be faced with all of these questions even now look at a sport like competitive weightlifting and they they have these like the real competitive bodybuilding and you see these guys and they're they're monsters and then they have these drug-free guys and everybody looks like a yogi and they still look pretty big pretty big but not compared to know these other guys the only way to get those freak levels yeah steroids yeah and so like how are we going to pull this this and I think it's going to be very difficult and so maybe we can have some kind of natural area of life but I think that our model of what's normal is just going to change because like I was saying in the beginning we set our Baseline based on how we grew up and that it seems about right like it seems about right

► 00:39:41

us that everybody gets immunizations but immunizations are a form of superpower imagine if our ancestor they couldn't even imagine immunizations what an unfair Advantage when you have a hundred million people dying of Spanish flu so we're this all this stuff is scary and it's going to normalize but how it normalizes is is that's what's it plain well the world is changed so much just in the last 20 years but it feels like this is just scratching the surface and comparison to what's coming it was a people Miss understand and they underestimate the rate of change and the reason that they do that is since the beginning of the digital Revolution we have experienced a thing called exponential changes that you've heard of Moore's Law which is basically computing power roughly doubles every two years and we've internalized Moore's Law and that means that every new iPhone we expect to be better and stronger and faster and all these kinds of things but now we're entering in a world where we're going to have exponential change across

► 00:40:41

us technology platforms and so we think about well what is exponential change mean in the context of biology well at the very very beginning its genome sequencing is is going to be basically basically free but we're going to be able to change life and because we're on this j-curve like when you think what's a 10-year unit of change looking in the rearview mirror that amount of change is only going to take 5 years going forward and then two years and then one year and so that's the reason why I've written this book is I just we have to get this stuff is coming fast and if we want to be part of it we have to understand it and we have to make our voices heard

► 00:41:22

what makes you nervous about this all right three big areas first humans and all of eyes incredibly complex mayor talked about genetic code which is mind-bogglingly complex but our genetics exist within the incredible incredibly complex systems biology we have all these things like our microbiome are viral marpe Rodeo our metabolism and then that exists within the context of our environment and everything's always changing in and interacting and so we are messing we have the tools to mess and we will mess because we're this hubristic species with these really complex ecosystems including ourselves we don't fully understand that's number one two and you mentioned it before this issue of equity what happens if we have every technology has to have first adopters if you don't have it you never get the technology but what happens if a group of people move much more quickly than other people whether it's real or not even if they believe it's real you could imagine big dangerous suspect

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tidal changes and the third big area is diversity we think about diversity we think while it's great to have diverse workplaces and schools and and we're more better people for it and we're more competitive but diversity is something much much much deeper in darwinian terms diversity is random mutation like that's our core survival strategy as a species if we didn't have that you could say we'd still be single cell organisms but we wouldn't we would have died because the environment would have changed and we wouldn't have had the the built-in resilience to adapt yeah that is really important when think about diversity right we need a non uniformity when it comes to our own biology yeah because he's a bunch of different kinds of people we have to have it big as even if we optimized for this world the world will change there's no good and bad in evolution there's just well suited for a particular environment if that environment changes the best suited person for your old environment may be the least suited person for the new invites oh yeah so even if we have things that seem real like real

► 00:43:22

great ideas now like optimizing health so if you have sickle cell disease you're probably going to die and you're going to die young and it's going to be excruciatingly painful excruciating painful and so you would say well let's just get rid of sickle cell disease which we can do but if you are a recessive carrier of the single of the sickle cell disease Gene you don't have it you're just carrying it and you have a pretty significant risk of passing it on to your kids but you also have an additional resistance to malaria and so we are probably almost certainly carrying around all kinds of recessive traits maybe even ones that we don't like that are harming us now but that could be some protection against some future danger that we don't yet understand or how or haven't faced and so the challenge is that diversity has just happened to us for four billion years now we're going to have to choose it and that's a big it's a big challenge for us so essentially we're going to have without doubt

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unintended consequences some unintended domino effect things that are going to take place that we really can't predict we just have to kind of go along with this technology and see where it leads us as it improves if you go back and look at surgeries from the 1950s comparison the surgery of 2019 giant leaps I mean I would never advise someone to get their knee operated by a 1950s physician may be right if yeah right but that's kind of someone's going to have to be an early adopter and comes these genetic therapies yeah I know if I agree with you but where I would slightly awry I would add to what you're saying is these Technologies they're going to happen they're going to play on mmm what's it play now is not whether these Technologies are going to advance they will it will do it they will advance in a way that is going to just blow people's minds what's at play is what are the values that we are going to weave into the decision making process so we can get a better outcome than we otherwise

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would have had and that's what in my view what that's the real the important issue now yeah unintended consequences are something that I've been taking very seriously lately when I'm paying attention to technology as a as it's used in social media particularly one of the things is Disturbed me quite a bit over the last few weeks is that there's a model that they use and not intentionally but there's a model that they use to get people upset about things show you things in your feed that you argue against because that makes you click on them more and you engage in them or and because of the fact that we have this Advertiser based model where people are trying to get clicks because they want to get ads on their page and the more clicks they get the more money they get from Those ads and so they want to incentivize people to go there and the best way through the algorithm with which they found without doing it on purpose is to get people upset and they're pushing people into these little

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formation ghettos that are really dangerous right and we've gotten to this point where this is just an accepted part of our lives that you go to check your Google feed or your Facebook feed and all but what the fuck are they doing is this real they're going to pass this goddamn it and then you get mad and you engage with people online and then it results in more Revenue but getting them to stop that if you had to go to Facebook and say hey hey Mark Zuckerberg I know you have fucking a hundred billion dollars whatever you got but you can't make any more money this way right because what you're doing is fucking up Society because you're encouraging descent you're encouraging people to be upset and arguments and you're doing it at great financial reward but great societal cost ya so stop yeah and then so do it right well he may not do it that comes back to the point about regulation if the question is how big is your stick one of the guys who was the founder of Chris yeah this is now coming out and saying my Facebook needs to be broken up and then he was one of the original Founders and he's like it has gotten so far out of hand it's so far away

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from where it is it's literally affecting global politics yeah well it is and so one option is to break it up that it seems to have worked pretty well with AT&T another option is to regulate it which is a in my mind would be a better approach and that is to say here's what's okay and here's what's not okay and this stuff is really intricate you have to really get down beneath these algorithms which are unbelievably complex but you're exactly right I mean what we're seeing now is we are being pushed into its I said information ghettos but it's like information barricades and so pushed in the camp yeah and so am P1 and it's so dangerous because the old man does this country is based on not everybody agreeing but having a process where people come and they work it out and they say you know I'm not perfectly happy with this outcome but here's a compromise and if we can't compromise and our Civic culture is going to break down and there's so much mean people don't see these pillars that are holding up our society I lived in Cambodia for two years

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if you don't have these Civic pillars under your Society societies look very very different everyone's life experience is very we kind of take for granted you can go out the door walk to Starbucks and not get shot or you can you have your house something happens your house gets robbed you call the police and the police aren't the ones who robbed your house or they're not in I mean there's all these kinds of crazy things if we break down the foundations that underpin our lives that's really dangerous what I was kind of getting at was that through what this this process of this algorithm how this algorithm selects things to the chose you and your feed and how people are getting upset by this and how this is generating massive amounts of Revenue once it's already happened it's very difficult to stop and my concern would be that this would be a similar thing when it comes to genetic engineering or what we're saying we need to be able to put regulations on this we need to be able to establish it but once it gets out of the bag once it gets rolling and I have Remember When

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Mark Zuckerberg sat in front of all those politicians they had no fucking idea what they were talking about you make money is such piss-poor prepares and it just shows you like these are the people that are looking out for us good fucking luck these are luddites their dumbasses they're fools right and there they don't know anything about some are there some are better and worse but yeah but almost everyone was underwhelming and under impressive in that hearing in that area the fact that they're dealing with one of the most important moments of our time but they didn't bring on some sort of a like legitimate technology expert explained it pitfalls vests and do so in a way that the rest of the World's Gonna know so they're not going to protect us from genetic engineering either right because they're not they're doing generalists yep in terms of their education for the most part and they're not they're not concerned this is not their concern with raising money for their campaign to concerned with getting re-elected that's their concern with yeah I totally agree with you that if we wait to focus on this issue until it becomes a crisis it's going to be too late

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all the big decisions will have been made the reason why I wrote this book The reason why you know I'm on my almost week 3 of this book tour doing events like this every day is what I am saying in every form that I can is this is really important you know kind of we were watching the news yesterday they had this royal baby in the UK like I don't give a shit it doesn't affect my life in any but what is it play now is the future of our entire species and our democracy in our lives and we have to be focusing on those things because we have a moment now where we can get to a certain extent influence how these revolutions play out and if we just wait around if we're distracted and we're focusing on all this stuff that's sucking up our attention and whether it's Trump or brexit or molar and all these things I mean we're spent how much of our time are we spending focus on this fine let's pay a little bit of attention but there's really big stuff 50 years from now Hunter your son no one's going to look back and say oh that was the age of trump or that way

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they're going to say that was the age when after almost 4 billion years of evolution humans took control of their own evolutionary process and it's huge and it's going to change all of life and what I'm trying to do is to say everybody has to have a seat at the table whether you're a Conservative Christian whether you're a biohacking transhumanists everybody needs to be at the table because we are talking about is the future of our species we're talking about the future of our species but are we even capable of understanding the consequences of these actions the stuff that we're discussing like right now I'm not like I'm talking about it right I mean if someone said hey you've got to go speak in front of people about the consequences of written in a very clear one hour presentation I'd be like no I'm not well what I'm talking about one we can go together so you're good thank you but to the reason why I've written this book hacking Darwin is I wanted to say if you could read just one book and it's written just for everybody in a very clear way with a lot of jokes that

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I think are funny my mother laughed at them as well that you get it and then once you know just the basics as a human being anybody it has an equal right to be part of this of this conversation as the top scientist or the leaders of any of any country but would agree with you there but I don't think that other people are going to see it that way I think the people that are in control they're not going to say hey we need to find we need to be fair with everyone all the citizens the world how do you feel we should proceed but that's why we have to that's why we need this bottom-up Groundswell but we can't have a bottom-up Groundswell if people if just general people aren't even aware of what the issues are and that's that's the challenge and that's why forums like yours are just so important and then you have all of these people and then maybe everyone doesn't listen to this podcast say alright I get it I can go give that hour long speech but you can read a couple books and then you can give a an hour speech because the issues like yes there are scientific issues but this isn't a conversation about

