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.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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experience trying my day Joe Rogan podcast by night, live closer. I'm saying I'm not great huge thanks what you do eating chocolate when you got here. He told me that you are cut cacao, shaman, and I said those are strong words. They are. What does I mean? so I was in Berlin last year giving a talk at a tech conference and somebody invited Do a sacred cow ceremony never heard of it. I thought wow. That sounds awesome. I love chocolate. I and it was so wonderful at the end. They were talking about these people, these great cal shamans, and I thought what is that I got a, since I came back, I look for certification. There wasn't serving Keisha Knight Self declared, and then I doing cal doing in New York New York and have hundreds of people who it's really wonderful and it's exciting exciting?
Your doctor, your medical, school right and then a comedian. You got if you become a professional. Yet again, your time to cash out and just show up just like the color can go. Hey, I'm a cook how solid? If anybody shows up- and they have a good time then you're real know how much you need to know about. Kacau like the nutritional properties of the cat, was amazing, it's great stuff, it's incredible, and, and so it definitely can count. People of using it ceremonially for about five thousand years. So it's incredible chocolate makes people happy. It helps your 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
I watched Kerr and Psilocybin all these kinds of things, but I also think the 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, and the second thing is: I believe that there are no. I say this in my samus is no such thing as sacred to catch. Our sacred plants are sacred mountains or sacred people. If we don't treat life with sacredness, but if we recognize that every thing 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 guy who specializes essentially in manipulating life. Well, you know we have manipulated. Life
as humans for a very very long 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 are in boots for about four about three point: eight billion years our species has evolved by this set of principles. We call Darwin evolution, random mutation and natural selection. It's brought us here. We used to be single cell organisms and now look at us and there's been 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, yeah, it's uncomfortable and scary and yeah. It is a like things. The way they are. We all me I'd like to stay the way I am. We always think. That is why we always think that, because with there's a built and
conservative 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 Medison 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 want organic corn. I want whatever, but all these things are created. We live in entire created world and our ability to manipulate and change that world always growing, and I think we need to recognize that, but being afraid is, is okay and be excited is ok and we need to find the right balance between those two emotions. I think for a lot of people. We feel like so many changes happened particularly talk about genetically modified foods, so many things happened, but or they realized they had happened. So when they're, like hey man, I don't want any eat any GMO fruit. Well, then, you
We shouldn't need any fruit, because everything that you buy has been changed. Yeah every orange you buy that that's a lot more in Orange, used to be like yeah go, buy an apple apple's didn't used to be like that tomatoes didn't used to be like that now. I know that we reset baseline just from when we're kids. So if you went back twelve thousand years ago to the end of the ice age, and you said alright, 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 with people call genetic modification and people are afraid because it's well that's. Unnatural we're applying science to to food an that's, that's the issue and now we're entering the era of genetically modified humans and there's that same level of uncomfortable ness, but what happened? The reason why I've I've written this this book, hacking Darwin, is that if we approach genetically modified humans in the same way, we approach Negli 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 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 bezerk. So we have this window of time. We can start bringing everybody into an inclusive conversa. About where we're going, because where we are going, it's 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 now including cities. I think cities are natural. That's why they're all over the world. I think there is naturals beehives as much as we like to think that technology is not natural, it's clearly something people naturally make. Of course, make it in every culture yeah. I can it's the history of our species and we we kind of miss use this word natural, giving his. What is,
natural, I mean. Maybe natural was when we used to live, and we were just part of nature, and I always say it's like people say. Oh, I of nature. I love like going out hiking in the woods. The reason you love hiking in the woods is that we've ordered all the predators like in the old days in the year stay in your case, you're not going out and hiking in the woods right, there's stuff is going to kill you out there. I know there was a mass of luxury to go wander through the forest with no weapons yeah. You know what exactly exactly, but he also I want nature. I want my you know my name. The court. I want my my natural Chihuahua, even though twenty five thousand years ago no to water was there's wolves, yeah, hey, look what we've done to them. I know we'll look what we have done to them: yeah Adam Pugs, yeah if you had natural, we like our natural corn, in particular natural corn, spent tiny little thing. Yes, is a few, a few weeds, weird gross little grain, yeah, and then now we made it this big juicy sweet, delicious thing you put butter on, which is great
right. We now have glide for sale. Life is a bit we we can't. We can't fetishize that there's some kind of imaginary world? Where can everybody was wearing Birkenstocks and eating in whole? is that imaginary world sucked for us? That's why we left it it's true but some sort of a balance right. We do appreciate the nature. Ask effect of our world and eagles and SAM and then 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. He Do you want to be able to go out and get your newspaper that being worried about? Can tack by a Jaguar. It helps yeah you arm when you think about the future. At least me the one I tell ya my concern yeah. I'm worried that rich people are going to get ahold of this technology quick and there going to have massive, unfair advantages in terms of intellect in terms of physical athletic ability. I mean we we
We can have a grossly imbalanced world radically quickly if this happens fast when don't understand exactly what the console of these actions are until it's too late, and then we try to play catch up with 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 everyday 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. Stay where you are, here and very comfortable with just down the road. There are people who are just who 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, Malnourish If those are our values today, we can expect that, when these future tech allergies. Arrive will use those those same value, so it's real and right Now we have an opportunity to say: alright, these technologies are coming whatever we do,
These technologies are coming, there's a better possible future and a worst possible future. And how can we infuse our best values into the process? optimize, the good stuff and minimize the best seven. 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 and dominated everybody. And so yeah? That's it's very real! That's the government's need play, a role in ensuring broad access in in regulate and these these technologies to make sure we don't get to that kind of dystopian scenario that you've laid out. Well, it's also in terms of governments regulating things like. Why are they qualified? Who are they who The governments are just people right. If there's people that are either elected or that you know or yes, some sort of a monarchy aren't you you're dealing with either
kings and queens and sheiks 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 to 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 of right. Some of the things like yes, like you just mentioned that that's the reason why humans banded together and made these kind of the of made credit 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, and the government does things that, indeed, Jules can't do- and I know, they're a leather, libertarian arguments why everyone you just like, if you want a little road in front of your house, either go build the road and pay some somebody, but a lot of things 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 sure of life and life on earth, and there have to be some kind of guard rails and that's why what I'm arguing for is really need a bottom up. I we every person and that's why I'm so thrilled to be here with you today, Joe every person needs to We understand these revolutionary technologies, like genetics, like ai and all of our responsibilities and cartoon, ities to say hey. This is really important here the values that I think that I cherish and just like. You said, I don't want it to be that the wealthiest people that are the ones who have kids with higher iq's and live longer and healthier than than everybody else. And then so. We have to raise our voice and needs to be a bottom up process and it in a top down process and it's real. It's real there aren't that many people have a concern that someone else is going to do what we're not willing to do. First, yes, right there,
China and Russia, those the big ones, China and Russia, especially China, yeah, they're, very technologically advanced and their innovations off the chain and it comes to The Qual way just recently surpassed apples, the number to a cell phone manufacturing right in the world five years ago. They had some like a single digit share of the market place now their number two on the planet earth I mean date they hustle and if they just decide to make super people- and they do they do it before we do that's what people read about right. There were they worried about there's trivial things were seemingly trivial like athletics and then there's things that are really like. What what's to stop people from just becoming the hulk? What's the stop? People from becoming immortal. What's the starting? What is they sprint is, is China a really big issue, the 21st first, the story of the 21st century. One of the biggest stories of the 21st century will be how the us
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 two thousand and fifty there putting huge resources. They have really smart people, they are really focused on it and it's a big deal in take technologies. On last year of the book, hacking dramas, already in production: in November, when it was announced these first genetically engineered babies had been born in China, and so I called the publish and say we need to pull this back out of production as 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 size had it had it had to add a few sentences say, and it just happened in october- of of twenty eighteen. So China is on that path and we need to read I is 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 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 were almost compelled to do it second or compelled to try to keep up yeah what How far away do you think we are from physically manipulating living human beings versus fetuses versus something in the water? so physically, manipulating living human beings we're there yeah. I guess so that that's it may often it's it's called gene therapy. So, for example, there's a whole class of of treatments for for treating cancer called Carty 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 superpowers, 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, 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 then, with regulators, the put in applications regulators around the world so that the era of Jim making genetic changes to living humans- that's already here like what can they do with it? So far, so so far of most of it is focused on treating diseases, but a lot more is, is coming because when people think about the the human the genome is our genome, isn't a disease. You know without a healthcare, Gm Genome is a human genome, and so we are going to be able to do things that feel like crap, crazy things like changing people's I color change people's skin color to funky things. I mean there's a lot of really they were to stuff. They were not doing now that we will be be able to do it
What do you think we offer friends like that ten years, so in ten years were going to green people? if in, if someone so choose, if someone searches and that's where they will be able to go back to normal color? Well, if it's a good question, if it's with this kind of therapy and it's a small number of jeans, probably but we are messing with very complex systems that we don't fully understand it and that's why there's a lot of unknowns and coming back to your point on regulation? That's why we? I don't think we want it. Total free for all the feels. A I'm gonna enters my own g D. You don't want some backyard hustler, the lab, it's true, because they are saying about the whole look yeah. I mean. I just think that they're all kinds of you where humans were diverse There's any kind of thing that you can think of there is a range and their crazy on the left and crazy on the right and crazy, the top, so people are going to want Do things and the question? Is it worth any society? What do we think is ok, and what do we think is not ok and
Maybe there should be some. I I believe there should be some limit to how far people can go with experimenting. Certainly really likely on themselves is certainly on their future children, certainly in the future. Children yeah, but once you're eighteen, I think, do whatever the fuck you want, if you really well, maybe twenty five twenty five. We have a lot of twenty five year olds with gills. It's like actually probably will like. It seems like the tattoo seem like a good idea, yeah. Well, we probably will so you think, we're probably fifty years away from that being loading, so I think that we are we? The jack Revolution has already begun and it's going to fundamentally change our lives. Indian three big air is the first is our health care, so we're moving from a system of generalized health care based on population averages so that when you go to your doctor, you're treated because you're a human just based on average- 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, 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 two. And people have had their whole genome sequence, within the within a decade and we're going to be able to compare What did gene say to how those jeans are expressed, and then humans become a big data set, and that's going to move us from precision to predict if health care, where you're going to be just born and you're, going to have all this information in your parents live all this from 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 or low iq or being a great
