Yuval Harari ReturnsArmchair Expert with Dax Shepard
- 1,205 views
- 5 Nov 2020
Yuval Harari (Sapiens, Homo Deus, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century) is a historian who lectures at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history. Yuval joins the Armchair Expert again to discuss the positive and negative sides of biometric surveillance and the importance of trusting other scientific institutions. Yuval explains the value of understanding how we got where we are today, that revolutions need to be gradual, and how disruptive technologies don’t obey borders. The two discuss how extreme views are much better for grabbing human attention, how algorithms are figuring out how to hack humans, and the problems with believing in free will without considering external manipulation.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to armchair expert experts on expert. I'm Yuval Harari. You will be joined by Noam Chomsky.
I wish I know I am Dan Shepherd and of course, your Maximus Maximus. Right.
That makes me think of the photo we took in our Halloween garb. That was fun. Your hair was very tall.
Thank you. Your spider web was very spooky. Yeah. Can I tell you a. Secret. Yeah, so when I arrived, I was just wearing that black dress, spider headband, I didn't look like a spider. Oh, and I was embarrassed. So did you do how did you course? Correct.
I walked through the house and our friend Laura had the idea of putting that like cotton that stretches in decor. Sure, sure. And taking that and putting that on myself. And I was like, oh, great idea. So walking around the house looking for that. And when we did, we found two table runners that were spider webs.
Oh, my goodness. Wow. This was a real improv. It was.
And I mean, the idea of me going through the whole Halloween night just in my black dress, I would have been so embarrassed.
Well, you would have found yourself in the position I'm generally in. Yeah. And truth be told, I didn't really have an outfit. I had a sleeveless t shirt and some combat boots, but the hair really sold it.
It came together nicely. Yeah. No one complained. Oh, we should say something really important. Oh, OK. We're recording this on Tuesday at 12 pm. This is coming out on Thursday. So an election will have come and gone.
Right. Thank you for that. And if you didn't hear the first Yuval Harari episode, which was one of our favorites and not enough time by our greedy estimation, this time we had some time and boy, was it fun. Yuval Harari is a historian with a PhD from the University of Oxford. He lectures at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and he specializes in world history. Yuval and his husband have co-founded Sabien, a social impact company with projects in the fields of entertainment and education.
Their main goal is to focus the public conversation on the most important global challenges facing the world today. He has the best selling book, Sapiens and Homo Deice and Twenty One Lessons for the 21st Century. He has a new book out now called Sapiens A Graphic History, which is an incredibly unique approach to helping the reader understand the material. And we will get into it at length with one of our star guests, Yuval Harari.
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He's adoption's. Hello. Hey, nice to meet you again. Are you in Israel, I assume? Yes.
I mean, we are in Israel. It's quite difficult to get in and out of the country these days. We are in Tel Aviv at our office.
And is it hard because people don't want to let you in or you're not allowed to leave?
You are allowed to leave. But most countries are not very keen on having Israelis at the moment because we are a red country. And also when you come back, you often have to be in quarantine. You can fly to the US, no problem.
I mean, they don't care about anything, but most countries are a bit more careful than the Americans.
You know, I just read an article that you had written about and we'll explore it in detail. But you were a little critical of Netanyahu policy about surveillance during covid. I immediately got curious if you could give countries out a ten score of how free they are to criticize the current regime.
What would you give Israel and what would you give us?
So I have some sense of how safe you are.
I mean, it depends what kind of criticism you level at the government. I mean, there are some things that are kind of almost taboo, but it's the social taboo, not a political taboo. With regard to saying things about Netanyahu and his government, you can basically say anything you want.
Oh, OK, that's nice.
So you give yourself like a nine or ten again in terms of style of calling the prime minister a corrupt and a criminal and whatever, you can say that at least for now, the nobody will arrest you in the middle of the night.
Well, I think I read or we had a guest on who explained this ranking that I think IBM created because they had satellite businesses all over the world. It was kind of detailed in one of the Malcolm Gladwell books that Israel is one of the only countries that has less fear of authority than Americans. You guys are like the apex of that, right?
This is part of Israeli culture. I see it in the university. There are no students like Israeli students for good and for bad. Like I would give them an assignment to read for next week. They will come to the next class. They will openly say, I didn't read the book or the article, but I think they are wrong. If you say something like this and they disagree, they have no respect for your authority as a as a professor whatsoever, which, you know, it's sometimes make life a bit difficult.
But for me, it was a great learning experience because if you say nonsense, you will immediately be told. So it really makes you kind of check yourself. And also, there are nevertheless things in Israel, certain things related to Israeli Palestinian relations, to the occupation, to the army that, you know, if you say them, they you want to go to jail, perhaps. But the social reaction would be very, very severe.
You know, I guess almost every society has these kinds of red lines somewhere. And in Israel, there are certain things that are taboo.
OK, so I get immediately curious because as I try to assess our response to covid, and I think it's probably well known around the world, we have a pretty significant faction of people that are against the mask and to them what that represents and a lack of freedom and choice and these principles that they value. And so at first I look at the data and we're one of the worst in the world. I'm embarrassed first like, oh my God, you know, of all the places we have access to the most, education, technology, everything.
So at first I'm embarrassed and disappointed. And then another part of me thinks, well, you know, all this stuff is a spectrum. And I guess one of the upsides is it's also that same arrogance that leads to technological breakthroughs and this and that. Do you think it's always a balance between these things? Are they related? And I'm curious, what is the Israeli response has been? Have people been like, no, I know better than science.
I think, you know, that can be dangerous, that we do need a health care system. And I don't think people should have the freedom to just spread an epidemic or to ignore basic regulations. You know, you don't have the freedom to go in a red light. It's a free country. I can go in a red line.
So I and I think we need to have a balanced attitude and a deep understanding what freedom means. Freedom does not mean I can do whatever I want and just ignore the consequences for other people.
Well, yes. When your freedoms limiting other people's freedoms, we would agree that that's not a freedom we should have. But so you're making a moral and a philosophical assessment, which I agree with personally. I think I'm on the exact same page as you. I'm trying to have a dispassionate charting which countries have the most innovation and which countries didn't know pay the most. And I'm just wondering if there's correlation there not to make a moral case, just to state maybe a pattern.
I'm not sure. I mean, I haven't done the research, so I don't want to commit to anything. But in terms of, you know, kind of independence and not taking shit from anybody, you look at a country like Afghanistan, you know, there is almost no law and order. Everybody has the Kalashnikov at home and you can't tell anybody what to do. And I don't think they are very high on the innovation and technological I mean, they are innovative in some areas.
Sure. But I'm not sure that just having no willingness to have these kinds of orderly system is necessarily invention and innovation also demand some kind of basis to make progress in science. You often need to study in a critical way, but still to study the findings, the theories of those who came before you. I know as a scientist I couldn't write any of my books. If I will just completely discount all the findings of people in other disciplines and know I know better than everybody, you know.
But I'm not an archaeologist.
It has to hold up to scrutiny and peer review. And obviously the opinions of the non mass squares are just it doesn't hold up. Unfortunately for them, it's not a defendable position really, as far as I know.
No. So, again, I mean, it's also in the terms of science and innovation, you need to find that balance.