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this is about values and ethics in our future and it has to be a conversation for everybody yeah it's not just a scientific conversation it's a conversation about the future of this species with the species will become and that's something we're holy unqualified no it's your but here's here's a little vote for optimism okay we have never been this literate as a species for we've never been this educated I don't think was ever in this nice either well I hope so I really do what do you mean you look at it all the wars and all the murder that used to happen it's actually a list is the best time ever to be alive still sucks for people that are in bad situations but it's yes on average better and we've never been this connected so we have so I climb the book I call for a species wide Dialogue on the future of human genetic engineer you think oh that's nuts 7 billion people on Earth how are they going to how are they going to do that but we have the opportunity we have to try because you don't want the with the beginning of the genetically modified crops are the scientists were actually really responsible but

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regular people weren't consulted and they felt these guys just did it to me so if he had all the Marchers with genetically modified organisms we are entering the era of genetically modified humans and that's going to scare the shit out of people and so we need to start preparing and we need to make people feel that they're respected and included and our government leaders aren't going to do it for us so we have to find ways of engaging ourselves and that's why me with the book I set up a website where people can can share their views debate with other people I really want everybody to be part of this conversation how do you think it's going to play out in terms of how people various religions perceive this yeah so we there's a real variation so there are people on one end of the spectrum who believe that this is quote unquote playing God and if you believe that the world was created exactly as it is by some kind of divine force and that it's wrong for humans to

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to quote employer unquote play God it's hard to explain how you could justify everything that we've done and we've changed the face of this life on this planet Earth but I really respect people who say look I think that there's a line that you know the I believe that life begins at conception and that any kind of manipulation after conception is interfering that's going too far and I respect that and those people need to have a seat at the table and that's in there certainly very strong religious views in Judaism there's an idea called tikkun Olam which means that the world is created cracked and broken and it's the responsibility of each person to try to fix it and that's a justification for using science and doing things to try to make the world a better place and then there are now these new kind of I mean transhumanism it's almost like a religion it's this religion of Science and so we're going to have we're humans were so diverse we are going to have this level of diversity and the challenge is

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how do we make have a process that brings brings everybody and but it's tough so when we're talking about genetic any sort of genetic manipulation were basically talking about doing stuff to the wet we're doing stuff to the biology right what do you think about symbiotic interactions in technology because I shall one of the things that I'm concerned with more than anything is this sort of inevitable path of Technology getting into our bodies whether it's through Nanobots DivX diseases or through implementation we were talking yesterday about chips right like what would what would they have to do to get you to get it put a chip in your body like what what kind of powers would it have to have before you accept it yeah well people already doing it in Sweden Edward and some of the doing in Sweden yeah they're just they're putting this little chips in their hands and their and under their skin and they're using it to open doors and access things so it's just starting so I definitely believe you know right now you look at we look at photographs of our parents and he's like God look at your hair

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your clothes that's crazy definitely I think that 20 years from now 30 years from now people are gonna look at pictures of us and say what's that little rectangular thing and you're going to say that was a phone what and if they what it's like yeah we used to carry it around in our pocket and like Michael Douglas when you watch him in that movie Wall Street he's got that giant exactly on the beach exactly he was like so we are in the are we are all we are all Michael Douglas because our technology your absolute right is not going to be something that we carry around its technology is coming inside of our bodies that is the future of where it's going and you know people say well our what what is human genetic engineering have to do when we know that AI is going to get more and more powerful but the future of technology feature of all of this it's not human or a i it's human plus Ai and that is what's going to drive our we are Co evolving with our technology and that's what's going to drive our drive us forward but you're exactly right to be afraid and to be concerned

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and again everything has a little how are we going to regulate it what are we going to have guardrails of how far is too far we going to let companies just do whatever they want or we're going to put restrictions on what they can do I think letting the whole world decide though you're going to run into those religious roadblocks if for sure and that's and that's the challenge is that the science is advancing exponentially whatever we do and so we have to have our understanding of the science needs to at least try to keep Pace regulations need to keep up on part of the World Health Organization International advisory committee on human genome editing so we're meeting six times this year in Geneva and the question that we're asking is how do we think about global regulation at least to try to put limits on the far ends of what's possible and it's it's really really difficult but that's why we need to have this kind of process and it seems impossibly ambitious but every crazy idea has to begin somewhere so you're doing every

► 00:59:21

couple months yeah yes wow yeah because they'd want to be on top of it as things change well that's the goal it's just it's so hard because almost impossible impossible and suppose I said that's why even the World Health Organization which is the lead Health Organization of the United Nations it's not enough if the task is so much bigger and that's why we need to have this kind of grim bottom of Groundswell that I'm pushing for and you're absolutely right we said before like because there's not a crisis people are focusing on other things open any news site like what do you see it's not like the really important stuff it's Trump did this or Kardashians did that and like we're in this culture where there are a lot of draws on our attention but sometimes there's really important stuff and people are afraid of it people are afraid of science people feel like I remember science from high school I didn't like it I was uncomfortable you know this is this is for technical people and I just feel like we can't science is so

► 01:00:21

deeply transforming the world not just around us but within us and so we have to understand it and it and people who are explaining science like me the onus is on us like if somebody reads my book and says wow that was really dense that was too hard like that's my failure like I was giving a talk in New York a couple of a couple of weeks ago and so I gave my talk and I try to make this really accessible for people people were all jazzed up they got it and then there was this wonderful guy's brilliant senior scientist at this myth this major stem cell research center and so the the the host said all right Jamie just talked can you sign to can you give us a little background on the sides this guy knows so much and he started going and it was very technical and you could just like to see the faces of the people in the audience it was like oh God what's happening here and just like their level of excitement it just shrunk because it couldn't really put it all click yeah and so and scientists scientists aren't

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and by and large to communicate and to see in the future so a little more than a month ago I was in Kyoto in Japan and I went to the laboratory of the world's leading scientists who's doing a process of what I mentioned earlier of turning adult cells into stem cells into eggs and so this this will revolutionize the way humans reproduce and so I had was in a meeting with his top postdocs dude so these are like really The Cutting Edge of these Technologies and I went around to each of them and I said here's my question of two questions for each of you one tell me what you're doing now and to tell me what are the implications of what you're doing now for 50 years from now and the first question because oh I'm doing this and we're doing this with mouse models and people were so animated and then 50 years from now people just froze and it was so uncomfortable they were like squeezing the table just because that's not what scientists do they are trained to say well this is the thing just in front of me so right I thought I was writing this book for the

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Republic but I'm being invited to speak to thousands of doctors and scientists because what they're saying is we get that we're doing this little piece of this and whether it's lab research or fertility doctors or all sorts of things but it's really hard to put together the whole story of the genetics Revolution and what it means for us and for society yeah man that is interesting about scientists right they're just concentrate on the task at hand yeah I mean wasn't that that was like one of the big concerns about the Manhattan Project right this is the task the task is how do you figure out how to do it so they figure out how to do it not the eventual and yes consequence so when Robert Oppenheimer who was the lead of the of the Manhattan Project when that first bomb went off I mean he has his his famous quote of it yeah exactly I mean that they the English common translation was holy shit what have we done and and that's and this science is real but it's not going to be it's not one person

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doing it means that's the whole like science has been diffused at least with nuclear power it was a relatively small number of people and it was a one or two states that could do it now with this Precision gene-editing I mean you get The Nobel Prize for for figuring out how to do it you will get the Nobel Prize finger figuring out how to do crispr Gene edits but to apply it once the formula already exists you get like an a-minus in your high school biology class so this technology is out there it's cheap it's accessible did you go to the 2045 conference in Manhattan a couple years back now you do you know about all that 2044 that's that's part of the thing with these transhumanist folks they believe that with their own calculations of the exponential increase of technology that somewhere around 20 40 50 Galera T yeah they were at the very least we're going to reach this point where you going to be able to either

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download Consciousness or have some sort of an artificially intelligent sentient beings hanging out with you yeah so I'm involved I'm on faculty for one of the program's of Singularity university called exponential medicine and so we're thinking a lot about that actually had a editor on the New York Times a few weeks ago imagining a visit to a fertility clinic in the year 2045 and again because we are on this exponential change it's really hard for people to to internalize to kind of feel how fast these changes are coming I do think though Ray Kurzweil who's a really incredible genius he thinks that we are soon going to get to a point where our artificial intelligence is self learning because when you think about it AI if it gets to the point where it can read something read and comprehend like in seconds it will read every book ever written in human history and then it's it be when you have all these doublings and all this more knowledge you can imagine how that would happen

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quickly the counter argument against and I think that it will but I don't think that we're the that our human brains are on one hand they're incredibly complex and they're also kind of irrational I mean we have all these different layers you have our lizard brain and every decision that we make there's the rational decision but then there's all the other stuff that our brains that doesn't even rise to the level of our awareness that are that our brains are processing and right now we only really have one really effective artificial intelligence algorithm which is for pattern recognition but I think if you think of pattern recognition as a core skill of what our brains do our brains probably have a thousand two thousand different skills but the core thing is whether we reach this Singularity moment or not these Technologies are going to become incredibly more powerful they're going to become increasingly integrated into our lives and into our beings and part of our evolutionary process there's no longer a we just have our biological evolution and our technological evolution

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are separate things they're connected it's going to be that weird question of whether or not if an artificial intelligence is going to be able to absorb all the writing that human beings have ever done and really understand us yeah well they've really still be able to understand that's just because they get all the writing so right now you would say no I would say no yeah but 20 years from now 50 years from now a hundred years from now they could come up with a reasonable facsimile I mean yeah they could figure out a way to get it close enough yeah I know where it's like her like that yeah that's an essential point because I think when people imagine this AI future they're imagining like some intimate relationship with some artificial intelligence intelligence that feels just like a human and I don't think that's going to happen because it's it don't well no but just because AI it will be its own form of intelligence and it may not be frankly wouldn't want a eyes with these brains like we have that have all these different impulses that are kind of imagining all this crazy stuff where we may want them to be more rational than