printer. And how do we think about that? And then again a revolution? That's already happening we're going to change the way we make babies were 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 digestive how of applying science on to what it means to be human with a lot of new possibilities. That's what's going to be so freaking when people stop having sex to make kids, they make ends in a lab. Every kid's mean the lab would 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 it's more natural. Do not vaccinate your kids than to do it, but people say wait a second you're taking on a risk on behalf of your kids about three percent of all kids in the world are born with some kind of harmful genetic abnormality using in vitro fert
asian embryo screening, that three percent can be brought down significantly and what happens if you see somebody twenty years from now, who has a kid with one of those preventable diseases? Do you think that's fate, or do you think well my way to say those parents? They made an ideological decision about how they wanted to conceive their kids. I think we're moving to add some really deep and fundamental changes so well, yeah, that's the interesting conversation of whether or not usually one what? If we're going to get to a point where people don't allow people sort of like people, don't allow people to not get vaccinated right there's a lot of that going on today, which is great right. You don't want diseases phone around, but what, if that gets to the place where we do that with people people creating new life forms? What, if you say hey, you are being constable use having sex and having a kid yeah. I know its grandma did it, we don't do it that way into
thousand and ninety nine yeah? I think it's going to be hard to do that a society like the United States, but in a country like North Korea they'll be able to do that. What your is a cut, if they said look and 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 some kind of genetic disorder that was preventable, we're just not going to cover it with insurance, so you're going to over ten million dollar lifetime bill. You don't need you don't need to require something. You can create an environment where people's behaviors and then there will be increasing social pressures me right now. You somebody sees some little kid riding around their bicycle. Without a helmet, they're kind of looking at the parents, hey what do you How come you don't have a helmet on your kids and I just think that we're moving toward kind of societal change. Where people will, I believe, see conceiving their kids in the lab as
a full, safer alternative, and it's not just safety, because once you do that, then that opens you up there to the possibility of all other kinds of of applications of 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 active, roughly rank order. Fifteen pre implanted embryos tallest to shortest in a decade from highest a genetic component of I Q to Lois Genetic component. I cuse me this stuff is very real and very personal. What do you think will be the first thing people start manipulating. I think it is 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 application people wanting to make
sure that their 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 they're going on sequencing people, the super ages. People live to their late nineties, people do hundred to identify what what are the genetic patterns that these People have so it's like to live to. Ninety you have to do all the things that you advocate healthy living and whatever, but to live to into one hundred. You really need the genetics to make that possible, so we're going to identify what are are some of the genetic patterns that allow you to live those kinds of of long lines, but then, after that, then it's wide open. I mean it's: it's higher genetic component of IQ outgoing personality faster spring, I mean we are humans. We are primarily genetic beatings and we're going to be able to look under the hood of what it means to be human and will have these and credible choices. And- and we have it's a huge responsibility. How long you think before we
you have a person with four arms. I think it's going to take a long time couple one hundred years. Well, the thing is here 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 acted an 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 manner. Just given it away. Women here female mammals are a little bit a little bit stingy. Then the next killer application, is using a process called induced pluripotent stem. Cells, and so she need I'm a knock. It is great a japanese signs when the twenty twelve Nobel Prize for developing a way to turn any adult cell into a step, it's also a stem cells are kind of sell. It can be anything, and so you take, let's say a skin graft that has millions of cells.
You induce those s adult 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 the huge scale. So you have a hundred thousand eggs fertile Plies them with the male sperm in a machine, an 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 two thousand and three was a billion dollars. Now it's eight hundred dollars it's going to be next to nothing within a day. Case, and then you have real options. 'cause then you get this. This whole spreadsheet algorithm and then you go to the parents. They will. What are your
words 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 gene editing the stuff that happened in in China last year? I think it will. It will be in their in coming back your question about four arms. I think it's going to be very people have this idea that the tools like Chris Bergen a someone's gonna sit at a computer and say like more arms and three heads and then wings and and whatever it's pretty hard, because human biology is incredibly complicated and We we always know more, the worth, the very getting of understanding the full complexity of human biology enough to make these big kind of change. But if you're choosing hundred thousand fertilized eggs are all your natural kids, and then you would get the best of that and then work on the exactly that's exactly the amount you get, that
and then you say alright what, if you have like twenty sons that were awesome and they didn't tell you about eighteen of am, and you kept two of 'em than eighteen of them shipped off to some military industrial, complex and turn them into assassins any kind of crazy thing You can think of that's the problem right. It's all. This stuff will be possible and so and a lot of techno, you can imagine all kinds of crazy stuff and that's coming back to your earlier point about regulations. We want to live in regular but environment. So, like now think of the internet- and you know in the beginning days of the internet, people, though just let the internet be, let's just let it play out. It's going to liberate all of us and now China showing how the internet can be actually be really actively Use to suppress people, Facebook is taking peoples information in Google in a way, that's frightening, people of using 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,
and we need some representatives helping us. The real concern is the competition. The real concern is whether or not we do something with Greg in regards to regulation that somehow another stifles competition on our and it doesn't allow us to compete with Russia and China yeah exactly China yeah, that's exactly right, and so what we need to do is to find that balance, and one of the big issues for this is privacy. So we can
look around the world. I'd say: there's two of a kind of the big country in groupings of countries list three models of privacy: there's Europe, which has the strongest privacy protections for all kinds of data, including genetic did. I do know, 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 are thinking. Well, we kind of want to be like Europe cuz. I don't want somebody accessing my personal information, especially my genetic information is like my most intimate information, but genetics is the ultimate big data problem, and so you need these big data pools and you tax, to dig 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 it world we have Amazon and Apple and Google and those big companies. But whoever gets this bet right. They will be the ones who
the leading the way and making a huge amount of of money on these technologies. We're talking about is is, is it really in 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 he was doing his manipulating his his body and what he's basically doing is, more red blood cells so that he can carry more oxygen and people feel that that's cheating, it's a different topic that probably everybody in that order? France was doing exactly that when he, when he won, but what, if, which will be the case we're going to be able to sequence, the people that say no he's doing drugs and we sequence all these athletes, some of them we'll just have a natural genetic advantage, their bodies will naturally be doing what lamps I'm had manipulated his body to do. You know that's happening with the sprinter right now, yeah
the female spring. Yes has high levels of tests, yes, yeah, no, it and it's any. I feel really sorry for her yeah, but we have categories a Minha, you your world in India mixed martial arts, I mean- I think I remember in the past, it was some person who has who was kind of the borderline on the on between and we just kicking the shit out of all of these women in each fighting. It's like. We have these categories of man and woman, and we know that the gender Energies are are 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 you are genetically optimized to do then you could imagine that being a very competitive kind of of environment. But what do you do?
for now in something like the Olympics. If somebody has this huge genetic advantage should be a let somebody else manipulate their bodies is thing called gene dope. In order to change the expression of gene, so your body to act like you're as Jeanette. Naturally, genetic enhances somebody else it's complicated. Are they capable of doing certain physical enhancements through gene dope right now, like what can they do right now, so so way it works is so your jeans instruct your els to make proteins. That's that's! That's how the whole system works, so you can change jeans or you can trigger the expression of protein. So you can get people's bodies to behave as if they had the the superior documentation, yeah yeah, and so that's why now the the World Anti doping agency, I 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 the we done successfully. I don't know the answer to that. I know that water is looking for it, which makes me assume that it must. Have done, but I haven't seen it. I've looked for it. I haven't seen any reports, then it starts winning everything with China is so So my my wrote, 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 in the way it works. Is they test kids all around the country. So, let's just say it's 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 the Olympic Sport schools, and then they get
all involved in some kids are the best of those kids in the best of those kids, and then you get with the champ. 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 kind trees like Kazakhstan, that are already announcing that they're going to be screening all of their athletes. This Change isn't there yet. So it's really it's impossible right now. To say I want to do a genome sequence of somebody and I know This person has the potential to be an olympic sprinter, but ten years from now, that's not going to be the case, while yeah it's sort of 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 all to their bodies by training by diet, exercise. All sorts of different recovery modality ends: yes on all of it.
A you know, a high elevation training, all these different things. They do that manipulates the human body, but it's not like it would be kind of crazy. If you had sports but couldn't practice you can work out like we want to find out what a person's really like. No practice, no working out and that's the thing is like we are moving. It comes back to were saying before about nature. It's. We have this this feeling up or somehow feels comfortable to us. That's what we're used to all this stuff that you're talking, but nobody was doing that ten thousand years ago, it's like a I mean, I'm 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 a b. Faced with all of these questions, even now, look at a sport like competitive weight, left hey if they they have these, like the 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 Oh, it's still a pretty good. They look pretty big, but not compared to these other guys. The only way to get those freak levels, instruments, yeah and so like. How are we going to police 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 and that it seems about right, like it seems about right to us that everybody gets immune stations, but immunizations are a form of superpower. Imagine if our ancestors, they couldn't even imagine, immunizations what an unfair advantage. When you have a hundred million people dying of spanish flu. So with this all this stuff is ski and it's going to normalize, but how it normalizes is, is that's what at play.
Well. The world is changed so much just in the last twenty years, but it feels like this is just scratching the surface in comparison to what's coming, let's head: People miss understand and they underestimate rate of change and the reason that they do that is since the beginning of the digital revolution, we have experienced thing called exponential It is that you've heard of Moore's law, which is basically computing power, roughly doubles every two years and we can why 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 entering into a world where we're going to have exponential change across technology platforms, and so we think about what what is exponential change mean in the context of biology. Well, at the very, very beginning. Its genome, sequencing is, 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 of what's a ten year unit of chain, looking in there in the rearview mirror that amount of change is only going to take five years going forward and then two year, and then one year, and so that's the reason why I've written this book as I've is p. We have to get that 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. What makes you nervous about this three big areas? First, humans and all by using credibly complex, maybe talk about genetic code, which is mind bogglingly complex, but our genetic exists within the incredible incredibly complex system, is biology. We have all these things like our microbiome are viral MAR proteome our metabolism and then that exist.
