Episode 1 - The Future of Everything (Transcription)
The Future of Everything (Episode 1)
Mattimore: Welcome to Hence, The Future podcast. I’m Mattimore Cronin.
Justin: And I’m Justin Clark.
Mattimore: And today is our first ever episode. So we’re going to be talking about why we’re starting this podcast. What you can expect from each episode, and also the goal that we have in mind for our listeners.
So first, why are we starting this podcast?
Well, Justin and I realized that in the next 20 to 40 years, which is the bulk of our careers. There are going to be pivotal shifts that we have not seen in the course of human history.
To give just a couple examples… The biggest one being that AI is predicted to achieve human-level general intelligence by the year 2040, which has profound implications with every other aspect [00:01:00] of life as we know it.
Justin: And the interesting thing about a reaching human level intelligence is the fact that it might only stay at human-level intelligence for hours maybe days and then it’ll be self-improving and be exponentially more intelligent than human level intelligence, which we can’t even comprehend right now.
Mattimore: And part and parcel with that is automation. As companies learn to leverage AI to their own benefit. It’s going to produce insane profits, but it’s also going to make a greater percentage of jobs obsolete than we saw during the Great Depression. So this is going to create winners and losers, but the number of losers is going too far outnumber the number of winners — at least in the short run until we can get some sort of universal basic income or expanded welfare state.
That’s going to be something that will impact each and every person listening to this podcast. [00:02:00] Another example is the war of real facts versus fake facts, which really began with the 2016 presidential election and is only beginning to accelerate. We’re going to see the most cutting-edge technology being used on both sides.
On the good side of that equation, we have algorithms that can discern fact from fiction. For instance Elon Musk just announced that he’s going to be creating a website where the public can rate the core truth of any article and track The credibility score over time of each journalist, editor, and publication.
And while this has been highly controversial, I feel that overall it’s a good thing. On the flip side. We have deep fakes and the manipulation of the media, where nowadays, you can create a video of any famous person — assuming you have enough video of them already online to train the system. You can create a video of them doing or saying whatever you want; and you can also [00:03:00] use clickbait articles — articles that you know are going to get tons of clicks — to manipulate the media based on what their financial incentives are and that’s something that we’ve seen really accelerating recently and it’s only going to become more extreme as we go forward and these tools of technology and persuasion become more and more effective.
Another example is the space race, which really has just become reinvigorated for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union. Just recently Trump announced the creation of a space force, which has probably been in the works for quite a long time on a number of nations, but the fact that he had announced it makes it seem like this is going to ramp up our efforts to have military dominance over space so we can drop a bomb or shoot a laser to any place on Earth with the same precision or even greater precision than we have for with GPS tracking for instance.
Justin: And one of the [00:04:00] really cool aspects of the space race is the idea of colonizing planets and moons.
For example, one of the big topics is terraforming Mars to make it a more Earth-like planet. And one of the big Ideas here is to drop nukes on the poles of Mars to induce rapid climate change and create a more stable. Uh in warmer climate than what exists currently because the planet just swings to the extremes three times in a 24-hour period or something crazy like that.
There’s just so much that can happen in Mars. It’s a really exciting time to be alive.
Mattimore: Some other examples — there’s so many — autonomous weapons, brain-machine interfaces, CRISPR Gene editing, which will first be used to eradicate diseases and certain syndromes, but then will later be used to create to actually [00:05:00] enhance babies make them smarter more physically capable than any normal person would be. That’s going to be something that is pretty inevitable.
The capabilities are already beyond what most people would expect; and whatever ethical qualms we may have about it in the United States, in China there are no such ethical qualms. So this is also going to heat up and put pressure on any country that does not partake in gene editing to do so.
So those are just a sampling of of some of the big changes that we’re going to see; and with each episode, we want to focus on one specific area. So for instance, we may focus on the future of intelligence the future of jobs. The future of dating, it could be anything. So the structure of each podcast will be as follows:
Justin: The first thing we talk about is the worst case scenario of whatever topic [00:06:00] we’re talkin about that day. So for example, what is the worst case scenario of CRISPR Gene editing?
I I imagine we can all think of quite a few. Bad scenarios, but I mean this is a sort of depressing topic but it’s also a better strategy than burying our heads in the sand and we should at least be prepared for bad things to happen and then we can mitigate all those risks.
Mattimore: And the worst-case scenario typically ends up getting the most attention from the media. I mean how many articles have you read about Killer Robots coming out and taking over and they Hollywood and the media. They always love to play this robots are going to intentionally kill us with the same same desires that evil humans have which is obviously not the case.
But this is the area that we [00:07:00] should definitely explore first because. It’s good to always start with what the worst possible scenario could be so we can prepare for that.
Justin: The next thing we’ll talk about is the best case scenario. And um, those those are always fun conversations to think about a utopian society after that.
We will talk about what we think is a likely scenario. What would we put our money on if we were betting people.
Mattimore: And another section of each podcast will be current events because Justin and I are always checking ProductHunt and The Sip, and we’re always in the know about what the new products are that are coming out for instance.
Google Duplex came out pretty recently, and this is something that is able to pass the Turing Test for the vast majority of people that it encounters. So if you’re not familiar with it, Google duplex is a voice assistant. Imagine if you could have Siri go [00:08:00] make phone calls on your behalf to reschedule that flight that has a one hour waiting list to even talk to someone or book a reservation at a restaurant or hotel.
Those are the examples that has right now that you can use today; and for the vast majority of people at encounters, they have no idea they’re talkin to a robot. None. They think they’re talkin to a real human being. So this is a milestone that we did not think was going to be passed this soon and it’s already been passed.
So whenever something like this comes up, we’re going to let you guys know so you’re in the loop. And you know, we both have all of the three major AI systems in our house that we can test out. So we all have Google Home, Alexa, you know, the iHome; so, we’re gonna let you guys know as we find new discoveries and have new insights.
Justin: So one of the other big things that we’ll talk about in terms of [00:09:00] current events as Quantum Computing advancements, for example.
There’s there’s a lot of stuff happening there. And there’s there’s a race in terms of how quickly companies can produce viable quantum computers.
Mattimore: So just to bring it back. What is the goal of this podcast?
Why are we choosing to record these conversations and share them with the world, rather than just have the conversations ourselves as we’ve been doing up until now.
The goal of this podcast is to make you aware of the changes as they’re occurring because that’s the first step.
The second goal is to help you see these changes as opportunities. So you’re not overwhelmed by the changes that are taking place, but you’re actually able to see where the opportunities lie.
And finally we want to help you take action, so you can prepare yourselves for the future.
Justin: In our next episode, our first full [00:10:00] episode, we’ll talk about the future of intelligence.
Mattimore: If you like to suggest a topic for a future episode you can do so at HenceTheFuture.com.
Just drop it in our suggestion box, and we’ll give you a shout out if we pick your topic. You can also send us a suggestion on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Our handle is @hencethefuture on all of those and you can use the hashtag #hencethefuture to make sure that we see your suggestion.
And as a brand new podcast, we really appreciate it if you would rate and review the show, so that we can get more people to hear about it.
Thank you for listening and tune in next time for The Future of [00:11:00] Intelligence.
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Mattimore and Justin