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and we are so like chimpanzees are our close relatives they don't think just like us we're not you know we're not expecting them to think like they're their own thing and I think a eyes will be their own things will we be interacting with them will we be having sex with them yes but if they are there it's not going to be that they're just like us we're going to they're going to be these things that live within us live with us and together we're going to evolve well they're certainly already better at doing certain things like playing chess and it took a long time for an artificial intelligence to be able to compete against a real chess master but now they swap them yeah so they learn quickly like an incredibly quickly they teach themselves yeah so so first we had chest and chest people said oh that's what it means to be a human the computers will never be humans it just now it's like everyone's as well no human could ever compete and then they said well there's this Chinese game of Go which kind of when people here look at it looks kind of like Checkers but it's actually way more sophisticated

► 01:08:21

more complicated than chess I heard that there are more moves in go more potential than there are stars in the universe yes so so then they had alphago that this this company deepmind which the was later acquired by Google they built this algorithm that in 2016 defeated the world champions of go and people thought that was we were decades away and then deepmind created this new program called Alpha 0 and Alpha 0 with alphago they gave it access to all of the digitized games of go so it very quickly was able to learn from how everybody else had played go Alpha 0 they just said here are the basic rules of Go and they let Alpha go just play against itself with no other experience other than here are the rules and play against and in four days Alpha 0 destroyed alphago and then Alpha and Ned Alpha 0

► 01:09:21

destroyed the world champions of Chess and destroyed every other computer program that had ever played chess in this again Those computer programs had internalized all the chess games of Grandmasters Alpha 0 had not internalised any just played against itself for a few days and then shogi which is a Japanese traditional game kind of like chess it destroyed the Grandmasters of that so that's what I'm saying is that these the world is changing its changing so much faster than we anticipate and we have to be as ready for that as we can I think we need to come to grips the fact that we're way stupider than we think who are we what we think we're really intelligent and we are in comparison to everything else on this planet yeah but in comparison to what is possible we are really fucking dumb in comparison to what this computer can do and what the future of that computers and what maybe that computer is going to redesign another computer and I don't know this is good but I've got some I got some hiccups here yeah no it's true but and yet the technology is US write like this takes or

► 01:10:21

these sound like this technology some alien force we've it's like this it's like we create art we collect we could yeah you use that you mentioned cities and are like we create these cities which are these incredible places where dreams can happen in cities like here in Los Angeles or New York where I'm from so this technology is us and the challenge is how can we make sure that this technology serves our needs yeah rather than undermines our needs yeah and whether or not our needs supersede the needs of the human race or supersedes the needs of the planet yeah it's

► 01:10:56

we're almost too much champ right to contemplate these yeah critical decisions in terms of like what how it's going to unfold from here on out we really might not we but the people that are actually at the tip of the Spear of the stuff they really might be affecting the way the planet is shaped and years from now and we're doing that now I mean we are there is an article came out the other day there's a million species that are on the verge of Extinction we are driving all these other species to Extinction we're warming the planet so this is humans are the determining factor in many ways for how this planet plays out and that's why in my mind everything comes back to values we you're right we have this this lizard nature this this monkey nature it's who we are and that's when you wouldn't want to take that away because that's the core of what we are and yet we're also a species that has created philosophy we've created beautiful religions and traditions and art and the

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is which version of us is going to lead us into the future if it's this tribal primate with these urges like that's really frightening if we can say we've done better and worse in history we had this terrible second world war and yet at the end of the second world war with American leadership the world came together we established a United Nations we establish these concepts of Human Rights like you can't just kill everybody in your own country and say hey it's just my business so we have this capability but it's always a struggle I mean these forces are always at war with each other in many ways it's just too much to think about yeah but we have to I know we do have to one of the things that's always been amusing to me is that we seem to have this insatiable desire to improve things and I've always wondered why I like but it is that may be because this is what human beings are here for

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yeah it's what we do it's who we are right yeah but this is a product it's just us being intelligent trying to survive against nature and predators and weather and all the different issues that we came up that we evolved growing up and dealing with it and then now we just want things to be better we just want things to be more convenient faster but more data you're aware of Elon musk's neural link chair technology yeah how much do you know about it I know a decent amount in my friend Brian Johnson he has a company Colonel there's a few different companies that are trying to think about these brain-machine interfaces and what are they trying to do basically what they're trying to do is to find a way to connect our brains to our machines and there's a little bit of progress in our brains are they're incredibly complicated and they're messy I mean if there's a lot that's that that's happening but we are increasingly figuring out how to connect our brains to our technology and so people are imagining

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time when we can do things like download download Memories download ideas or upload memories and upload any isn't there some very early science that is suggesting that this will be possible but it's still the very early days the very early days but he'll on was giving the impression that sometime this year they're going to release something you know they may release something but it's not going to be something that's going to change the world because this that technology is way more nascent than even the genetics technology that I'm that I've been talking about it's not like that there's that it's it all remotely possible that this year you're going to be able to like upload a full memory or download a full memory but there are little things that are happening but every every Journey begins with a step but the technology is fairly transparent is turned in terms of like where the state-of-the-art is right now it is in that it's extremely early this stuff is real so when you think of like about

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systems that we understand I mentioned that we we understand just a little bit about genomics we know less about the brain the brain is kind of the great unknown of this universe we know more about the oceans that we know about our brain I mean it's just we know very very little we understand that if you kind of stick an electric current in somebody's brain like that's gonna if you if you just kind of shoot a spike through somebody's head but really understanding how the brain functions it we're still in the very very early days so do you think the Kurzweil is off with this idea that you're going to be able to download your Consciousness into a computer because that's one of the most controversial ideas that he's come up with I think he's I think he's off based on your use of the word your so I mentioned that a month ago I was in Kyoto and I was at this at this stem cell lab but I also went to another lab of a guy named Hiroshi ishiguro who's the world's leading humanoid robot assist and so he's the guy who's on the cover of wired and he's created these robot a

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tars and like I had a conversation with this this robot woman Erica and it's really interesting because I could see that like if I would smile she'd smile and lean forward and if I had like a you know over-exaggerated sad face she'd like change her expression and she can have like you know basic basic conversations but we're still a long way and so from from having full robots but I had this for about a human interactions but I had this debate with ishiguro and he was saying that he thought that the future of humanity was non-biological that we were going to kind of unload ourselves to these non biological entities and that is how we would gain our immortality and I argued something very different I feel like we are biological beings I think will fully integrate with our technology but if we ever become entirely non-biological then that's not us either we will have committed suicide as a species or these

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robots are they will have killed us because even if let's just say that I could download my entire Consciousness to some kind of robot and let's just say that was possible that robot would be me for that first exact moment when the transfer happened but then beyond that they wouldn't be me anymore because there would be a whole other set of experience but we're but certainly our interaction our connectivity with this Tech is going to be greater and so even if Kurzweil isn't exactly right he's directionally right yeah the problem would be that you would be locked in if they downloaded your Consciousness into some sort of a bank of computer somewhere right where are you if that's your Consciousness your Consciousness is in these ones and zeros yeah that's terrifying the what's terrifying is some didn't like you and they said I'm going to make one version of you suffer for all eternity yeah you know magic download you while you sleep it's true but I have something

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Stan that okay death and so I think that nobody is going to say well I'm going to be Joe living a life or I'm going to like not be Joe and I'll just have my Consciousness downloaded someplace else and so if the comparison is well I've lived this life and I don't want to die and so I rather kind of be here in some kind of version and even if it's not me this something really I think some people will want that not everybody some people will but they don't know what they're getting right in terms of you don't know what that experience is going to be like nor do you know if there is some sort of a chemical Gateway that happens in the mind when you do expire and allows you to pass through to the other dimension that yeah your Consciousness and your soul longs to travel to but no you've I hope I don't ever write about that and my I'm definitely not right I've written about this in my novel it's like yeah but I think kind of when you're dead you're just dead at the good news for you that though we'll just because I think that this kind of immortality comes because time stops time is relative concept

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so at the moment that you die that's immortality for you because time stops flowing for you time is that's what Einstein taught us time is this relative concept other people they're legitimately and there's no way to prove it feel that we have this soul and this Soul can travel to other other dimensions I happen to believe that we are biological beings and our experience of the Soul whatever is connected to our biology when our biology stops functioning those experiences whatever they are stop being accessible at least to us have you had any psychedelic experiences yeah I haven't and I was so hmm tempt I wished we started the interview talking about my chocolate Shamanism you haven't done anything I haven't and but I was real excited I want to I don't think so and I'll tell you why so I listened to the Michael Palin interviews and he had his great conversation with Sam Harris and I really think that this psilocybin stuff is is real and just got the criminal I know in Denver I was

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the other day but as I said before I think that the ultimate drug is us and so for me I would rather and I definitely think that our awareness that does it doesn't Encompass everything that is knowable everything that we that we could know but we have ourselves in and if we want to get out of those limitations certainly drugs are ways that have people have used for for many thousands of years but when you take the drug you're like taking the drug and you're not taking the drug like I would rather what does that mean it's like if you're taking psilocybin you're having this great experience but then tomorrow you're not taking psilocybin and so kind of your Consciousness has narrowed my aspiration would be to recognize that the drug is us that if we want to expand our Consciousness there are all kinds of ways whether it's meditation or awareness or just simple appreciation that's when I do these cacao ceremonies what I say is like you have this cacao and

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if you bit it's not just this like think of the person in Honduras who planted the seed the person who watered that see the person who took the plants the person who paved the road to bring the plane and I just I just think that we can expand our Consciousness through our own means and then we always have access I hear what you're saying but you're saying this from a person that's never had psychedelic experience I know it's really Preposterous you did experience what psilocybin can do to yeah you definitely wouldn't be saying it this way you also wouldn't be thinking then you take it and then you're not on it anymore because it's profoundly influential for the your perspective in regards to the whole rest of your existence there's many people that have had psychedelic experiences that think about it as a rebirth yeah that they've gone through this and changed yeah so well why would you have this rigid thought process about drugs and not drugs yeah but yet you don't have it about cacao which is a mild drug yeah and so I