It's within the context of our environment, everything's, always changing and and interacting, and so we are messing. We have the tools to mass and we will mess, because with this, your breast XP sees with these really complex ecosystems, including ourselves. We don't fully understand number one two when you mentioned it before this issue of equity. What happens if we had? 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 much more quickly than other people, whether it's real or not, even if they believe it's real, you could imagine big dangerous societal changes and the third big area is diversity and we think about diversity. We think why it's great to have diverse workplaces and schools and and we're more better people for it and we're more competitive, but mercy is something much much much deeper in darwinian terms. Diversity is random mutation like that's our core serve, cable strategy as a species. If we didn't have that, you could say we
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 built in resilience to adapt yeah. That is really important when you think about diversity. Right we. We need a non uniformity when it comes to our own biology, yeah, because it a bunch of different kinds of people. We have to have it, because, even if we optimize for this world, the world will change, there's, no good and bad in evolution. There's just well suited for a particular environment that environment changes, the best suited person for your old environment may be the least suited person for the new, and I saw him so even if we have things that seem real, like really great ideas now, like optimizing health, so if you have sickle cell disease, you're, probably going to die and you're gonna die young and it's going to be excruciating pain, they screw Schenley, 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. You have a pretty significant risk of passing it on to your kid, but you also have an additional resistance to malaria, and so we are probably are almost certainly carrying around all kinds of recession. Traits, maybe even ones that we don't like that, are harming us now, but they could be some protection against some future danger that we don't yet understand or or haven't faced, and so the challenges that diversity has just happened 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 were to have without doubt some unintended consequences. Some unintended domino effect, things that are going to take place, that we really can't predict just have to kind of go along with this technology and see where it leads us as it improves. But if you go back
and look at surgeries from the 1950s comparison of surgery of twenty nineteen giant leaps mean I would never advise someone to get their knee operated by nineteen fifties. Physicians, need it right, yeah right, but it that's kind of someone's gonna have early adopter when it comes these genetic therapies, yeah. No, I agree with you, but where I would slightly eroded add to what you're saying is these technologies they're going to happen they're going to play out? What's it play now is not whether these technologies are going to advance they will, it will do. Is 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 in to the decision making process, so we can get a better outcome than we otherwise would have had, and that that's what? In my view, what that's the real the important issue now yeah the
unintended consequences are something that I've been taken very seriously lately when I'm paying attention to technology as a as it's used in social media, particularly one one. 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 model that they used to get people upset about things show you things in your feed that you argue against, because that makes you click on the more and you engage in them or an 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 the page in the more clicks they get the more money they get from those ads, and so, well, they want to incentivize people to go there in the best way through the algorithm would what they found without doing it on purpose this is to get people upset pushing people into these little information,
and get those 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 is. This is real they're gonna pass this God and then get mad. And then you engage with people online and then it let's in more revenue, but getting them to stop that. If you had to go to Facebook and say hey, hey, Mark Zuckerberg and I have a hundred billion dollars and have you got, but you can't make any more money this way right, because what you do is up society yeah, because you're encouraging descent, your current GM be upset and arguments and doing it at great financial reward, but great societal costs so stop yeah and right. Well, he may not do. That comes back to the point about regulation and the question is: how big is your stick? One of the guys who is the founder of excuse? Yes, is now coming out and saying my facebook needs to be broken up, and then he was one The original founders and he's like it has gotten
so far out of hand. It's so far away from where it is it's literally affecting global politics. Yeah well, it is, and so one option is to break it up. That did. It seems to work pretty well with Att. An another option is to regulate it, which is 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 Lex but you're exactly right and what we're seeing now is. We are being pushed into it. I said information ghettos, but it's like information barricades and pushed into camp yeah and Scampi, and it's so danger because the old man this country is based on not everybody, agreeing processor people process where 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, then our
pacific culture is going to breakdown and there's so much. I mean people, don't see these pillars that are holding up our society. I lived in Cambodia for two years and if you don't have these civic, pillars under your society. Societies look very very different. Everyone's life experiences we we going to take for granted. You can go out the door walk to Starbucks in and not get shot or you can. You have your house coming out, your house gets robbed, you call the police and the police aren't the ones who your house or they're not, I mean there's all these kinds of crazy things. If we break down the found actions 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 that that shows you in 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, stop- and my concern would be that this would be a similar thing when it come
the genetic engineering it was saying we need to be able to put regulations on this. We need to be able to stab right, but once it gets out of the back once he gets rolling and I have you ever went for. Mark Zuckerberg sat in front of all those auditions. They had no fucking idea. What they were talking about. You make money, is such pisp or prepares, and it just shows you These are the people that are looking out for us good. How can lock these are luddites they're, dumb, they're fools right and they're they're know, anything about us, some are some and worse, but yet almost everyone was underwhelming and under impressive in that here. In that hearing, the fact that they're dealing with one of the most important moments of our time, but they didn't bring yeah, some sort of a leg, legitimate technology expert could explain. It falls dance and do so in a way that the the rest, the world, could end up so they're not gonna, protect us from medic Engineering either right, because they know they're great generalists chip in terms of their education for the most part and they're, not they're not can this is not their concern,
with raising money for the campaign. The concern with getting reelected- that's their concern with yeah, really agree with you that if we wait to focus on this issue until it becomes a crisis. It's going to be too late. 'cause all the big decisions will have been made the reason why I wrote this book. The reason why you drive I'm on my way almost week. Three of this book to are doing. Events like this every day is what I am saying in every form that I can is this really important. You kind of we are watching the news yesterday they had this royal baby in in the. U K like I don't give a it doesn't affect my life in any, but we but what is it play now? Is the future of entire species? Are 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 for distracted and we're focusing on all the stuff, that's sucking up our attention and whether it's
trump or brexit or molar, and all these things I mean we spent. How much of our time are. We spending focus on this fine, let's play a little bit of attention, but there's really big stuff. Fifty years, now, one hundred years, no one's going to look back now, so that was the age of trump or that we're going to say that was the age when after almost four billion years of evolution. Humans took control of their own evolutionary process and it's huge and it's gonna change all of life and what I'm trying to do is save. Everybody has to have a seat at the table, whether you're a gate, the conservative Christian, whether you're a a bio hacking, Trans humanists, everybody needs to be at the the table because we're talking about is the future species we're talking about the future of our species, but are we even capable of understanding the consequences of these actions? This the stuff that we're discussing like now I'm not like I'm
I'm talking about it, read them in. If someone said, hey, you've got to go, speak in front of people, but the consequences of rain in a very clear yeah one hour, presentation of books known 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 see if you could read just one book and it's written just for everybody in a very clear way, with a lot of. What's that, I think, are funny my mother laughed at them as well, that you get it and 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. I 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 the we're 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 ground swell if people, if just general people aren't, aware of what the issues are and that's that's the challenge and that's why forums like yours are it just so important and you have all these people and then you, maybe everyone doesn't listen to this podcast say I get it. I can give that hour long speech, but you can read a couple books. Then you can given an hour speech because the issues like yes, there are scientific issues, but this isn't a conversation about science. This is about values and ethics in our future, and it has to be uh Haitian for everybody yeah, it's not just a scientific conversation, it's a conversation about the future of this species and what the species will become yeah and that's something we're wholly unqualified, it's, but here's here's a little vote for optimism. Okay, we have now Never been this literate as a species for we've never been this educated? I don't think it was ever in this now
see there. I hope so. I really do like it at all. War is an all the murder that used to happen it's actually. This is the best time ever to be a life still sucks for people that are in bad situations. Yes, on average there and we've now been disconnected. So we have so I climbed the book. I call for species wide dialogue on the future of human genetic engineering? You think, well, that's nuts, seven billion people on earth. How are they going to? How are they going to do that? But we have the opportunity and we have to try, because you don't want like with the ending of the genetically modified crops here are the scientists were actually really responsible, but the regular people weren't consulted, and they felt these guys. Just did it to me. So if you have all the marches 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 their 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 I made with the book I set up a website for people can can share their views debate with other people. I really want everybody to be part of this. Conversation I think it's going to play out in terms of how people of various religions perceive this yeah, so we there's a real variation. So there are people on one end of the spectrum to 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 of divine force on and that it's wrong for humans to change to to contemplate, 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 of life on this planet earth. But I really respect people who say: look. I think that there's a line that You know that 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. It is 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 transhumanism. It's almost like religion. Is this religion
of science, and so we're going to have where humans were so diverse. We are going to have this le, full of diversity in the challenges How do we make? How have a process that brings brings everybody, and but it's it's tough, so when we're talking about genetic, any sort of genetic manipulation. We're basically talking about doing stuff to the wetware doing stuff to the biology, what think about symbiotic interaction with technology 'cause. I think one of things that I'm concerned with more than anything this sort of inevitable path of technology eating into our bodies where it's through nanobots subjects, diseases or through implementation. We were talking yesterday about chips right like what would what would they have to do to get you get it put a chip in your body like what yeah what kind of powers would have to have before you accept it, yeah well, people doing it in Sweden, and so
in Sweden, yeah they're just they're putting this little chips in their hands in there and under their skin they're, using it to open doors and access things. So it's just starting, so I definitely believe you're right now, you look at we look at photographs of our parents and look at your hair, your clothes. That's crazy! Definitely I think think that twenty years from now, thirty or so people are going to 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 then say why? yeah. We used to carry it around in our pockets, like Michael Douglas, when you watch him in the Movie Wall Street he's got that giant exactly on the beach. Exactly who is like. So we are, we are all we are all Michael Douglas, because our technology you're absolutely is not going to be some we carry around it's good technology is coming inside of our bodies. That is the future of where it's going, and you know people say what are you? What what is your genetic and
hearing 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 a I and that is what's going to drive, are we are call of all thing with our technology and that's what's going to drive our drivers for it, but you're exactly right to be a afraid and to be concerned and again everything hustle? How are we going to regulate? What are we going to have guardrails of how far is 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 In the whole world, decide, though, you're going to run into those religious roadblocks for sure and that's and that's the challenges. The science is advancing exponentially, whatever we do, and so we have to have it our understanding of the science needs to at least try to keep pace. Regulations need to keep up, part of the World Health Organization internet?
advisory Committee on Human Genome, editing so we're meeting six times this year in Geneva and the quest and 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 impossible. E am, but every crazy idea has to begin somewhere so you're doing every couple months: yeah, yes, wow yeah, because they want to be on top of it as things change. Well, that's the goal Just it's so hard because almost impossible, it's impossible. It's a process and that's why even the World Health Organization, which is the lead health organization of the United Nations, it's not enough with the task is so much bigger and that's why we need to have this kind Graham bottom of groundswell that I'm pushing for actually right? We said before like because there's not a crisis, people are folks
sing another things open, any news site, like what do you see? It's not like the really important stuff trump did this or Kardashians? Did that and like 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 who, like I remember, science from high school, I didn't like it. I'm was uncomfortable you this is. This is for technical people, and I just like we can't science is so deeply transforming the world not just around us, but within us and so we have to understand and people who are explaining it's like me. The onus is on us like if somebody reads my book and says well that was really dense. That was too hard like that's my
failure. I I was giving a talk in New York a couple of a couple weeks gone, so I gave my might talking eight. I try to make this really accessible for people. People are all jazzed up, they got it, and then there was this wonderful guys, brilliant senior scientist at this bit. This major and stem cell research center, and so the the the host said, hi Jamie just talk and can you site? Can you give us a little background on the site? This guy knows so much so and he started going and it was very technical, and you could just like to see the faces the people in the audience. It was like, oh god, what's opening here and just like their level of excitement? It just shrug, because couldn't really put it all together and so, and scientists scientists aren't trained by and large, to communicate and to see features. 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 whose, doing a process of what I mentioned earlier of turning adult cells.