You need to have a critical attitude towards what you read and what other people say. But at the same time, you also need to respect the authority of institutions like universities and scientific journals, because if you simply disrespect all these institutions, no progress is possible because you can't research everything by yourself.
You have to write some other people. I mean, you know, I can't go and do research in physics and chemistry and biology and climate science. Most of the time. I read the studies of other scientists. If they are published in a respected, peer reviewed journal, then I accept it because, you know, this is not my field.
I always sympathize with pediatricians who must regularly be told that one of their patients has a syndrome that the mother or father figure it out in 90 minutes of research. When this person has dedicated the last twelve years of their life, it must be like a new phenomena they have to wade through of. Like I understand you read that and the Internet does make us feel smarter and have more access to things that maybe we actually do. They must blow a lot of their time and capital in just talking people out of what they read in 90 minutes of research.
Yeah, OK, so in this article I read, you make this really compelling case. And so when you look at how the world has responded to covid and what techniques and instruments are available, there is a strong incentive to go with a state monitored approach. Could you detail a little bit like what that is?
Yeah, I mean, the most extreme version is to establish biometric surveillance system and mass surveillance of basically everybody in the country, but monitoring not just where they go and who they meet and what shows they watch on television, but actually to go under the skin and monitor their medical situation, their temperature, their heartbeat, their blood pressure. Such a system on the on the plus side, it can eliminate the covid epidemic within a few weeks. You know, if every person on the planet now wears a biometric bracelet which constantly monitors your body temperature, your blood pressure, your heart rate, covid is over within a week or two because you very often you don't know you're sick, but the biological signs are there and the system can pick it up.
And if you have such a system, it not only stops covid, it's the last pandemic in history because the flu, there won't be any cholera all you can stop all the pandemics and not just infectious diseases. You can discover cancer when it's just. And it's still very easy and cheap to take care of it, you don't have to wait until it spreads and you feel something and you go to the doctor and they tell you, oh, you have cancer.
So that's the plus side if you don't. Beyond that, that sounds like utopia.
That sounds like utopia, but it's also the prescription for dystopia because exactly this system, if it is used by some 21st century Stalin, this is the basis for the worst totalitarian regime in human history.
I love your current example of North Korea. So, yeah, North Korea, you know, dictators always wanted to follow everybody all the time, but they couldn't because they didn't have the technology in the Soviet Union. You cannot have a KGB agent following every Soviet citizen 24 hours a day because you don't have enough agents. Now, you can do it because you have the technology. You don't need people to follow people around. You have the microphones and the cameras and the smartphones and the biometric bracelets maybe.
And more importantly, it's not just, again, where you go and who you meet. It's actually going under the skin today in North Korea. If the big leader, Kim Jong-Un, gives a speech, everybody, of course, have to listen to open the radios or whatever and listen. And even if you don't like Kim very much and you think he's a complete idiot and you hate him, you would never say something like that. You would clap your hands and smile and look like you admire him.
But if you were a biometric bracelet that monitors what's happening inside your body, it won't help you.
Yeah, your cortisol is spiking and.
Yeah, yeah, I mean, your cortisol is rising, your blood pressure is rising.
Your heartbeat and anger is different from joy. Anger is a biological process in the body. It's not some spiritual whatever. It's a process in the body. The same system that can tell you you have covid can also tell you're angry. So imagine North Korea in ten or twenty years when the regime knows what you feel every moment of the day about the leader, about the leader, about anything.
And as you point out, dictators know that they get rid of people that don't agree with them.
Yes. But now it's difficult for the dictator to know what you really think. Dictator is usually surrounded by yes men. Even if you hate the dictator, you are a very good actor. You act as if you really like him or her, usually him.
With this technology, the dictator can go under your skin. And, you know, this is worse than anything we have seen in human history so far. And it's not just North Korea. It can happen in other countries. It can also happen even with corporations.
It's not just governments. If you take, let's say, the entertainment industry, the number one thing like Netflix or Apple TV or everybody wants to know is not only what you watch, they want to know how you feel about what you watch. And let's say, for example, that you're watching a new show, and whenever the lead character appears, your interest goes down, but whenever some minor character appears, you suddenly become very engaged.
Today, the producers have no way of knowing that.
But in 10 years, if you were this biometric bracelet while watching the television or maybe just the television is watching you analyzing your facial expression, they know, oh, next morning they pick up the phone, get rid of the lead character. People don't like her very much. And let's move the show to focus on this minor character that everybody is really keen on.
Yeah, you just spelled the end of my acting career, I think not necessarily this kind of ability to go under the skin of people and know what they actually feel. This is like the Holy Grail. Everybody wanted the dictators, the democratic leaders, the corporations. And now for the first time in history, there is the technology to actually do it.
You know, you have these conspiracy theories that somebody wants to implant chips inside our bodies to monitor us. The funny thing is your way late. You don't need to implant people with chips any longer.
You're holding the chip into it can tell you everywhere you've been in the last 10 years. Yeah.
And, you know, even if you get rid of your smartphone now, you can just analyze people's facial expression. So, you know, how do I know what you feel now? I'm looking at you and I analyze the tiny changes in your facial expression, in your eyes, in your mouth. I also listen to your tone of voice. And I know from experience the difference between how a bold person looks like from somebody who is very engaged. Now, today, computers are learning to do that better than humans.
So you don't even need to go inside the body. You know, the television can be watching you while you are watching it. Wow.
So we're going to probably need to dump our smartphones and wear a bag over our head. But before we get to that point, I just want to wrap up this article notion. So the other option, instead of mass surveillance and early detection, please give the example of what being informed can do for us.
Yeah, I mean, let's take a simple example. You want to make everybody in your country wash their hands three times a day. Now, one way to do it is put a policeman or a camera in every toilet. And if you don't wash your hands, you get punished. That's the authoritarian way. There is another way you can just educate people, give them basic scientific education in school or in the media. Explain that. Look, the viruses and bacteria in the world, they are the cause of diseases.
People don't get sick because of black magic or voodoo or a punishment from some God. They get sick because of these tiny biological entities. And if you wash your hands with soap. This can remove or kill these pathogens and then you just leave it to the people, if you gave them a good scientific education, you can rely on their own initiative and best interest that they would wash their hands even if there is no policeman watching them. And I think in many cases, the second option is the better one.
It's more efficient and it's far better for our freedoms and liberties.
Yes. So, you know, this comes up a lot. You know, I think there's a fantasy or an illusion that we will have hundred percent solutions to things and we're uncomfortable if we have a 70 percent solution to something. But then you're constantly weighing this against something else. Right? So in your case of educating people, we're going to have to accept that. Yeah, probably. Twenty five percent, even with the great education and some campaigns.
Twenty five percent of people aren't going to wash their hands. This is this is best case scenario. We can get, you know, seven out of ten people to do it. And so you're not going to get one hundred percent. But this twenty five percent that's not doing it is going to be worth ultimately not having a methodology for controlling us entirely by a dictator. So it's like all of these truths are at best high percentage choices. And we're going to live with some fallout and we have to look at the whole thing in totality, which is very hard and it's challenging.