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right that it may not be entirely consistent some of the people you've described are good friends of mine who've really done and I've really I've talked to them about it and I'm humming endlessly curious so why don't you do it the reason is so far I have been on this journey to see what's possible Within Myself and I'm still on that Journey I'm not I want to close off any possibility for any assumed that it would close things off that's what's confusing yeah it's just opening you up to a new experience that other people found to be profoundly influential yeah so so far you're very resistant to this like you yeah I'm talking like yeah yeah yeah you can't wait to come back your own rational you're right back you know it's a funny I would connect this perspective of a person who hasn't experienced anything you're so right and just I think it's such a great point because I'm very close with actually that with the Tibetans one of my closest friends is the prime minister of the Tibetan Exile government so I've been many times to dry Masala in India I've met with

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his Holiness the Dalai Lama many times and the most incredible thing about meeting with these guys and they they are all people who found these incredible states of heightened Consciousness so much that their brains are changed when they go into the the fmri machines but when you have a conversation with them it's not like we do like exactly and thank you for calling me out like you say something I've already in my head countered what you're saying before you're finished saying and I'm like why you kept saying right exactly exactly which probably means you made me uncut a little uncomfortable which is good that's what we want and these guys it's like you talk to them and they would just be so tuned in to what you were saying and they would just kind of think about then you'd finish and then they'd kind of look up and then because we're Americans we want you know somebody stops speaking like you have to if you don't speak right away and then there was like a minute and then it's like you're kind of looking around was it me Dice and then they would come back with this incredibly

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thoughtful thanks I you're right you know I don't want to close off any possibility there are many different things that we could could do the path that I have been on and certainly with this cacao and you're right Cacao is like a mild I mean not a huge one but of like a mild Dragon life is a mild job so Simon's not very mild yeah knowing my friends who have done it have said exactly what you said they say I have a good friend of mine who who did it and then he said it just it showed me a path to a different identity a different Consciousness and now he said I don't do psilocybin but I do daily meditation but I can see where I'd like to go what's possible so I get that yeah yeah there's a bunch of different substances out there that have very similar profound effect

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there's a real thought and this is something that Terrance McKenna described way back in the late 90s early 2000s he believed that you're going to be able to recreate a lot of psychedelic States through virtual reality so that people that don't want to actually do a drug will be able to experience what it's like to be on that drug and that I mean that's it's very theoretical and hypothetical and yes you know who knows whether or not that's possible but that that could be one other way that human beings interface with technology so humans in my view are far more hackable than we think Mmm that that there are so many that we just imagine our biology is being fixed but our biology is really variable like I have a friend who's an anesthesiologist at Stanford and she's done this experiment he's just running just like very mild electric currents through people's

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brains and people have these very real experiences and whether it's arousal or something that it's that you're entering people's minds through different ways so you talked about that virtual reality we are entering a world where the pixelation of virtual reality will be equal to life and that so you're going to be in this VR space and it just it will look it may smell it could have with haptic suits it may feel just like life yeah and our brains I don't know if you've done these things with these these VR glasses where you go and you did you can see people are just like in a in a hall and they put on the glasses and now you're in an elevator going to the top on the outside like a window cleaners over to the top of this high-rise and there's a little rickety board and then there's this cat at the end of the board and they're saying yeah you have to go go save the cat and you've already seen

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you're just in a hall you know it in your brain there's this cat everybody's looking at you and you've seen all these other people panic and think wow when I'm there I'm going to be so I'm just gonna go grab that cat and you're terrified like you're trying to override your lizard brain and your lizard brain saying like no don't step in to save that for our HTC Vive yeah we need to set that up Jimmy we need a yeah a two-by-four we put on the ground fighting credible and so I think that this whole concept of reality is a like that our technology is going to be changing our sense of reality and then what's real like if you feel arousal in your brain because of an electric current or you feel it because you're with your girlfriend or wife or reading a magazine or whatever is that different is one real and one not real and I think that this there's real big issues here yeah I mean that is the Matrix right I mean the idea that and if it feels better and it's more enjoyable than real life what is going

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stop people from doing the Ray Kurzweil deal and yeah downloading yourself into this this Dimension well not much you know whether it's possible to do a full download or not yeah I think that's an open question but whether people are going to be more comfortable living in these alternative worlds and whether we're going to be able to say oh no that is the fake world like if you're in this virtual world right but you're do you have friends in that world you're interacting in that world you have experiences that feel every bit as real in that world as in our world and people say oh no that's not real those those aren't your friends like even now like you know we all people with global lives your kind of have these friends like I have a good friend in Mongolia we talk all the time do you ever see them in person once in a while like once every year or two it's great to see how that's a real person no no it's a real that someone actually not like a pen I mean that you actually do know but if it was someone that you only talked to online and they lived in

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going that's where things get weird it's true but let's just say hypothetically that hypothetical you have that person there part of your whole life hmm and if you're there with you there are they with you through your life experiences you call them up when you're sad like is it so essential that you've met that person physically like is that the core of what it means to be someone's friend that you it's not essential but it means a lot it does and I enjoyed I do I mean because we are not like we are these physical beings and we are these virtual beings but figuring out what's the balance is going to be really tricky yeah what is the balance like what I'm worried about augmented reality to because I you know when you see people that use Snapchat filters and give themselves dog years and stuff like that like yeah how long before that is just something that people choose to turn on or turn off about life itself yeah like you'll be able to see the world through different lenses that guy could be a different color

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the plants could be a different color yeah my write about this in one of my novels Eternal Sonata we're I think we're just going to have these contact lenses and I'm and it'll be different kinds of information based on what people want I mean like I'll meet with you and it'll say alright this is Joe here's a little bit of background whatever and and we'll have useful information or you're walking around a city and you'll beget little alerts of things that you might do or history and so I think that that's what they were thinking about with Google Glasses yeah with I know but it just was so annoying that people wanted to kill people too weird yeah yeah it's just too everybody felt like they were getting filmed to they were yeah I mean when you're walking around with Google glasses on you assume that people were recording everything was very strange they were but I think that's another thing that we just all of our lives are going to be recorded of course now do you think that that's going to come in the form of a contact lens or do you think it's going to come in the form of like ski goggles that you're going to put on and see where nobody wants to look like an idiot and so in the beginning true

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no but in the beginning all these you talked about Michael Douglas with this or like that my favorite one is is Kurt Russell in Escape From New York what do you have there he has it's like it's like this really cool Tech like he finally gets out of this Manhattan Helm and he's got this phone and it's like this big and it's so that mr. president I'll phone is freeze it's like they're very very early days and so you know now we have these kind of glasses and there's like a little bit of a little bit of cash a bomb has a cell phone that's that big Cena no I was at the Verizon store yeah I think it's like an attachment Earnest an accessory to a phone yeah it's like you can bring it with you and dimension by not bring your other phone that's the idea behind it yeah so you could decide well I'm going out let me just bring my tiny phone for the essentials all this tiny I mean if the funds are going to get quote unquote phones are just going to get so smart so I say they're going to come inside of it you'll have like a little contact lens maybe a little thing in your ear maybe a little permanent implant in your behind your tooth or one of the teeth so replace a tooth with

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computer yeah pipe it right into your nerves any kind of crazy stuff to think about it's probably gonna happen some of it someone will take some of it won't bring yeah right yeah it seems like that's what we're going to have to say like how it plays out and that's one of the things when you were talking about scientists that are working on these things they're working on what's right in front of them they're not looking at greater landscape itself in terms of like what the future holds it's not their job and that's why we need other people I certainly see myself are those people you and Wells who do elect if Trump came to you and said Jamie we've got problems we need to figure out the future what do we do so it was certainly a movie need to have a mix of different kinds of people and so I certainly people like me who are kind of big picture futurists we need that we need scientists I work with some really incredible sign of did an event at Harvard last week with George Church who's kind of like the living Charles Darwin David Sinclair who you know has been on this program as a friend I'm working on life extension and we need people just from

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backgrounds and so like I would say like we need people we need poor people and people from developing world we need all kinds of people but in terms of the people who are kind of articulating the big picture of the world and what are the challenges that we're facing I certainly put myself in that category people like you've all know a Harari who is kind of big also kind of big thinkers people like Sid Mukherjee and I just think we have to articulate the big picture and we have to do it in a way so that people can see themselves in this story and then and then enter into the conversation are you writing this book just to sort of educate people and let them understand exactly what is going on and that it is a really volatile and chaotic and amazing time and that all these things are or you are you doing this book too but what are what essentially was hacking Dharma look what was the motivation behind it was it

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for a person like me or was it for the everyone like is for everyone and so the what I really wanted to so the background is going to give I give you a little bit of background so more than 20 years ago I was working on the National Security Council and my then boss Richard Clark who was then this obscure White House official who was jumping up and down saying we need to be focusing on terrorism and Al Qaeda and Bin Laden and he was trying to tell everybody and nobody was paying attention to his totally marginalized and when 9/11 happened I'm dicks memo was on George Bush's death saying exactly that we need to focus on Al-Qaeda here's what's going to happen to and Dick even before then would always tell me that if everyone in Washington was focusing on one thing you could be sure there was something much more important that was being missed and so more than 20 years ago I was looking around I saw these little pieces of disparate information and I came to the conclusion that the genetics Revolution was going to change everything so I educated myself I started writing articles I was invited to testify

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before Congress and then to try to get that story out I was I started I wrote my two most recent near-term sci-fi novels Genesis Code and Eternal Sonata and when I was on book tours for those and I explained the science to people the way I kind of a self educated citizen scientist and a novelist would explain the science all of a sudden people got it and that was when I realized I needed to write the book about the genetics Revolution that people could absorb that wouldn't scare people but my mission for the book is that this stuff as we've talked about it's so important that everybody needs to be part of the conversation we have this brief window and what I'm calling for is this species why Dialogue on the future of human genetic and genetic engineering and I have a whole game plan in the book about what people can do how they can get involved people individually on a national level we have to put a lot of pressure on our elected leaders and say stop focusing on the crap there is really important stuff that needs

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be addressed and we need leadership I'm going I'm speaking on in Congress week and a half from now talking about about these issues so we need to have an on an international level we have to have some kind of International System we're so far away from being able to do that we don't even know what the standards are but we have to be pushing and so it I know you think that in terms of like the same way we have with like nuclear weapons yeah in a way in many ways yeah but the thing is with nuclear weapons a lot of that happened at the state level at the country level this needs to happen at a popular level and at a at a government level so the only way that does that's going to happen effectively as we need real comprehensive education on the subject it's not something that people can just guess right now you do know what's the consequences what where we're at right now yeah right yeah and that's and that's like Sanjay Gupta had a wonderful quote that section on the cover of my book which is if you can read one book on the future of our species this is it so what I've tried to do is to say like if you just want to go to one

