Episode 9 - The Future of Advertising (Transcription)

Justin: I'm Justin Clark

Mattimore: I'm Mattimore  Cronin

Justin: Today we're discussing the future of advertising and for just a little bit of background Mattimore and I both work in advertising. I work more on the data science front and Madam or kind of runs Marketing in general at a company called Sonic cloud and let's just get right into it. So first Mattimore what is advertising.  

Mattimore: Right, so when you think about what's actually going on in advertising, it's pretty crazy. Essentially. What you're doing is you're buying real estate in someone else's mind. And you're buying that real estate from what's called attention Merchants. So you have these companies like Google Facebook Twitter Instagram or in China you have Bidu tencent and these companies are essentially purveyors of attention.

So they have so many people on their platform with so many hours a day that are spent on that platform and they sell little pockets of attention to advertisers and what advertisers want to do is they either want to buy up real estate that wasn't there before. So imagine if you had never known what Coca-Cola was and all the sudden you're seeing these ads of young good-looking people drinking Coca-Cola and then around the holidays you see Santa Claus and fluffy polar bear with that amazing commercial and all of a sudden, the Advertiser has purchased. A place in your mind somewhere adjacent to polar bears and Santa Claus and good looking healthy people and friendship and relationships. And that's the spot in your mind that Coca-Cola has purchased and they spend billions of dollars for that space in your mind because that's damn valuable because the next time you're in the supermarket aisle, and you see Coca-Cola and then you see someone who has not spent the time and money to purchase real estate in your mind. You're going to choose Coca-Cola. The other side of what advertising does is if you already if there already is a space in your mind for that brand. So like let's say Nike like you've been wearing Nike some of the time for years. You've known about it for a while, but maybe you haven't bought Nike in any recent years and your mental concept of Nike is sort of vague. It's like oh, yeah kind of I remember like Michael Jordan like maybe a little bit of Tiger Woods, but nothing that's super relevant right now. And then Nike comes out with a campaign as they just did that features Colin Kaepernick, and it's all about doing something even if it means risking everything.

And all of the sudden the positioning of the real estate in your mind that is Nike has shifted to a line with Colin Kaepernick with the entire black lives matter movement with all of the NFL players that have taken a knee alongside pretty much everyone who's against Trump. That's where I key has relied itself.

And that is so powerful. I mean we saw that their stock went up something like. Or their revenue went up something like 30% just from this one campaign. So it's an insanely powerful how much advertising can change the real estate in your mind or by up brand-new real estate through these attention Merchants like Facebook.

Justin: Yeah in the cool thing about weld. I don't know if it's cool. It's kind of scary at the same time. But basically what they're doing is building associations in your mind. So you don't even need to see Nike you could see for example for the Nike example. You could just see the black lives matter movement in the news and then think of Nike so it's not just a one-way Street.

You can when they build these associations the. Brand is in your mind all all the time and so what do you think do you think this strategy works? 

Mattimore: I think it's proven that it works. I mean as someone who's sort of behind the curtain of Oz and and can actually pull the levers of targeting and  retargeting and creatives and all the principles of persuasion.

I can say for certain that it works. Because you can measure the effects. I mean in the past in like the Mad Men ERA with Don Draper, you couldn't really measure the effects. All you can do is purchase placements on a handful of TV networks on the newspaper on billboards. And the only way you could really measure success was through the sales in the next quarter.

Will the sales could have come from anything. It could have come from an increase in demand like. If your soft drinks company, maybe it was a particularly hot year that year. It could have come from maybe their sales guys were just doing a really good job, but now you can measure it down to the specific person that makes that purchase so you can see with any campaign: here's the cost to get someone to click on it. And here's the percentage of clicks that end up in a sale and you can very easily way the economics to make sure that it's worth doing. 

Justin: Yeah and in the cool thing with this whole personalized profile is you can get more targeted ads sometimes like you said in the Don Draper Mad Men era you basically just shoot it's like a shotgun approach.

You just do a  mass Market. Campaign and hope it sticks with some people. Now. There's a huge push towards targeted marketing like you were saying and these profiles are so individualized that they can get at your individual thought process and target ads specifically to you and I wanted to ask you how do you think the advertising has evolved over time? Because we talked about the Mad Men era. But yeah, what's what is it? What has it been? And where is it going? 