But this is a beautiful Segway into, I think, sapiens, which is there is such great value in understanding the full picture, by my estimation. And we've I've already interviewed you about sapiens. I love it so much. And one of the things I love is just how many different disciplines you do you synthesize into this one snapshot of us on planet Earth. So my first question to you is, I know for me personally, what is the value of understanding how we got right here?
I think the most important thing about history is not to learn from the past, but to be liberated from the past, in a way, we are all living inside the dreams of dead people, our institutions, our beliefs, our thoughts, even our fantasies. We don't know that. But very often they are the dreams of people who died centuries and thousands of years ago. And they created these stories and mythologies and institutions that we take for granted.
And by understanding how our world was created, the human world, how nations and religions and economies were created, the process it happened. It liberates you to some extent from their control. You realize, hey, this is not the natural way of things. It doesn't have to be like that. It's just some people in the past who thought about it.
If you take, for example, let's say, the situation of women throughout history, for centuries, women were dominated by men. In most societies, they had far fewer political rights, economic rights. You know, when the US became independent, they gave the vote to men, but not women, took more than a century and a half. And societies women were simply property of men. And when people asked about it, religious authorities or politicians would say, you know, this is just the natural order of things.
It was always like this. It will always be like that.
And then I had we hung it on a Darwinian concept of the strongest shall prevail. So. Right. We kind of conflated something. Yeah.
They had all kinds of explanations and stories. But the basic idea was this is the natural way of the world. And by studying the past, you realize this is not the case.
I mean, all these stories about women being less smart than men or women being impure, somebody invented them at a certain point and spread them. And you can follow the history of how these ideas develop in ancient Middle Eastern religions and Judaism and Christianity. And he said this and somebody else said that.
And once you realize that you're liberated from the power because you understand this is just a story people invented and we can change the world. And today it's obvious that it wasn't the reality. Now we know that women are as capable as men. They can be politicians.
They can be judges, they can be professors. And we look back and we are amazed. How could people believe such nonsense for centuries without questioning it? So this is the most important value of history that when you understand how the stories that rule our life, how they were created, you suddenly become to some extent free from them.
Yeah. And, you know, I'm going to try to make this is apolitical as possible as a statement, but that's exactly what interests me, which is are we inherited a very, very relatively short experiment. And we'll get into your timeline. I mean, we've been here for a fraction of the amount of time that's been here. And so the notion that we have figured it out is kind of, first of all, arrogant and then maybe just lazy because you're just inheriting it.
But it's why I don't understand the notion of being conservative, persay and protecting a system from the past. I believe in progressing because this is such a new experiment and we keep bettering it in different ways. And Erin, and then trying to acknowledge our air. But the notion that we should be preserving nineteen fifty, I think is a little crazy when you think about how new the experiment is, we're not even close to having figured it out.
Yeah. I mean, you know, conservatives usually they just defend the revolution of a century or two centuries ago.
If you think that the old ways were always better, then we should all go back to the African savannah and learn to hunt zebras, because this is what our ancestors did.
Yeah, yeah. The people in the fifties wanted to go back to the thirties. The thirties want to go back to the tens. You just follow it all the way down the rabbit hole. Yeah. And you're back in the Rift Valley. Exactly.
Now, I would say that there is still a lot of sense also in conservatism. I think that a good society needs both. It needs both some progressive people that push forward and also conservatives, because these experiments in building human societies, they very often fail, I think. Look at conservative philosophers like Edmund Burke in the 18th century observing the French Revolution, and they made some very, very good points when you try to go all the way like building a new society from scratch.
It's very often an arrogant enterprise because you think that you completely understand the world and how to build a perfect society, and it never works. Even revolutions need to be gradual. You know, you compare, let's say, the Russian Revolution or the French Revolution, which they tried to build an entire society. Let's let's just throw away everything that was until now and start from scratch. And what you get is Stalin and the gulags, or in the case of the French Revolution, you get the guillotine and then Napoleon and the American Revolution was far more conservative and mild.
OK, let's take it slowly, step by step. Don't change everything at one time. And it had its downsides. But also humans just don't have the ability to predict the outcome of everything they do. So when you really try to change everything at once, there is a big danger there. Yes, those are fantastic points.
And I totally agree with you. And it is why I'm probably more of a centrist, which is, yes, there are systems we have created in the last two hundred fifty years that have proved to be pretty great. There's many, many things that we're doing quite well and perhaps even as good as they can be done. And those should be isolated and protected and walled off. But I guess what I'm saying more broadly is the notion that will ever be done is a little naive.
I think some people have an expectation that will preserve all this stuff and not an acceptance that no, in fact, we're going to have to keep addressing these social problems that pop up and examine the system because the system is predictably making that outcome.
So if we don't like the outcome, we have to acknowledge that we'll always be tinkering with the systems, especially, as you know, with the pace of technological change is accelerating and social or political system that worked well when the technology was radio and trains and cars may be completely obsolete and irrelevant when you have artificial intelligence and bioengineering and things like that.
So it's always a work in progress. I think the big advantage of democracy is a system is that democracy is far more open to change than dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. And it tries to kind of manage change to make it not too fast, but also not to try to freeze things because it won't work. The world is changing.
And to say one more thing about, you know, the conservative role in society, I think their most important role is to preserve the key institutions, because even to change, you need the kind of basis of one institution.
And one of my concerns, when they look at politics today in the world, in the US, in Brazil, in the UK, in many countries, is that what used to be conservative parties have become extremely unconservative parties because they no longer protect many of the basic institutions of society. Instead, they attack them. And I think that the progressive parties, they are doing their thing. But what worries me that in many countries there are actually no longer conservative parties.
You have parties that call themselves conservative, but they are actually busy undermining and even destroying the basic traditions and institutions of society.
Stay tuned for more armchair expert, if you dare.
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Yes, and this is where it ties back into your article, which is in order to have the citizens of any state trust that washing your hands is effective, you must first have that trust so that when we say bacteria live on your hands, you believe that. And that certainly has eroded greatly. And I think, yes, with our current administration, some institutions that have really been a part of the best safety mechanisms, we have the press, the fourth estate.
If you just look at every scandal, everything that we would all agree on, that we don't like corruption, we don't like backroom deals, we don't like underground sex rings. All of these things have not been discovered by judiciary committees. They've been discovered by journalists. So this great failsafe that has been around for the entirety of this experiment in the US, the notion that you would try to delegitimize it is very scary.
And and we see it in many places around the world. And this leads to a situation of increasing social polarization because there is no institution that everybody respects.
Only one part of the political spectrum respects this institution and only one party respect the other institution. There is no common ground. And, you know, I look at the US right now in the middle of this election campaign and what really strikes me as an outside observer, I'm not American. I'm not an expert in America. But what really strikes me is that today Americans hate and fear each other far more than they hate and fear anybody else.
You're so right.
Not the Chinese. Not the Russians. You know, 50 years ago, Republicans and Democrats didn't agree about many things, but they both feared the Russians more than the other party, the Russians will come and change our way of life. Now, the Democrats are afraid the Republicans, if they take power, let's it. Our way of life is over and the Republicans the same thing. If the Democrats win, it's over for us. And you can't have a democracy when you think the other people in your country are your enemies, that they are there to get to you.