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place to understand what's happening what's at stake what it means for you and what you can do now if you want to get involved I've tried to do that but then ironically I'm now like as I mentioned being asked to speak to thousands of doctors and scientists because they're all reading this book and they're saying this is this is positioning my work in a much bigger context Sanjay Gupta is a very interesting cat because he was very anti marijuana and then started doing research on it and then totally flipped a hundred degrees Yeah which to me is a great sign of both humility and intelligence I recognize the data was different than his presuppositions yeah he had these prejudices that were very common yeah now when you speak to Congress yeah do you do they brief you in terms of like what they would like specifically for you to address know so this one it's I've been asked to go and speak and a lot of members of Congress who are going to be invited and what I'm going to tell them is look this is really important our Congress

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is not doing enough and here are the things that we need to do and what are you going to say to try to really get it in their head but I'm going to say is that the genetics Revolution is here if we don't have a system if you don't have a rational system to manage it if we don't have a system you talked about public education the challenge that we face in the United States is we traditionally have had a representative democracy and now we're transitioning from a representative democracy to a popular democracy so Switzerland has a popular democracy but they have really well-educated people who are able to have enough information to make smart decisions we have an educated our public and yet the public is making big decisions in a lot of it is happening just on a gut feeling that's what's happening with trade agreements where people just have a feeling it's bad without the ability to really get into the into the details and so we are having that transition which means there's a lot of responsibility on us to educate our public and it's a tragedy we treat people in this country

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you can just throw people away like you so many if you're in some crappy school system and your your chances of success are so minimized not because of anything that you've done just because of your circumstances and it's unacceptable it is only so I mean equal opportunity is what we really should all strive for and I think some people conflate that with OP equal success right and you're not going to get the same equality of outcome you're gonna get different different amounts of effort and different people are qualified or more talented at different things but what I'm worried about is what I said initially that some people are going to get ahold of this stuff quickly and it's going to give them an a massive Advantage yes so sort of like I mean if you the first person that has the ability to go forward in time from five minutes right is going to be able to manipulate the stock market in an unprecedented way I don't think that that's really possible on our lifetime but that's the

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of thing I'm talking about you could get so far ahead right that if we're talking about competition there will be no catching up baby you don't have to travel in time to do that right but I can't get the exact but it was yeah it was but there's real technologies that are likely to happen which are going to confer billions tens hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits of advanced yeah yeah and that stuff is happening now and this is the concern with getting behind countries like China because if they get ahead of us in something like that when they're already moving in this direction in terms of Technology yeah so I am a proud American my father and grandparents came here as refugees I believe in what this country at our best stands for I want us to continue to be the country that setting an example for the rest of the world that is articulating what our ideals of responsibility and governance good governance and accountability and all these things that we have championed and because of that I want us to get our act together politically

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and I want us to be the leading technological country in the world and so I think that's what's at stake and we're losing so much time because there was a time in the period after the second world war where we recognize that technological leadership was the foundation for everything else we were we had recreated the world out of the ashes of the of the war but we realized that we needed to have the economic growth we needed to have the competition we needed to have these Technologies and weave it was a miracle what we've what we've done and now we're we've lost our focus and we have to regain it the way I look at humans and the way I look at the human race today in 2019 it's like we're driving very fast through fog it's very difficult to see what's in front of us yep when I look back at allows you already HG Wells but some of his predictions about the future really interesting because he he was pretty close on quite a few things but that that Vision to be able to sit there and use your imagination close

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I think what is this going to be like what is what we're dealing with now and opposed to as opposed to what 2119 right what is which is similar to HG Wells versus is right what the fuck is that going to be like like yeah is there going to be a time where there are no diseases there there is no death and that we just have to regulate population control and some sort of other Manner and the only way people die they're going to die from accidents and things along those lines but but mortality in terms of old age this is that's a according to David Sinclair this is a fixable issue yeah you know under of when they fix it they fix it in 20 years or 30 years or 50 years maybe David is a friend and I have a whole chapter I don't want to misquote yeah either that I have I have a whole chapter in the book on the the science of human life extension so I think definitely it's real that we're going to live healthier longer we're going to harness our technology that I don't think that immortality that

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illogical immortality is in is in the cards maybe not immortality because we'll still be biologically vulnerable with hearts and brains all right stuff but aging yeah I think we will age slower and we will live healthier longer and I think it's going to be great but back to your core point mean that's the reason why I also write science fiction is that the world of science is changing so fast that we really need to apply a lot of imagination to imagine where it's going because if you're just looking at what's happening now it's like this train is going to speed by we have to kind of imagine it's like Wayne Gretzky we have to imagine where the puck is going to be not where it is now and I I mentioned George Church whose like he's at Harvard he's like the living Charles Darwin and I do a lot of speaking alongside George and it's become our little thing that he says that he reads science fiction like mine and then imagine says well that's pretty cool how can we do that and what I do is I look at the research coming out of labs like George's and I said well that's where we are now

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what's that going to mean in 2050 a hundred years and so we have to that the science fiction plays a more important role than it ever has in kind of imagining where we're going and it's that imagining that allows us to try to say well what if that's one of the options of where we're going what are the decisions that we need to make now so that we can have a better outcome rather than a worse if you are gambling person I don't know if you are but if I had to give you a hundred bucks to put on something in 20 years it's going to be profoundly just it changed its going to change us in a way that is something that we are not really prepared to understand or deal with what do you think that's going to be I think it's going to be predictive genetics they were going to have all right now it's like you go to your doctor when you're sick you could have been this could have been some genetic disorder that you had from the moment you were conceived and it was

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King and it was ticking and you showed up 50 years later when that's been manifest so it's going to be very different you're taking your kid home from the hospital your newborn and the doctor says Hey congratulations this is really great but just FYI your kid has a 50% greater than average chance of getting early onset Alzheimers 50 years from now hmm and your cat your kid has a really great chance of being phenomenal at abstract math like how are we going to think about how we think about what it means to be human when we have all of that information and there are things now that we call fate and it's a just a different model and so I think that and once we have that that's going to change a lot of things it's going to fundamentally transform our health care what we call Health Care Now is really sick care you show up with a symptom this is going to be predictive and it's going to change the way we live the way we make babies because people are going to have real choices about which embryos to implant and we're going to have a lot of information

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and I better read a lot of really intimate stuff so you feel like genetic manipulation and genetic engineering genetic understanding genetic knowledge and then applied genetic medicine yeah those going to be the big changes in the next 20 years even more so than technology with its interconnected because these there's really it's like a super convergence of these Technologies so the the genetics Revolution is the artificial intelligence revolution in the sense that the complexity of genetics is so great it's Way Beyond what our brains on their own could process and so really when it's there all these Technologies are touching each other and so the biological models are now influencing the AI so for example we are coming to the limits of silicon storage but DNA has unlimited storage capacity so it's the as I've said before the kind of the the boundaries between biology and AI or genetics and AI is going to be very blurry yeah that is an interesting

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in concept right the idea of storing information in DNA and that that has been discussed yeah it's the DNA is the greatest information storage mechanism ever imagined the question is what happens when you do store things in there and how does that information interact with all the rest of the stuff that's in your body already well I mean if you can do it in your body you could doesn't have to be it doesn't have body X2 just think of like your your DNA has four billion years of history and it's done a great job of recording it it's incredible like a mime I have old 8-track tapes they haven't lasted that is a squirrelly concept that you have all that data inside your head and that's also when people make when they try to understand instincts yeah that people have the these are some sort of genetically encoded memories right some understanding of things that are dangerous and that these they're in there because this is how we've learned over the years without actually having to experience these things personally yeah yeah no said that's it's baked in our genetics are baked

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in to us and so you know I don't know if you've been to Indonesia before I was in Indonesia and I went to this place called Komodo Island oh wow the dragons the Komodo dragons are and it was fascinating because it's like you can tell they don't have plaintiffs attorneys years walking around they're all these Komodo dragons and say yeah these are like the most deadly creatures on Earth and there's like some little guy with a little stick and it's like how effective is that stick but the way it works so you just walking around walking around because they come objects when they're not killing people or killing animals they're just sitting there and so he's yes it's pretty scary do they ever get Jack to people ever go there and get bitten yes and they say was only a few times a year it's like well a few times yeah that seems like a lot times a year is a lot of it but the way it works for a Komodo dragon a mother lays the egg and then buries the egg and then forgets where the egg is and then let's just say that this egg hatches and this little Komodo dragon comes out and the mother sees her own baby Komodo dragon she'll eat it in a second well Jesus and

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so if you're a Komodo dragon you better have your entire survival strategy baked into your DNA because nobody's teaching you anything and so for us we have this sense that it's like parenting is really important it is environment is really important it is but so much of who and what we are is baked in to our genetics and I think that's that's going to be this challenge we're going to see ourselves as increasingly genetic beings we can't become genetic determinants think they were just genetics but we're going to know a lot more we're going to demystify a lot of what it means to be a human proof yeah this is right but are we going to lose the romance and the just the randomness of life because that's what people are concerned with right like if if we have some sort of genetic uniformity

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especially in particular with like things like intelligence and athletic performance we're not going to appreciate freaks as much or maybe we'll all want to be freaks because that's really all going to want the freaks are the ones who push us in so I not gonna want to be a moron yeah well your question it's the essential question it's like what makes a human a human isn't just some we have higher IQ that doesn't make you a better human that makes you someone with a higher IQ but how are we going to think about constructing societies when it's up to us like if we are going to say we value certain people certain ideas yeah I think we're going to need artists like right now people like artists are sometimes in the mainstream sometime there On The Fringe but artists are going to be maybe the most important people in this new world and right like right now in hospitals we have kind of a hierarchy and like the most technical people are the people who are valued the most and the least technical people like some of the nurses or nurses aides are the people who are often valued and paid the least but when technology can do