Into stem cells into eggs, and so this this will revel. The way humans, reproduce, and so I had was in a meeting with his top post doc students. 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 questions, for each of tell me what you're doing now and to and two tell me what implications of what you're doing now for fifty years from now and where at first question 'cause. Oh I'm doing this and we're doing this with mouse models and people were so animated and then fifty or not people just froze and it was so uncomfortable were like squeezing the table just 'cause. That's not what Scientists do do trying to say well. This is the thing just in front of me, so I thought I was writing this book for the general public, 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 in whether it's lab research or fertility doctors or all sorts of things, but it's really hard to put together the whole worry of the Genetics revolution and what it means for us and for society yeah man that is interesting about scientists right there just concentrate on the task at hand. Yeah I mean it was not. That was like one of the big concerns about the Manhattan project, right the 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 yes, so when Robert Oppenheimer, who Is that the lead of the of the Manhattan project when that first bomb went off, I mean he has his his fame quoted out. He did yeah exactly mean that that, should they, the cut the English common chancellor, She was holyshit what, if we done and that, in this science is real, but it's not going to be it's not one person doing it means that's. The whole, like science has been diffused at least
with nuclear power is a relatively small number of people and it was a view one or two states that could do it now, with with precision gene editing. When you get the Nobel Prize for for figuring out how to do it, you will get the noble prize for your figuring out how to do crisper gene edits, but 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 that two thousand and forty five conference in Manhattan a couple years back now, know about all that two thousand and forty four, that's that's part of the thing with these transhumanist folks. They believe that, with their own cancellations of the exponential increase of technology that somewhere around twenty forty five yeah yeah yeah they were well. It did the very least we're going to reach this point. We're gonna be able to either download
consciousness or have some sort of an artificially intelligent, sentient beings hanging out with you yeah. So so I'm involved among on faculty for one of the grams, a singularity university called exponential medicine, and so we're thinking a lot about that ex that it needed to on the New York Times a few weeks ago and imagining a visit to a fertility clinic in the year twenty, forty five, and again, because we are on this exponential change. Is it's really hard for people to to internalize to kind of feel how fat Ste. These changes are coming. I do think, though, Ray Kurzweil who's, who's, really credible genius. He thinks that we are soon going to get to a point? Where artificial intelligence? Is self learning, because when you think about it, 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 says it when you have all these doubling's in all of this more knowledge, you can imagine how that would happen pretty quickly. The counter argument against, and I think that it will, but I don't think that we, they are. Human brains are on one hand, they're incredibly complex and they're, also kind of irrational. I mean we All these different languages have our lizard brain 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 our brains are processing and right. Now we don't 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. No longer? Oh, we just have our biological evolution in our technological evolution. Those are separate things they're connected going to be that weird question of whether or not if artificial intelligence is going to be able to absorb all the writing that human beings have ever done and really understand us yeah, they really still be able to understand that just because they get all the writing so right now you would say no, I would say no yeah, but twenty years from now, fifty years from now They could come up with a reasonable facsimile. I mean they figure out a way to get it close enough yeah? I know where it's like her like that yeah yeah, that's it is it essential point, because I think when people imagine this a future there. Imagining like some intimate relationship with some,
artificial intelligence intelligence. It feels just like a human. I don't think that's gonna happen, because it's it don't well! No, but just because a I it will be its own form of intelligence and it may not be like frankly, wouldn't want a eyes with these brains like we have. Have all these different impulses that are kind of imagining all this, this crazy stuff we're. We may want them to be more rational than we we are so like. Chimpanzees are close relatives. They don't think just like us, we're not we're not expecting them to think. Like their their own thing- and I think I will be there on things, will we be interacting with them? Will we be having sex with yes, but if 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, there certainly already better doing certain things like playing chess yeah. He took a long time for an artificial intelligence to be able to compete against a real chess match yeah, but now they small them yeah.
So they learned quickly like incredibly quickly they each themselves yeah so so. First we had chess and chess people said: oh that's what it means to be a human. The computers will never beat humans at just now. It's like Prince is 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 is to way more complicated than chess. I heard There are more moves in go more potential. Rain was in. There are stars in the unit. Yes, yes, so the so, then they had ALF ago that this with set company deep mind which that was later acquired by Google, they built this, read that in twenty sixteen defeated the world champions of going, people thought that was we were decades away and then deep mind created this new program called alpha zero and alpha zero with alpha go. They gave it access to all of the digital.
Eyes two games of go so it it very quickly was able to learn from how everybody else at play. Go Alfa zero. They just said here the basic rules of go and they let Alfa go just play. Against itself with no other experience other than here are the rules and play gets in in four days, Alfa destroyed ago, go and then alpha and now destroyed the world champions of chess and destroyed every other computer program that had ever played chess in this again, those computer programs had internalised all the chess games of grandmasters A0 had not internalized any it. Just played against itself for a few 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 these
The world is changing, it's 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 with the fact that we're way stupider than we think we are we? We think we're really intelligent and we are and can and everything else on this planet, but in comparison What is possible? We are really fucking dumb in comparison to, this computer can do and what the the future of that computers and what maybe it going to redesign another computer and enter this is good, but I've got some. I got to pick here. Yeah. It's true, but any of the technology is us right, like this page order fees, so it is technology, some alien force, we've it's like this man, it's like we create art. We create we could yeah. You use that you mentioned cities in order like we create these cities, which are these incredible places where dreams can happen, he's like here in LOS Angeles or New York, where, where, where I'm from so this technology? Is us and the challenge is how can we make sure that this technology our needs rather than
undermines our needs, yeah They are not our needs, supersede the needs of the human race or supersedes the needs of the planet yeah. It's we're almost too much champ right to Khan's, played these yeah critical decisions in terms of like what how it's going to unfold from here on out yeah, we really not we but the people that are actually at the tip of the spear of this stuff, they really might be affecting the way the planet is shaped answers now and we're doing that now I mean we are. There is a an article came out the other day, there's a million species that are on the verge of extinction. We are now arriving all these other species to extinction where warming the the planet, so this is humans, are they they determine
factor in many ways for how this planet plays out and that's why, in my meant, everything comes back to us, we you're right. We have this. This lizard nature this. This monkey nature, it's it's who we are and that's I mean you wouldn't want to take that away, because that's the core of of 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 question is which version of us is going to lead us into the future? If it's this year, 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 stand list United Nations. We established these concepts of human rights like you can't just
kill everybody in your own country and say hey it's it's just my business. So we have this capability, but it's always a struggle. Many of these forces are always at war with each other. In many ways, it's just too much to think yeah we have, I know we do have to one of the things it's always been amusing to me is that we seem to have this insatiable desired, improve things and I've always wondered why like it, but but is that may be because this is what human beings are here for yeah it's what we do yeah we are right. Yeah, this is a product is just us being call Jenn trying to survive against nature and predators. Weather and all the all the different issues that we came up that we evolved? growing up in dealing with and then now we just want things to be better. We just want things to be more convenient, faster, but more data
Are you you're, where, via the LAN Musk's neural link check technology? How much do you know about it? I know decent amount of my friend Brian Johnson. He has a company. Colonel is 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 of progress. My brains are they're incredibly complicated and they're messy. I mean if there there's a lot. That's that that that's happening, but we are increasingly figuring out how to connect our brains to our technology, and so people are imagining a time when we can do things like download, download raise download ideas or upload memories and upload. It isn't there's some very early science. That is suggesting that this will be possible, but it's, it's still very early days, the very early days but Elon was giving the Russian that sometime this year, they're going to release something
yeah. They may release something, but it's not going to be something that's going to change the world is this that technology is way more Mason Then even the genetics technology that I'm that I've been talking about. So it's not like that there is, that is that it's it all remotely possible that this year, you're going to be able to like upload a full member, your download, a full member, but there are little things that are happening, but every every journey begins with a step, but the technology is fairly transparent as turn in terms of like where the state of the art is right. Now it is in that it's extremely early, this stuff is really so when you think of like what about systems that we understand, I mention that we, you know, we understand just a little bit, genomics. We know less about the brain. The brain is kind of the great unknown of this unit, we know more about the oceans. Then we know about our brain. I mean this is we know very, very little. We understand that if you kind of stick an electric current in somebody's brain, like that's going to, if you just kind of shoot a spike through,
he's had, but really understanding how the brain functions it we're still in the very very early days. So do you think that Kurz whiles off with this idea that you're going to be able to download your consciousness into a computer 'cause, that's one of the most controversial ideas that he's come up with right. I think he's I think, he's off based on your use of the word you're? So I mentioned that a month ago I was in Kyoto, and I was at this at the stem cell lab but I also went to another lab of a guy named Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is the world's leading humanoid robot assist, and so he is- yeah. He was on the cover of wired and he's created these robot avatars in I had a conversation with this. This robot woman Erica, It was really interesting 'cause. I could see that like if I would smile she'd smile lean forward and if I had like you know over exaggerated sad face she'd like change her expression and she can have like your basic basic conversations,
but we're still a long way and so it from from having full robust. I I had this for about a key human interactions, but I had this this debate with issue grow and he was saying that he thought the 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 admire I'm. 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 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, 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 weird, but certainly our interaction or connectivity with this tech is going to be greater, and so, even if Kerswell isn't exactly right, he's directionally right yeah. The problem would be that you would be locked if they downloaded your consciousness into some sort of a bank of computer somewhere. Where are you? If that's your, This is your conscious and these ones and zeros yeah. It leaves me that's terrible. Did you know it's verifying some didn't like you and they said I'm going to make one version of you suffer for all eternity, yeah yeah, I'm going to just download. Why you sleep it's true, but I have something worse than that death. 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'd rather kind of be here in some kind of version, and even if it's not there's 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 in or 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 your car it's in your soul, longues to travel too, but no, you hope. I don't care right about that, and I'm definitely not right. I friend about this in my novel, it's like yeah, but I think kind of when you're dead, you're just dead the Good NEWS for you at though well just because I think that this kind of immortality comes because time stops, Time is relative concept, and so at the moment that you die that's