You can have a civil war.
You can have a dictatorship in such a situation. But over the long term, you can't have a democracy when the people in the country hate and fear each other. And, you know, it's such a parallel as well that the success of vaccines becomes their biggest enemy, right? So if you don't see tons of people with polio, you're no longer too worried about polio and you're inclined to not want this vaccine for polio. And similarly, having gone 10 years without a substantial terrorist attack, unfortunately, like one of the downsides of not being attacked is not having this common enemy that bonds and unites everyone.
It's a very bizarre relationship, almost.
Yeah. But I think it's also the fault of it, not just in the US, in many countries, you seem kind of powerful leaders who build their political career on deliberately inciting and creating divisions within society, that they treat their political rivals not as legitimate rivals. You know, in a democracy rivalry's, OK, people don't have to agree. But the basic attitude of a political leader in a democracy should be, you didn't vote for me, but I'm still your prime minister.
I'm still your president, too. I work also for you and my political rivals. They may be wrong, maybe that I've been stupid. It's OK to say that they are stupid, but they are not traitors. They are not evil.
They are not un-American. That's such a big tactic is is they're not patriotic. They're un-American, they're not American. They want to be socialist, this and that. And Hillary was guilty of it, too. And she referred to them as a basket of baubles. You know, that's a real us and them statement. And now if I'm those people. Yeah, that woman can't possibly be working for me. She thinks I'm a basket of deplorable. And obviously, Trump, we don't have to list his division or divisive, not really talk, but yeah, it's really troubling.
You're right. The people aren't even Americans. If you're on the left, the people on the right aren't even Americans and vice versa. And it's very troubling. Now, again, back to your article. One thing I would say is over the last eight years, I guess it seems like there's been a kind of global shift to nationalist movements. Whether you look at Brexit or you look at the rise of some more insular leaders around the world, certainly we've become more nationalist.
It's kind of all fine and dandy. Until you recognize that a pandemic is global, there is no such thing. It would be naive to imagine we could exist independently and that we're not so interconnected. And I think this is a great lesson in that. I think that's a little bit blowing over people's head. I mean, point out what we really need right now in this pandemic.
I think the most important problem is that people have this mistaken notion that national loyalty and global cooperation are somehow contradictory. You have leaders, right, saying specifically you have to choose nationalism or globalism. And that's just a mistake because there is no contradiction. Nationalism is not about hating foreigners. You know, if nationalism is the key thing about being a patriot is that you hate foreigners, then, yes, there is a contradiction. But nationalism is not about hating foreigners.
It's about loving your compatriots, taking care of them. And in many cases, like in a pandemic, in order to take care of your compatriots, you need to cooperate with foreigners. You need to exchange information about viruses, about diseases. You need to build common defences against pandemics, against ecological disasters. So there is no contradiction there. And also people, when they talk about global cooperation, they have this frightening scenario that there will be a global government that tells everybody what to do.
We'll have to abandon our culture. We'll have to accept unlimited number of immigrants. This is not globalism, right?
That's a great distinction. Yeah.
Globalism just means that humanity has some common problems and interests and different nations. They retain their independent governments, their independent traditions and cultures, but they work together on these common problems because otherwise we can't solve them.
Yeah, and minimally, we have to acknowledge that a virus doesn't know borders. It will not obey borders. The economy increasingly will not obey borders, and the environment's not going to obey borders. So if we all acknowledge we have minimally these three things that are going to not care where we draw the line on the map, then we got to have some policies and some instruments in place to deal with those common threats.
Then I would add one other major global problem that we need to cooperate on, which is the rise of new disruptive technologies, which we discussed earlier, like artificial intelligence and surveillance. The big problem with these technologies is that unless you have a global agreement on regulating them, nobody can do much because nobody wants to stay behind. If you think, for example, about creating autonomous weapon systems, what is commonly known as killer robots. Now, it doesn't take much genius to realize that creating killer robots is a very dangerous development.
The problem is you cannot regulate it just on a national level. Let's say the US bans the development of killer robots, but if China produces them or Russia produces them, then the US won't like to stay behind.
The US will say yes, we don't want to do it. It's dangerous, but we can't stay behind in this arms race. And it's the same with things like genetic engineering. You know, you can have a ban in the US on genetic engineering. No, no, no. You should not meddle with the human DNA engineering super babies. But if the Chinese are doing it and they are getting results, then very soon the Americans will feel we have to do it.
Also, we don't want to because we have to do it. Otherwise we will stay behind. And maybe the Chinese are feeling the same thing. We also don't want to do it, but we can't stay behind if the Russians or if the Americans are doing it. So the only way to effectively regulate these disruptive technology is by having some kind of global cooperation. And, you know, it's not impossible. People can agree. You know, you take, for instance, the Olympics, you think about sports.
Then on the one hand, the Olympics is a nationalist competition. Everybody go and wave their flags and how many medals we have and how many medals the Russians have. And you cheer for your national team.
But at the same time, it's all based on global cooperation, because if you want to compete against the Russians in swimming or in whatever, you first have to agree on the same rules for the game. And the amazing thing is you managed to do it. You know, athletes from the US, from Russia, from all over the world can come together in the same place, agree on exactly the same rules. And this is a kind of model that you still have your national loyalties.
You don't cheer for the Russian athletes, but nevertheless have an agreement about the common basic rules.
And again, back to your previous point, and we got to have a couple of institutions that we trust so that when there is a negative or a positive drug test, that that institution's trusted and believed because people do cheat. But again, they get harmed by these systems. They get caught by journalists, they get caught by committees that test that we trust. Exactly.
If we don't have these institutions that everybody respects, then very soon the Olympics and actually every sport would become a competition between biochemists and between geneticists, not a competition between football players or swimmers. Because if you don't have any institutions that you can trust in regulation, then everybody will just do whatever biological enhancements they can and there will be no longer any sport. It will just be a competition between biochemists.
Yeah, OK, so we've kind of outlined the value of understanding why we got here so that we can choose where we want to go with more information. I think that dovetails beautifully on why you'd want to do a graphic novel version of Sapientis. Is am I right to think that this is to just make it kind of more broadly appealing and perhaps more broadly digestible?
Exactly. I mean, there are many people who want to read a traditional science book, full hundred pages of text with lots of footnotes. But it's important to that science would reach these people to why not? And so I worked with a team with two very gifted artists, Danielle and David, on how to create a graphic novel version, a comic version of Sapience. And, you know, it's still very serious stuff. It aims at adults, not at young kids.
Although can I interrupt you for one second to say I was reading it last night and I thought, oh, my seven year old's ready for quite a bit of this. And I think the pictures would really aid in her comprehension of it. That's true.
But it depends on the kid. But, you know, teenagers, definitely, but it's also aimed at adults. And it's not just sapience with images, with illustrations. It's a completely fresh approach to history.
We kind of took all the academic conventions and threw them in the garbage can and said, OK, let's start from zero. Let's think how you tell history. And we experiment with many different approaches. And we got all of the inspirations also from Hollywood and from different.
Genres, so, like one chapter is, discusses human evolution as a reality TV show, that kind of you know, you have the different human species, you have Homo sapiens, you have Neanderthals, and they are competing in a kind of survival reality TV show.