Mattimore: Yeah, so the personalization which you mentioned is obviously a big part of that and part of why there's so much personalization is because now everyone has a smartphone with them at all times.

I mean, this is huge. This is the greatest most persuasive device in the history of humanity. And the reason is that your phone is essentially an extension of your brain. So you have these apps it can track your location. It can track what you like. It can track who your friends are it can track where you spend your time.

They can track where you spend your money. And so it's able to serve you personalize the ads on a level that Ogilvie could never have even imagined. And and as far as how advertising has changed and how it will continue to change. So since the days of Don Draper where you were basically just selling in a concept to whoever the client was.

So, you know the rep from Coca-Cola comes in you come up with this great idea and you sell it to them once you've sold them the idea your job is pretty much done.. That's pretty much it because they can't really measure exactly what affect your campaign had on their sales. But now your job pretty much just begins when you launch the campaign.

I mean everything that you do on the data science front and conjunction with me is essentially analyzing which creatives are the most effective which targeting groups of the most effective and then we continuously optimize it every week. So it's gotten much more scientific. It's gotten much more personalized.

It's also gotten much more immersive. So whereas before it was just you know, you're driving you see a billboard or you know, you're flipping through a magazine you see an ad now, we have these augmented reality and virtual reality experiences where the lines between what's real and what's virtual are becoming more blurred every year and so it's certainly more immersive.

It's also becoming much more automated. So, you know in the early days of AdWords, even it was pretty easy to game the system like you could basically just put a bunch of. Links at the top of your the top of your website or a bunch of keywords and you could basically hack the system by having all the right keywords that you wanted.

Well now it's not really it's not really a hackable. It's all automated. Whereas now oftentimes the most effective strategy for advertising on Facebook for instance is to just show it to everyone because Facebook's algorithm is so good at serving your ad to the right types of people. So let's say you're you're running an ad that's like for the icon pass which is something that I bought this year which basically allows you to Ski and Snowboard across like 15 different Mountains for you know, the price of like one mountain for two weeks and you get like up to five days of each month is an amazing business at a very good idea as someone who likes to ski, right, but basically, if you serve up these ads then Facebook is going to see other people who have clicked on and followed through with similar ads in the past. And so it'll serve the add to those people first. And then as the campaign is running it will learn which types of people are responding is that people who are male or female is it people who live.

On the coasts or in the center of the country is it people who are this age group or that age group? And so without you even having to do any personalized targeting Facebook's algorithm automatically does that for you and the same thing happens to Google same thing with a lot of these attention merchants?

The other two factors I'll say is that you know, we already talked about it's much more measurable. I mean you can measure down to. Very specific every step of the funnel see where where there could be a greater conversion rate and then optimizing for that and then experiential which means like now the real world and the digital world are communicating in a way that wasn't available in the past.

I mean just think of like the Coachella Holograms of people and you know any sort of let or like for instance, you know, the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios, like there are all these subtle ways where what you're doing in real life is also like part of the advertisements, you know, they're building the brand by having you have certain experiences.

So I think those are the major ways that advertising has changed and will continue to change in the future. And then as far as I go ahead.

Justin: I was just gonna say and right now the only thing that is really not automated is the creation of marketing materials, right everything else like the A/B testing the optimization the budgeting can all be done automatically and I mean, even if let's say you're doing an AdWords campaign and the ad is just text even that can be automated to some extent now. So right now the Last Frontier and marketing is the creative which you know that has a lot of potential and I think it's going to be a long time before that's fully automated but you can imagine a future we're even that of is optimized and individualized to different people.

Like let's say a commercial a different type of commercial is shown for each individual person based on their online profile. 

Mattimore: Yeah. I think you're right. It's going in the direction where eventually it'll be almost entirely automated and then I just saw on product hunt last week There's this cool video product where basically. You type in whatever or you can even here's how simple it is you type in the URL of your website. Okay, and then it will generate a video based on the keywords on your website. So it will actually look up like what's your header? What's your sub header? What are the main points and then it will search through unsplash which is a free Photo Resource that anyone can use for marketing or any other purposes.