mortality for you, because time stops flowing. Or you time is that's what Einstein taught us time. Is this relative concept, other people very legit at there's no way to prove it feel that we have this soul. This soul can travel to other other I mentioned, I happen to believe that we are biological things in our experience of the soul of every connected to biology when our biology stops functioning those experiences whatever they are? Stop being access Have you had any psychedelic experiences you even I was so tempted. We started the interview talking about my chocolate shamanism you haven't had anything I haven't invented I was really excited I want to, I don't think and I'll tell you why. So I listened to the Michael Ellen interviews and he had his great conversation with SAM Harris, and I really think that this psilocybin stuff is Israel and just real
the criminal I know in denver- I was just there the other day on, 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 day doesn't encompass everything that his noble everything that we that we could now, but we have ourselves in if we want to get out of of those limitations. Certainly, drugs are ways that have people of 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 doesn't mean it's like if you're taking Psilocybin your have this great experience, but then tomorrow not taking psilocybin and so kind of your consciousness. Has my aspiration would be to recognize that the drug is us? then we want to expand our consciousness. There are all kinds of ways whether it's meditation and or awareness or just simple appreciation,
but I do these cacao ceremonies. What I tell you is like that you have this cacao in front of you, but it's not just this, like think of the person in Honduras who planted the seed, the person who water that see the person who took the launch the person who paved the road to bring the plan, and I just I just think that we can expand our consciousness through our own means and we always have access? I hear what you're saying but you're saying this from a person. That's never had psychedelic experiences and it's really preposterous. You experience. What Psilocybin can do to you, you deaf wouldn't be saying it. This way, you also can be thinking. Then you take it and then you're not on it anymore, because it's profound and then one chill for the your perspective in regards to the whole rest of your existence, yeah there's many people that have had psychedelic experience as that think about it as a rebirth, yeah that they've gone through the and changed yeah. So well. Why would you have this rigid thought process about drugs
drug yeah, but yet you don't have it about yeah cow, which is a mild drug yeah, and so I, your right to that is it may not be entirely consistent. Some of the people who described are good friends of mine who really done and I've really I've talked to them I don't have endlessly curious, You do, it The reason is so far. I have been this journey to see what's possible within myself, and I'm still on that journey. I'm not close off any possibility for rain, assume that it would close things off. That's what's confusing yeah opening you up to a new experience at other people have found to be profoundly influential yeah yeah, so so far, you're very
into this. Like yeah, I'm talking about yeah, yeah yeah, you can't wait to come rational, you're right back. You know it's funny. I will. I will connect this perspective of a person who has an experience any that you're so right, and just that I think, is such a great point is I'm very close with actually that with the Tibetans, one of my closest friends is the prime Minister of the tibetan exile governments. I've been many times to John Solid in India. I've met with his hauling. Is 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 of heightened consciousness so much that their brains are changed when they go into the the F Mri machines, but when 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
in my head countered? What your stand for your finish saying and I was like why you kept saying you rucksack the essay, which probably means yeah you made me and cut a little income to which is good. That's really what we want and these guys it's like you talk to them and they would just be sold tuned in to what you were saying and they would just kind of think about then you'd finish and then that kind of look up and then because we're Americans, we we we want, you know somebody stops speaking, do 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 made, I says, and then they would come back with this incredibly thoughtful things. I you're right. You know, I don't want to close is off any possibility. There are many different things that we could could do. The path that I have
on and certainly with this kid can you write to cow is like a a. My old did, not a huge one that had like a a mild drug and life is a mild. So yes, I'm it's not very mild. Yes, knowing my friends who have done it have said exactly said basis, I a good friend of mine who did it and then he said it just it showed me a path to a different identity, 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 I get that yeah yeah, there's a bunch of different substances out there that have very similar, profound there's there's a real thought, and this is something at Terence Mckenna described, way back in the late 90s early 2000s. He believed that you're going to be able to recreate a lot of psych
Alex States, through virtual reality, so that people that don't want to actually do a drug will be the experience what it's like to be on that drug, and that I mean that's, it's very radical and hypothetical, and it's you know who knows whether not that's possible, but that that could be one other way that human beings interface with technology. So humans, in my view, are for far more hackable, then we think that that there are so many that we just imagine our biology is being fixed. Our biology is really variable, like I have a friend Who is an anesthesiologist at Stanford and she's done. Experimentation just running just like very mild. Electric currents through peoples, brains and people have these very real experiences. And whether it's arousal or something that's that you're entering people's mind two different ways. So you talk about that virtual
We are entering a world where the pixelation A virtual reality will be equal to life and so to be in this the our space and it is, it will look, it may smell, it could be with haptics it's. It may feel, just like life, yeah and our brains. I don't know if you've done these things with the these. I these, if he our glasses, where you go and you get you, you can see people just like in a in a hall, from the glasses and now you're in an elevator going to the to the top. Now on the outside, like a dry window cleaners over to the top of this highrise and there's a little rickety board, and then there's this cat at the end of the board and they're saying you have to go- go save the cat and you've already seen that you're. Just in a hall, you know your brain there's this cat everybody's is looking
you and you've seen all these other people panicking when I'm there I'm going to be so, I'm going to go grab that cat and you're terrified that you're find override your lizard brain and your lizard brain saying like no don't step, that for our HTC five yeah yeah, we we need to set that up Jim. We need to gather up a two by four. We are on the way. On incredible, and so I think that this whole concept of reality is that art our technology is going to be change, our sense of reality and then what's real like if you feel arousal brain because of an electric current or you feel it because you're with girlfriend or wife for re being a magazine or whatever is that different? Is one real and one not real, but I think that this is big issues here, jamming that is the matrix right. I mean the idea that and if it feels better, more enjoyable than real life. What is going to stop people from doing
Ray Curse, while downloading yourself into this. This dimension. Well, not much whether it's possible to do a full download or not. For me, 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 virtual world right. But your 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 don't know the That's not real. Those aren't your friends like even now, like you know, we all people with global lives, you 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 awhile like once, every year or two, it's great to see him, that's a real person. No, it's a real that someone would actually like. I mean that you actually do know him, but if it was someone that you only talk to online and they lived in Mongolia, that's where things get weird. It's true, but, let's just say, hi pulling that hypothetical. You have that person they're part of your whole life and you're there with you there 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 us not essential, but it means a lot. It does, and I- and so I I do- I mean kids 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?
romantic. Reality too. So you know when you see people that use snapchat filters and give themselves dog years and stuff like that, like yeah how? for that is just. Something that people choose to turn on or turn off about life itself like you to see the world through different lenses. That's trying to be a different color yeah lance could be a different color yeah, my right about this in one of my novels, eternal Sonata, where I think we're just going to have these contact lenses and then it'll be different kinds of information based on what people He I'll meet with you and it'll will say. Alright. This is Joe. Here's a little bit background whatever and will have useful info nation or you're, walking around the city and you'll, be get little alerts of things you might do or history, and so I think that that's what they were thinking about with Google glasses, nobody just was so annoying that people wanted to kill just too weird yeah yeah yeah, it's just too everybody felt like they were getting filmed too. They were yeah. I mean when you're walking around Google
on you assume that people 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, you know 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 Seaworld wants to look like an idiot and so in the beginning? True nobody in the beginning, all these you talked about Michael Douglas with this or like my favorite one is, is Kurt Russell in escape from New York would have there. 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 so that's pretty cell phone is freeze, it's like very, very early, isn't so now we have these kind of glasses and there's like a little bit of a little bit of cash DOM has a cell phone that that big. We seen that no! I was at the Verizon store yeah. I think it's like an attachment, Ernest and accept three to a phone yeah. It's like you can bring it with you and not now.
Bring your other phone? Does the behind it yeah, so you could just well, I'm going out, let me just bring my tiny phone cards essentials. All this time I mean if the funds are going to get the core core phones are, is going to it's so small, as I say, they're gonna come inside of, as you have like a little contact lens, maybe a little thing: you're you're, maybe around little permanent implant. In your get behind your two for one of the teeth, the replace a tooth with the computer yeah right right into your nerves, any kind of crazy stuff you can think about is probably going to happen or something that someone will take. Some of it won't right, yeah, right yeah, it seems that's what we're going to have to say like how it plays out, and that's one of the things when you're 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 for those people you and who else would you elect? If Trump came to you and said Jamie we've got problem We need to figure out the future. What should we do? so we'll. Certainly the movie need
have a mix of different kinds of people, and so I only the people like me who are kind of big picture futurists. We need that. We need scientists. I work with some really incredible sign. It 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 is, is a friend of working on Non Life Extension and we need people for just from all backgrounds, and so, like I would say, like we need people, we need poor people, any 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, what are the challenges that we're facing? I certainly put myself in that category. People like Yuval Noah Harari, which is kind of big, also kind of big thinkers people like Sid Mukherjee, and I just think we have to articulate
the big picture. 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 or 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 an amazing time and that all these things are. Are you are you doing this book to? But what? What what essentially was hacking Dominic? What was the motivation behind? It? Was it for a purse, like me, it was right for the the everyone like is for is for everyone and said that what I really wanted to do so the backgrounds greek. If I give you a little bit of background So more than twenty years ago I was working on the National Security Council and my then boss, Richard Clark, who was and this obscure White House official, who is 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 total e marginalized, and when nine hundred and eleven happened, dicks memo It 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 washing was focusing on one thing, you can be sure there was something much more important that was being missed up so more than twenty 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 before Congress and then to try to get that story out. 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 blame the science to people the way, a kind of a self educated citizen, scientist and a novelist would explain the size all of a sudden people got.