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these technological Feats what's going to be left is how can we be great humans how can we emotes how can we connect how can we create art and if we get swept away by this tide of science as you know how excited I am about the size of but if and we could really undermine our Humanity right as for humans what humans value is many aspects of that Humanity art the Creations yeah literature things we when you read someone's great Pros you're reading like an insight into their mind and that's what's interesting about it right you like yes you're not going to get that from just ones and zeroes yeah and that's and there will always be this way we call it mystery and even if we can do a genetic analysis of Shakespeare and Mozart and and whatever like it's still miraculous and we need to celebrate that and we can't we can't allow us to say that we are just our genetics or even just our biology

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we also can't just say biology has nothing to do with it especially because we're going to know more about our biology and about our differences and that's that's normal I mean you used to be in the old days that everyone thought well God is whether and now we understand whether pretty much a nobody think oh that lightning that's God is delivering a message it could be but we still like we still have that mystery and I think that it's in some ways it's about our orientation like how do we make sure that we keep this view of life that we have artists and humanists who are just at the core of this conversation about where we're going what if that mystery ultimately turns out to just be ignorance and that as you develop more and more understand there's less and less mystery would we like to be less smart will be like to be the or overwhelmed by possibility I mean it could be I think that be part of what romance is it could be and certainly like the unknown every we wake up every morning sure and we just don't know the answer and there's some people like to go

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back to the issues of Life Extension there are some people who say well that death is essential for appreciating life I talk about this stuff all around and then there are people who say you're talking about eliminating these terrible diseases but I know somebody who had that terrible disease and their suffering was a gift to everybody else because we all had more Humanity in response to their suffering at look but that's kind of screwed up I'd prefer them to not have that suffering but those people are thinking wacky it's wacky but we need to I totally agree with you that if we allow ourselves to get swept away with this kind of scientific determinism if we don't say we really value our humanistic Traditions our artists our culture's we could get lost and we could become obsolete we could become obsolete but we could also just become less human and there's something wonderful and there's magic but do you think that monkeys used to think man can become a human would become less monkey yeah

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you know I'm saying but no being looks in the mirror and recognizes that they are evolving here we've only been Homo sapiens are about 300,000 years right so we just it's hard we know where we've come from because you see all those little charts from high school biology but it's really hard for people to imagine being something else in the future it's outside of our of our Consciousness and so Sage Tea well Square yeah and we are monkeys it just that we've redefined our monkey thing you know we do it with a you know a little different way that's what I was kind of getting out are you concerned at all with artificial life you concerned about the propagation of artificial intelligence well they're different kinds of artificial life so one is artificial intelligence and I know people like Elon Musk and and late Stephen Hawking are afraid terrified yeah and I think that we need whether it's right or not I think it's great for us to focus on those risks is if we just say oh that's that's crazy and we don't focus on it it

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increases the likelihood of these bad things happening so kudos to Elon Musk but I also think that we are aware of long way away from that threat and we are and we will be enormous beneficiaries of these Technologies and that's why my I don't want to sound like a broken record but that's why I keep saying it's all about values if I think we should take those threats very seriously and then say here's our so abstract and we don't agree on them it's true bit like like Elon Musk and they've set up this this institute were to say well what are the dangers right and then what are the things that we can do now what are standards that we can integrate for example into our computer programming and so I mentioned my World Health Organization committee the question is well what are the what are the standards that we can integrate into scientific culture it's not going to cure everything but may increase the likelihood of a better rather than worse outcome but isn't there an inherent danger in other companies or other countries rather not complying with any standards that we said because they would be anti-competitive yes like that

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that would they would somehow another diminished competition or diminish their Competitive Edge it's true and that's why and that's the balance that we're going to need to need to hold its and it's really hard but we have a window of opportunity now to try to get ahead of that and like I said we have chemical weapons biological weapons nuclear weapons where we've had International standards that have roughly held I mean there was a time when slavery was the norm and there was a movement to say this is this is wrong and it was largely successful so we have history of being more successful rather than than less and I think that's the goal but you're right I mean this is a race between the technology and the best values my real concern about artificial intelligence is that this Paradigm shifting moment will happen before we recognize it's happening and then it'll be too late yes that's exactly right that's like I say that's that's why I've written the book that's why I'm out on the road so much talking to people why it's such an honor

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to be in pleasure for me to be here with you talking about because we have to reach out to people and people can't be afraid of entering this conversation because it feels too technical or feels like it's somebody else's business this is all of our business because this is all of our lives and it's all of our futures so if in the future you think 20 years the thing that's going to really change the most is predictive genetics and be able to be able to write predict accurately a person's health what do you help in life health and yeah what do you think is going to be the biggest detriment for all this stuff and the thing that we have to avoid the most yeah so one is as I mentioned this determinism just because if we just kind of take our sense of wonder about what it means to be a human away like that's really going to to harm us we talked about equity and access to these Technologies and and in the Technologies don't even need to be real

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in order to have a negative impact so in India there are no significant genetic differences between people in different castes but the caste system has been maintained for thousands of years because people just have accepted these these differences so this it's a whole new way of understanding what is a human and it's really going to be complicated and we aren't ready for it we don't read it before it culturally we aren't ready for it educationally certainly our political leaders aren't paying much of any attention to all of us who have a huge job woof woof so when you sit down and you give this speech to Congress yeah what what are you anticipating from them in terms of like we did what do you think that there's anything that they can do now to yeah absolutely certain step yes so a few things one is we need to have a National Education campaign I mean this is so important I would say it's on the future of genetics Revolution and of AI because I think we did

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it's crazy that we aren't focusing on these like I learned French in in grade school and high school and I'm happy to speak French but I would rather have people say this is really important stuff so that's that's number one number two is we need to make sure that we have a functioning regulatory system in this country in every country and I do a lot of comparative work and like the United Kingdom there really well organized they have a National Health Care system which allows them at a national level to kind of think about long-term care and the and trade-offs in this country average person changes Health Plans every 18 months and I was talking with somebody the other night and they were they were working on a predictive Health company and they said their first idea was they were going to sell this information to health insurers because like wouldn't this be great if you could hell if you're a health insurer and you could you had somebody who was your client and you

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say hey here's some information you can live healthier and you're not going to have this disease 20 years from now what do you found out is the health insurers they could have cared less because people were just they were only going to be part of it for a year and a half so we really need to think differently about how do we invest in people over the course of their lives and certainly education is one but thinking long-term about health and well-being is another what do you think is going to be the first technological innovation like in terms of like what what's already on the pipeline right now that's going to radically alter human beings so radically I think it's going to be the end of procreative sex and so when we stop conceiving our babies through sex and we're selecting our embryos that's going to open up this massive realm of possibility and certainly when we expand the number of fertilized eggs that were choosing from that that is really I think that's the kind of the

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killer application of genetics to the future of human life do you see that being attainable to the general population any time in the near future like once it starts once the technology gets established it seems like it's going to be wealthier people that are going to have access to it first right well it depends probably yes but when you think about right now we have all these people who are born with these terrible in many cases deadly genetic diseases and disorders and what is this societal expenditure for Lifetime care for all those people I mean this is huge huge amounts of money so if we were to eliminate many of not the people but a limit prevent those diseases diseases and disorders from taking place in the first place and we could use that money to prove to provide IVF and embryo screening to everybody using just the economic models now but then there's another issue that we have to talk about it's really sensitive so I talked a lot about this

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but there are and I talk in the book about people with Down syndrome and I have a lot of friends who have kids with down with Down Syndrome of these killer wonderful kids and they deserve every opportunity to thrive the same as everybody else and I'm really sensitive people say well hey if you're and I say like down syndrome is largely not going there aren't going to be newborns with Down Syndrome 10 or 20 years from their rights will say well what are you saying about my kids like are you saying that if this is going to be eliminated that my kid has a less of a right to be as somebody else and I always say absolutely not and we need to be extremely sensitive that we're not dehumanizing people but if you have 15 or 15 fertilized eggs in a lab and you have to pick which one gets implanted in the mother and one of them will just has a disease like Tay Sachs or sickle cell disease where they're going to die before they're 10 years old would you choose affirmatively choose to employ

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aunt that embryo versus the nine or 14 or whatever the number is of other ones and so these are really sensitive things and we can't be blasé about them but we will have these choices and we're going to have to figure out how do we make them well I think there's also a real possibility of them being able to fix that yeah and some things will be fixable and some things won't and so that's that's why though for these for these single gene mutation disorders there's a debate I was speaking in Berkeley the other day and so I was talking about these two options one is embryo selection and one is Gene editing and so there were different people who got it says don't know we can do embryo selection that's the way and we shouldn't we should prevent these diseases but Gene editing that's going too far that's that's playing God and so for different things they'll be different options do you feel when you when you hear that that yeah that's going too far who's usually saying that there's two groups in one is

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only in the religious community were saying well this is playing God but there's another kind of it's like a progressive Community who's who are the kinds of people who are uncomfortable with genetically modified crops people who are saying that want that the that there's this slippery slope that once we start making what are called germline genetic modification so germ line is that are our sperm eggs and embryos if you make a change to an adult human it doesn't pass to their kids if you make a change to a sperm and egg or an embryo it will pass on and so there are a lot of people who are saying we don't understand genetics well enough to make these changes that will last forever I'm not in that in that view I just think that we need to be cautious and we need to weigh the bent the risks and the benefits of everything that we do do you think we do know enough about those changes in or it depends because if we're depends on what we're selecting against like if the thing we're selecting against is some kind of terrible genetic disease that's going to kill somebody when they're a little kid we have a lot of latitude

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because the alternative is is death right and that's why I was so critical of this Chinese biophysicist who created who genetically engineered these two little girls born in China last year because he wasn't in the gene edits they weren't probably weren't successful it wasn't to eliminate some disease or disorder he was trying to confer the benefit of an increased resistance to HIV and so I think that we need to be very Mindful and we need to be doing kind of a cost-benefit analysis of the different things at different interventions and there was an unintended side effect of this work they believe a perceived potential unintended side effect and that's increased intelligence wait so it's a possibility so Billy how did the work so this Gene is it's called a ccr5 is this Gene and when it was disrupted in some mouse studies those mice became a little bit able to navigate mazes and so that was what led people to believe