That match with those keywords and will basically create a video experience where it goes like, you know from the first key words to the next and to the next and it will have the accompanying images there that are the right images. Now, this is not as good as a human being working alongside the machine to help select the images that they feel to be high arousal or highly persuasive, but you could see a world where in the future you, the human might help come up with the big idea of what it is, but then the algorithm will constantly be testing out new images new types of new methods of persuasion new copy lines, and you won't really have to do much at all.  And the and the thing about persuasion is that there are a handful of principles that hold true whether you're talking about ogilvy's time or our time, or pretty much for as long as humans remain Homo sapiens. I mean unless we become part robot or whatever like our nature is not going to change that drastically. 

Justin: Yeah, and with that do you think so if advertisers have the potential to persuade people do you think it's good or bad? Like what what is advertising?

Mattimore: Yeah. Well I go back and forth with them. I think really it's about the intention. So like for instance for me, I will only grow a product or service if I truly believe it to be adding value in the lives of people. So I would I would never advertise on behalf of a cigarette company. Let's say or even for a company that purports to do something like let's say those neuro.

That's a like oh, this will make you smarter. If you drink this drink just because it has some vitamins in it. Like I would never advertise for one of those products or certainly nothing that's trying to like swing elections in ways that is beneficial to one side or the other strictly for profit motives.

So really it's all about the intention because if someone does not know about a product that could save their life or greatly improve their life. And you target those people who need the product and tell them about it. Then you're doing a service to those people. So it's like essentially advertising connects buyers and sellers.

So a world without ads would be a world with fewer choices, but it would also be a world with less manipulation. That's the good side of it. So, I guess like on the other side of where advertising is bad is really about.. I mean it all comes down to the fact that there's no such thing as free information just like there's no such thing as a free lunch.

You might think that it's completely free to be scrolling through Twitter or scrolling through Facebook or scrolling through Google or whatever else but it's not really free. There is some deception going on.  And it depends on the so it all comes down to whether they intentionally want to deceive you.

Or if they don't because I think this is the real key of whether advertising is good or bad. So for instance like Jack Dorsey made this point where in you know the recent trials that he's had about how their combating fake news and Russian manipulation in the elections and all of that and someone asked the question around well, why aren't you cracking down more on these people that are posting conspiracy theories every day? And his point was look a lot of these people posting conspiracy theories they actually think they're true. They're not like trying to deceive other people. They truly believe this is the truth. And so they're really the victims. It's not like they are the perpetrators.

The perpetrators are people who are like Cambridge analytical who know exactly what they're doing. They know they're putting out disinformation precisely to create divisions and to create groups that they can target for specific aims that are not to the benefit of the people. They're targeting.

Those are the ones that need to be cracked down on. 

Justin: Hmm. Yeah, that's there's a lot of crazy stuff going there a minute ago. You were talking about the principles of persuasion. How how do these how did these good or bad actors actually persuade whether it's you know for good or evil. 

Mattimore: So whether you're acting for a good product or service or with bad intentions for a reason, that's bad.

You're going to use the same principles of persuasion. So the first one is reciprocity, which is basically tit-for-tat quid pro quo you scratch your my back. I'll scratch yours, which is basically like give us your email and we'll give you 10% off. I mean, it's super simple. This is across all cultures all of humanity believes in this reciprocity.

So that's like typically the first one people talk about because it's so widespread. The next one is scarcity. So this is you know, only a hundred of these designer shirts have been created, you know act now where it's like oh shit! There's some scarce resource. And because I have my my animal instincts where something is scarce. Therefore, it must be valuable and out of know when I might be going hungry, you know or whatever that's a very real human tendency so scarcity. Or exclusivity is the other way. It said, you know, like only VIP members are allowed today only whatever scarcely could also be time-oriented. So like today only or whatever. 

The next one is Authority so or some people call it. Oh, yeah. Yeah Authority so Authority is basically like, you know, nine out of 10 doctors recommend this toothpaste. It's like oh oh dentists. So it's like oh or using a or using some famous person to promote your product. Exactly. Yeah. So like, you know, Colin Kaepernick has some moral Authority and he has some actual Authority like, you know, some athletic Authority as someone who was a pro football player. So having him in the ads that does have a certain sense of authority. 