Right, and that was when I realized I needed to write a book about the genetics revolution that people could absorb that wouldn't scare people. But my mission for the book is that this stuff is. We've talked about it's so important that everybody needs to be part of the conversation 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 at people individually? I'm 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 to be addressed and leadership, I'm going I'm speaking on the and again Congress on a week and a half from now talking about about these issues, who we need to have them on an international level. We have to have some kind of international system were so far away from being able to do that. We don't even know
but the standards are, but we have to be pushing it so it I know you think of it 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 this that's going to happen effectively as we need real, comprehensive education on this project. It's not something that people can just guess right. As you know, what's the consequences, what where were right now right, in that sense, like Sanjay Gupta, had a wonderful quote, that's actually 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 it to say like if you just want to go to one 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 to do that, but then, ironically, I'm now, 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
in my work in a much bigger context, Sanjay Gupta, very interesting cat 'cause. He was very anti marijuana and then started doing research on it and then Totale flipped, one hundred and eighty degrees which to me is a great sign of both humility, an intelligence high recognize, the data was different than his previous positions yeah. He had these this is that were very common yeah yeah now, when speak to Congress yeah? What do you the do? They brief you in terms of like what they would like, specifically for you to address? No, so this one, it's I've been asked to go and speak and a lot of members of Congress who going to be invited and what I'm going to tell them is look. This is really important. Our Congress 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 into their head? Let me 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, as we traditionally have had a representative democracy and now transitioning from a representative democracy to a popular democracy, so Switzerland has a popular democracy, but they have like really well educated people who are able have enough information to make smart decisions? We have an educated are public, and yet the public is making big decisions and a lot of it happened just on a gut feeling. That's what's happening with trade agreements where people as have I have a feeling, it's bad without you, you know the ability to to 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 it's it's a tragedy. We treat people in this country, like you, can just throw people away. Thank you so much
if you're in some crappy school system and you and your your your chances of success are so minimize, not because of anything that you've done just because, if you're circumcised that don't accept It is an so mean equal opportunity is what we really should all strive for, and I think some people conflate that with op equal success, right you're not going to get the same equality valcom you're you to get different different amounts of, never different people, are qualified or more talented at different things, but What I'm worried about is what I said initially that some people, to get ahold of this stuff quickly and it's going to give them and a massive advantage, yes sort of. Like I mean if you the first person that has the ability to go forward in time. Five minutes is going to be able to manipulate the stock market in unprecedented way? I don't think that's really
so in our lifetime, but that's the kind 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 time to do that right? But I think it's a you know that was a yeah if you want I'll g, but there's real technologies that are likely to happen which are going to confirm billions, tens, hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits, of advantage yeah, last of his is happening now, and this is the concern with getting behind countries like China 'cause, if they get ahead of us in something like that, where 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 dance for I want us to continue to be the country. That's setting an example for the rest of the world that is articulating. What are ideals of response
ability and governance, good governance and accountability, and all these things that we've championed, and because of that, I want us to get our act together politically and I want us to be the leading technological country in the world done, and so I think that's what'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. We realize that we needed to have the economic growth we needed to have the competition we needed to have these technologies and and we've it was a mere. So what we've done and now we we've lost our focus and then we have to regain it. The way I look at humans and the way I look at the human race today in two thousand and nineteen is like we're driving very fast through fog. It's very difficult to see what's in front of us when I look back at
it allows. Your reading the h g wells, but some of his predictions about the future really interesting because he he he was pretty close on quite a few things, but that that vision and to be able to sit there and use your imagination close your eyes and think what is this going to be like? What is what we're dealing with now in opposed to, as opposed to what twenty one nineteen right what is which is similar to h g wells. Yeah verses are yes right. What the is that going to be like, like yeah? It is the they're, going to be a time where there are no diseases there there, no death and that you have to regulate population control in 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. I mean this is according to David Sinclair. This is a fixable issue. Yeah yeah you order of when they fix it. They fix it in twenty years or thirty years or fifty years, maybe
David is a friend, and I and I have a whole chapter out, should I want to miss quote yeah either that I have. I have a whole chapter in the book on the the the science of of human life extensions. 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 by law ical immortality is in is in the cards. I'm really not a Metallica, because we'll still be biologically vulnerable, right, hearts and brains, alright of but aging yeah. I do. We will age slower and we will live healthier longer, and I think it's it's going to be great, but back to your core point mean that's the reason why they 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 'cause 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 a it's like Wayne. Gretzky have to imagine where the puck
going to be not where it is now- and I I mentioned George Church who's 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 a 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. What's that going to mean in twenty fifty a hundred years, and so we have to that that science fiction plays a more important role than it ever has been 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 things that we need to make now, so that we can have a better outcome rather than the worse
if you were gambling person- I don't know if you are, but if I had to give you a hundred bucks to put on something in twenty years, it's going to be profoundly just judge it change that's going to change in a way? That is something 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 that we're 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 taking, it was taking and showed up. Fifty 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 fifty percent greater than average chance of getting early onset, Alzheimer's
years from now 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 in their things now that we call fate and it's it's, it's just a different model, and so I think that, and once we have that that's going to change a lot. A lot of things is going to fundamentally transform our health care. What we called healthcare now is really sick care. You show up with the symptom, this is gonna, be predictive and it's gonna change that we with the way we make babies, because people are going to have real choices, about which embryos to implant and we're gonna have a lot of, permission, and I 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 those going to be the big changes in the neck.
Twenty years, even more so than technology which it's inter connected it, because with these there's really it's like a super convergence of these technologies, so that 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 there all these technologies are touching each other. So that biological models are now influencing the a I. So, for example, we are coming to the limits of silicon storage. Bridge DNA has unlimited storage capacity, so with the with the the law is I've said before the kind of the boundaries between biology, an ai or genetics and AI is going to be very blurry that is over an interesting concept right. The idea of storing information yeah in DNA and that that has been discussed yeah. What's the gradient is the greatest information storage mechanism ever imagine 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 angels in your body. So, just think of, like your. Your dna has four bill in years of history, and it's done a great job of recording it. It's incredible, like my old eight track tapes, they haven't, that is a early concept that you have all that data inside your head. I mean that's also when people make when they understand instincts yeah, the people out for the the these are some sort of genetically encoded. Memories are right, some understanding of things are dangerous and that these they're they're in there because This is how we've learned over the years without actually having experiencing things personally, yeah yeah, no, so that it's baked in more genetics are baked into us, and so you know I don't know if you've been to Indonesia before I was in Indonesia and with this place called Komodo Island
oh wow. Well, the dragon is the Komodo and it was fascinating because it's like you can tell they don't plaintiffs attorney, Sears walking around all these Komodo dragons and see how 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 the way it works? So you just walking around walking around 'cause. They committed checks when they're, not killing people or killing animals. They're just sit yeah. So it's pretty scary, do they ever get jacked You ever go there and get bitten yes and they they sell is only a few times a year. It's like a few times. It seems like a lot of the years, 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 Egg hatches and this little Komodo dragon comes out in the mother sees her own baby. Komodo dragon she'll eat it in a second, and 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 we have. This sense that it's like parenting is really important is environment is is really important. It is but so much of who and what we are is baked into our genetics, and I think that's that's going to be this challenge. We are going to see ourselves as increasingly genetic beings. We can't become genetic determinants. Think that we're just genetics, We're going to know a lot more we're going to demystify a lot of what it means to be human proof, yeah 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, yeah like if ' We have some sort of genetic uniformity me, especially in particular with like things like intelligence and athletic performance. We're not going to appreciate freaks as much yeah, maybe will all want to be freaks. We are going to want the freaks are the ones who who push us, and so I think, I'm not going to
to be more on yeah. Well, your question: it's the essential question: it's like what makes a human a human is. To 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, I think we're going to need artists like right now, people Artists are sometimes in the mainstream, sometimes they're on the fringe, but artists are going to be maybe the most important 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 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 these technological feats, what's going to be left, is how can we be great humans? How can we a? How can we connect? How can we create art and if we get swept away
a by this tide of science, as in you know how excited I am about the, but if we would really undermine our humanity right, as for humans, with humans now? You is many aspects of that humanity and art the Haitians. The literature thing is we. We we, when you read someone's, got pros you're you're reading like an insight into their mind, and that's what's interesting about it right now. You like, yes, you're, not gonna, get that from just ones and zeros yeah and that's in there. 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 Merin Culas, 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, but 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 it used to be in the old days that everyone thought. Well, God is weather, and now we understand weather, pretty much. Nobody saying that lightning, that's God is delivering a message it could be, but we 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 are to humanists? Who are just at the? or 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 understanding, there's less and less mystery would like to be less smart. We like to be more overwhelmed by possibility mean I think to be part of what romances it could be, and certainly like the unknown. We wake up good morning shore- and we just don't know the answer and there's some people like to going back to the issues of of life extension. There are some
people who say well that death is essential for appreciating life. I die talk about this stuff. All and then there are people who say you're you're talking about eliminating these terrible diseases, I know somebody who had that terrible disease and their suffering was gift to everybody else, because we all had more humanity in response to their suffering at like let's kind of screwed up I'd prefer them to not have that suffering, but that those people are thinking wacky, it's wacky we need to like. 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 are artists, our cultures. We could get lost and with a big amount, we could become obsolete, but we could also just become less humid and there's something wonderful and there's magic. But do you think that monkeys used to think man can become a human, become less monkey No I'm saying, but no being
looks in the mirror and recognizes that they are evolving yeah, we've we've only been homosapiens or about three hundred thousand years right. So we just it's hard. We know where we've come from 'cause. You see all those little charts from high school biology, but it's really hot for people, to imagine being something else in Russia, it it's it's outside of our of our consciousness and so said she will square yeah and we are monkeys. It's just we've redefined our monkey thing yeah. We do it with a you're a little different way, that's kind of getting out. Are you concerned at all with artificial life? You concerned about the propagation of artificial intelligence? Well, there different kinds of artificial life, so one
it's artificial intelligence, I know people like you on my skin and late, Stephen Hawking are 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. If we just say, oh, that's, that's crazy. We don't focus on it. It increases the likelihood of these bad things I think so kudos to to you on musk, but I think that we are were of a long way away from that threat and we are we, and We will be enormous beneficiaries of these technologies and that's why don't I sound like a broken record, but that's why I keep saying it's all about values. If I think take those threats very seriously and then for his are so abstract and we don't agree on them. It's true but like, like you on Muska, mean they've set up this institute where 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 compute,
programming, and so I mentioned my World Health Organization committee. The question is: what are the? What are the standards that we can integrate into scientific culture? That's not going to cure everything, but increase the likelihood by the better rather than worse outcome, but is an error in inherent danger in other companies or other countries, rather not complying with any standards that we set because it the anti competitive yes like that, would that would do would somehow another diminish competition or diminish there. Repetitive edge. It's true and that's why that's the balance that were going 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 them legs. We have chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, where we've had international standards that have roughly I mean there was a time when slavery was the norm in 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 writing in This is a race between the technology and the best values. My real concern about artificial intelligence is that is paradigm. Shifting moment will happen before we recognize it's happening, and then it will be too late. Yes, that's exactly that's like I saying 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 for me 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 elses 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 twenty years, the thing that's going to really change the most is predicted genetics and be able to be able to predict accurately a person's health.