Yeah, they're getting voted off. I guess that is what evolution does is vote you off. Yeah, exactly. So in another chapter is like a detective story. So we built it like, you know, this NYPD crime TV show. So we created this fictional detective, Detective Lopez, and she goes around the world to investigate the disappearance of the large animals of the planet more than ten thousand years ago. You see that many of the large animals die, all the big mammoths and mastodons and cavers.
What's happening to them? So she's on the trail of the worst ecological serial killers in the history of the planet. And of course, it's not a big spoiler that in the end she discovers it's Homo sapiens that runs around the world. And wherever humans go, the large animals become extinct. So, you know, it's still science.
We hope that we got all the facts right, but it's stoled like an interesting and funny detective story and not with all the usual statistics and graphs and then scientific models.
Yeah. And I guess I just feel compelled to even though we covered it in the last time, just to give people like a snapshot. So, you know, the universe is roughly 14 billion years old. Planet Earth is five billion years old. Life presents itself three and a half billion years ago. We don't get to mammals to sixty five million years ago. We don't get to hominids till five million years ago. We don't get that Homo sapiens until two hundred thousand years ago.
We don't get to communal living agriculture, dedicated specific jobs until, what, twenty thousand years ago?
Not even. Yeah, maybe ten thousand years ago. Ten thousand years. Yeah. And then we're not writing and having the intellectual revolution, but a few thousand years ago. Right.
You know, everything we think about is ancient. You think about, you know, the big religious traditions of humanity, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam. It's all just the last three thousand years. They are the new kids on the block when humans have been around for more than two million years. I mean, the humans head out and religion and politics tens of thousands of years ago. So it gives you really a different perspective. And it goes back to what we talked earlier about what it means to be conservative.
You think you're conservative if you're following a religion which is 20 years old, 20 years is nothing.
Yeah, it's a grain of sand on a beach. When you look at 14 billion years or when they do the geological calendar. Right. Humans show up on like December thirty first at eleven fifty nine exactly. P.M. It's like when you think about it that way, you're like, oh we should have some humility. I'll brief in recent this experiment is now the book which I'm enjoying immensely.
And again, I, all I can think about is how excited I am to read it to my kids because I really am dying to pass on to them what it took me, I don't know, four years of college to kind of start comprehending and countless conversations with a ton of great people like you. And I think this book does an incredible job at pointing out our spec on the timeline, how new this is, all that stuff. I think it's really empowering.
But you may envision even a more digestible version for kids. Is that possible?
Yes, we are working next year. I mean, as I said, the graphic novel is aimed at teenagers and adults. We are working on a kid's book which is aimed at kids aged 11, 10, 10, 11, 12, something like that, which will again, it will tell the history of humankind in a new way, in a fresh way, explaining, you know, it's not kind of a bunch of dates and kings and bottles and names that's boring.
It will try to explain, you know, what the juicy stuff of history, of where we came from and things like what is religion and how did money appear and these kinds of things.
But in a way which will not just be accessible to kids, it will be fun.
We hope, at least.
I mean, for us, it's it's fun. I think it's the most fun project that I ever worked on. All of these graphic novel and the kids book for years as a professor at university, I learned to write in a certain way and suddenly you can go wild, you can experiment with so many different things. You can invent characters and plots and and then you still have to stick with the. Basic scientific facts, otherwise, what's the point?
But in order to tell the story in an interesting way, we allow ourselves a lot of artistic creativity.
Well, and I'd imagine, too, that your previous four books or however many you've written at this point is a very solitary endeavor. I have to imagine it was quite fun for you just personally to be collaborating with people and having them add to this and create something wholly original.
Exactly. If you really want to do something fresh, you need help from other people because otherwise you get stuck inside the patterns of your own mind and certainly moving to a different medium. I mean, this is mostly images. It's not text. I never work with images before. I don't know how to draw. I draw like a five year old kid. If they had to rely on me to draw the images, you wouldn't go very far. And it raises a lot of new questions, you know, when I write just the text.
So let's say we discuss sex in the Stone Age. We now know that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals had sex and even had children together. When you write it, you can ignore many questions. For instance, was it a male sapiens and a female Neanderthal or was it vice versa? And what was their skin color? What was their hairstyle? In a text? You can ignore these questions because texts are abstract, but drawings are always concrete. If you want to show the first interspecies couple sapiens in a Neanderthal, they can't be just generally humans.
You have to decide who is the man, who is the woman, or maybe they are two men or two women also. And how do they look like? Do they have black skin? White skin? What kind of hairstyle? So you have to go back to the scientific literature and research these questions. And also we have to take into account current issues of race and gender. And there are a lot of discussions between Danielle, the artist, the one who does the painting, and David, who is the writer in me about how to present these scenes.
Well, I was kind of embarrassed for myself last night as an anthropology major who's supposed to really know all this inside now. And I guess I don't think I realized that Neanderthal had appeared at five hundred thousand years ago and really didn't get absorbed into Homo sapiens sapiens till seventy thousand years ago. So, in fact, Neanderthals had a longer reign than Homo sapiens has had.
Many human species were around far longer than us. I mean, Homo erectus is estimated to be even even a million years on the planet.
And I knew that. I guess I didn't realize Neanderthal was so much quicker to evolve than Homo sapiens.
You know, it's very difficult to say when a species evolves because the olive oil from a previous species. And it all depends on the latest bones that you find, the latest fossils that you find. So the date and the place where a species first emerges tend to change over time. For instance, lately, a very old Homo sapiens bones were found in Greece and in the Middle East. So now some scholars say actually they didn't evolve in Africa first.
Maybe they evolved first in Greece and the Middle East and then spread to Africa. It changes all the time. So I wouldn't give too much weight to exact dates and locations. But the big picture is important to realize that there are many human species living side by side on the planet, for example, because many people even that they know about human evolution. They have this notion that at any point in the evolution of humans, there was just one human species that evolved into a better and better species.
And this is understandable because today there is just one human species. So we think this is the normal situation. But actually, it's quite strange. You look at other animals, there are many species of birds living side by side. You have grizzly bears and polar bears and black bears and so forth. So why not have many human species? And for most of human existence, there were many human species living side by side only in the last thirty, forty thousand years.
There is just one species, our species. And this is probably because we exterminated we drove to extinction all the other human species. This is kind of the earliest ethnic cleansing campaign in history is the extinction.
Stay tuned for more armchair expert, if you dare.
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Just imagine The World Today if in addition to all the other divisions, Christians and Muslims, Americans and Chinese, Republicans or Democrats, you would also have sapience Neandertals.
Now, I would really vote for australopithecine gigantic is to still be here. I want to see the seven and a half foot tall hominid that that would be my preference. Now, I want to just say that one of the most intriguing concepts that you laid down in Homo Deice, which I find myself repeating all the time in interviews, is back to the smartphone, back to the biometrics, back to the being able to evaluate what's inside the body is that you paint a picture of the future where you could set a goal for yourself.