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this disruption of the ccr5 could potentially lead to that kind of change in human nobody really knows there's lots of things that happen in mice that don't have analogues in humans and that was why it was so irresponsible is that this this scientist in secret made these these Gene edits he didn't get a proper consent from the parents really yeah yes it has China because it's China you just let it ride yeah I mean he could they were the parents were all manipulated and its really yeah and so that's the thing is so you're exactly right like we are humans were nuts as a species so and so we need to try to establish some kind of guide rails guardrails about what's OK what we're comfortable with what we're not now this guy is not operating in an isolated incidents there's got to be a shit ton of that going on right now as we're talking in China what do you think is happening over there yeah I think China has a lot of money they have brilliant people

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and they have a government that is hell-bent on leading the world in advanced technology yeah and the scientific culture in China is just very different than it is here and so we know what we know but we don't know what we don't know and that's it's a really really big deal because China is in many ways a wild west and the technology exists to do some really big stuff and that's that's why we have to at least try to establish standards will we succeed fully know but maybe we can do better than worse are you anticipating saying like a lot of freaky things come out of China yes whoa you said that very quick yeah it's good I spent I spent a lot of time in China I in this it's a different name of the thing with China China has this great ancient civilization but they destroyed their own civilization in the Great Leap Forward and the cultural revolution they they burn

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books They smash their own historic relics and so it's really it's a society in many ways it's starting from scratch and so all of these Norms that people get in heret through their Traditions China in many ways doesn't have and so and so it's a very different and China is growing and they are increasingly powerful and China is going to be a major foy's Force defining the world of the 21st century that's why America has to get its act together that's a hard concept for us to grasp when we think about the fact that they had the Great Wall they have so much ancient art and architecture we just assume they're a really old culture they are but they wiped it out that's yeah yeah that's why if you want to cheat if you want to see great Chinese art you have to go to Taiwan because when the Chinese nationalist left in 1949 when they lost as they were losing the Civil War they took the treasures and they put them in the national museum of Taiwan in the the cultural revolution the Great Leap Forward

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try the red guards were just smashing all of their own stuff their own ancient history now now the Chinese Communist party is saying oh no we're going back and we have this great 5000 year old culture and some ways it's true but in some ways it's like an adolescent culture without these kinds of restrictions that other societies have that's such a unique perspective that I haven't heard before it makes so much sense in terms of like how frantic they are restructuring their world yeah yeah and and they feel that they got screwed over because there is this this vague the sense of Chinese greatness when you hear the word Middle Kingdom it's like China's the center of the world and everybody else is some kind of tributary and so they're monumentally pissed off that these Colonial Powers came and overpowered them and they had to make all these concessions they had to give land away and and hell-bent on regaining regaining and there are playing the long game they are playing along and we have and we are not and we have to be mindful of that's also something you can do if you have complete control of your

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population you don't have to worry about people's opinions or you can just go in the direction that you feel is going to benefit the Chinese power yeah the power that be wait this is a country run by Engineers we per country run largely by the lawyers and and and reality TV people I guess yeah but in China is run by engineer so they're all these problems and the answer is always engineering so you have a population problem it's the answer is the one child policy environmental problem you have Three Gorges Dam the you don't have water in the north of China you build this massive biggest water project in the world from south to North you want to win in the Olympics you engineer your population you take kids away from their families and put them in their Olympic sport school so I write about this in Genesis Code if you're China and you kind of have this Plato's Republic model of the world and we're going to kind of identify the genetic or maybe manipulate these genetic Superstars to be our greatest scientists and mathematicians and Business Leaders and political leaders like there's a model that you can imagine for for how to do it wow

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it makes you really nervous it should yes that's why like I just feel like with this country we don't have time to have all these distractions we're focusing on junk like what it just like all of this you know I'm on CNN all the time when I'm when I'm home in New York and I always say like you guys and I'm talking about kind of geopolitical issues China and North Korea when I was like you guys recognize this is porn like CNN and MSE be that's like one kind of porn and fox and whoever else Infowars that's another kind of porn but it's all porn and we're just kind of we're drawing people's attention to these few stories but there's these big stories that we have to focus on and certainly the rise of China is such an essential story for the 21st century because China is competing in all of these Technologies and China it's a go go go I mean people in China

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were involved in the tech World when they go and visit Silicon Valley uniformly they say we cannot believe these people are so lazy like why are they not working 24 hours a day why are they not issuing product new products every every week and so this is it mean they are racing somewhere and it's going to have huge implications for the world and so if we believe in our values as I believe we should we have to fight for him in the place that we have to fight for him first is here and we can't you know it's just like every day that we're just focusing on this this drama this reality TV drama of our government is another day we're not focusing on the big things how are we going to get our act together how are we going to lead the world and Technology I mean if another example is this is immigration like we have this whole fight of how do we keep people out what I'd like to do is to go to the state department all right every Embassy in the world you have a new job you have to we're going to give you whatever a number 500 slots per year you have to in your country

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find the 500 most brilliant talented creative entrepreneurial people and say we're giving you a green card we're going to give you a little starter money we want you to move to the United States and just start a life and have kids and if we we should be creaming the crop skimming the cream over the rest of the world like we could take over with we could Revitalize this country but we're having this fight of how do we keep a small number of refugees out and it's just we're not focusing on the right things that's a that's again another very very interesting perspective we are we learned about Huawei in this country really not just well I learned about it because they put out some pretty Innovative phones and right interesting technology but we learned it because the state department was telling people to stop using their phones yep do you think that that is trying to stifle the competition like Detroit because the market should they have if they do really have number the number two selling

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cell phones in the world now that's not from America America is largely out of that conversation right and if they were in America they would probably dominate in America as well because they're cheaper yeah and they're really good yeah I mean they their phones are insane their the cameras in their phones are off the charts they put some video of the the zoom capability of their newest phone and people were calling bullshit there's like there's no way that something possible but it turns out it was true it really can it really can zoom like a super-expensive telephoto lens yeah so while way it's a complicated story for sure the founder of Huawei is a former Chinese military officer for sure in the early stages of their company they stole straight out stole lots of source code from companies like Cisco for sure we should be really worried if Huawei is the sole supplier

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of the infrastructure that supports 5G all around the world because the Chinese government would have access to everything and so that leads us to the question is one is there a problem with Huawei itself but then to is let's just say and I think the answer to that first question is probably yes but then the question 2 is let's just say Huawei is a legit company and they're not totally intimately connected to the Chinese government can we trust their relationship with the Chinese government and the Chinese government has a rule that every one of these companies has the the big Chinese National companies National Champion companies they have a Communist Party cell inside of that company and so these like I think that we can't think of big Chinese companies just like we think of companies here we have to think of them as quasi State actors and that's why this this fight that's happening right now is so important and that's why like when China is out

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different parts of the world including Africa their companies are kind of acting like arms of the government to me they're making all kinds of Investments that don't really make sense if you just see well this is a company doing something if you say that this is a company with backing by the state that's fulfilling a function that supports the state it's just it's a very different model so I am actually quite concerned about about Huawei and I'm not a fan of everything that this Administration is doing but I think on China it's important that we need to stand up and I think pushing back on while way is the right thing to do I'm uncomfortable about this for two reasons one I'm uncomfortable about that about the Chinese government being inexorably connected to This Global superpower and Technology but I'm also uncomfortable that it sets a precedent for other nations to follow yeah because they looked as the only way to compete because what you were talking about the Investments That Huawei or that the Chinese government makes in these other yeah these countries and that don't seem to make sense if you're just dealing with right now

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me right but if you're dealing with someone is trying to take over the world yeah it makes a lot of sense yeah I know and so when we have our companies that you're out in some place in Africa and you're competing with a Chinese company on to do something build a port or whatever yeah and you're competing because you are an American company and so you have your calculator this is the port what's the income stream going to be about and you have a certain amount that you can bid because otherwise it becomes a bad investment but if the Chinese company is that their calculus is not is this a good or bad investment it's what is the state interest in controlling or quasi controlling this asset and so that's why we can't project ourselves onto the Chinese we can't say they're just like us just different it's we have different models and our models are competing do you think that we should avoid while we products like consumers should I why I think the government should very tightly regulate products like Huawei products because some of their Network

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like routers or exactly they've shown that they are using them to extract information and so that we have a long history of European Japanese South Korean companies that have invested very well they've out competed us and we've we've allowed we allowed the Japanese companies to out-compete our auto manufacturers and that was that was fine in the sense it are in the 1970s our cars had become shit because we had this Monopoly and so I'm all for open competition I'm all for free trade it has to be fair but I think that what China is doing China recognized as a state that they could use the tools of capitalism to achieve State ends and I think we need to be very cautious about that hmm that's interesting that you compare to the automotive Market because the consequences are so much different right so much different kids but we do have a model to go on we could see what happened we did we made shitty cars the Japanese took over and then we made better cars like I have a rental car

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here in Los Angeles and I went to the to the rental car place at LAX and they had all of the different cars and there was like a Nissan and Toyota and there was a Cadillac and for the fact that you know I said I'm gonna go with the caddy so it's a great car inside their amazing incredible American cars are very good now they're great and then so I like I'm all for competition but I just feel like what Chinese some Chinese companies are doing it's not a competition it's they have become not all of them but quasi-state actors and if that's what they're doing I think we need to respond to them in that way interesting what else should we be concerned with which would be concerned with anything that North Korea is doing oh absolutely so I have spent a lot of time in North Korea yeah that's why I brought it up yeah so I've advised the North Korea actually don't think North Korean government on the establishment of special economic zones which I certainly believe if North Korea could have economic growth and

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integrate into the rest of the world that would be great and so I went into this you want to this was in 2015 but I've been there twice across the border from China and zigzag the country by land visited 10 or 12 different sites so spent almost two weeks by Lance I've really incredible I mean North Korea one it's the most organized place I've ever seen I mean there's not a anywhere there's like on the side of the road the stones are all raked there's not a stick every little line is drawn it's like total control there were very in them in the agricultural areas that were very few machines and very few farm animals so I saw people pulling plows like you know usually have the the the animal in front of the plow and the person behind here there were like two people in front of the plow and one person behind the people were the the the animals and we would go and visit these just because they didn't they a lot of the animals got eaten when they had their famine and so