The next one is consistency, which is basically. It's almost like a logic trap where it's like it's an identity lot and identity trap or a logic shop. We're really it's like oh you can you call yourself a designer, but you don't use this design tool take a free tutorial right now to learn more or it's like, oh, you're a Democrat, but you haven't donated to the DNC but you know, we're basically it's like oh you have this identity.

But you are not doing the proper actions or are you being inconsistent? Because no one likes someone who's inconsistent you want to be able to predict what someone else will do? Otherwise, it's a risk to associate yourself with that person. If you don't know what they can do if they're a wild. 

And then the there's two more so the next one is liking which is basically if you like the person or like the brand like, you know for Coca-Cola with the Santa Claus and polar bears people of Santa Claus, they love polar bears. So by connection, they're going to love Coca-Cola or like with the Nike thing, people like the black lives matter movement. They like the anti police. Brutality movement and therefore they're going to like Nike because Nike is making a stand for that movement.

And then the final one is social proof, which is basically another it's been called the bandwagon argument which is like, you know, thousands of people are trying this new meditation app. It'll change your life like download now, You know where it's basically about like, oh, well, if so many people are doing it that it must be yeah, there must be something there. 

Justin: Yeah, I like and the thing about these persuasion techniques as you can stack them on top of each other so really good marketing campaign might have two three or maybe even all of these techniques in the same campaign.

Mattimore: I mean whenever I first start on with a growth client, I'll. Try five or six campaigns each with a unique persuasion tactic and see which one performs the best and then once I see like, oh this one performed pretty well. And this one then I start combining them and then you start testing out the finer variables, like what image is the best with it? What's the right way of wording the header? What's the right call to action and basically week over week? You just optimize it to be more and more effective and really it essentially comes down to a matter of money. Like Whoever has enough money and uses the scientifically repeatable persuasion process is going to be able to have enormous effects as far as how much they can change behavior in the way that they want it to be changed.

Justin: Yeah. So with all of these people that can persuade us successfully. What do you think is the worst case of all of this new advertising and we're where the future of advertising is heading.  

Mattimore: Yeah, so the thing that really scares me.  Is not what's happening right now, but what could happen in the near future? As algorithms gets scary good at doing this this optimization process on a regular basis because you know through machine learning as you know, you can become so much more effective than any human could be a persuading people and you can just imagine a system where your the goal is to make money essentially.

By changing your behavior to make you do something that might not be in your best interest and it continued ously optimizes for that goal and if it has enough money and if the system is smart enough it's going to be able to hack humanity and maybe it won't hack everyone but it will be able to hack enough people that it can swing any major decision in the way that it wants it to go.

Say that that would lead to a very bad case scenario and the scary part about it. Is that all we need to do to get to the worst case scenario is continue along the path that we're on. Well one caveat is that there have been some good strides made recently with Twitter and Facebook have been trying to crack down.

So I don't want it not give them any credit. They have been doing some good things there but, the path that we're on broadly speaking is basically offering free information that seems free but really you're also getting manipulation along with that and as algorithms get better and better more power and wealth will be consolidated in the people who are able to persuade the best and who already have the money because they can just spend more money and change the behavior of x amount of people.

And then they'll take a self recursive Loop where this power gets more and more concentrated into fewer and fewer people and then eventually we could have something like a digital dictatorship where humans don't own any data just like cows don't really own their utters. Yeah, is there like hooked up to this machine and they're just like getting milk like sucked out of them.

That could be like the worst case scenario for us. So imagine like just as one example to highlight it. So imagine it's the year 2045 and you search through Google or you ask your smart home. You say you say, you know based on everything, you know about me and everything, you know about cars, what's the right car for me? What car should I buy? And then Google basically gives you an answer. And you think oh great and you go and you buy that car but what you don't know is that that car happens to be owned by a company that is owned by the government and that there's actually surveillance technology built into that car and that the government actually gets a kickback for every car that's sold and Google gets a kick back as well and you have no idea that you're even being manipulated. That's the worst-case scenario. For me. 

Justin: Yeah and another kind of scary scenario here and how powerful persuasion techniques can be because I think people underestimate how easily they can be manipulated and you could you could imagine a campaign that's a multi-year or even decade-long campaign where the. Organizer or the person that created the campaign is giving you increasingly extreme advertisements. So it's not like you go from where you are today to an extreme view.