I want to get promoted. I want to lose weight. Right. And that this device would be so good as you are walking into a meeting at work, it might pause you and say, you know what, your blood sugar is really low. You didn't sleep well last night, the last time you were in this situation and you spoke up, you had a shitty idea and everyone lost faith in yourself going into this meeting and shut the fuck up.
That's what that should be, your marching orders. And so on the surface, you're like, that's an amazing bit of tech that could help us. But then you're very good. And I think this comes from your Devers into meditation and your retreats, which is what self is this device going to service? Is it going to service the experiential self, the one that enjoys eating candy bars, or is it going to service the narrative self that wants to be at night going to bed saying I'm a controlled person who doesn't eat too much?
And so right there, there's a big issue, which I thought was so fascinating. Even since that book was written, a new proposition has emerged and we're starting to really uncover it, at least in the popular culture, which is the rabbit holes of YouTube, the rabbit holes of Instagram, the rabbit holes of all these different platforms. There's a third option, which is even more scary, which is these platforms took us to goals that none of us had.
Yes, right. Not the experiential self, not the narrative self. It took us to a place that was more extreme, more fringe, more militant people who started. Now they've documented very well as they look at their five year history on YouTube. They started as maybe a centrist enviromental major and become white nationalists incrementally, slowly. So, yeah, that's kind of new. That's something that maybe had you already foreseen that or that became something that was yet another scary option that was well intentioned, that went wrong.
The thing is that once you can have human beings, all these scary scenarios become possible. To hack a human being means to understand that human better than he or she understand themselves. And this is now becoming increasingly possible. And then when you have an algorithm that knows you so well, it can manipulate you for whatever purpose. Now, the really scary thing in a way, about all these algorithms that they were given a very kind of simple task, the interests of companies like Facebook or YouTube, they're not interested in a particular political position.
They didn't come to their algorithm until the algorithm. OK, I want you to radicalize society, right? No, they gave the algorithm a very simple task.
I want you to make people spend more time on my platform. That's it. Easily measured last year. They spend an average of half an hour on our platform every day this year, which would be forty minutes. Go ahead, do it. And you had the smartest people in the world designing these algorithms.
And the algorithms discovered that the easiest way to grab people's attention and keep them on the platform, seeing more videos, seeing more content is to make them angry or make them afraid, or press the emotional buttons of fear and hatred and anger and greed and things like that.
They didn't even realize what would be the political. It was just something completely unexpected, that this will be the result. Now, think what would happen when such an algorithm will be in the hand of a kind of Stalin or a Kim Jong un who gives much more direct political instructions to the algorithms.
We need to understand that we are now hackable animals.
Yeah, and when you wrote home today, as it was largely theoretical and now it's not theoretical, people talk about like, well, in the era of A.I.. Well, no, no, we're already in it and it already happened. We have measurable polarization as a result of the. It's not a theory it happened. It got away from us already. Yeah, and it's not even belonging to a particular side of the political spectrum. You know, if you have a platform and you want to keep people on the platform and the algorithm discovers that whenever you see a headline about a political leader doing something crazy, you have an irresistible urge.
I must click on it. I must see what he did, what he said today that keep this keeps you on the platform. So the algorithm shows you more and more of that, you know, like my husband is on ticktock, OK?
And it took something like, I don't know, 20 minutes to realize that if it shows him videos with sexy guys without a shirt, it tends to stay longer.
It's not that he entered ticktock and had to mark a box. I'm gay. Please show me. Right. Pictures know the algorithm discovered very quickly by itself. You know, it throws it to you all kinds of images and videos and see whether you stay or not. And it calculates things and reaches conclusions about what you like and dislike. And that's it. We are now in a global battle for attention. The most important resource on the planet is human attention.
And unfortunately, our extreme views are much better at grabbing human attention than moderate middle of the way views. And this is something that may have served us well in the African savannah. When when there is a lion coming and a zebra coming, better pay attention to the lion.
When you live in the 21st century and you have these algorithms that manage to hack us, this is now extremely dangerous.
It is. And even when I think about if I'm an environmentalist and I do care about the planet and I want to either watch a video of the letter writing campaign to the senator versus that guy on the Zodiac boat attacking a huge whaling vessel in the South China Sea, you know, what am I going to watch? Clearly, I'm going to watch that. You know, I'm going to watch the most extreme version of this thing I care about. I'm defenseless.
I even if you don't care about it, even if the algorithm, you know, like, I don't know, watching videos of car crashes now, no sane person would wake up in the morning and say, OK, today I want to watch for 40 minutes videos of car crashing. But the algorithm discovers that they can keep you on the platform with this. So, OK, you're flooded and you can't help yourself. It's stronger than you. So, you know, it goes back to what you you started saying that I want to go on a diet and you tell the algorithm, I want to go on a diet.
And at least this kind of obeys some kind of a goal that you set. But we are now in a situation when we are losing control of our lives because the algorithms are so good in hacking us and manipulating our emotions and using it against us again. It's still being done for relatively inconsequential purposes, like keeping you on the platform longer to show you a few more commercials to make a few more billion dollars. But in five or ten years, this technology can be the basis for the worst totalitarian regimes in history.
It won't be some corporation trying to sell you advertisements. It will be a twenty first century Stalin. So we have to be extremely careful about what's happening here. And even in the innocuous search for a diet, we just had an expert on talking about how that then becomes a gateway through the algorithm to anorexia, to thin aspiration videos. And you can just track the person very simple and benign caloric video that ends up on these deep, deep anorexia videos.
And again, it's just taking you incrementally, slowly down this path.
And I think it goes back to very deep philosophical questions about free will and human agency. The problem is the naive belief in free will is that it makes you very uncurious about the reasons why you make decisions. You think, well, I chose this and then there is nothing to explain. I chose this car. I chose this politician. I chose to watch this video because this is my free will. End of story.
You need to question free will in order to realize that maybe at least some of my choices don't really reflect my own free decision. They reflect some external manipulation, and that's very difficult for humans to acknowledge. The easiest people to manipulate are the people who believe in free will, that everything they do is just their choice.
And also many corporations and political leaders are using this as a defense. If you ask them, look what you are doing to people, they will say, you know, but people have a choice. We don't force them to watch these videos. They click on it, we don't take them and, you know, bind their hands. And there is a robot clicking on. No, they do it with their finger and their finger is controlled by their mind.
So it's their free will. What do you want from us? The customer is always right. And so we need to realize that, you know, this is not the 18th century. This is the twenty first century. And freedom is not something you just have. Freedom is something you need to struggle for. If you just assume that everything I do, everything I choose is my free will, then you're the easiest person to manipulate. Yeah, all the more reason to have trust in some entity that is going to monitor this, that's going to enforce this, that's going to limit this, if we don't all agree in this country or in the world that there is some force out there that is evaluating this objectively with many, many experts to help us navigate this thing.
If we don't have that, then the war is over because the technology's not stopping. I don't think anyone's naive enough to think that the technology is stopping. So the train is hurtling down the tracks. It will not slow down. It will just keep accelerating. And if we don't all agree and trust on some shared reality, we're completely fucked.
There's just no way. Right will be defenseless yet.