What do you help in light, health and life? 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 a to harm us, we talked about equity and access to these technologies and energy technologies. Don't even need to be real in order to have a negative impact it. 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 difference so this is a whole new way of understanding. What is a human and it's real.
They're going to be complicated and we aren't ready for it. We aren't ready for it Culturale we aren't ready for it educationally. Certainly are political leaders aren't paying much of any attention to all of this? We have a huge job so when you sit down- and you give this speech to Congress, what what are you anticipating from them in terms of I could? What do you think that there's I think they can do now to absolutely certain steps. So a few things one is: we need to have a national.
Asian campaign. I mean this is so important. I would say it's on the future of genetics revolution and of a I, because I think we did just it's it's crazy, that we aren't focusing on these, like I, I learned, French and and I'm 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 a that's number one number two is: we need to make sure that we have a functioning regulatory system in in this country in every country, and I do a lot of of comparative work and, like the United Kingdom, there really well organised, have a national health care system which allows them at a national level to kind of think about long term care and the trade offs in this country. Average person changes health plans every eighteen months and I was talking with somebody the other night and they were. They were working on it predictive health company and they said there.
First idea was they were going to sell this information on to that health insurers because, like wouldn't this be great, if you could help if you're a health insurer- and you could you had somebody who was your client and you could say, hey here's some information- you can live healthier and you're, not gonna. Have this disease twenty years from now, when he found out is the hell? ensures 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 life, 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'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 are selecting our embryos- that's going to open up this massive realm of possum and certainly when we and the number of fertilized eggs that were choosing from that that is really, I think, that's the kind of the killer application of genetics to the future of human life. Do you see that being attainable to the general population anytime in the near future, like once it starts once the technology gets. A stabley 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 I mean this is huge huge amounts of money. So if we were to,
many, many of not the people, but a little bit prevent those disease, diseases and disorders from taking place in the first place, and we could use that money to provide to provide IVF embryo screening tests everybody using just the economic models now, but then there's another issue that we have to talk about it. It's really sensitive. So I talk a lot about this, but there are an IV talk in the book about the people with down syndrome, and I have a lot of friends who have kids with downs with that downside of these car, wonderful, kids and they deserve every opportunity to thrive the same as as everybody else and I'm really sensitive people say well hey if you're in I s a like down syndrome is largely not going. There are gonna, be newborns with down syndrome, ten or twenty years from now. Right so we'll see, So what are you saying about my kids like? Are you saying that, if the
is going to be eliminated. Did 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 fifth, ten or fifteen 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 their ten years old would, Choose affirmatively choose to implant that embryo Is the nine or fourteen or whatever the number is of other ones? And so these are really sensitive things and we can't be blase about them, but we will have these choices and we're going to have to figure out How do we make them more? I think there's also a real possibility of them being able to fix that yeah and some things will be fixable and things won't, and so that's that's. Why, though, for these, for these
call gene mutation disorders? There's a debate I was speaking in actually the other day. And so I was talking about these. Options, one is embryo selection and one is, is gene editing, and so there were different people who got it says, don't know can do embryo selection that's the way and that we should look. We should prevent these diseases, but the I gene editing that's going too far. That's that's playing God and so for different things will be different options. Do you feel when you, when you hear at the that's going too far with who's, usually saying that there's two groups name it is certainly in the religious community were saying what this is is playing God, but there's another kind of it's a progressive community. Who are the kinds of people who are uncomfortable with genetically modified crops. People who are saying that once that there's this slippery slope
it once we start making what are called Germline genetic modification, so germ line is that our 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 just need to weigh the risks and the benefits of everything that we do. Do you think we do know enough about those changes in order. It depends because, if we are 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 because the alternative is death right and that's why I was. 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 disease or disorder. He was trying to confer the benefit of 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. Is an unintended side effect of this work. They believe a perceived potential, unintended side effect and that's increased intelligence it's a possibility, so it has this gene. So this gene it's called, see. Five 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 Yes, destruction of the CCR. Five could potentially lead to that kind of change.
Human. Nobody really knows. There's lots of things that happen in mice. My don't have analogs in in human and that was why it was so irresponsible. Is that this this scientist in secret made these genetics? He didn't get a proper consent from the parents, Oh really, yeah. Yes, in China, 'cause, it's China, you just let it ride. Yeah I mean they were. The parents were all manipulated and it's really yeah, and so that's the thing so exactly right, like we're humans, very we're nuts as a species, and so and so we need to try to establish some kind of guide rails guardrails about. What's, ok, what we're comfortable with but we're not now. This guy is not operating in an isolated incidents. There's got to be a ship tunnel going on right now as we're talking it's inside. What do you think is happening over there? The I think it. China has a lot of money, they have brilliant people and they have a government that is,
hell bent on leading the world in advanced technology and the science that culture in China is just very different than it is here? So we know what we know, but we don't know what we don't know. And that it's a really really big deal because mine 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 than worse. Are you anticipating, saying like a lot of freaky things come out of China? Yes whoa. You said that very yeah, so I spent I spent a lot of time in China. I- and this is a different name, but the thing with China, China had this great ancient civilization, but they do.
Droid their own civilization in the great leap forward and the cultural revolution. They they burn their books, they smashed their own, at historic relics and So it's really it's a society in many ways that starting from scratch, and so all of these norms that people get inherit. Through their traditions, China in many ways doesn't have, and so, and so it's it's a very different and China is growing and they are increasingly powerful in China is going to be a major freeways force defining the world of the of the twenty first century. That's why America has to get its act together. That's a hard concept for us to grass. We think about the fact that they had the a 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 you want to see. If you want to see great chinese art you have to go to Taiwan,
because when the chinese nationalist left in one thousand nine hundred and forty nine, when they lossed as they were, losing the civil war, they took the treasures and they put them in the Museum of Taiwan in the culture revolution, the great leap forward, China, the Red guards, were just smashing all of grown stuff, their own ancient history. Now now the chinese company are saying: oh no we're going back, and we have this great five thousand year old culture and some ways it's true, but in some ways it's like an adolescent culture without these kinds of restriction. The other societies have got 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 in the field that they got screwed over, because there is this. This vague, this sense of chinese great. As we hear the word Middle Kingdom, it's my China is the center of the world and everybody else is some kind of tributary, and so their monumentally pist off that these colonial
ours came and overpowered them, and they had to make all these concessions they had to give land away and and hell bent on regain regain it. There are playing the long game they're playing along and we have to be, and we are not- and we have to be mindful of it. That's also something you can do if you have complete control of your population and you don't have to worry about people Zapin ends, or you can just go in the direction that you feel is going to benefit the chinese power. The power that be this is a country run by engineers. We've per country run large the lawyers and and reality tv people- I guess yeah, but in it's 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: do you don't 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 sports cool. So right about this in Genesis Code, Yes-
if your 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 is a model that you can imagine for for how to do it wow 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 were focusing on junk like what it just like all of this. You I'm on CNN all the time when I'm I'm home in new york- and I always say, like you guys and I'm talking about kind of geopolitical issues. China and N Korea what else is like you guys recognize? This is porn like CNN. And and that's like one kind of porn and fox and then Wells, Infowars, that's another kind of porn, but it's all porn and we're just kind of weird
drawing people's attention to these few stories, but there's these big stories that we have to focus on and and certainly the rise of, China is such an essential story for the twenty first century, because China is competing in all of these technologies and China. It's a go, go, go I mean people in China who were involved in the tech world when they go in and visit Silicon Valley uniformly. They say we cannot believe these people are so lazy like. Why are they working twenty four hours a day. Why are they not issuing product new product every every week? And so this is, I mean they are racing somewhere and it's going to have huge implications for the world. So if we believe in our values- and I believe we should- we have to fight form in the place that we have to fight for. My 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
ality tv drama of our government, is another day where we're not focusing on the big things. How are we going to get our act together? We're going to lead the world in technology? I mean if another example is, this: is immigration like we have this whole fight? How do we keep people out? What I'd like to do is to go to to the state of our site. Every embassy in the world. You have a new job. You have to we're. Gonna give you whatever number five hundred slots per year, you have to go in your country, find the five hundred 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 should be creaming, the crowd, skimming the cream, of the rest of the world. I think we could take over with the we could revitalize this country were having this fight of. How do we keep a small number of refugees out and it's just we we're not focusing on the right things. That's a that's again, another
very very interesting perspective. We we learned about Huawei in this country really not just what I learned about it, because they put out some pretty innovative phones and writing interesting technology. But we learned it because the State Department was telling people to stop using their phones. Do you think that that is trying to stifle the competition like to Charlie? Could the Richard they have if they do really have number the number who selling cell phones in the world. Now that's not from America. Is largely out of that conversation and if they were in they would probably dominate in America as well, because they're, cheaper yeah and good really good mean phones are insane there have the cameras in their phones are off the charts. They they put. Some video, of the the zoom capability of their new phone and people are
There's like there's no way to sign a constable, but it turned out. It was true yeah. They really can it really can zoom like and a super expensive telephoto lessons yeah. So while way, it's a complicated story for sure. The founder of Wall Way is a former chinese military officer for sure 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 well way is the sole supplier 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, while
a itself I'm a bit, then to is let's just say, and I and saying the answer to the first question is: probably yes, but then the question too is: let's just say: who away 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 big chinese National companies national champion companies? They have a comma party cell inside of that company, and so he's 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 choirs. I state actors and that's why this this fight that's happening right now is
it is so important and that's why, like when China is out investing in 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 they don't really make sense. If you just see with 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 it's just it's a very different model, so I I am actually quite concerned about about hallway and and I'm not a fan of everything that this administration is doing, but I think on on China, it's important that we need. We need to stand up and I've been pushing back on always 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 because they looked as the only way to compete, because what you were talking about the investments that one way or the chinese
makes in these other yeah these countries, and they don't seem to make sense of you're just dealing with the right company right, but if you're dealing with some is trying to take over the world? It makes a lot of sense. 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 this to do something, build a port or whatever yeah and you're competing, because you are an american company, and so you have your side is the poor, 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 mmhm. But if the chinese company is that their calculus is not, is this a good or a bad investment? It's? What is the state interest in controlling or because I controlling this asset, and so that's why we can't project ourselves onto the Chinese. We can't say they're just like
stress different, if it we have different models and our models are competing. Do you think that we should avoid while we products like consumer? Should I well? I think the government should very tightly regulate on products like that, while whey products, because mother net work like routers or exactly they've shown that they are using them, yes extract information, and so the we've we have a long history of european and japanese south korean companies that have invested very well they've out, competed us and we've we've allow. We allow the japanese companies to out compete. Our auto manufacturers- and that was that, was fine in the sense it art in the nineteen seventies, our cars had become 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 tool
of capitalism to achieve state ends, I think we need to be very cautious about that. That's interesting! You you to the automotive market, because the consequences market so much different right, so much different right. So, but we do have a model to go on. We go see we what happened? We happened. We made shity cars. The Japanese took over and then we made better cars. Like I have a rental car here. In LOS Angeles, I went to the to the the rental car place said at lax and they had a all of the different cars and there was like a a Nissan and Toyota, and there is a Cadillac and for the fact that you know I said I'm gonna go. So the caddy, so it's a great car inside the amazing incredible now. American cars are very good, now they're, great and then so I'm all for competition, but I just feel like what chinese some chinese companies are doing. It's not competition, it's they have become not all of them, but quite as a state actors, and if that's what they're doing, I think we need to respond
with them in that way interesting. What else should we be concerned with which would be concerned with anything that Korea is doing so absolutely. I have spent a lot if time in North Korea, yes, why broader yeah? So I've done? I advise the North Korea. I actually don't think north green government establishment of a special economic zones, which I certainly but leave. If N Korea could have economic growth and integrate into the rest of the world, that would be great, and so When was this? You know this was in twenty fifteen, but I've been there twice cross the border from China and zigzag the country by land visited ten or twelve different site. So spent almost two weeks by Lance I've. Really incredible. I mean N 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 to the stones are all raped. There's not a stick: Every little line is drawn. It's like total control, the were very in them in the
agricultural areas. There were very few machines and very few farm animals. I saw people pulling plows like you know, usually have that day, the animal in front of the plow and the person behind here they were like two people in front of the plow and one person behind the people were the v. I, the animals, and we would go and visit these days just because they didn't they, a lot of animals got eaten when they had their family, and so we visited these different sites for the 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? it like do? What are you going to sell here and they said well, we we know about clearing land and and building a fence, and then we we went to young young and I spoke to about four hundred economic planners- and I said, look I know you have these plans to do the special economic zones. It's totally going to fail the way it's going to work. You have to connect to the market economy after him.