It's like they could they could give you progressively more extreme views or products or whatever to get you to that end state where you're the most manipulated like you've completely bought into whatever it is that this, you know dystopian Monarch or you know, whoever's running this campaign is.

Mattimore: Yeah, I mean one quote one way I've heard that's described is that you're never hardcore enough for you, too. No matter what video you watch like you're never hardcore enough. There's always something a little bit more hardcore. That's the next video that's suggested because YouTube is figured out that if it keeps suggesting increasingly hard core videos.

It'll keep you your attention longer, but that's part of why I also love Max Tegmark Life 3.0 scenario where. He creates this AI which essentially has the goal of you know, what we would hope to be the goal, which is to create a better world for everyone and his scenario is basically the ideal scenario and it still is really scary.

But in that scenario, he has the algorithm do the opposite of what you're saying. We're basically it pushes everyone towards the center into things that are reasonable into being respectful of others into seeing the areas where humans converge versus where we diverge and through that they're able to create a much better world for everyone.

Not just for the 1% Yeah, I like that. So I think that kind of gets into the best case scenario right and some so aside from that some areas that I've heard suggested. I heard on the waking up Podcast. I forget who the guest was but one possible alternative would be you everyone owns their own data.

So think similar to like the blockchain how it's all trying to basically democratize or decentralize payment you could have a system which is democratized or decentralized data ownership. So everyone owns their data, Has a very easy control over who they want to give their data to where their data is at any given time and they can you know, basically edit what where they're allowing their data to go through versus where they're not and you could even have a situation where you get paid for your data.

So similarly to how you know similar to Canada like how YouTube works where if you post videos on YouTube that get hundreds of thousands of subscribers YouTube actually pays you because you're contributing valuable data to the network. So in a similar way if you're posting on Facebook or posting on your blog or whatever else in a way that valuably contributes to the network, you can be getting paid for your data which kind of flips the model and and I think as far as the consumer side, so let's say you're not really contributing that valuable. You know, you're just a high school student you really just soaking in information at this point then I think what I would recommend or what would be a great scenario is if you pay extra money on a subscription fee to get information that does not come with manipulation.

So think about with Netflix like you pay whatever 12 bucks a month or whatever it is and you get high-quality content that it's only goal is to give you what you want. So it's not going to recommend some show that has a kickback. It's only going to recommend shows that it really believes you are going to like.

Justin: Yeah, I mean it might. Recommend the Netflix originals a little more than it would for other. Yeah. I mean, it's not a perfect means they're still they're still not going to recommend the Netflix Originals that you wouldn't like because you know how you have that little match score in the top left corner.

It's like this is a 98% match. Those are still there for the Netflix originals so you can you know, I think Netflix has a really good model. I mean same thing with Spotify. If you pay instead of the free version you can listen to all your favorite music ad-free the curate all the music that they think that you'll like and I mean what kind of manipulation is happening there? Maybe they are manipulating but I can't see how they would be. 

Mattimore: Yeah, the freemium model is really good because if you are willing to pay a little bit more you can go do away with the with the manipulation. And going back to the example that we had earlier with the worst case with Google where recommends a card you that has the surveillance built-in.

Imagine in the best case scenario. Where same thing you ask Google. What's the best car for me based on everything, you know about me and everything, you know about cars and it truly recommends the best car for you doesn't serve you any AD. It's strictly is doing a calculation just like how it calculates when you ask how old is Ludwig van Beethoven or how old would van Beethoven be today? Or what was the most popular Sonata that he composed or whatever question that's like a fact-based question If instead these companies can really focus on getting to whatever the actual truth is without any other motives being being mixed in then that could be a world where you have everything you need at your fingertips? And yeah, you might pay a little bit more so you don't get manipulated, but you would be able to achieve your dreams to a far greater extent than if your dreams are being shaped by the motives of others. 

Justin: Yeah. I mean, it's it's a good thing to be aware of the things that you'll need or things that will increase value in your own life. And that's that's where the all the positive benefits of advertising come out is like you said with the car example, Google will give you a recommendation of the car that fits you just like anything else.