And we need to realize that, you know, in a previous century, we regulated things like air pollution or water pollution. You know, if you pollute the river, then you can be taken to court the regulations about it. We need to regulate the pollution of our information flow, which is now happening all around us. And we need to have, you know, like you have regulations of who controls the land and who controls the factories and so forth, the regulations about who controls the data, our data and what can be done about it.
And, you know, I've been watching, for example, now all the process of the nomination for the Supreme Court.
People are like very, very sharply check. What does she think about abortion? What does she think about gay marriage? What does she think about gun control? And all these are important. I don't deny it, but hardly anybody asks, OK, what does she think about it? What does she think about ownership of data?
Maybe in her career in five years or 10 years or 20 years, the most important legal cases she will have to decide will not be about abortion or gun control.
It will be about artificial intelligence and data ownership. And the thing is that it's hardly on the political radar. I mean, what's the difference between Democrats and Republicans in their policy on I, I don't know.
Yeah, who knows? Well, and again, it seems at least that the pattern in this country is we do trust certain government agencies when our mortality is at risk. So I don't think there's a left or right person that questions the FAA when they're circling the airport and trusting that that system will get them on the ground safely. We all conceded that because I think our lives are directly threatened by that and we have to believe in that system. And I guess I don't think people evaluate the threat of this stuff.
If they evaluated the threat of this accurately and felt like it was existential, I do think we would then believe in the regulatory force to protect us.
Yeah, I mean, there is no way to survive in the 21st century, certainly as a free society without a new regime of regulation for all these new powerful technologies like artificial intelligence, like big data algorithms and so forth.
And I think that this should be a kind of bipartisan affair that no matter what your thoughts are about other matters, at least there should be an agreement. You know, we can discuss exactly what are the regulations and which authorities should be in charge of enforcing them. But it should be obvious that we need them and we need them very, very soon.
I agree. I think we should label this our new Russia. Yeah, Russia, to point out, will you? I mean, I just cherished our last conversation and this one as well, I hope you'll continue to write things and and I hope you'll come back and talk about that with us.
You're a global treasure.
Oh, thank you. Thank you for making me a bit embarrassed.
But I think that's part of the reason you're a global treasure, is that embarrasses you. That's good.
Be safe in these difficult days. And hopefully once this is over, it will be over. I mean, pandemic's lasts for a certain while that they don't stay forever. And hopefully when it's possible, then we can person either in California or here.
I would love and I love either option. You're so fascinating and so fun to talk to, so I just look forward to it. So thank you. Bye bye.
And now my favorite part of the show, the fact check with my soulmate, Monica Padman.
This was a funny one, tell me, because remember how much anxiety I had about I'm like, I don't know how to talk to him about sapiens. We've already talked about sleeping giant, all the anxiety that I wasn't going to be able to get and engage him. Yeah, get it up. Engage him for an hour. Yeah. And then that was that was not the case. Not at all. If it weren't for it flew again.
Well, because we always reference the first interview with him as being the weirdest experience with time space. That's right. And it kind of happened again, not as extreme. Yeah. But but still extreme.
Probably just only not as extreme because it was the zoom. I bet if he was in person, it would have been two things. Yeah, I totally agree with that assessment. And then also the thrill of getting to meet him the first time is so high and. Sure. And now he's just an old friend of ours, was like a boring old normal friend we think.
Feel that about Bill.
Oh, gosh. I'd like to find out. I'm willing to risk it.
Me too. Willing to risk it. By the way, someone sent me a really cool, great Diet Coke sweatshirt with a hood, cuz it's really cute. It's like a nice sweatshirt.
Mm hmm. Love. Nice sweatshirt. Me too. They're the nicest.
So we should say when you're listening to this episode, the election will have happened. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And we are recording this pre-election so we have nothing to say about that today.
We don't. But congratulations. Whoever won, although I doubt will, this could be a Nostradamus moment.
It's it probably won't be decided either. You think. I mean, I think it seem obvious where it's going, but there'll be a ton of un counted ballots still.
Perhaps there was so much early voting. But I was I hope there's more of a definitive answer. Yeah, it's very interesting. People are listening to this and they're going to be annoyed. Some people I don't know. I hope not.
But some people are going to be very happy and some people are going to be very upset to me.
That's right. Yeah. Yeah. I guess if you're listening to this, the good news is you're not actively shooting a gun at your neighbor.
God, I hope I hope that's not where we are on this day.
Yeah, I don't I don't think so. Should we talk about Vanier's. Oh yeah. I just flashed your teeth. OK, very nice tea. Thank you. I feel the same way about your tea. Thank you. Yeah. And I was really upset at you last week when I learned that you had gone to a dentist appointment, by the way.
An amazing dentist. Sure. And then you then told me that you guys had a conversation about verniers. I don't think you should get verniers. So I say weird verniers.
You say it kind of on you at dinner. I do. Vernors is what I want to say.
That's a very popular pop in Michigan.
And they make a ginger ale that is very effervescent and so effervescent that generally when you pop the the cap off of the glass bottle, you sneeze pretty shortly thereafter. And in Michigan, when people are sick, they say have a Vernors.
It's strongly recommended that people really burner's when they're sick. Back to your NIRS. Right.
But first, real quick, I need to know why it cures sickness in your tummy. Hurts. It's like chicken soup. I don't know. It's just it's what you drink when you're ill. Although ginger ale in general is something people will tell people. Tummy. Yeah, tummy trouble. But this is a cure all in Michigan. You could have gonorrhea.
I'm a Vernors cut off here now have a Vernors asep heart palpitations. Get a Vernors down like that. I can't get my hands on some version or you do.
It's a cure all without the opium. Don't worry, it doesn't have the only good as most cure alls had. True. Anyways, back to your Bernier's. You're Keith Rainier's. I haven't decided so much deeper for me than a static point of view.
Right, right. Although I have an aesthetic argument, I would make sure. And then I have a it hurts my heart in the deepest way to think that you would think you don't have the most beautiful smile. And that's what really upsets me about it. But you could look in the mirror at your sparkly white teeth that are beautiful straight teeth and think you want a different set.
Well, that's nice of you to say, but that's like, you know, what dad say to their babies is what you're going to say to the baby, too.
No, no, no, no. This isn't a no. You look great in that dress moment. Well, this is a there's there's many episodes where I've talked about how nice your teeth are. This isn't new.
Well, so I have a little gap in between my two front teeth. Don't shake your head. This is real. OK, I have a gap and I have filled that gap with bonding multiple times in my life. It chips and chips and chips. It does not stay. It's not a good permanent option. OK, so if I want a permanent option that is a veneer.
But then that led to the real time conversation because Erica was there and my favorite part of Erica smile is her gap.
I know, but see your tricked a little bit with mine because I have half the bonding is still in there. The bottom half is what chipped. So you can't see the gap for really what it is. So maybe what I should do is get that bonding out and then I'll walk around with a big gap.
That's not a big gap because I can already see I've looked at where the little piece of bonding is. It's very small gap.
It's it's noticeable. It's a noticeable gap. I hope so. And I'm not saying, by the way, gaps are very cute.
Eric is is so cute. Oh, my God. It's like I think, you know, one of the most appealing parts of her.
I know, but but it's it's hard to just get a gap all of a sudden when no one's used to a gap as opposed to like you think it'll be a pop out.