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is it at these different sites for these special economic zones and they would say like what they had done and what they were thinking about doing and I would say like how do you do you know anything about the market like do what are you going to sell here and they said well we know about clearing land and building a fence and then we went to to Pyongyang and I spoke to about 400 economic planners and I said look I know you have these plans that do these special economic zones it's totally going to fail the way it's going to work you have to connect to the market economy have to empower your workers you need information flow how else are you going to learn and adapt so North Korea it's a really dangerous place and now it's even more dangerous because President Trump threw it was this kind of a nonsensical Hail Mary in these meetings with Kim Jong Hoon there was no never any indication that the North Koreans were planning on giving up their nuclear weapons they never said they would it's the last thing they would do because their goal is survival

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and so there was this kind of head fake which was like a PR stunt to be able to say alright we're having these these meetings and of course the North Koreans weren't ever going to give up their nuclear weapons there they're still not so now things are ramping up so North Korea in the last couple days is started firing missiles again the United States today see US military seized a North Korean ship so we're going back to this very dangerous place and and so I think we really need to do a much better job we need much more consider North Korea is it's really hard and these guys are really smart I mean I they are very few people say well these guys are poor they must not be so I mean to like a mad like that we're playing cards with them we've got the whole deck they don't have any one card and yet they're there they're there in the game they're holding us to it to a stalemate and it's really worrying and why did you go over there like what and what were you thinking

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so I thought a lot about it because I have a background in human rights I was a human rights officer for the United Nations in Cambodia on the child of a refugee I have this very strong belief in human rights and that in supporting people in North Korea they have about a hundred and twenty thousand people in the most brutal brutal horrific prison camps and so when I was asked to be part of this six-person delegation advising them on the special on the establishment of special economic zones one Instinct was screw them I don't want to be part of this at all but I also felt that if North Korea could have some kind of integrated economic development that would at least connect them to the world that would create some kind of Leverage and that would that would help help people so I decided to go and I'm glad that I that I did but at this is these are really hard artichokes people

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and it's very unfortunate that in President Trump's negotiations with the North Koreans Human Rights was never once mentioned and I think that that's is coming back to values like we have to be clear about who we are and what we stand for and be consistent in fighting for it do you think that Trump didn't bring that up because he wanted to be able to effectively communicate with them and not put them on their heels maybe but I feel like has had they done I mean I think that if he thought that there was a real chance of progress but the hard thing was he didn't know much about the North Koreans he has people we have brilliant people working in the United States government and all of those people all of the US intelligence agencies were telling President Trump that the North Koreans have absolutely no intention of giving up their nuclear weapons right and so maybe he did think that he would charm Kim jongwan or he would say hey we're gonna give you Economic Development or or whatever but I think for most people who were

► 02:24:29

observers of North who had watched it for I thought that was not a so we gave away a lot so we didn't mention human rights we suspended our military exercises we gave them the legitimacy of a presidential meeting which they've been wanting for 30 years and we didn't get anything back so it had we gotten something back then you could say well that was a risk for taking maybe hmm yeah I haven't heard described that way but I'm agreeing with what you're saying what do you think you could have done differently though I don't think the meeting should have happened with no kid is no time no conditions there were no P so if he had said I'm open to meet with the North Koreans which is something the North Koreans have always wanted we could have met with the North Koreans anytime immediately for the last 30 years but in order to do it they need to do this this and this and if they do it will meet like that would have been a legitimate thing but what he said is somebody the North Korean I mean sorry the South Korea National Security advisors peeked into his office and he ended

► 02:25:29

they wanted me to get and it was like sure that that seems like an interesting thing to do and I think that with this diplomacy you kind of have to get something and so we gave away so much upfront and the North Koreans weren't didn't have an incentive to do anything in return was his perspective that it would be better to be in communication to be friends with this guy who's that without is that what you think like beep but we have real interests in the sense that we have large military forces in Seoul we have a lot at stake we have our closest Ally Japan who's had citizens abducted and so I think that was what he thought is like let's be friendly and then with the force of personal chemistry everything will will unlock but I think that was always extremely unlikely what do you think is going to happen to that country

► 02:26:18

I think eventually and I've written this I think eventually this regime will collapse under its own weight but it's really held out a long time because you think of the collapse of the Soviet Union they had enough Soviet Union had enough bullets to survive if they had said you know we're just going to shoot everybody at the Berlin wall and every dissenter they would still be the North Korea has essentially murdered millions of people so with famine and execution and and prison camps so I mean they're going to stay for a while but eventually there will be leaders in North Korea who will come to the conclusion that it's safer to oppose the Kim family then to wait for the Kim family to come and get you and that is hens to happen in these kind of totalitarian systems where there's so little trust there's so little loyalty Jesus yeah now what is there what are the conditions like technologically like what was their infrastructure like so the general infrastructure is absolutely terrible I mean they have roads

► 02:27:18

in the big cities are actually quite nice roads because there's no cars and so but their infrastructure is terrible I mean all of their their power supply they have brownouts blackouts all the time they're manufacturing is all being decimated so it's terrible but they have really focused their energy on building these nuclear weapons because they think that these nuclear weapons give them leverage to do things and to extract concessions and to get to get Ava it's terrible infrastructure so do they don't have an internet right but they have something similar but it only allows them access to a few state-run websites well average person doesn't have access to the inner so the way it works is it's all about loyalty so you need three or so generations of loyalty to the Kim family to even set foot in Pyongyang the capital so really yes so it's not like you can kind of move around or whatever it's like just to be in the

► 02:28:18

pedal like you have to have your loyalty proven and so average person out in the country they don't have access to much of anything I have a little bit more now than they did in the past and then for this relatively small number of Elites who are in largely in Pyongyang and in the other cities which are like there's a ring of Defense around these cities and just to enter you have to have all of these checks some of them have access to limited internet but it's tightly controlled and it's not like you're kind of going on Google and look going wherever you want right they and they probably would get in trouble if they Googled the wrong thing yes and trouble it's not just you trouble like if you chop if if my brother or my uncle does something that gets me in trouble with the regime the whole extended family is out and that means you either you go to prison camps or you could you're kicked out of Pyongyang I mean it's it's all about Collective punishment people are terrified and by the ruthless punishment

► 02:29:18

they've set up that's how they've kept control of the country yes and everybody's forced to rat on each other right yeah absolutely yeah yeah they're they're they're actually the compelled to tell on each other for one thing that you did if you don't then what if you don't then you are complicit because they yes so that's and that's their these horrible stories I've met a lot of these of these people who are in the prison camps like I have a friend of mine and she was this 13 year old girl and her father was a like a low-level North Korean official and then he was accused of something and so this family that was privileged all of a sudden was was out and it just just these horrible things and prison and rape and this little and now she's in the United States an incredibly positive and it's amazing how resilient she is but this is like a real hell it's a Rewritten issue and I think that for us as Americans as humans we're less human when there are people who are suffering like this

► 02:30:18

yeah I agree now you were traveling all over North Korea what were they having you do while you were out so we would do is we would go from one of these special economic zones to the other and in each one it was kind of the same story you get there there'd be like a big field the farmers had been kicked off there was a fence around it and then the group of the local officials would come and they'd have like a big chart and they have a plan like here's what we're going to build this building and here's and I would always ask the same question like what are you going to do here why do you think you're going to be competitive how do you know what the market prices are how are your workers going to be empowered so they can change things I mean in the old days it used to be you just kind of have these automaton workers now workers are actually making big decisions and fixing things and they didn't have an answer to any of those questions and that's what happens when you have these two talat Aryan top-down systems is that like if you being creative is actually really dangerous

► 02:31:18

so if somebody says do X you just do X wow yeah you're waiting it's really incredible and it's so sad because I spend a lot of time in South Korea and this is the most dynamic place there's like I often I go to Seoul just to see what technology is going to show up here a few years in the future I mean it's soul is like the future and then just 35 miles from Seoul is the demilitarized zone and the other side it's incredible and the real problem would be once they finally did get free of that Community or the of that that that mean you can call them whatever you want a dictator and that his family what would they what tools would they have like how prepared would they be to be on Tom it's well it's really the good thing the benefit that they have if there is so here's my thought of what a scenario of the scenario might look like and I think eventually probably they'll be some kind of

► 02:32:18

coup attempt against the camp and let's just say it succeeds but that would probably result in another military dictatorship with another group well we don't know because then I think immediately I think the Chinese would invade really yeah because people think of the curb when people think of the Korean War from the early 1950s they think oh it's the Korean War it must have been the Americans fighting against the the Koreans but the Korean War the two sides was America and the South Koreans fighting against the North Koreans and the Chinese the Chinese did the most of the of the of the fighting and so China North Korea is the only country in the world that has a treaty alliance with China kind of like we have with Japan and within with South Korea and so China their biggest fear is having a reunified Korean Peninsula Allied to the United States I think if there was a coup the Chinese would immediately move in militarily then immediately there would be this call to have some kind of un body and there would be a

► 02:33:18

offer a un Authority and then I think it would be agreed that the Chinese would stay and they just would put on Blue helmets like as it as a un force and then we'd have to negotiate what happens to X and I think what the Chinese would do we say well we'll leave when the Americans leave is that I think that would be what will likely happen but eventually I think we're going to see a Korean reunification and the good news of these reunified countries like East and West Germany is there's a whole system of law that is just you just North Korea will be swallowed into South Korea and then you have law you have an infrastructure and it'll take one or two generations I think that will eventually happen and I'm hoping it can happen without nuclear war terrible terrible Bloodshed but it's going to be a big challenge goddamn yeah that sounds insurmountable yes hearing you talk about that about North Korea getting absorbed by South Korea I'm like oh my God yeah luck just yeah imagine just imagine the whole thing yeah

► 02:34:18

listen man it's been a fascinating conversation I really appreciate everybody I really appreciate you coming here and you've certainly sparked a lot of interesting ideas in my head and I'm sure a lot of other people's heads as well and I would like to see down the line where the salt goes and I hope I don't get swallowed up by machines we won't but it's up to us to fight for what we believe in well thank you very much my greatly appreciate it was a lot of fun bye everybody thank you friends and thank you to our sponsors thank you too for Sig Matic dee-licious nutritious mushroom coffee it's far superior to whatever the fuck you're drinking right now and they have a special offer for the listeners of this podcast you receive 20% off your for Sig Matic order when you go to for Sig Matic.com Joe that's fo you are SI G m-- atic for Sig Matic.com / Jo

► 02:35:18

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► 02:36:18

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