Let's say you run out of something or you tend to buy some sort of household cleaning supplies or some sort of household supplies regularly, but maybe given given the pattern of your purchases. You might need something else in the future or let's say you bought a car 10 years ago. Maybe it's time to start looking into a new car or maybe you just got into a car wreck or you know, something along those lines.

It's sometimes this age of information can be a good thing. If you're not being manipulated if the advertisers are actually doing things that are in your own best interest then that's where we're in the best case scenario. Like everything is about individual value and happiness 

Mattimore: And think about from the buyer from the merchants aside from the people who own those household products that you were mentioning.

So one question that I could hear some people asking is well, how do you as a brand get out into the marketplace and get known if you're not able to run ads and I could Envision a scenario where using all of the information that's available. Let's say Amazon could have their own their own products that they're putting out there, but then based on the feedback that people give like oh this wasn't quite the right size. I wish they did a half size or wouldn't it be awesome. If this came in red instead of only in black and white or whatever anyone's feedback might be and then Amazon would basically make sure that its offering the full breadth of options.

Based on what people have a demand for and if you're a startup that has come up with one of these offers that's not currently on the table. Then you could basically share some of your revenue or pay some sort of fee to be like part of the system in the same way that you can pay to get free information, but it's like the other the other side of it right and then without doing any sort of like.

Motive based manipulation it would truly Amazon would truly give the best product to each person based on what they what their specific needs are and if a product isn't filling the needs of anyone then that product becomes, you know becomes obsolete and gets removed and then if people see and there's a new demand for other products, then those other products are going to be created to fill that demand.

I think one thing that is probably going to happen in the long term is these independent sellers are going to become a smaller and smaller chunk of the pie as Amazon offers a White Label Amazon version of pretty much all the basics that we need. And I mean that you know, I think it'll in the near term or medium-term, it'll become just really. Artisanal products like handcrafted this or anything that has some sort of art aspect to it, but that's not just about like, oh, I need a USB cord or whatever. Yeah, and then eventually it'll disappear and there will really just be like a couple companies that produce everything that we need, but that's not necessarily a bad world.

I mean if we demand greater variety. I believe it would service those demands and if we have some sort of universal basic income, then there really is nothing to worry about there, but it is scary for people because it's so different from what the world we live in today. 

Justin: Do you think we're far away from this best-case scenario? Because to me it seems like. We only need to align incentives like maybe there's a little bit of regulatory oversight that makes companies and advertisers.

It keeps them accountable. So basically if they're trying to really manipulate people that's not allowed but to add value if adding value to people's lives was the most valuable thing a company could do for themselves. That's what's going to happen. But it's not like there are evil people in all facets of the world.

It's just the way that incentives are aligned, sometimes that leads to the worst-case scenario. Sometimes it leads to what we're describing is would be the best-case scenario. 

Mattimore: Yeah, unfortunately, I don't think the odds are very high for us moving to this. Everyone owns their own data. Yeah, I mean it's a very nice world to look at from afar.

But the big challenge is just there's so much profit incentive for advertisers and companies that sell attention to continue along what they've already been doing. 

Justin: Yeah, so I mean if there's a law though that's in place then I mean the EU just passed their major privacy laws. There's probably going to be some sort of law in the future even in the US that will make companies or penalize companies for doing for Being Bad actors like that.  

Mattimore: Well, yeah the I mean I could see that the only thing though is that. In America, it's sort of this Cowboy capitalism where it's all about making money and getting to the top. Whereas in the EU.

It's like the culture is more of like a everyone just has their own life. It's like we work to live we don't live to work. So I think it works better in those societies. And and one thing I've heard from I've been reading Yuval Noah Harari newest book 21 lessons for the 21st century. And part of what he talks about in that book is that in the previous major upheaval is like the Industrial Revolution the people were being exploited and they had a lot of power because of that because they were the means by which the economy moves forward, the coal miners were super necessary for the people at the top to be able to realize their dreams of creating railroads everywhere industry everywhere. Machine production everywhere, but what's very dangerous about the next movement towards Ai and information technologists with biotech is that people are going to be powerless economically, like people are going to become basically irrelevant as far as being able to produce for the economy. So it's a it's going to we're going to see a situation in the near future where humans still have power as far as they're able to vote, but they don't have power economically meaning for Amazon and Apple and Google and a lot of other companies to make another 10 billion dollars. They don't really need people. I mean, yeah, they might need a couple key people who are very tech savvy, but it's not like they need the masses. They really don't need them. So that is a recipe for people being manipulated to serve the wishes of the companies and the government and there tends to be a kickback between the two. I mean look at the big Industries the oil and gas industry and how they've been able to influence the government and policies that make no sense.