How are your workers, you need information flow? How else are you going to learn and and adapt so N Korea? it's a really dangerous place, and now it's even more dangerous because on President Trump, through a business kind of it, nonsensical hail Mary in these these meetings with Kim Jong, when there is no it, 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, and so there was this kind of head fake, which was like a pr stunt to be able to say our were having the These meetings and, of course, the North Koreans weren't ever going to give up their nuclear weapons they're still not so now things are ramping up so North Korea in the last couple days and started firing missiles again at the United States today and C military seized a north korean ship. So we're going back to this very dangerous place,
and- and so I think we we really need to do a much better job. We need much more considerate glee, as were it's real hard- and these guys are really smart- I mean I they are. They are very cv, it people say well, these guys are poor, they must not be so. I mean did like a mad like that. We're playing cards with them. We've got the whole deck, they don't have a half one card and yet there is there? Are you there in the game holding us to it to a stalemate? It's really boring, and why did you go over there like what down? What what were you thinking? 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 full of 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, specially Konami Sells, one instinct was screw them. I don't want to be part read this at all, but I also felt that if N 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,
a to go on, and I'm glad that I did. I did but it this is. These are really hard, our six people and then it's very unfortunate that in in President Trump's negotiations with the North Koreans, human rights was never once mentioned, and I think that that's we egg is. Going 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 uhm, but I feel like had they done anything that if he thought that there was a real chance of progress, but the hard thing was, he didn't know much about the n Koreans. He has people and 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 N Koreans have absolutely no intention of giving up
their nuclear weapons? And so maybe he did think that he would charm Kim Jong on or he would say, hey we're going to give you economic development or whatever, but I think for most people who were the observers of of North watch. If well thought. I was not so weak. 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 thirty years, and we didn't get anything back so it had begun something back. Then you could say well that was a risk worth taking, maybe yeah I haven't heard described that way, but I'm I'm agreeing with what you're saying what do you think you could have done differently? I don't think the meeting should have happened with no kit with me. This note nope no conditions. There were no pre, so if you'd said
I am 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, it immediately for the last thirty years, but in order to do it, they need to do this this and this, and if they do it, we'll meet like that would have been a legitimate thing. But what he said is somebody the the the north korean I'm inside that the south korean National security Baez's peeked into his office, any any They they want to be good, and it was like sure that that seems like an interesting thing to do. I think that with this diplomacy can have to go get something, and so we gave away so much up front and the N Koreans weren't didn't have an incentive to do anything in return was his perspective that it be better to be in communication to be friends with this guy who's, that that would be, but we have real interests in the sense that we we we have
large military forces in Seoul. We have a lot at stake. We have our closest ally, Japan, who write citizens of Doc did, and so I think that was what he thought is like. Let's be friendly and then with the force of personal chemistry on Everything will will unlock, but I think that was always extremely unlikely. What do you think is going to happen with that country. 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 along time because You think of the collapse of the Soviet Union. They had enough so union had enough bullets just survive if they had said we're just going to shoot everybody at 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 and and prison camps, they're going to stay for but eventually there will
leaders in North Korea, who will come to the conclusion that it's safer to oppose the Kim family than to wait for the Kim family to come and go you and that tends to happen in these kind of totalitarian systems, where there's so little trust, there's so little loyalty, Jesus yeah. What is there what are the conditions like technologically like what? What is their infrastructure? So the General infrastructure is absolutely terrible. I mean they have roads in. Big cities are actually quite nice. Roads, cuz, there's, no cars, and so it, but their infrastructure is, is terrible. I mean all of their their power supply that they have brownouts blackouts all the time and their manufacturing is all being a decimated. So it's terrible, but they have really focus their energy on building these nuclear weapons because they think of these nuclear weapons. Give them leverage to do things and to extract concessions.
And to get to get a bit states terrible infrastructure. So do you would would 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 acts to the 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. Capital o Reilly? Yes, so it's not like you can kind of move around or whatever it's like just to be in the capital like you have to have your loyalty proven so average person out in the country. They don't have access to much of anything. They have a little bit more now than they
in the past and then for this relatively small number of elites who are in largely in Pyongyang and in the other cities where Terry, like there is, there's a ring of defense around these cities and just to to enter. You have to have all of these checks. Some of them have access to limited internet, but it's six. It's tightly controlled and it's not like you're kind of going on Google and look going wherever you want right take and they probably would get in trouble if they cool the wrong fat, yes and trouble. It's not just you trouble like if you child, if, if my brother or my uncle does something it 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're kicked out of Pyongyang. I mean it is it's all about collective punishment. People are terrified and by that ruthless punishment structure, they've set up. That's how they have kept. So the country? Yes and everybody is forced to write on each other right. That's part of the thing yeah yeah they're. Actually, they compelled
yeah tell on each other for one thing that you did. If you don't, then what if you do, then you are complicit because they yes, so that's and that's through these horrible stories. I've met a lot of these of these people who were in the prison camps like I have a a friend of mine, and she was this thirteen year old girl and her father and 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 and they're just just these horrible things in prison and rape, and this little and now she's in the United States. Incredibly positive, and it's amazing how resilient as she is. But this is like a real hell. It's a real it's an issue, and I think that for us as Americans, as humans were less human,
when there are people who are suffering like this yeah, I agree now arm when you were traveling all over North Korea yeah. What what with the having you do when you're 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. 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 of the local officials would come in that have like a big chart and they have plan like here's, where 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 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. That's what happens when you have these totalitarian
top down systems. Is that like, if you being creative, is actually really dangerous. So if somebody says do x, you just do x, wow yeah, it's really incredible and it's so sad because I spent a lot of time in South Korea, and this is the most dynamic place there's like I often I go to soul, 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 thirty five miles from Seoul is the demilitarized zone and the other side. It's it's incredible and the real problem would be once they finally did get free of that community. Or the of that of that that can mean you can call me whatever you want yeah dictator and that his his family. What would they? What tools? Would they I 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,
what a. What of scenario scenario might look like amazing. It eventually probably they'll be some kind of it again, I can, let's just say it succeeds, but that would probably result another military dictatorship with another group. Well, we don't know 'cause, then I think immediately. I think the Chinese would invade really yeah 'cause people. Think of the car when people think of the korean WAR from the early 1950s. They think it's the korean WAR, it must have been the Americans fighting instead the Koreans, but the green more? The two sides was America and the South Koreans fighting against the North Koreans and the Chinese. The Chinese did them most of the of the of the fighting and so China North, is the only country in the world that has a treaty alliance now, with China kind of like we have with Japan and with and with South Korea, and so China, their biggest fear, is having a reunified korean Peninsula L ally to the United States.
So 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 u n body and there would be a call for a U N Thor, and then I think it would be agreed that the Chinese would stay and they just would put on blue helmets like as a as a UN force, and then we'd have to negotiate what happens decks, and I think what the Chinese would do we say will leave when the Americans leave is that I think that would be what will likely have, but eventually, I think we're going to see 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 n Korea will be swallowed into S, Korea and then you have law, you have an infrastructure and it will take one or two generations, but I think that will eventually happen and I'm hoping
it can happen without nuclear war, terrible terrible bloodshed. But it's that it's be a big challenge. God dam yeah that sounds instrumental Yes hearing you talk about that about North Korea getting absorbed by south korean. Like all my god. Yes, luck, just yeah! Imagine just imagine the whole thing yeah well, listen man! It's been a fascinating conversation, uh appreciate it. 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 to see down the line where this all goes, and I hope we 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. My great really appreciate. It was a lot of fun by everybody. Thank you, friends and thank, thank you to forsake Sigmatic DE New Trish mushroom coffee, it's far superior to whatever the fuck you're drinking right now
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Transcript generated on 2019-11-08.