Yeah. It's going to be a Halloween. I don't think so. Pop out. And then the point I made aesthetically is when everyone gets verniers and then everyone has the same smile and who cares then if every if if there's five women in your social circle, social circle and when they all smile, it's the exact same smile. Great. I'm so not interested in anyone. Smile.
Now, I really do understand that argument.
I do. And I might still I'm I'm still I'm on the fence.
I'm just like, you're going to do it. Yeah. Now look, if you had brown teeth, I get it. No, I don't think I don't think anyone's going to say like brown teeth are character and interesting and intriguing. That's that's rough brown because it signals. A lot of things that probably aren't even true, like a lack of cleaning your teeth. Maybe fungus, and they might be true. It's the color poop. There's a lot of things that I can understand about teeth.
Everything will be brown. Yeah, yeah. I'd be very cool. But no, no, your eyes, your whites, you.
But then I'd have one pop out. I, I, I our eyes. So, so brown. Yeah, yeah. But if you got sparkly white straight teeth as you do then I think it's all about like well thank God there's some uniqueness to it and then I can remember your smile then I know what Monica's unique smile is.
I hear you heard her message heard.
But we'll see you in a couple of weeks with a big grill.
Well, listen, I can't make I can't not get them because you don't want me to.
Yeah, of course not. So but if what I'm saying you find merit in the argument. Of course, if you recognize that if I was making the same argument about eight of our friends and you agreed and yet you didn't agree on yourself, that might be, you know, something to look at. Yes.
You know, I can't be peer pressured when we talked about the veneers.
Well, I would argue that you're this is you succumbing to peer pressure. This is what you don't understand. So I've been wanting venire since I was ten years old.
And it's been a conversation I've had with my friends when we were younger. Like, if you could change one thing, what would you do? What would you change?
And I would always say I wanted Vanier's so cut to now I have the opportunity to do that.
Uh huh. It's obviously hard for me to be like actually now when I've been telling myself I want that.
But also what you say when you declared that that you didn't like how you looked at a ten out of ten. And I hope that you don't like how you look at a five out of 10 now. I hope there's been progress and yet liking how you look.
Well, the the progress is that it's not that I like how I look more. It's that I care less. It just feels like a step in the wrong direction to that self actualization where you realize that you're so uniquely beautiful and wonderful.
Well, I said I need to I need to think so. I'm not just jumping in. Right.
I'm saying the notion of you looking in the mirror and not thinking you have perfect teeth. I don't like that. I know. Yeah. And I like that you feel that.
But if you want me to get on the train, you know, I don't want you to get on the train at all. And I and and I think you should step into my shoes a little bit and think like you want to things when you were eight years old that you can now have and you have them.
Uh huh. A lot of cars and motorcycles. Yeah. Yeah. And I muscles now. Exactly. OK, you've all all right, you sorry, you've all very well.
OK, so you mentioned a ranking system, four countries in one of Malcolm Gladwell books it up a bunch of times. Are you talking about the pilot?
It's in the chapter about Korean air. And what he talks about is that IBM, because they had all these satellite offices all over the world, they had to send they had to send people to study what their power dynamic with authority was. And that has a name and it was given a number. And so they and this was just for internal use. Right. But then when that internal ranking was graphed against these pilot errors, I guess you could call them.
It's a perfect correlation. Yeah, it's from outliers.
I just Googled. OK, just Googled.
OK, also, I just learned about a really cool book that I think we should have the author on. Which one. It's called The Culture Gap.
OK, and it's very similar to what you're saying, that, you know, different cultures have different figures of authority and yeah, there's all these different levels of things and you can monitor and where each country sort of ranks on the scale. And, well, the the really sad case in the book to that to demonstrate this is that I want to say they were Brazilian pilots and they were flying into New York and they were asked to go into a holding pattern because the air traffic control asked and they were running out of gas and they kept saying, but very gently, in a very mitigated way, we're running pretty low.
And the guy was like the know, bossy, not afraid of authority. New York traffic controller is like, well, tough shit, you got to circle. And they just kept circling, too.
They ran completely out of fuel and crashed in Long Island and died in an American and especially an Israeli urban like, fuck you, I'm landing the plane right now. We're out of fuel. Yeah, exactly. And then also, if you look at the the the black box voice recorders of this one flight, that there was ice on the wings, similar situation where the co-pilot had this huge fear of authority culturally. And he kept saying, like, I think we got a fair bit of ice on the wings, like, not stop, there's ice on the wings.
It was all these mitigated sentences trying to work towards, hey, I got your code. I don't want to be annoying, but, you know.
Yeah, OK. And can I fact check my fat check? Yeah. It's not called the culture gap. It's called the culture map. Oh, it's by Aaron Meyer.
And I'll tell you, the reason I know about it is because Kelly works at Netflix and it's a very popular book.
And if oh, and they'll probably turn it into a documentary. Oh, OK. Well, she can come here to promote the book and then she can go to her show on Netflix.
Right. I'd love to have her on. Let's have her on. OK, we're going to have a caller right now. I'm going to call her right now.
Decoding how people think lead and and get things done across cultures.
But that's it's in the same vein. And I think you can just learn so much. Also, one take away because Kali was tell me about the book. I was like, I wish Americans, you know, we get so wrapped up in how different we are.
Uh huh. And like Republicans and Democrats and within America, we're so concerned with how different we are. But like when you read this book, it's just so clear. We're all the same. We have a lot of.
You mean Americans? Americans. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We're way more the same, the same Brazilian's. Exactly.
And we have a lot of the same wiring and I it'd be nice if we could remember like oh we're actually all the same compared to these other cultures and it might help us get on the same page.
Any Canadian looking at the left and right, they're like, oh yeah, you guys are all blowhards and know it all. So fucking convicted about your opinion.
It's like all like apex of conviction. Yeah. On both sides. It's Yeah.
I think that's a good way to come together, realizing our culture is actually way more American than it is like Los Angeles or the South or you know, big time.
How many books as you've all written. Um, I'm going to guess, OK. I'm going say for OK on his website, he has four listed oh, good ones, you you just sapience commodious 21 lessons for the 21st century. And now the graphic novel. Yeah, that's what he has listed.
It's crazy. His first book was Sapience. I think the thing sold like 18 million copies worldwide or something.
But that's why I'm a little confused, because when I just type in his name, not on his website, but his name, it says in two thousand seven there's a book called Special Operations in the Age of Chivalry.
And I wonder if he wrote, like, academic stuff prior to sapience, since he was a professor and it was more academic.
That's true. Maybe it was just like a published paper or something.
But that was in 2007 and it is written by him.
OK, does say book. OK, so he's got five, but he's not listing that on his website.
He says he wants to forget about that. Yeah. All right.
And you know, he's too smart to have too many facts.
So similarly, I don't really I talk about hit and run and chips a lot, but I did make a movie called Brothers Jack.
I wish you would talk about it more. You should be proud of that. And I love that one. Well, I think I made it for five thousand dollars. And I know it looks and sounds terrible that I'm like I forget to ever mention so funny. Well, thank you so much. I enjoyed a lot.
A lot. OK, ok. Love you. Love you. Bye bye. You've all.