Like we're polluting the air we're destroying the environment like there's it's so clearly bad for the citizens. But because these lobbyists are lining the pockets of the politicians, they're not doing anything. So I think it's a little bit wishful thinking that we would move towards the best-case scenario at least in the near term.

Justin: Yeah, and in the u.s. 

Mattimore: Especially in the u.s. I think it's much more likely in Europe or especially the Nordic countries places like Australia. It's a much more likely there than in the u.s. 

Justin: Yeah. Yeah. So speaking of what do you think is the most likely scenario worldwide?  

Mattimore: Yeah, so the most likely scenario obviously is always somewhere in the middle. I think it's going to be something similar to a freemium model where some people pay for high quality information that doesn't include manipulation like, personally I pay for the New York Times And The Economist and I also listened to both sides of the aisle. I listen to you know, the New York Times the daily every day.

I listen to coffee with Scott Adams every day. You know one is like an Ardent Trump supporter conservative. The other is clearly like, you know sort of the leader of the resistance. So some people will be able to see the whole playing field and they'll be able to pay for high quality information.

And therefore they won't be as open to manipulation and those people will be some of the ones that are able to shape the future. And combat some of the worst inclinations of these these actors, but other people which is the greater number of people I would say we'll just be like, oh free information sign me up and they don't even know that they're being manipulated and this portion of the population will be big enough that it will be able to swing elections based on whoever has the most the biggest pocketbooks.

The one caveat to that is the social networks and other purveyors of attention could come in as the hero and really put in some safeguards that prevent this type of manipulation, but that's a slippery slope to because that you know, that might limit free speech and so it's a really tricky scenario and and I think the most likely is basically: more people than not continuing to be manipulated but some minority of people being able to prevent themselves from being manipulated. 

Justin: Yeah. I'm with you there. It's pretty much the same sort of scenario. We're in right now. Maybe I hope in the future. There will be more options to where you can pay for the ad free service, but right now it seems like it's there's a good Trend towards that. Yeah. So how in general do you suggest people not fall into this negative manipulation trap? 

Mattimore: So I think I mean the two things already mentioned is paying for high-quality information like you pay for nice clothes and a nice house and a nice car and whatever else you should also pay for good information.

I think also, you know seeing both sides of the aisle not just being in your own Echo chamber of people who agree with you is very important. I think using ad blockers is a great idea. Yeah, I did that. I personally don't use ad blockers because as an Advertiser I'm like interested of what the persuasion tactics are, but I think yeah people it's probably a good idea.

And as far as like from, you know preparing the Next Generation perspective. I think it's really important to teach your kids to be skeptical to make them focus on critical thinking and always asking them whether something is true. Why do they think something is true? Why do they believe this? Why do they not believe that and getting them to really consider for themselves how to determine the factuality of any statement and one good way to do. This is to like constantly trick your kids. So like I mean just like a stick and just say, you know, like any sort of like tricking your kids with like little hand thing, you know, like oh what's in here or as long as they know afterwards that they were tricked ya just gotta tell them afterwards.

Yeah for sure. But I think it's good when Dad's or mom's do those kind of things where they're they're like, oh, I got your nose and then they will go ahead and then you didn't get my nose. And then the next time someone does that you're like, you know what I know better. You don't actually have my nose.

Justin: yeah like that. I don't know if I've heard that described from the parenting perspective before. 

Mattimore: Yeah, and then I think the final thing it's just from a pot of personal level is knowing when you are vulnerable. And most open to manipulation. So if you're depressed if you just went through some sort of traumatic event like a breakup or a death in the family if you have low self-esteem, if you're tired, this is when you're most vulnerable.

Justin: Yeah, and it's good not to post things that indicate that you're in one of these states on something like Facebook. Anything like your social media? If you post things it's in the public domain. Anyone can use that information to take advantage even I mean, even if you're happy, you know, sometimes you're a little bit overly manic about something and then you're also easily manipulated?

Mattimore: It's like, oh you're happy. Oh great start this business by this domain for $10,000 and you'll realize all your dreams then afterwards you're like, oh shit. What did I just do? 

Justin: Yeah, I think one of the other things people can do is realize that giving all your information to random websites. Let's say you're signing into a new app and it says sign in with your email sign in with Facebook Google Plus, you know, all that good stuff. Maybe it's not a good idea to give them all your information if you don't know them. Yeah, because if you're giving all the if you're signing up with your phone number, for example all the time, then your phone number is out there and then you know, you'll get these random telemarketing calls.

Mattimore: Yeah, I hate those I block every telemarketer call as soon as I get them and it's actually been pretty effective. I think another thing is like it is really good to share your thoughts and feelings and to put them into words like that is a very rehabilitative exercise, but you don't have to do it on a social network.

You can write it down in a journal which I would highly recommend or you journals are pretty hard to hack. Yeah, or you can you know, tell a friend but it's like I like I like in Mr. Robot where he has. The book of CDs that are all rock and roll CDs and that's where all of his information is, but it's completely safe from hackers.

See, I think those are all good. And and the other thing I would say is be very cognizant of the principles of persuasion. I highly recommend reading the principles of persuasion by Robert C, you'll learn a lot about. How people are hacked I would also recommend recommend how to win big leaf, which is by Scott Adams Winning big lie or window or when yeah, I think it's just called win big lie, but it's by Scott Adams and it's basically about how Trump used three dimensional chess to manipulate more than half of the population and it's continuing till now where we basically have like split realities going on at any given time like forty percent of the country believes this forty percent of the country believes that and you know, the other percentage either doesn't know what's going on or sees it for what it is.  

Justin: Yeah, and even if you even if you think that Trump is, you know. Not playing three-dimensional chess and is actually just an impulsive idiot, you know, you don't have to that doesn't have to be true. If you assume that he is playing three-dimensional chess, then you're still more resistant to being manipulated.  Yeah, and then if you think he's just an idiot.

Right. Well, if he's an idiot, then he's accidentally using all of the persuasion tactics proven to work for all of humanity. Yeah, and like for instance Joseph Goebbels was the minister of propaganda under the Nazi regime probably the most effective manipulator in the history of the world and here's a quote from him a lie told once remains a lie.

But a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth and that's like I mean we see that every day where something is so clearly not true, but they don't give ground. They don't give ground. They repeat it. They repeat it and after a while that becomes a legitimate argument on that topic another similar quote from.

Adolf Hitler himself said the most brilliant propagandist test technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is born in mind constantly. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over so you just have a few point. So no matter what you're doing and this this holds true if you have a charity that you're trying to promote or something, that's truly beneficial.

I have a few key points and repeat them constantly, but be wary of this tactic being used against you.

Mattimore: Well, cool, I think maybe this is a good time to wrap it up. Yeah, I mean one other stuff that I say cuz I'm just looking at a couple of these stats. So oh yeah as far as how much money. Is spent on Advertising just so everyone listening gets a sense of of the scale and the magnitude of what's going on.

So this year 2018 were projected to set to spend two hundred sixty six billion dollars in the US alone. And in three years that number is projected to grow to three hundred seventy six billion. So that's a 41% increase over just three years. So whatever level of advertising you're seeing now, it's around 4000 ads per day that you are exposed to that number or just the level of expenditure is going to go up almost in half in three years.

So I think for everyone listening just be very wary of the principles of persuasion be very wary about getting as high-quality information as you can from as varied sources as you can and you know just just be careful use ad blockers use your own critical thinking skills. And and you know, let's hope that we can move towards a better world where everyone has control over their data and the best answer and best recommendations are given regardless of other motives of others companies or brands that don't have your best interest at heart.  Well, cool. Appreciate you taking the time. Yeah, dude, that's good. So next week will be the beginning of a two part series part one is the future of life on Earth. Where will see Earth's life cycle from the beginning all the way to the end and the different ways it can end and what we might be able to do about that part 2 will be the future of life beyond Earth where we discuss how humanity and other earthlings might go from a single planet species to a multiplanetary species even existing Beyond very important one day has come to its end.

All right. Thank you guys for listening.

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Justin Clark